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Oregons First Missionaries

By , Seattle, WA
Henry and Eliza Spalding along with William Gray selected a mission site among the friendly Nez Perce Indians. The mission site was located near the convergence of the Lapwai and Clearwater rivers. The Lapwai mission was one of the most successful missions, lasting from 1836 to 1847. However this mission suffered some setbacks, because of the Cayuse war which was from 1836 - 1847 and because of the Indian Wars which took place in the 1850s (Pelz 80). Henry Spalding had no choice but to close the mission until 1871. What made the Lapwai mission so successful was the friendliness and adaptability, of the Nez Perce Indians, as well as Henry and the other missionary’s ability to communicate with them(Lambert135). Henry Spalding actually developed a written alphabet for the Native Americans languages as well as printed parts of bible for them to read. The Spalding’s were actually very lucky to have the protection of the Nez Perce Indians during the very turbulent years.





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