The Hood River Glacier, Hood River, OR., December 17, 1903, page 4


     "Ten Years in Oregon" is an interesting serial in the Sunday Oregonian made up from a history of the state published in 1844 by Daniel Lee and J.H. Frost, first missionaries to Oregon. The account of the establishment of the mission at The Dalles is of particular local interest, as an account is given of an overland trip from the mission to the Willamette valley. Hood River is spoken of as "White river," because of the milky appearance of the water at the time. Following is a part of the story:
     The members of the Oregon mission considering The Dalles on the Columbia river as a promising field for missionary effort, it was determined to begin a new station at that place, which is about 80 miles above Fort Vancouver, and accordingly, in 1838, Mr. Perkins and the writer appointed to proceed to the Dalls for that purpose.
     Leaving the Walamet station on the 14th of March, they embarked in two canoes with a small cargo of supplies, passed down the Walamet river, and then ascended the Columbia to the place of destination, where they arrived on Wednesday the 22d.
     About three miles below the Dalls, and a half mile from the shore on the south side, was found a valuable spring of water, some rich land, and a good supply of timber, oak and pine, and an elevated and pleasant location for a house, almost in their shade; with a fine extended view of the Columbia river, three miles on either hand. The back ground was broken and hilly, and thinly wooded. Here, about the 1st of April, a house was begun. The Indians assisted in cutting the timber, and bringing it upon the spot. Meantime, Mr. Jason Lee arrived on his way to the United States, accompanied by Mr. Edwards, and another gentleman, Mr. Ewing, of Missouri, and two Indian boys of the Chenook tribe, W.M. Brooks and Thomas Adams, who had been some time in the mission school at the Walamet station. The object of his visit was to obtain additional facilities to carry on, more efficiently and extensively, the missionary work in Oregon territory. April 9th, having hired horses of the Indians to convey himself to Wallah-wallah, where he was to purchase the horses needed to make the tour of the mountains, that being the usual place of outfit for parties going by land into the interior, he took an affectionate leave of his friends, Mr. Perkins and the writer, and set off on his arduous journey, accompanied by the aforenamed gentleman and the native boys. The same day Mr. Perkins embarked in a canoe for the Walamet station in order to bring his wife to the Dalls, and returned in safety on the 5th of May. The building of the house went on amidst many interruptions, and it was finished before winter. Mr. Perkins' family occupied it long before it was roofed; but as the climate was dry, and rain seldom fell in summer, it was quite safe. Several trips were made to Walamet and Vancouver by water during the year for supplies. One journey was made to Fort Wallah-wallah to get horses and another overland to the Walamet station, to obtain cattle. These various journeys and voyages took us away from the station about five months each during the year. Immediately on our arrival at the station we began holding meetings with the Indians on the Sabbath; speaking to them in the "jargon," through an interpreter. This imperfect medium of communication sprang from the traffic of the whites with the Indians, and it embraces some English, some French, and many Indian words, some Chenook, some Wallah-wallah, and some of the other tribes, and it is understood more or less by individuals in almost all tribes beyond the mountains. Their behavior at worship was very serious, and most of them would kneel in time of prayer. Our meetings were held without, among the oaks, or under a pine, whose cooling shade screened us from the burning sun. A few scattering stones afforded seats for some, and others sat quietly on the ground; a manner of sitting to which they were well used, and which they prefer to any other.
     September 3. The writer left the Dalls to go to the Walamet overland after cattle, a journey of 125 miles, taking 10 horses, owned by the Oregon mission, and 10 others, some belonging to the Indians who were going to assist him, four in number, and day supply of provisions for six days. One of my Indians, the oldest, probably from 40 to 50, was blind of an eye, which had been destroyed by a violent inflammation, that nearly caused his death. But in his extremity he received some kind of visitor from the invisible world, who was assured him that he would recover; upon which he soon revived, greatly to the surprise of his friends around him, who viewed his restoration as mysterious, since they had looked upon him as one dead, and on this account he received the name of Uk-woui-a-neete, that is, "heart," or "life." He was of Chenook descent, and a resident of the Dalls.
     Another was a Wallah-wallah, a stout young man of 25 years, good stature, with a fine forehead, and, what is rare, a Roman nose. His name, which signifies to become dry, empty or destitute, was, Tah-lac-e-ou-it, and was given him because once he had considerable prosperity which he had lost by gambling, to which he was much addicted. One of the remaining two was a Chenook with the usual features, a flattened forehead and a wide mouth, about 20 years old. Proud of his skill in directing a canoe, and of his supposed horsemanship, he felt and boasted himself a man. My other, a Wallah-wallah, was a shrewd young rogue, a gamester, dishonest to the core; and besides these, a poor cripple, with a short, shriveled, crooked, cumbersome leg. To help his well one, he carried a long cane or crutch, six or seven feet long, on which he poised himself as he sprang from one place to another, two yards or more at a leap. Thus he was active on a single leg, even to admiration. Our horses are now saddled; we mount and away. Trotting is an fashionable gait in Oregon. A cloud of dust marks our course westward. In sight of the mission we cross a beautiful plain of grass, half a mile wide and a mile and a half long, spotted here and there with small basaltic islands. On of our right flows the Columbia; on our left are hills 200 and 300 feet in height, fringed at their base with a narrow, lengthened strip of oak and pine. Leaving this plain, we began to ascend among hills, diverging south-westward from the river in our course. The country for 20 miles is broken, sparsely wooded with yellow pine and stinted oak. Some of the former are large, and may well be called the monarchs of the hills. A long kind of moss grows on them, which the natives use as an article of food. The grass is as dry as if David's imprecation on the mountains of Gilboa had fallen upon the thirsty hills. Having passed this region, we reached the valley on the White creek, about noon, where we halted to bait our horses and take dinner; water front a cooling rill relieving our thirst. Having mounted fresh horses, we pursued our way along the elevated base of the high hills on the left, and in about two hours came to the creek, which, for many miles, lay far beneath on the right. It was three rods wide and about three feet deep, of a milky whiteness, filled with large, smooth stones. However, we crossed it without disaster. Here we entered the forest, at the base of that part of the President's range of mountains lying south of the Columbia, on whose summits stand four ancient volcanoes covered with perpetual snow. On one we went, in a narrow, crowded path, among windfalls and underbrush, dodging right and left to avoid contact with the limbs stretched across our way. At dusk we came to a spot where the hazel and brake bore rule, permitting only a little grass to grow up in their shade. Here we dismounted, hobbled our horses and encamped for the night. A fire was struck, some dried salmon and lamprey eels roasted; and we sat down and made a good, hardy Indian supper. After a hymn and prayer, we wrapped ourselves in our blankets, laid down under the bushes to avoid the dampness of the night, and rested sweetly till the dawn of another morning. A long day's march was before us, and we made an early start. My one-eyed man led the way followed by the horses in two bands, three or four to a man, one bringing up the rear. Going west a few miles we came to a branch of White creek, which empties into it below the ford described. Up this, on the south side we traveled several miles, and came to a rugged mountain barrier, where the water was confined in a deep ravine amid high, precipitous banks. Here the trail crossed to the other side. Our route now lay several miles over a high hill, and then it fell again upon the stream we had left, and descended along its tortuous course, one side and the other, and along its bed. Leaving this rugged path without regret, we rose gradually to the height of land lying south of the Cascades of the Columbia 15 to 20 miles. The horses had become hungry, and the declining sun already chided our tardy progress. A long way to grass -- stopping at such a time, turning out of the path to browse on the leaves - 'tis too much! "Go along Gray!" "Hup, hup!" The woods ring with continual shouts to our rebel quadrupeds. A long hard drive brought us to the top of the hill, and we began to descend, with new courage and quickened pace, toward the valley or Sandy creek, where a good encampment awaited our arrival. We passed on through a miry tract, darkened by majestic evergreens. We were in the midst of these when night came on and compelled us to encamp. Some of the horses were tied to trees and the rest were guarded during the night. Next morning we decamped early, and soon came to the Sandy. This rapid stream rises at the base of Mount Hood, whose silver summit appears to rest on the sky about 15 miles off. The fires that once raged within its bowels, and blazed at its top, seem to have been long extinguished. Native tradition says that fire was anciently seen upon it, and that sounds were heard by the hunters who approached it, like the report of muskets, and that it is inhabited by a peculiar race of men who are destitute of the power of vision.

©  Jeffrey L. Elmer