1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Whitman, Marcus
WHITMAN, MARCUS (1802-1847), American missionary and pioneer, was born at Rushville, New York, on the 4th of September 1802. He studied medicine at Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and practised in Canada and in Wheeler, Steuben county, New York. In 1834 he was accepted by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions for missionary work among the American Indians, and was assigned to the Oregon territory, then under the joint occupation of Great Britain and the United States. He set out early in 1835, but returned almost immediately to secure other workers. In February 1836 he married and in March again crossed the continent, accompanied by his wife, Rev. and Mrs H. H. Spalding and W. H. Gray, and settled at Waiilatpu, near the present Walla Walla, Washington. Dissensions which arose among the missionaries and their apparent lack of success led to a resolution (February 1842) of the Prudential Committee of the Board to abandon the southern station. With the consent of his associates, Dr Whitman started from the station (3rd October 1842) on the perilous winter journey over the Rocky Mountains and across the plains for the missionary headquarters at Boston, to urge the revocation of the order. He visited New York and Washington also to enlist help and sympathy. On his return journey he joined a considerable body of emigrants on their way to Oregon and piloted them across the mountains. The mission, however, gained the ill-will of the Indians, and, on the 29th of October 1847 Dr and Mrs Whitman and twelve others were killed, and the station was broken up.