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Introduction

Scope & Content Note

Subject Terms

Processing Information

Copyright

Restrictions on Access

Preferred Citation

Container List

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Guide to the Frank Erfurth Collection

Frank Erfurth CollectionFrank Erfurth Collection, 1886-1965
1 folder
Location: 0143
Accession #: 1971.006

Introduction
Frank Erfurth’s small collection of postcards depicts the historic and tragic events of the Whitman Mission Massacre of 1847 in Oregon Territory.

Biography
There is no information on file about Frank Erfurth. He gave these books, photographs, and postcards to the Museum in 1971. They contribute to the collective history of the Western states.

Whitman Mission Massacre
“For 11 years the Whitmans had worked among the Cayuse. Although at times some Indians threatened the missionaries and destroyed mission property, not all the Cayuse showed an unfriendly attitude. Despite setbacks and occasional hostility, the Whitmans refused to abandon Waiilatpu. Their best efforts, however, failed to prevent an increase in jealousy, distrust, and unrest, which ended in an outbreak of violence in late November 1847.

Several causes led to the rising Indian resentment. Increasing numbers of emigrants and stories of settlers taking Indian land elsewhere, convinced the Cayuse that their way of life was in danger. Their fears grew as measles, brought in 1847 by white newcomers, spread rapidly among the Indians. The Cayuse had no resistance to the new disease, and within a short time half the tribe died. When Whitman’s medicine helped white children but not theirs, many Cayuse believed that they were being poisoned to make way for the whites.

In a tragic and bloody attack, born of deep misunderstandings and grievances, a small group of suspicious Cayuse attacked the mission on November 29 and killed Marcus Whiman, his wife Narcissa, and 11 others. The mission buildings were destroyed. Of the survivors a few escaped, but 49, mostly women and children, were taken captive. Except for two young girls who died, this group was ransomed a month later by Peter Skene Ogden of the Hudson’s Bay Company. The massacre ended Protestant missionary work among the Oregon Indians. It also led to a war against the Cayuse, waged by settlers from the Willamette and Lower Columbia Valleys.

In 1848 Joseph Meek, carrying news of the tragedy and petitions from the settlers, reached Washington, D.C. The massacre spurred Congress to create the Territory of Oregon in August of that year, thus forming the first formal territorial government west of the Rockies.”

The above quoted text is an excerpt from a 1970 pamphlet of the Whitman Mission National Historic Site, U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. This pamphlet is in the Marcus Whitman Western Subjects Vertical File.

Sources:
Whitman, Marcus. Western Subjects Vertical File, Dickinson Research Center.
Whitman, Narcissa. Western Subjects Vertical File, Dickinson Research Center.

References:
“Whitman Massacre.” Wikipedia.Org. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whitman_massacre
“The Whitman Killings, November 29, 1847.” Whitman Mission NHS, History & Culture. http://www.nps.gov/archive/whmi/history/nov29.htm
“The Whitman Massacre Trial: A Clash of Cultures.” Oregon State Archives. Exhibit. http://arcweb.sos.state.or.us/50th/whitman/whitmanintro.html
“Missionaries and Early Settlers.” Trailtribes.Org: Traditional & Contemporary Native Culture. http://www.trailtribes.org/umatilla/missionaries-and-early-settlers.htm

Scope & Content Note  

This collection contains three books (one of which is missing), two photographs and sixteen postcards all relating to the Whitman Mission in Walla Walla, Washington.

Subject Terms  

Personal Names:
Gray, William
Jackson, William Henry
Spalding, Reverend
Whitman, Marcus, 1802-1847
Whitman, Narcissa Prentiss, 1808-1847

Subject Headings:
Indians of North America
Massacre
Missions
Photographs
Postcards

Processing Information  

This collection was accessioned in 1971. Librarian Karen Spilman wrote the scope and content note in March 2003. The current finding aid was written and posted online by archivist/librarian Laura Anne Heller in November 2009.

Ownership & Literary Rights  

The Frank Erfurth Collection is the property of the Donald C. & Elizabeth M. Dickinson Research Center, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Literary right, including copyright, belongs to the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, with the exception of copyrighted artwork images and published literary works, which are the property of the respective copyright holders. It is the responsibility of the researcher, and his/her publisher, to obtain publishing permission from individuals pictured, relevant copyright holders, and the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.

Restrictions on Access  

The collection is open for research. It is advisable for researchers to discuss their proposed research with staff prior to visiting the Center.

Preferred Citation  

Frank Erfurth Collection, Box ##, Folder ##, Dickinson Research Center, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Container List  

Series 1: Frank Erfurth Collection
Items have been cataloged in the Image Archive Database, but none have been scanned yet.
Box/Folder # Accession # Folder Title/Description
1/2 1971.006.01 Thompson, Erwin N. Whitman Mission: here they labored among the Cayuse Indians. National Historic Site. National Park Service Historical Handbook Series No. 37, Washington, D.C., 1964. Book.
1971.006.02 Bean, Margaret. Campbell House. Campbell House Committee of the Eastern Washington State Historical Society, 1965. Book.
1971.006.03 A picture of Nee Store and Post office, Lincoln, Washington. 1886. Photograph, b&w, 8x10 in. Writing on reverse side.
1971.006.04 Old Fort Spokane, Washington 1882-1897 Near mouth of Spokane River. 1890 ca. Libby & Son Photographers. Spokane, WA. Photograph, b&w, 8x10 in. Writing on reverse side.
1971.006.05.01 Whitman Mission, Walla Walla, Washington. 1960 ca. Smith-Western Co. Tacoma, WA. Postcard, color, 5.5x3.5 in.
1971.006.05.02 Whitman Mission, visitor center, Walla Walla, Washington. 1960 ca. Smith-Western Co. Tacoma, WA. Postcard, color, 5.5x3.5 in.
1971.006.05.03 Whitman Mission, visitor center, Walla Walla, Washington. 1960 ca. Smith-Western Co. Tacoma, WA. Postcard, color, 5.5x3.5 in.
1971.006.05.04 Diorama of Whitman Massacre, November 29, 1847. 1960 ca. Smith-Western Co. Tacoma, WA. Postcard, color, 5.5x3.5 in.
1971.006.05.05 Diorama of Whitman Massacre, November 29, 1847. 1960 ca. Smith-Western Co. Tacoma, WA. Postcard, color, 5.5x3.5 in.
1971.006.05.06 The Cayuse Indians. 1960 ca. Smith-Western Co. Tacoma, WA. Postcard, color, 5.5x3.5 in.
1971.006.05.07 Whitman Mission, great grave. 1960 ca. Smith-Western Co. Tacoma, WA. Postcard, color, 5.5x3.5 in.
1971.006.05.08 Whitman Mission, Mission house. 1960 ca. Smith-Western Co. Tacoma, WA. Postcard, color, 5.5x3.5 in.
1971.006.05.09 Whitman Mission, great grave. 1960 ca. Smith-Western Co. Tacoma, WA. Postcard, color, 5.5x3.5 in.
1971.006.05.10 Whitman Mission, entrance sign. 1960 ca. Smith-Western Co. Tacoma, WA. Postcard, color, 5.5x3.5 in.
1971.006.05.11 Whitman Mission, Mission house. 1960 ca. Smith-Western Co. Tacoma, WA. Postcard, color, 5.5x3.5 in.
1971.006.05.12 1836 The missionaries stopped at the annual trappers rendezvous in the Rocky Mountains. 1960 ca. Smith-Western Co. Tacoma, WA. Postcard, color, 5.5x3.5 in.
1971.006.05.13 Canada geese on the restored gristmill pond at Whitman Mission National Historic Site. 1960 ca. Smith-Western Co. Tacoma, WA. Postcard, color, 5.5x3.5 in.
1971.006.05.14 Canada geese on the restored gristmill pond at Whitman Mission National Historic Site. 1960 ca. Smith-Western Co. Tacoma, WA. Postcard, color, 5.5x3.5 in.
1971.006.05.15 Canada geese on the restored gristmill pond at Whitman Mission National Historic Site. 1960 ca. Smith-Western Co. Tacoma, WA. Postcard, color, 5.5x3.5 in.
1971.006.05.16 Narcissa Whitman,[display of blue china]. 1960 ca. Smith-Western Co. Tacoma, WA. Postcard, color, 5.5x3.5 in.
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