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In March 1837, Mr. Spalding wrote about a school that had been started at the mission:
Nothing but actual observation can give an idea of the indefatigable application of all classes, old and young, to the instruction of the school. From morning to night they assembled in clusters, with one teaching a number of others. Their progress is surprising. Usually about one hundred attend school. A number are now able to read a little with us at morning prayers.15
In March 1838, Dr. Whitman reported a school of 10 to 15 pupils during the winter, and that when the hunters returned in the spring, the number of pupils became greater than the mission family had books or ability to teach.
Mr. Gray taught in the school among the Nez Perces, which opened on September 23, 1838, with about 150 in attendance. 16 This school was known as the Clear Water School. In 1841 it was reported that "the school is very fluctuating, having at some times one hundred pupils, and the next week, perhaps, all would be gone with their parents to some distant place in search of food". Two years later they reported from 200 to 225 in daily attendance. About 30 read well in our language. Instruction was given on the blackboard, or by lessons printed by the missionaries and later recopied by the pupils. About 150 were able to copy with a pen the daily lessons. This seems to have been W. H. Gray's last year as teacher of this school.
Between the years 1838 and 1846 these missionaries established some six schools in the region. These were the 2 mentioned above, 1 at Kamiah taught by Cornelius Rogers, and another one established at the same place about 5 years later, with a “hired" teacher; the Tshimakain school, near Spokane House, started in November 1839, by Eells and Walker, and also another one 5 miles from the station, reported in 1843. The former had 30 pupils to start with, which later increased to 80. School was held in the church. Two years later the attendance was 11, while the second school had an attendance of 22.
3. Spalding and the Clear Water or Fort Lapwai Mission School The mission school at Clear Water (Fort Lapwai) was located about 13 miles from the present site of Lewiston, Idaho, at the confluence of Lapwai Creek with the Clearwater River. Although it is in Idaho, it seems logical to include at least a brief account in the history of Washington education, because Rev. Spalding, his wife, Mr. Gray, and others were a part of the Whitman group and the mission was really an outpost at first of the Whitman Mission.
15 Report American Board of Commissions for Foreign Missions, 1838, p. 127. 16 Ibid, 1839, p. 144.
The Spaldings arrived at their mission field, November 1836. Their first log house was 48 feet long and 18 feet wide. One end of the building was used for living quarters, the other as a schoolroom and a church. Here they taught the Indians—men, women, and childrennot only the white man's religion, but also the white man's industries. Mr. Spalding had brought tools for building and seeds for planting gardens, orchards, and fields. He planted the first apple trees in the State of Idaho. It is claimed that some are still bearing at Lapwai. He taught them to plow, sow, and reap, to care for poultry, pigs, and cattle. Small irrigation ditches, still to be seen, were dug.
The Nez Perces were eager pupils. Mrs. Spalding was the teacher and sometimes had as many as 200 in attendance. Her house was thronged from early morning till late at night. The women came to see how she dressed, to observe the preparation of meals, and to watch her wash and dress the baby."
Helen Hunt Jackson reports Mr. Spalding as saying that, Nearly all the principal men and chiefs are members of the school, that they are industrious in their school as on their farms. They cultivate their lands with much skill and to good advantage. * About one hundred are printing their own books with the pen. This keeps up a deep interest, as they daily have new lessons to print; and what they print must be committed to memory as soon as possible. A good number are now so far advanced in reading and printing as to render much assistance in teaching. Their books are taken home at night and every lodge becomes a school room. 18
4. The First Printing Press in the Northwest One of the outstanding achievements of Spalding was in having the first printing press in the northwest set up and operated at Clearwater. He had communicated his desire to print books for teaching the Indians to Reverend Anderson in charge of the Oregon branch of the American Board of Foreign Missions. Anderson had interested some of the missionaries in Honolulu in sending supplies to the Oregon Mission.
At first Spalding thought it would be unnecessary to reduce the Nez Perces language to writing. He wrote from the Nez Perces Mission House (Lapwai, Clearwater), February 16, 1837:
Judging from the present, this people will probably acquire the English before we do the Nez Perces' language, though we flatter ourselves that we are making good progress. But what our duty will be, when we have acquired their language and are prepared to write and teach it, or to teach the English to better advantage than we are now, we wait the future leadings of Providence and the better wisdom than ours, of yourself and coadjutors.
17 See Brosman, C. J. History of the State of Idabo, cb. 8. The Missionaries and First Settlers. Baird, Frank Pierce. History of Education in Idabo Through Territorial Days, pp. 1-30 on Mission Schools.
15 Jackson, Helen Hunt. A Century of Dishonor, p. 110.
"This course," says Ballou, "was soon found to be not only impracticable, but absolutely impossible, and at the general meeting of the Oregon Mission in 1838 it was formally voted: "That we apply our selves to the study of the Native Language & reduce it to writing.
Rev. Hiram Bingham, pastor of the Kawaiahao Church of Honolulu who was much interested in converting the Indians in Oregon, secured a printing press to send to the Clearwater Mission. His letter to Rev. R. Anderson was as follows:
The church and congregation of which I am pastor has recently sent a small but complete printing and binding establishment, by the hand of Brother Hall, to the Oregon Mission, which with other substantial supplies amounts to 444.00 doll. The press was a small hand press presented to this mission but not in use. The expense of the press with one small font of type was defrayed by about 50 native females, including Kinau or Kaahumanu 2d. This was a very pleasing act of charity. She gave 10 doll. for herself and 4 her little daughter Victoria Kaabumanu 3d. 20
Mr. Hall, who was to instruct in the use of the press, left Honolulu with Mrs. Hall and the press March 1839, arriving at Fort Vancouver about April 10, 1839. They left there on the 13th of April, arriving at Fort Walla Walla on the 29th or 30th of the same month. They reached Lapwai on May 13 and had the press set up by the 16th, when they struck off the first proof sheet.
On May 16th the press was set up and on May 24, 1839, four hundred copies of a small 8-page book in Nez Perces in the artificial alphabet devised by Mr. Spalding were printed, thus constituting the first book ever printed in the Oregon Territory.* In 1840 the American board reported that the mission
has recently received a most valuable donation, as the fruit of the foreign missionary spirit of the Sandwich Islands churches, consisting of a small printing press, with the requisite types and furniture, etc., all estimated at about $450. This was a donation from the Reverend Mr. Bingham's church at Honolulu, which the year
before sent to this mission eighty dollars in money and ten bushels of salt. The health of Mrs. Hall, wife of one of the printers at Honolulu, requiring a voyage, Mr. Hall proceeded with her to the mouth of the Columbia river, with the press, which be took to Clearwater, where it was immediately set up, and employed to print a amall elementary schoolbook of twenty pages; the first book printed in the Nez Perces' language, and the first printing known to have been executed on the western side of the Rocky Mountains. 12
During the next 7 years they must have been exceedingly indus. trious. They printed many leaflets, reading books, a hymn book, the Gospel of Matthew, and a code of laws worked out by the Nez Perces for their government. These publications were in the Indian language and necessitated the formulation of alphabets to make translation possible. At least one book was printed in the Spokane dialect.
» Ballou, Howard M. A History of the Oregon Mission Press. Oregon Historical Society Quarterly, 23: 39, March 1922.
30 Ibid. p. 44.
Dr. Myron Eells is authority for the statement that in 1846 the press was taken to The Dalles, where it remained until after the Whitman massacre. It was then transferred to Hillsboro, Oreg., where eight numbers of the Oregon American and Evangelical Unionist was printed. Later in 1875 it was taken to Salem and deposited in the State historical rooms. It was destined to be transferred once more, 1900, to Portland where it was taken by the Oregon Historical Society. There it may be seen now in the city auditorium. It bears the following label:
Mission Printing Press brought to Oregon from Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1839. First used at the Mission Station of the A-BCP-M at Lapwai, on the Clearwater, thirteen miles from the present city of Lewiston, Idaho, and was used by E. O. Hall, on May 18th of that year, to print leaflets containing translations of hymns and Bible verses in the Indian language, made by Rev. H. H. Spalding and wife, missionaries of the American board.
As a school and as a general civilizer the Clearwater Mission left much more of a permanent influence than the Whitman Mission. This was probably largely due to the different characters of the Indians at the two posts. The Nez Perces are generally regarded as among the most intelligent and least warlike of all the Indian tribes. The Cayuses were apparently far more warlike and of lower character traditions. An Indian village still exists at Lapwai. The Indians speak of the Spaldings with the greatest affection. Spalding's grave is cared for by the Indians.
5. The Spokane Garry School Spokane Garry, son of the chief of the tribe of Spokane Indians, was born about 1813. He spent his early life in the region surrounding the present city of Spokane. He and seven other lads were taken to the Red River Missionary School, “and were the first Indians belonging to the Oregon country that were taught to read and write." 23
He spent 5 years at the settlement, securing a good education and learning to speak both English and French. He also took to civilized ways. In 1830 he returned to the Spokane country; and became, finally, the predominant influence in the Indian life of that sectionan influence he retained for 60 years.
Spokane Garry started the first school in that section upon his return from the Red River country. He induced the Indians to construct a schoolhouse 20 by 50 feet in size. The site of the school was about 2 miles north of Spokane Falls, within the present limits of the city of Spokane, at a place called Drumhellers Springs, west of Monroe Street.24
* Lewis, William S. The Case of Spokane Garry. p. 13.
The school was built with a framework of poles covered with tule mats. The reeds were woven and sewed together by the squaws into mats, which were stretched over the framework of the building.
This school was conducted in the wintertime, and frequently had to be shut down to allow the Indian children to get food. It was an attempt to teach the Indians how to read and write. The date of the opening of this school is not known at this time. Possibly some documents will be unearthed which will bring the matter to light. From the present indications it is not likely that it was started previous to the school of John Ball at Fort Vancouver. However that may be, this early attempt of Spokane Garry deserves a place in the history of edu. cation in this State. Gov. Isaac Ingalls Stevens was well acquainted with Spokane Garry and seemed to think well of him. In his journal, written during his survey for the United States Government of a railroad route from the Mississippi River to the Puget Sound, he wrote:
I have now seen a great deal of Garry, and am much pleased with him. Beneath a quiet exterior he shows himself to be a man of judgment, forecast, and great reliability, and I could see in my interview with his band the ascendancy be possesses over them. October 24, 1853.25
Edward Curtis, who is the most outstanding authority on the North American Indians, has written considerable detail concerning Garry of which the following is an excerpt:
At that time Ilūmhú-spŭkani, Chief Sun, or Garry (the Indians pronounce the name as if it were Jerry), was chief of the Sinhoméně. Born about 1813, at the age of about twelve years he was taken by Sir George Simpson, governor of the Hudson's Bay Company, to be educated at the company's post on Red River. After five years of schooling he returned to his people, and began to preach and to institute some of the forms of Christian worship among them. As the report of his new teaching spread, people from other tribes came to hear him, and his influence increased until he was head of his tribe. Also, in the place of Nahůtůmb-l-kó, Erect Hair, the senile chief of the Sintutuūli, he caused to be recognized a nephew of the latter; but because of his education and knowledge of the ways of the white men, he himself was in effect the head chief of both tribes. All this occurred before the first mission in that part of the country was established, in 1839, by the Reverend Elkanah Walker and the Reverend Cushing Eells, among the lower Spokane at the site of Walker Prairie. 20
24 Ibid., p. 20.
26 Curtis, Edward S. The North American Indian. la 20 vols., vol. VII, p. 55. Published by he author, 1911.