Elkanah Walker Papers: Finding Aid mssWA
The Huntington Library
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San Marino, California 91108
Business Number: (626) 405-2191
The Huntington Library
Title: Elkanah Walker papers
Walker, Elkanah, 1805-1877
Identifier/Call Number: mssWA
5 Linear Feet
(4 boxes, 4 folders)
Date (inclusive): 1837-1871
Abstract: Collection consists of correspondence, 29 diaries and one drawing related to the lives and activities of Oregon Territory
missionaries Elkanah Walker and Mary Richardson Walker.
Language of Material: Materials are in English.
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[Identification of item]. Elkanah Walker papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Purchased from the Rosenbach Company, October 1922.
Biographical / Historical
Elkanah Walker (1805-1877) and his wife, Mary Richardson Walker (1811-1897), both of whom were from Maine, married in 1838
and left to be missionaries in Oregon Territory. Together with Reverend Cushing Eells and his wife, Myra Fairbanks Eells,
they established a mission at Tshimakain, near Fort Colville, Washington, where they lived from 1839 to 1848, working as protestant
missionaries among the Spokane Tribe of Indians. The Walkers left the Tshimakain Mission following the killing of missionaries
at the Whitman Mission in Walla Walla, Washington by the Cayuse Indians in November 1847, eventually settling in Forest Grove,
Oregon in 1849. In the 1860s, Elkanah Walker was on the Board of Trustees of the Whitman Seminary (now Whitman College) in
Walla Walla. Both he and his wife, Mary Richardson Walker, died in Forest Grove, Oregon.
Scope and Contents
The collection consists of correspondence, 29 diaries, and one drawing related to the lives and activities of Elkanah Walker
and Mary Richardson Walker. Subjects include the Walkers' trip from Maine to the Oregon Territory, the establishment of the
Tshimakain Mission, their interactions with the Spokane Tribe of Indians, and wars with Native Americans in Oregon Territory.
Materials created by US presidents in this collection include Franklin Pierce document signed appointing Joseph Lane as governor
of Oregon Territory, 1853 March 16 (WA 31); Ulysses S. Grant autograph letter signed to Captain Theodore J. Eckarson, 1866
February 16 (WA 51); and Andrew Johnson land grant with secretarial signature to H.H. Spalding, 1866 December 14 (WA 52).
This finding aid was created in 2022 by Melissa Haley as part of the American Presidential Papers Project with enhanced description
of the presidential material present. The items had been assembled physically and arranged by Huntington Library former staff
in the mid-20th century.
Individual call numbers included in the collection: mssWA 1-46, 48-86
The following item has been transferred to the
Abraham Lincoln collection,
mssLincoln: Abraham Lincoln document signed appointing William L. Adams Collector of Customs, District of Oregon, 1861 April
8 (WA 47).
Arranged in the following series: 1. Correspondence; 2. Diaries.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Indians of North America -- Missions -- Northwest, Pacific
Indians of North America -- Wars -- Northwest, Pacific
Missionaries -- Oregon -- Archives
Overland journeys to the Pacific
Spokane Indians -- History
Spokane Indians -- Missions
Women missionaries -- Northwest, Pacific -- Archives
Oregon Territory -- History -- 19th century
Diaries -- Oregon -- 19th century
Diaries -- United States -- 19th century
Letters (correspondence) -- Oregon -- 19th century
Letters (correspondence) -- United States -- 19th century
Grant, Ulysses S. (Ulysses Simpson), 1822-1885
Johnson, Andrew, 1808-1875
Pierce, Franklin, 1804-1869
Walker, Mary Richardson, 1811-1897