Elkanah Walker Papers: Finding Aid mssWA

Melissa Haley
The Huntington Library
September 2022
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Business Number: (626) 405-2191

Contributing Institution: The Huntington Library
Title: Elkanah Walker papers
Creator: Walker, Elkanah, 1805-1877
Identifier/Call Number: mssWA
Physical Description: 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.

Conditions Governing Access

Open for use by qualified researchers and by appointment. Please contact Reader Services at the Huntington Library for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

Preferred Citation

[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).

Processing Information

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

Separated Materials

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
Tshimakain Mission

Box 1

Correspondence 1837-1871

Box 2

Diaries 1836-1846

Box 3

Diaries 1842-1848

Box 4

Diaries 1833-1846

Folder 1-4

Diaries 1833-1848