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American National Biography

Marcus Whitman


Marcus Whitman was a medical missionary born in Rushville, New York. He was sent by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions as a physician and missionary to the Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest, and settled near the site of the present Walla Walla, Washington in 1836. During the 1840s the Cayuse sporadically indicated dissatisfaction with the missionary teachings and with the presence and growing number of white migrants. When Cayuse efforts to dislodge the Whitmans failed, they resorted to violence. Both Whitman and his wife as well as a number of white migrants wintering at the mission were massacred by the Cayuse in November 1847.

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