Tom Hill (1811–1860)was a Lenape mountain man active in the American frontier. He first became prominent in the service of Kit Carson as a fur trapper during the 1830s. After that, he lived among the Nimíipuu, influencing them to mistrust ABCFM missionaries. Throughout 1847, Hill was In Alta California fighting in the service of John C. Frémont. Tom Hill returned to Kansas in 1854 to live among fellow Lenape, where he died in 1860. Several later historians have named Hill as the primary cause of the Whitman Massacre, earning him some notoriety.
Hill was born in the vicinity of Upper Sandusky, Ohio,[ citation needed ] where his family had been granted land by the Federal government in 1817. He likely attended the mission school in Upper Sandusky for at least some period of time before adulthood. In 1833, when Hill was 22, he joined a six-man trapping expedition led by Kit Carson, which also included Joseph Meek and two other Lenapes. They operated between the Cimarron and Arkansas rivers, at that time controlled by the Comanche. During their excursion, they were met in battle by 200 Comanche warriors, and the trappers had to make a protective wall with their mule mounts. After several hours of skirmishing, the Comanche relented, and the trappers all survived. The three Lenape men in Carson's employ continued with him, eventually reaching the Yellowstone River in 1837. The group encountered a Niitsitapi village, and a battle. The previous Lenape officer in charge perished, and Hill was elected to his position. Hill remained with Carson until 1839, operating out of Santa Fe de Nuevo México, at Taos.
After he and Carson parted ways, Hill spent several years living among the Nimíipuu, an ethnic group he had interacted with for several years at the annual rendezvous.Hill's leadership in confrontations against Niitsitapi band while they hunted bison earned him a place of respect and he married a member of the band. Hill taught the Nimíipuu and later the neighboring Liksiyu about the loss of territorial sovereignty among Native Americans east of the Rocky Mountains to the expansionist United States of America. These stories incensed men from both Indigenous nations to mistrust ABCFM stations established on the Columbia Plateau. Henry H. Spalding decried Hill as "a most blasphemous debassed [sic] infidel... who has been some years in the Mts. spreading his poison..."
In a party of Nimíipuu led Ellis however,[ clarification needed ] Hill visited the Waiilatpu Mission and dined with Marcus and Narcissa Whitman along with the fellow families there in 1845. Hill was to remain at the Mission for about two weeks. Catherine Sager Pringle recalled that Hill was "very intelligent and could speak English as well as Cayuse [actually Niimiipuutímt]." Visitors and mission residents had a meal primarily of corn mush and tea, with minor entertainment provided by the visiting natives. Hill then made a two-hour-long speech, reportedly being "quite eloquent." In conversation with Marcus Whitman, Hill assured the doctor that his feelings toward him were positive. Whitman recorded that "...he had been much deceived by reports of the Indians from this quarter [about ABCFM missionaries]..." After returning from the Mission, Hill told William Craig that he found Whitman a far more favorable man than his contemporary missionary Spalding.
Tom Hill has been blamed by some historians for inducing the Whitman massacre, as he was "...the bitter enemy of the white man's religion and everything else related to whites."In particular, William Marshall declared that Hill was "constantly striving to stir up the Indians against all the whites" during his time among the Nimíipuu. Marshall concluded that "...it is doubtful if any other one influence was as potent as Tom Hill in ... bringing on the Whitman massacre."
This assessment has been questioned by later historians, with more focus given to the simmering cultural clashes between the Indigenous and the Missionaries along with the spread of infectious diseases on the Columbian Plateau.Francis Haines in particular stated that while his teachings "undoubtedly helped cause the Whitman massacre... he had no part in plotting the attack."
During 1846, Tom Hill joined a small party of Sahaptins destined for New Helvetia. Two years prior, Walla Walla noble Piupiumaksmaks visited the settlement, though his son died in a confrontation there. Piupiumaksmaks wished to return to the area to reaffirm positive relations with John Sutter. Hill and the group entered Alta California during the tumultuous Mexican–American War, at the beginning of the Conquest of California. John C. Frémont called for volunteers to join in the California Battalion, with several Walla Wallas serving as scouts. Hill enlisted into a white company, for a salary of $25 monthly.The military company was headed south towards Monterey when several hundred Mexican forces were encountered at Battle of Natividad. Hill was a part of a small scouting party that encountered the enemy forces, and had to fight them unaided for four hours. After some time exchanging salvos from afar, Tom reportedly called out to the Mexicans "You come here, me kill you. You can't fight better than one woman." His insult angered several Mexicans, charging on horseback. The ensuing skirmish was later described in 1879:
The strife was soon over, for as soon as the Spaniard made the first pass, Tom parried the thrust and struck the Spaniard in the forehead with his tomahawk, which brought him to the ground, where he deliberately tore off his scalp. During the remainder of the battle the Spaniards kept at long range, not caring to come within close quarters with Haze and his Indians.
At the end of the battle that evening, the Americans feared that they were surrounded by Mexican forces. Hillvolunteered to slip past the enemies and travel to Monterrey where Frémont was located. A small Mexican group was alerted to him however and began to pursue him. Hill "...with the most extraordinary dexterity and bravery", killed four of his pursuers with his tomahawk. He managed to reach Frémont's camp the next day. Hill was given command over the Native scouts in Monterrey and continued to march south with the main army. Hill made several attempts to engage Californio scouts, but no engagements occurred. For his service P. B. Reading gave Hill a silver tomahawk, and three months pay.
After his service with the California Battalion, Hill spent another year in California. He relocated to Kansas in the autumn of 1854, and was granted 120 acres by the Federal government due to being a veteran.After Tom Hill died in 1860, John Sarcoxie was given mandate over his estate.
Christopher Houston Carson was an American frontiersman. He was a fur trapper, wilderness guide, Indian agent, and U.S. Army officer. He became a frontier legend in his own lifetime by biographies and news articles, and exaggerated versions of his exploits were the subject of dime novels. His understated nature belied confirmed reports of his fearlessness, combat skills, tenacity, and profound effect on the westward expansion of the United States. Although he was famous for much of his life, historians in later years have written that Kit Carson did not like, want, or even fully understand the fame that he experienced during his life.
The Oregon missionaries were pioneers who settled in the Oregon Country of North America starting in the 1830s dedicated to bringing Christianity to local Native Americans. There had been missionary efforts prior to this, such as those sponsored by the Northwest Company with missionaries from the Church of England starting in 1819. The Foreign Mission movement was already 15 years underway by 1820, but it was difficult to find missionaries willing to go to Oregon, as many wanted to go to the east, to India or China. It was not until the 1830s, when a schoolmaster from Connecticut, Hall Jackson Kelley, created his "American Society for the Settlement of the Oregon Country," that more interest and support for Oregon missionaries grew. Around the same time, four Nez Perce arrived in St. Louis in the fall of 1831, with accounts differencing as to if these travelers were asking for “the book of life,” an idea used by Protestant missionaries, or if they asked for “Blackrobes,” meaning Jesuits, thus Catholic missionaries. Either way this inspired Christian missionaries to travel to the Oregon Territory. Oregon missionaries played a political role, as well as a religious one, as their missions established US political power in an area in which the Hudson’s Bay Company, operating under the British government, maintained a political interest in the Oregon country. Such missionaries had an influential impact on the early settlement of the region, establishing institutions that became the foundation of United States settlement of the Pacific Northwest.
Marcus Whitman was an American physician and missionary.
The Whitman massacre refers to the killing of American missionaries Marcus Whitman and Narcissa Whitman, along with eleven others, on November 29, 1847. They were killed by a small group of Cayuse men who suspected Whitman of poisoning 200 Cayuse in his medical care during an outbreak of measles that included the Whitman household. The killings occurred at the Whitman Mission at the junction of the Walla Walla River and Mill Creek, in what is now southeastern Washington near Walla Walla. The incident became a decisive episode in the U.S. settlement of the Pacific Northwest, causing the United States Congress to take action declaring the territorial status of the Oregon Country. The Oregon Territory was established on August 14, 1848 to protect the immigrant settlers.
Jim Baker (1818–1898), known as "Honest Jim Baker", was a frontiersman, trapper, hunter, army scout, interpreter, and rancher. He was first a trapper and hunter. The decline of the fur trade in the early 1840s drove many trappers to quit, but Baker remained in the business until 1855. During that time he was a friend of Jim Bridger, Kit Carson and John C. Frémont. On August 21, 1841, he was among a group of twenty three trappers who were attacked by Arapaho, Cheyenne, and Sioux on what became known as Battle Mountain. After Henry Fraeb was killed, Baker organized the trappers against the Native Americans in a multiple-day fight.
Whitman Mission National Historic Site is a United States National Historic Site located just west of Walla Walla, Washington, at the site of the former Whitman Mission at Waiilatpu. On November 29, 1847, Dr. Marcus Whitman, his wife Narcissa Whitman, and 11 others were slain by Native Americans of the Cayuse. The site commemorates the Whitmans, their role in establishing the Oregon Trail, and the challenges encountered when two cultures meet.
Henry Harmon Spalding (1803–1874), and his wife Eliza Hart Spalding (1807–1851) were prominent Presbyterian missionaries and educators working primarily with the Nez Perce in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. The Spaldings and their fellow missionaries were among the earliest Americans to travel across the western plains, through the Rocky Mountains and into the lands of the Pacific Northwest to their religious missions in what would become the states of Idaho and Washington. Their missionary party of five, including Marcus Whitman and his wife Narcissa and William H. Gray, joined with a group of fur traders to create the first wagon train along the Oregon Trail.
Eliza Hart Spalding (1807–1851) was an American missionary who joined an Oregon missionary party with her husband Henry H. Spalding and settled among the Nez Perce People called the nimiipuu in Lapwai, Idaho. She was a well-educated woman who was among the first missionaries to learn a Native American language. She developed a written version of the language and printed Bible story lessons and hymns in the Nez Perce language. Her hymnal was the first book written in the Nez Perce language. She taught hundreds of native people by first teaching a few people a lesson or a song, and after they memorized it, they taught it to groups to people.
Tiloukaikt was a Native American leader of the Cayuse tribe in the northwestern United States. He was involved in the Whitman Massacre and was a primary leader during the subsequent Cayuse War.
Narcissa Prentiss Whitman was an American missionary in the Oregon Country of what would become the state of Washington. On their way to found the Protestant Whitman Mission in 1836 with her husband, Marcus, near modern-day Walla Walla, Washington, she and Eliza Hart Spalding became the first documented European-American women to cross the Rocky Mountains.
Piupiumaksmaks was head chief of the Walla Walla tribe and son to the preceding chief Tumatapum. His name meant Yellow Bird, but it was often mistranslated as Yellow Serpent by Europeans.
Tom Tobin (1823–1904) was an American adventurer, tracker, trapper, mountain man, guide, US Army scout, and occasional bounty hunter. Tobin explored much of southern Colorado, including the Pueblo area. He associated with men such as Kit Carson, "Uncle Dick" Wootton, Ceran St. Vrain, Charley Bent, John C. Fremont, "Wild Bill" Hickok, William F. Cody, and the Shoup brothers. Tobin was one of only two men to escape alive from the siege of Turley's Mill and Distillery during the Taos Revolt. In later years he was sent by the Army to track down and kill the notorious Felipe Espinosa and his nephew; Tobin returned to Ft. Garland with their heads in a sack.
The Sager orphans were the children of Henry and Naomi Sager. In April 1844 the Sager family took part in the great westward migration and started their journey along the Oregon Trail. During it, both Henry and Naomi died and left their seven children orphaned. Later adopted by Marcus and Narcissa Whitman, missionaries in what is now Washington, they were orphaned a second time, when both their new parents, as well as brothers John and Francis Sager, were killed during the Whitman massacre in November 1847. About 1860 Catherine, the oldest daughter, wrote a first-hand account of their journey across the plains and their life with the Whitmans. Today it is regarded as one of the most authentic accounts of the American westward migration.
Henry A. G. Lee was a soldier and politician in Oregon Country in the 1840s. A member of Virginia's Lee family, he was part of the Fremont Expedition and commanded troops during the Cayuse War in what became the Oregon Territory. He also was a member of the Oregon Provisional Government and the second editor of the Oregon Spectator.
William Craig was an American frontiersman and trapper. He left his Virginia home as a young man and headed west, after allegedly killing a man in self-defense. He trapped with the Sublettes and Jedediah Smith in the Blackfoot country until he joined Joseph R. Walker's California Expedition of 1833–34.
The Tshimakain Mission started in September 1838, with the arrival of Congregationalist missionaries Cushing and Myra Fairbanks Eells and Elkanah and Mary Richardson Walker to the area along Chamokane Creek at the community of Ford, Washington. Fort Colvile Chief Factor Archibald McDonald recommended the area to Eells and Walker on their first visit to the area.
Pierre Chrysologue Pambrun was a French Canadian militia officer and later a fur trader in the service of the Hudson's Bay Company. Pambrun fought against the United States in the War of 1812, in particular the Battle of the Châteauguay. He joined the HBC during a time of turmoil with its competitors, the North West Company. After the Battle of Seven Oaks, he was among those held captive by men employed by the NWC.
The Walla Walla expeditions were two movements of Indigenous people from the Columbian Plateau to Alta California during the mid-nineteenth century. The original expedition was organized to gain sizable populations of cattle for native peoples that lived on Columbian Plateau. Among the prominent members was Walla Walla leader Piupiumaksmaks, his son Toayahnu, Garry of the Spokanes and Cayuse headman Tawatoy. The first expedition arrived at New Helvetia in 1844.
The Sacramento River massacre refers to the killing of many Wintu people on the banks of the Sacramento River on 5 April 1846 by an expedition band led by Captain John C. Frémont of Virginia. Estimates range from 125 to 900.
Alexis Godey also called Alec Godey and Alejandro Godey, born Alexander Godey, was a trapper, scout, and mountain man. He was an associate of Jim Bridger and was lead scout for John C. Frémont.