It seems that, during Jackson’s rule, a party of Indians traveled from Oregon to St. Louis, in quest of the “white man’s Bible.” They had heard of it from some traders, and the stories seemed so wonderful that they had journeyed many miles to get the book and some one to read and explain it to them.
It happened, however, that the people whom they asked for it were too busy or indifferent to pay much attention to this request from savages. Still, they kindly fed and clothed the Indians, and gave them many presents. After three of the messengers had died of fatigue and disappointment, the last sadly went home to tell his people that no one would listen to his prayer. The story of the long journey taken by these Indians, and of their pitiful requests, was told in the East, where it touched the hearts of many people. Before long four missionaries were sent out to Oregon, to tell the Indians about the “white man’s book.”
Two of these men set out with young brides, and journeyed slowly all the way across our continent. They traveled the greater part of the way in an emigrant wagon, or “prairie schooner,” and, coming to the foot of the Rockies, were the first to take a wagon over those mountains. When they reached the Oregon country, which Americans and British still occupied in common, they found that the latter were trying to get sole possession of the land. Still, the Americans claimed that Oregon should belong to them, not only because Captain Gray first sailed into the Columbia River, but because Lewis and Clark explored it from the mountains to the sea, and Astor built the first trading post there.