The Oregon Trail At Whitman Mission


Oregon Trail Covered Wagon

When we spent the weekend in Walla Walla last fall, we stopped by the Whitman Mission for a little leg-stretching between visiting wineries. As you would expect, the NPS provides plenty of information on the history of the Mission. CAM surprised us by sharing what he had learned in his Washington State History class about the Mission, it’s importance as a way-point on the Oregon Trail and the tragic tale of the Cayuse and the Whitman Killings – this was a surprise because he strongly protested having to spend any time learning any history at the time.



After I took these photos, I walked along the trail after my boys a little disconcerted that there was something about the Mission and the Oregon Trail that I was missing. The light-bulb went off in my head as we were driving away: 1847, the peak year of the Great Potato Famine in Ireland. As you might imagine, everything about 1847 is a fairly central part of history lessons in Irish schools. It was a little shocking to realize that my children won’t even learn about this in their classes.

Living in the U.S., I don’t feel like an expat since I don’t have to deal with language or cultural differences (I do have huge gaps in my pop-culture knowledge, but most friends agree I could rectify that if I’d just watch more TV). This was an abrupt reminder that yes, I am an expat – and my children are not.

I promise, I won’t be assigning them tracts of Irish history to read at bedtime. Hopefully, if we visit Ireland often enough, they’ll be motivated to learn about it themselves.

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This entry was posted in Exploring North America, USA and tagged , , , , , on by .

About wandermom

". . .life is short and the world is wide" - Simon Raven I'm not sure I've ever consciously planned a trip based on this sentiment, but it definitely influences my subconscious! I've been traveling as frequently and widely as possible since I finished school. And I love it. I love the research, the planning, the fervent packing and the curiosity of exploring somewhere I've never been before. My husband & I are both Irish - as in born-in-Ireland. But we live in Seattle. We have two boys: wild, boisterous, regular boys. So, since becoming a Mom, I've been a WanderMom. Given our slightly-unusual family situation, routine "visits-to-Grandma" are international trips requiring passports, 10hr-flights and (oh joy!) airport transfers. I have rants, raves and opinions about how, where & why to travel with kids (start them as young as you can, I say!). I hope to learn even more by researching topics which other wandermoms may be interested in reading about on this blog. Passports, pacifiers, diapers and gameboys at the ready - off we go! Contact Info: Email Michelle: michelle (at) murphnduff (dot) org

8 thoughts on “The Oregon Trail At Whitman Mission

  1. Jen

    The Oregon Trail is such interesting history. Looks like your kids had fun! I do have to say that although they won’t get a huge history lesson the way they would if they lived in Ireland, I definitely remember learning about the Great Potato Famine in school! Can’t remember which world history class it was, but I remember learning about it!

  2. Helly (Travel by the Calendar)

    It’s a Laura Ingalls Wilder wagon! Kids learn about historical subjects from an incredible array of sources. I remember devouring the Laura Ingalls Wilder books as a kid because her stories of long winters and pioneer life were so different to my Australian childhood. I never realised I was “learning”.

  3. Dominique

    How fun that CAM was able to make the connection between his class and this trip. Hopefully it will make him a little less reluctant to take classes in the future.

  4. Pingback: Travels with Children by minnemom » Finding More Fun: Family Travel Roundup, 01/15/2010

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