Biography of Mrs. Eliza Warren

MRS. ELIZA WARREN. – All will feel the deepest interest in this intelligent and refined woman, seeing that she is the daughter of the missionary, Reverend H.H. Spalding. She is the “Eliza” whose name has become familiar in the many narratives touching upon the history of Oregon. Not only in her historical but in her own personal character, she well deserves the consideration of her friends, whose number is that of all Oregonians. Her father’s consecration and her mother’s life of the utmost devotion reappear in her own, although not now projected upon the black background of tragedy as was theirs.

She was born at the Indian station at Lapwai, among the Nez Perces, and was brought up principally in the schoolroom with her mother, until, at the age of nine, it was deemed better to take her to Whitman’s school at Waiilatpu, where she might have the companionship of more children of her own race. Her first trip thither was under the escort of an Indian woman, her father being unable to leave his post at the time. In 1847, after a visit home in the summer, she was taken by her father to Whitman’s. That was but a short time before the massacre of November 30th, a full account of which is given in the general history of the first volume of this work. The awful scenes of that massacre, all of which were transacted before her eyes, are still vivid in her mind. She was the only one surviving who understood the Indian language, and during the three weeks succeeding, while the captives were held by the Indians, was called upon to act as interpreter, both to explain the commands of the Indians and the wants of the Whites. This was a difficult, and, under the circumstances, heart-rendering position for a child less than ten years old. She also sewed the winding sheets upon the mutilated bodies of the dead, when, by the command of the priests, they were buried. She was not released until the general ransom, notwithstanding the arrival of two Nez Perce Indians with a message to convey her to her father.

After the massacre, she came with her parents to the Willamette valley, and at the age of seventeen was married to Andrew Warren. Their child, America, has the distinction of being the oldest grandchild of white parents born in Oregon.

Mr. Warren, who was born in Lexington, Missouri, in 1822, and came to Oregon in 1852, served during the Indian troubles of 1855-56, and became thereafter a dealer in stock and a rancher east of the Cascade Mountains. Returning in 1861 to Brownsville, for a seven years’ residence, he spent subsequently much time in the Ochoco valley, developing a large stock interest. He died at his home in Brownsville, Oregon, in 1886; and there his widow still resides, enjoying good health, and being in good circumstances. Her four children, America J., Martha E., Amelia E. and James H., were all born at that place and live in the vicinity.

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History of the Pacific Northwest Oregon and Washington. 2 v. Portland, Oregon: North Pacific History Company. 1889.

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