Spaulding Mission

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Spaulding Mission (1836-1847) - A Protestant mission established in 1836 by Henry Harmon Spaulding and his wife Eliza Hart Spaulding near present day Spaulding, Nez Perce County, Idaho. Abandoned in 1847 in the wake of the Whitman Massacre. Also known as Lapwai Mission.

Spaulding Mission Site and Marker. The Clearwater River is behind the Trees.
Spaulding Mission Plan from park Interpretive Panel.
Spaulding Mission Cabin Remains, two Chimney Bases.


Spaulding Mission Interpretive Panel.
Lapwai Mission Interpretive Panel & Marker.

In 1836 the Spauldings headed West with another missionary couple, Marcus Whitman and his wife Narcissa Prentiss Whitman. They departed from St. Louis for Oregon, traveling with fur traders who were headed for the Green River rendezvous in present day Wyoming. Narcissa and Eliza became the first white women known to cross the Rocky Mountains.

After crossing the mountains, the Whitmans and the Spauldings continued on after Green River in the company of two Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) employees and a number of Nez Perce Indians. They stopped at the Fort Boise (HBC) post for three days and were at the Fort Walla Walla (HBC) post on 1 Sep 1836. The group then travelled down the Columbia River to the Fort Vancouver (HBC) post, arriving on 12 Sep 1836. From Fort Vancouver Marcus and Henry explored possible mission locations.

Marcus selected a site on the Walla Walla river and founded a mission to the Cayuse Indians at Waiilatpu in the Walla Walla Valley. Henry Spalding selected a site in present-day Idaho where they founded their mission on 29 Nov 1836 along the Clearwater river at Lapwai. The Spaulding Mission would serve the Nez Perce Indians who had requested that missionaries be sent to establish schools.

The Spaulding mission came to include a school with two rooms for boarding students, a two story log home, a blacksmith shop and a house for Spaulding's three Hawaiian workers.

In the wake of the Whitman Massacre in 1847 the Spauldings abandoned their mission and fled to Oregon City. Henry Spaulding returned in 1862 to teach at the agency school. Spaulding died in Lapwai on 3 Aug 1874.

Current Status

Part of the Nez Perce National Historic Park, Nez Perce County, Idaho. Few remains but markers an plaques mark the location. The remains of the two chimney bases of the Spaulding house can be seen.

Location: Nez Perce National Historic Park, Nez Perce County, Idaho.

Maps & Images

Lat: 46.45075 Long: -116.81622

  • Multi Maps from ACME
  • Maps from Bing
  • Maps from Google
  • Elevation: 800'

See Also:



Visited: 21 Jun 2017

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