Publisher: Mott Media
Item #: N361
Level: Grade 4, Grade 5, Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8
Winner of the Northwest
The four Indians swam rivers, hid from hostile Indians, hunted for food, sometimes lived on only berries and fruit. "My moccasins are worn out," said one, and no wonder. They had traveled nearly 3000 miles on foot. For what? To seek the Book of Heaven from the white man.
The story captured the imaginations and hearts of Christendom. Methodists responded by sending Jason Lee to Oregon. Lee loved the Northwest when he read about it, and he loved it even more when he reached the end of the Oregon Trail and saw its rivers and forests and fertile soil and its Indians and rugged pioneer whites.
Jason built his mission on the banks of the Willamette, then he lobbied his Mission Board to send more personnel so he could open branch mission houses. He spoke in churches urging people to move to the land of the setting sun and help to build a Christian Oregon. He lobbied Congress to establish Oregon as a Territory.
Tragedy stalked Jason, and he died in the noon of life, so he had no opportunity to enjoy triumph. But in after years, when the state needed to select two of its native sons to honor in the Statuary Hall of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., it was obvious to its citizens that one of them should be Jason Lee.
Today his statue stands not only in the National Hall, but also on the lawn of Oregonians' own Capitol Building in Salem. And nearby is a statue of a Methodist circuit rider, reminding viewers of the part the Book of Heaven played in the history of the Northwest.