Jason Lee (1803 - 1845)

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Birthdate:
Birthplace: Stanstead, QC, Canada
Death: Died in Stanstead, QC, Canada
Occupation: Missionary; Colonizer
Managed by: Erica Howton, (c)
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Jason Lee

Jason Lee arrived in the Oregon territory in 1834.

Jason Lee (June 28, 1803 – March 12, 1845), an American missionary and pioneer, was born on a farm near Stanstead, Quebec. He was the first of the Oregon missionaries and helped establish the early foundation of a provisional government in the Oregon Country.

In 1832, four Indians from the Flathead and Nez Perce tribes journeyed from their homelands in what is now northern Idaho and eastern Washington State to St. Louis, Missouri, where they met with Indian agent and former explorer General William Clark, and reportedly asked him for "the white man's book of heaven."  They had heard from white trappers and other Indian tribes that the white men in the East possessed a book of great spiritual power, and wanted that power for their people.  When the tale of the Indian's pilgrimage reached the east coast, it immediately sparked the interest of evangelical Christian congregations.  The Methodist Episcopal Church quickly formulated plans to establish a mission in the Pacific Northwest, and selected a young preacher named Jason Lee as its leader.  Although Lee established his mission in what is now Salem, Oregon, hundreds of miles from the nearest Flathead or Nez Perce, and was almost entirely unsuccessful in his ministry to the local Kalapuya Indians, his mission had a dramatic and lasting effect that those four Indian searchers could never have anticipated.  Lee founded not only a mission but a school (Willamette University) and a city (Salem).  His work was instrumental in bringing settlers to the Willamette Valley, generating the "Oregon Fever" that would soon grip the nation, and establishing Oregon as a U. S. territory.

Family

  • Parents: youngest of the 15 children of  Daniel Lee (1754-1806) & Sarah Whitaker (1757-)

Married

  1.  July 16th, 1837, " in a beautiful fir grove east of the Mission house" in the Oregon Territory to Anna Maria Pittman (1808-1838).  
  2. July 1839 in New York to Lucy Thompson (1809-1842)

Children with Anna Pittman

  1. unnamed infant son (d. 1838)

Children with Lucy Thompson

  1.  Lucy Anna Maria Lee (1842-1881).  Married Francis A. Grubbs.

Sources 

  1. [http://www.oregonpioneers.com/missions.htm Northwest Missionaries. Compiled by Stephenie Flora.]
  2. The Lineage and National Allegiance of Jason Lee. F. H. Grubbs. The Quarterly of the Oregon Historical Society , Vol. 7, No. 3 (Sep., 1906), pp. 288-290. Published by: Oregon Historical Society.  Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20609698
  3. Jason Lee, Pioneer Missionary sent by as a Baptist in the early forties. Source Citation: California State Library; Sacramento, California; Sacramento County, California, Pioneer Index File (1906-1934), A-Z; California History Room: MICROFILM 734; Roll Number: 45.
  4. "There is no record prior to 1834 of any formal religious service in what is now Oregon, Washington, or Idaho. The first sermon preached in this vast interior region of the Rocky Mountains was delivered by Jason Lee, a Methodist Missionary on Sunday afternoon, July 26, 1834, at Fort Hall. The text was taken from Paul's message to the Corinthians, "Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the Glory of God." After the services the whites and Indians had some horse races." Source citation:  Kate Carter. Heart Throbs of the West. Vol. I-XII. Salt Lake City, UT, USA: Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, 1947.
  5.  April 5, 1845. New York Evening Post. Stanstead, Canada.  Mar. 12, Rev. Jason Lee, 42y.  1st Supt. Of Meth. Mission to Oregon, which left this City in 1834.  He returned to this City last Spring via Sandwich Islands.. Source citation: Barber, Gertrude A., comp. Deaths taken from the New York Evening Post. Volumes 1-54. n.p.: n.p., 1933-47.

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Rev. Jason Lee's Timeline

1803
June 27, 1803
Stanstead, QC, Canada
1837
January 13, 1837
- October, 1837
Age 33

In October, the WCC party arrived in Oregon with an estimated 630 head of cattle. Dispersal of cattle to the men of the WCC and other investors significantly added to the economic stability of Oregon’s agricultural community, then less than a decade old.

July 16, 1837
Age 34
Marion, OR, USA
1838
June 1, 1838
Age 34
1839
July, 1839
Age 36
New York, New York, NY, USA
1842
March, 1842
Age 38
Salem, Marion, Oregon Territory
1845
March 12, 1845
Age 41
Stanstead, QC, Canada
1906
1906
Age 41
Salem, Marion, OR, USA