From our archives, 100 years ago
The death of Rev. C.S. Pringle, 80, brought back memories of the earliest pioneer and missionary days in the Northwest – and one of the most notorious massacres.
Pringle was only 10 when he made the trek across the Rockies in a wagon pulled by an ox team in 1844. He settled in Salem. However, after the Whitman Massacre near Walla Walla in 1847, the now 13-year-old Pringle joined a troop of Oregon volunteers to come to the aid of the other scattered missionaries in the region, including Elkanah and Mary Walker at Walker’s Prairie, not far from Spokane.
One of the survivors of the Whitman Massacre was young Catherine Sager, who had come west in the same wagon train as Pringle. Her parents both died during the trip, and all of the Sager children had been taken to the Whitman’s mission to be raised as orphans.
Catherine Sager was 13 when she witnessed the killings at the Whitman mission. An Indian raised his gun to kill Catherine, but another Indian intervened and struck the gun from his hand. She was later rescued and taken to Salem, where she met Pringle and eventually married him.
The couple lived in the Willamette Valley, where Pringle became a preacher. They moved to Spokane in 1890. Catherine Sager Pringle preceded her husband in death.
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