The Living History performance for our Open House will feature Henry Spalding, Presbyterian missionary, who is portrayed by Ron Klicker.

Henry Harmon Spalding was born in Bath, NY in 1803. He was a lifelong active member of the Presbyterian Church. He developed a desire to become a missionary along with his wife-to-be, Eliza Hart. After attending Case Western Reserve University in 1833, he married his former “pen-pal,” Eliza Hart and enrolled in Lane Theological Seminary.

Anxious to begin their missionary work, the couple left the seminary in 1836. They were eventually persuaded by Marcus and Narcissa Whitman to join them in the field with the (Native American) Indians of the Pacific Northwest. This decision led them by November 1836 to the home of the Nez Perce at Lapwai, near what is now Lewiston, Idaho. Here they established their mission home. Along with the Whitmans, Henry and Eliza were the first Americans to drive a wagon across the Western Plains. Lapwai was the location of the first print press on the West Coast, acquired in 1839. It was also the location of the first translation printed of the Nez Perce language.

Henry and Eliza’s daughter, Eliza, was an eye witness to the Whitman Massacre. Henry nearly lost his life in an effort to rescue his daughter.