Shawnee Mission

ABOVE: A still-standing building of the Shawnee Mission

For many pioneers who left from Independence, Missouri, the first night's camp would be at the Shawnee Mission. This Methodist outpost was built in 1839 for the purpose of teaching English and agriculture to the children of the Shawnee tribe. Here, the Oregon-bound emigrants might encounter a Native American for the first time. But the Shawnee were not native to this area; they had been moved to the mission from the eastern states. For centuries, they had been great hunters, but here they were taught to farm.

Pioneer James Clyman:
"We have been passing through the lands belonging to the Shawnee nation; nearly all of which have quit hunting and gone into cultivating vegetables. Their country is almost entirely stripped of all kinds of game."