Lee, Jason (1803-1845)

Lee, Jason (1803-1845)

Pioneer Methodist Missionary to the Oregon Territory

Born at Stanstead, Lower Canada (present-day Quebec), Lee was converted during a Wesleyan Methodist revival in 1826. Four years later, he accepted the recommendation of Wilbur Fisk, president of Wesleyan University, to lead a missionary journey to the Indians of the Pacific Northwest. The party included his nephew, Daniel Lee. High points of Lee’s expedition included the first Protestant sermons given west of the Rocky Mountains, which he preached near present-day Pocatello, Idaho, in July 1834. His mission in the Willamet Valley included founding the Indian Manual Labor Training School, which was the forerunner of Willamette University, the first college formed west of the Rockies. Two successive wives died amid the rigors of frontier life. As he encouraged Christian families from the East to migrate to the Northwest, he actively advocated that American political sovereignty be extended into the region of present-day Washington and Oregon states. His successful efforts to have the British-American boundary dispute resolved in favor of the American position brought him into controversy with fellow missionaries, who succeeded in persuading the Methodist Episcopal mission board to replace him as superintendent. He returned in declining health to his childhood home in Stanstead, where he died.

J. Steven O’Malley, “Lee, Jason,” in Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, ed. Gerald H. Anderson (New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 1998), 391.
This article is reprinted from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, Macmillan Reference USA, copyright © 1998 Gerald H. Anderson, by permission of Macmillan Reference USA, New York, NY. All rights reserved.

By J. Steven O’Malley.

This article is reprinted from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, Macmillan Reference USA, copyright 1998 Gerald H. Anderson, by permission of Macmillan Reference USA, New York, NY. All rights reserved. It is taken, with permission, from the History of Missiology: http://www.bu.edu/missiology/missionary-biography/l-m/lee-jason-1803-1845/

Bibliography

Digital Texts

Atwood, A. The Conquerors: Historical Sketches of the American Settlement of the Oregon Country, Embracing Facts in the Life and Work of Rev. Jason Lee. Cincinnati, OH: Jennings and Graham, [1907?].

Brosnan, Cornelius J. Jason Lee, Prophet of the New Oregon. New York: Macmillan, 1932.

Gay, Theressa. Life and Letters of Mrs. Jason Lee: First Wife of Rev. Jason Lee of the Oregon Mission. Portland, OR: Metropolitan Press, 1936.

Hines, Harvey K. Missionary History of the Pacific Northwest: Containing the Wonderful Story of Jason Lee, with Sketches of Many of his Co-laborers, All Illustrating Life on the Plains and in the Mountains in Pioneer Days. Portland, OR: H.K. Hines; San Francisco: J.D. Hammond, 1899.

Secondary

Atwood, A. The Conquerors: Historical Sketches of the American Settlement of the Oregon Country, Embracing Facts in the Life and Work of Rev. Jason Lee. Cincinnati, OH: Jennings and Graham, [1907?].

Bashford, James W. The Oregon Missions: The Story of How the Line Was Run between Canada and the United States. New York; Cincinnati, OH: Abingdon Press, 1918.

Brooks, Anne Tedlock. The Singing Fiddles: A Story of the Jason Lee Mission in Early Oregon. New York: Arcadia House, 1950. [biographical fiction]

Brosnan, Cornelius J. Jason Lee, Prophet of the New Oregon. New York: Macmillan, 1932.

Decker, Robert James. Jason Lee, Missionary to Oregon: A Reevaluation. Ph. D. Thesis. Indiana University, 1961.

Gay, Theressa. Life and Letters of Mrs. Jason Lee: First Wife of Rev. Jason Lee of the Oregon Mission. Portland, OR: Metropolitan Press, 1936.

Grubbs, F.H. Memorial Services at Re-interment of Remains of Rev. Jason Lee, Salem, Oregon, Friday, June 15, 1906. Salem, OR: N.p., 1906.

Hines, Harvey K. Jason Lee: The Pioneer of Methodism and Civilization on the Pacific Coast. San Francisco: John D. Hammond, 1896.

_____. Missionary History of the Pacific Northwest: Containing the Wonderful Story of Jason Lee, with Sketches of Many of his Co-laborers, All Illustrating Life on the Plains and in the Mountains in Pioneer Days. Portland, OR: H.K. Hines; San Francisco: J.D. Hammond, 1899.

Howell, Erle. Methodism in the Northwest. Nashville, TN: Parthenon Press, 1966.

Jason Lee: Father of American Oregon. Portland, OR: Oregon Methodist Historical Society, [1921?]. [Song, prayer, addresses and poem given at the unveiling of a portrait of Jason Lee in the Hall of Representatives, Salem, Oregon, October 26, 1920]

Judson, Lewis. Reflections on the Jason Lee Mission and the Opening of Civilization in the Oregon Country. Salem, OR: Wynkoop-Blair Printing Service, 1971.

Le Sourd, Gilbert Q. Missionary to Oregon: Jason Lee. New York: Friendship Press, 1946.

Loewenberg, Robert J. Equality on the Oregon Frontier: Jason Lee and the Methodist Mission, 1834-43. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press, 1976.

Mattson, Sylvia. Missionary Foot Paths: The Story of Anna Maria Pittman (Mrs. Jason Lee). Salem, OR: Mission Mill Museum Association, 1978.

Parsons, John. The Centenary of the Birth of Jason Lee. Salem, OR: Statesman Job Office, 1903. [at the Oregon State University Libraries, Corvallis, OR, USA; and the University of California, Berkeley]

Raymond, Almira David, William W. Raymond and Leon Thomas David. The Raymond Letters: With Jason Lee in Oregon. Edited and annotated by Leon Thomas David. Los Angeles: N.p., 1959. [at the New York Public Library, New York, NY, USA and the Oregon State Library, Salem, OR, USA]

Sanders, Judith and David Ray Brauner. Jason Lee Mission Site: Phase I, Historic Overview. Corvallis, OR: Dept. of Anthropology, Oregon State University, [1979].

The Pastor’s Journal 5 no. 1 (1933). Jason Lee Centennial Issue. Philadelphia: Methodist Episcopal Church, 1933.

Youngson, William Wallace. One Hundred Years of the Imprisoned Splendor of Jason Lee: And, Saddle Bags, Pioneers and Religion in Portland Oregon, 1848-1948. Portland, OR: W.W. Youngson, 1948.

_____. Why Jason Lee, Father of American Oregon, Should be One of the Two Historical Figures to be Allotted to a Statue in the Statuary Hall in Our National Capital. Portland, OR: N.p., [195?]. [at the Rose Memorial Library of Drew University, Madison, NJ, USA; and the Holland and Terrell Libraries of Washington State University, Pullman, WA, USA]

Portrait

Atwood, A. The Conquerors: Historical Sketches of the American Settlement of the Oregon Country, Embracing Facts in the Life and Work of Rev. Jason Lee. Cincinnati, OH: Jennings and Graham, [1907?]. Accessed at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Jason_Lee_missionary.png