The Mission for Oregon

Monday, December 17, 2007

Coming Home

All the missionaries who did not abandon Oregon were buried in Oregon. All, but one.

In 1906, Rev. Jason Lee was finally reunited with his family and fellow missionaries. The previous year, a Mrs. Smith French proposed the idea to move his remains from Canada to the Lee Mission Cemetery.[1]

A committee of six oversaw the task, one of which was Lee's son-in-law, Mr. Francis H. Grubbs. Grubbs had never known his father-in-law personally. What's more, his wife, Jason Lee's daughter, was only three years old when news was first sent that her father had died on the other side of the North American continent.

She never knew her father personally -- and had died a quarter of a century prior to his coming home.

From right to left: Jason Lee, Francis Grubbs, Lucy Lee Grubbs, and her mother Lucy Thompson Lee

Jason Lee's son-in-law and daughter

The day of his re-internment, June 15th, was impressive. On State St. at the Methodist Church Lee founded, there were services at ten, one, and eight o'clock; and the re-internment service itself was in the cemetery, at three-thirty.[1] There were 20 addresses in all given by prominent individuals from three states. A collection was put together by Grubbs of the day's words in the form of a book. In the beginning of the book he writes a short introduction, and then on page eight there is a beautifully-written article that claims no authorship. I assume it was also written by Grubbs. From that piece:

Echoes from the Past
The eulogies upon this occasion followed history closely; but the glamour of romance is over the simple facts of the life of this early missionary. Far and far away are the echoes from the endeavor of those times. They tell of the human experiences of a devoted band of men and women in a beautiful wilderness; of the vicissitudes of life and death as they come everywhere and to all; of the disappointments that belong to the common lot wherever that lot is cast and of the triumph of faith and hope and love over all obstacles.

1. Lee, Jason. "Memorial Services at Re-internment of Remains of Rev. Jason Lee." Salem: Salem Public Library, 1906; pg. 8.

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