Bronze sculpture by Avard Fairbanks dedicated in 2006
Whitman (1802-1847) was an American physician and missionary in the Oregon Country. Along with his wife Narcissa Prentiss Whitman, a teacher of physics and chemistry, he started a mission, Waiilatpu which means "place of the rye grass," in 1836. It was located in the Walla Walla Valley, just west of the northern end of the Blue Mountains, near the present day city of Walla Walla, Washington. The settlement was in the territory of both the Cayuse and the Nez Percé tribes of American Indians. Marcus farmed and provided medical care. In what became known as the Whitman Massacre, Cayuse tribal members killed the Whitmans at their mission on November 29, 1847. The Cayuse were dying of white mans’ diseases against which they had no immunity. Most of the buildings at Waiilatpu were destroyed. Twelve other white settlers in the community were also killed.