1895: Spoke for Oregon — which hymn is that?
A somewhat humorous anecdote raises a neat research question…
This involves a prominent Pacific Northwest anti-alcohol crusader in the post-frontier period.
Narcissa Edith White Kinney (1854-1901) (image credit: Wikipedia)
Here’s what an Oregon newspaper reported about her:
Spoke for Oregon.
Mrs. Narcissa White Kinney who has just returned from the National W.C.T.U. at Boston in telling of the work of the convention, said to a Telegram man, “During the closing exercises each delegate was requested to sing the state song of her state and when it came my turn I sang in Chinook the hymn which was the first one translated into that language by the missionaries, Whitman and Spaulding [Spalding]. It took with the audience immediately, and from that I had to explain something of what and where Oregon was. When I made the statement that the eastern part of Oregon might be let down like a blanket on the Atlantic coast and it would completely hide from view the New England states and a large part of New York, and that the western part of Oregon would cover Pennsylvania with Rhode Island and New Jersey thrown in my statements could hardly be credited. I was asked whether I was not representing a real estate agent, or would be willing to represent Eastern parties. My only reply was that there was room for all in Oregon and that they might come alnog and each have a farm.” The DEMOCRAT objects to any Chinook song being passed off in earnest as Oregon’s state song; it is a dead language, and Chinook is rarely heard now. Mrs. Kinney no doubt did it in a humurous [sic] vein.
— from the Albany (OR) State Rights Democrat of December 6, 1895, page 3, column 7
I haven’t yet figured out which hymn this was, and what Whitman’s/Spalding’s lyrics to it were. In fact, I’ve never come across much documentation of the Jargon as used by those missionaries.