Sunday, November 13
Narcissa, Henry and Eliza and their escorts arrived at Fort Walla Walla on Sunday, November 13. It had rained almost every day of the trip from Fort Vancouver. Marcus came to the fort on Friday, November 18 and they were all together for the Sunday service on the 20th – the first time since September 18.
A group of Nez Perce Indians came to Fort Walla Walla to travel with Henry and Eliza to their mission at Lapwai (now part of Idaho). They left the fort on Tuesday, November 22. Although they weren’t close, Eliza and Narcissa must have realized that it would be a long time before they saw each other or any white woman again.
Pierre Pambrun, the French Canadian in charge of Fort Walla Walla encouraged Narcissa to stay at the fort while while Marcus returned to Waiilatpu to finish a shelter for he and Narcissa to live in until Spring, so Narcissa remained behind. (Remember, she is about 5 months pregnant at this point.) She passed the time teaching English to Pambrum’s wife and daughter.
Marcus had wanted to complete a house for Narcissa, but discovered that it was taking too long and instead built a lean-to against one wall of the house – 12’ by 36’ feet, it had a large fireplace in the long wall and a layered roof made of poles, rye grass and 5-6 inches of sod. Henry later wrote: “Our mud roofs show us that the earth was made to drink the rain, not to shed it.” The roof absorbed the water which then would drip into the lean-to, not the kind of home Narcissa was accustomed to!
The link below takes you to descriptions of the homes of later settlers on the prairies, often completely built of sod.