Collection consists of the personal and professional papers of Reverend Jason Lee. The papers date from 1834 to 1845. Included are Lee’s diary of his overland journey to Oregon and the construction of his mission with entries dating from 1834 to 1838; an 1844 report Lee made to the Methodist Missionary Board; miscellaneous papers related to the illness and death of Lee in 1845; and fragments of an undated biography of Jason Lee likely written by Harvey Kimball Hines. The collection also contains a folder of Anna Maria Pittman Lee's correspondence dated from 1834 to 1835.
Jason Lee was born on June 28, 1803, in Stanstead, Quebec. After his ordination in 1834, Lee and his nephew, Daniel Lee, journeyed overland to Oregon with the intention to establish a mission to minister to the Flathead Indians. He instead established his mission in the Willamette Valley near present-Day Salem, Oregon, in territory that was home to bands of the Kalapuyan people. Lee returned east in 1838 to justify his decision and recruit reinforcements for the Willamette mission, as well as missions at The Dalles and Clatsop plains. In 1840, The Great Reinforcement, a group of 51 men, women, and children, arrived in Oregon on the ship Lausanne in response to Lee’s promotion in the East. In 1843, Jason Lee participated in the founding of Oregon's provisional government and Willamette University. Lee was relieved of his missionary post in 1844. Lee married Anna Maria Pittman, who died in 1838, and then Lucy Lee who died in 1842. Jason Lee died on March 12, 1845.