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Lakeview Museum Contains Beaded Purse Missing a Flower

In September of this year, Jefferson Public Radio’s As It Was series told the story of how Salita Jane Henderson, a little girl curious about a medicine bottle hanging on her family’s wagon on the Oregon Trail, drank the liquid inside and died of laudanum poisoning.

 
 
The Schminck Memorial Museum in Lakeview, Ore., contains the rest of the story.
 
Since l962 the museum has displayed the quilts and artifacts of Elizabeth Currier Foster, who crossing the plainsl in 1845 and 1846 witnessed the death of her friend Salita Jane.  Currier would later marry James Foster and establish one of the first pioneer ranches at Summer Lake.  
 
The Foster’s youngest daughter, Lula, married Dalpheus Schminck, a clerk for more than 50 years in a Lakeview general mercantile store.  They collected more than 5,000 pioneer artifacts for the Schminck Museum.  Among them is a little girl’s beaded purse with a hole cut out of it that belonged to Elizabeth Currier when she crossed the Plains.
 
The story is that Currier was so saddened by little Salita Henderson’s death that she cut a rose out of her purse and placed it on the grave because no flowers were available.
 
 
Sources: Lockley, Fred. Conversations with Pioneer Women. Rainy Day Press, 1981.  Schminck Memorial Museum. Oregon State Daughters of the American Revolution. Web. 20 Oct. 2013.
 

Maryann Mason has taught history and English in the U.S. Midwest and Northwest, and Bolivia. She has written history spots for local public radio, interviewed mystery writers for RVTV Noir, and edited personal and family histories.  Her poetry has appeared in Sweet Annie & Sweet Pea Review (1999), Rain Magazine (2007), and The Third Reader, an online Journal of Literary Fiction and Poetry. In 2008 she published her first chapbook, Ravelings.  She organized a History Day for Southern Oregon.