This photographic print has a paragraph chock full of information on the back:
Miss Myra Helm, when an art student in 1888, lived at the westside home of Frederick Homer Balch, author of "The Bridge of the Gods", built around mid-Columbia Indian legend, who then was the Hood River Valley's first Congregational minister. Having donned a conventional Victorian riding skirt, Miss Helm, who is now a Portland artist, had mounted a side saddle and was ready to canter though fir and pine woods, where orchards of apples and pears now grow.
But there is far more to her story. I believe Miss Myra Helm is Myra Sager Helm, who spent much of her life as an artist and art instructor in Portland. But this article, published a year after her death in 1959, tells the fascinating story of how Myra's mother Elizabeth Sager, at age 10, survived the Whitman Mission massacre. The death of Elizabeth Sager's adoptive parents Marcus and Narcissa Whitman was the second time she and her siblings were orphaned, as their birth parents died along the Oregon Trail. Elizabeth Sager carried with her a doll given to her by a Cayuse Indian, which she passed down to her daughter Myra who we see here. Myra instructed it be returned to the Whitman Mission upon her death. Her wish was carried out in 1960. Her doll is now at the Whitman Mission National Historic Site.
I believe photo was taken in front of the A.S. Blowers Store on the NW corner of Third and Oak, facing onto Third Street.
Category: [Downtown Hood River]
Oh my.....any long time northwest resident should know the Sager story. There is even a movie about it.
Lots of things about this photo to look up and read.
That is a brand on the left hip of the horse, which would tell you the owner of the horse.
I wonder if that brand can still be located.
l.e. on 28th March 2012 @ 8:09am
Thought tragic at best her family back ground is very interesting and a part of our Oregon History. Myra was a very accomplished painter, especially of landscapes, as I have seen some of them
Charlott on 28th March 2012 @ 8:17am
First thing I noticed was that brand, it's somewhat unusual. All brands are registered and archived somewhere...
Second thing I noticed was that skirt! No way you could walk in something that long.
Third thing that struck me was that ugly hat.
She had such a tragic early life, I hope her later years were wonderful.
Melanee on 28th March 2012 @ 8:31am
I think Myra's uncle Joseph Benson Helm had been married to F. H. Balch's mother.
From that marriage was born William Benson Helm. They lived in the Goldendale area. He would have been a cousin to Myra and half brother to Frederick Homer Balch.
l.e. on 28th March 2012 @ 9:27am
Harrietta Snider was Frederick Balch's mother. Yes, she was married to a Helm, but think that may have been prior to her marrying James Balch and eventually ending up in Lyle. Fred Balch had a younger sister Gertrude, who lived in Hood River with her husband, James Ingalls.
I wouldn't have been a bit surprised before her ride was over that that horse had it's hooves all tangled up in that skirt.
Charlott on 28th March 2012 @ 3:37pm
I am a direct decendant of the Balch Family of Beverly Mass.
judy on 28th March 2012 @ 11:10pm
I have the Whitman's adopted Sager children's family tree back to 1746 when Yohan George Seegar arrived on the Ship Townsend in Philadelphia from Germany. Henry Sager's birth home was Unionville Center,Ohio. His father was Christian Sager. Christian's Father was George Sager Jr., who was the son of Dr. George Sager who received 200 acres of Union County, Ohio for serving in the Continental Army in 1775. Dr. George sager was the son of Yohan George Seegar whose original farm was located just east of Harrrisburg in Pennsylvania. Herman Whitman Helm was a patient and friend of mine. Hewas an auto mechanic and operated Ashland's electrical generatoron Lithia creek in Lithia Park. Herman's Grandmother was Elizabeth Sager Helm, the oldest of the four Sager girls. Being a Presbyterian Missionary Physician myself, I find Dr.Marcus Whitman's and Naomi's lives and mission callings very fascinating and quite similar to my own lif'e's spiritual quest, but in very different places and circumstances.
William J Sager on 7th April 2012 @ 9:06pm
I am curious who Naomi is?
l.e. on 8th April 2012 @ 6:12pm
I think he must mean Narcissus
Charlott on 25th April 2012 @ 7:31pm
I have recently come across 3 small paintings 2 - 2 1/2X 3 1/2, and 1- 5X6. They all look to be very old, they were in my late mothers collection and she was from Portland, OR anyone know of a possible value? Contact me @ firstname.lastname@example.org it is very hard to find works of art from this artist.. Thanks!
Linda Straley on 30th October 2013 @ 7:30am
My husband 's great grandfather, Simon Sager was a brother to Myra Helm's grandfather, Henry Sager. We too, have the extensive genealogy of the Sager's
I would love to hear from William J. Sager ! Interestingly, that was my husband's
Mavis e. Sager on 6th September 2014 @ 2:10pm
In her obituary, Elizabeth Sager Helm is said to be survived by her sister, Mary Copely-- any information on this Copely relative ?
Carolyn on 3rd May 2015 @ 9:20am