To quote from Russel Mack in the 'Aberdeen World':
"Mary made her own candles from beef tallow - dozens in a day. She washed by hand, ironed, and baked. She milked, made butter and cheese. She salted down beef and salmon, dried corn and peas for winter. As the children came she cut their hair, made their clothes, and even their shoes. She taught them reading, writing, and arithmetic and helped her husband compile a dictionary for the Indians."
While his wife did household chores, Elkanah Walker built a house, erected barns for livestock, sheds for chickens, made a plow, mended and repaired wagons, and plowed his fields. He also found time to preach to the Indians.
Mail was necessarily slow. Letters from Maine were from five months to a year old when received. The missionaries were really isolated.
Late in the fall of 1842, Dr. Marcus Whitman volunteered to make the trip East to talk with the Mission Board and if possible bring back more workers. He returned in 1843 leading a covered wagon train into the Oregon country, but brought no mission workers. That summer about a thousand emigrants crossed the plains. After the Whitman Mission massacre in 1847 by the Cayuse Indians, Congress recognized the Oregon country as a territory of the United States. Thus, the Whitmans, the Walkers, and the Eells, and other mission workers helped to colonize the Pacific Northwest.
Having labored for ten years to build up the Tshimakain Mission, the Walkers and Eells were loath to leave. But, in spite of assurances from the Spokane Indians that they would protect their teachers with their lives, they decided in March, 1848, to seek shelter at Fort Colville. From there they were escorted by American troops to the Columbia River, passing through Waiilatpu where the skeletons of the Whitmans and their co-workers lay scattered about by wolves.
The Walkers settled first at Oregon City, then moved to Forest Grove. To Mary and Elkanah Walker were born seven sons and one daughter, Abagail, born in 1840. Three of Mary's boys, Cyrus, Marcus Whitman (born 1842), and John, enlisted in the Oregon Volunteer infantry in 1864. Marcus was discharged in 1866.
Meanwhile in 1859, James Anderson Karr had settled in Hoquiam. He taught in both Cosmopolis and Montesano schools. Through a mutual friend he met Abigail Walker who was then teaching at Hillsboro, Oregon. In 1863 they married and settled on his claim. Thus Abigail Walker Karr became the first woman settler of Hoquiam.
Later, her brother John Walker took a claim on the Indian trail between Axford and Kettle's ranch.