The Men of the South Road Expedition and their lives afterward

Jesse Applegate, his brother Lindsay, William Parker, Robert Smith and John Jones emigrated to the Oregon Territory on the same train in 1843. In 1844, Levi Scott and his son John Scott, Moses Harris, John Owens, and David Goff came to Oregon. Together they would form the South Road Expedition to find a southern route to the Oregon Trail. But what became of these men after their historic journey.

Jesse Applegate

At sixteen years of age, Jesse Applegate went to work for the Missouri Surveyor General's Office. It was there that he met Jedediah Smith, William Sublett, and David Jackson. In 1831, he married Cynthia Parker and moved to Oregon in 1843.

He first settled in Polk County and did work for the Territorial Government and was appointed as the first Surveyor General in 1844. Jesse was appointed Captain of the third successful road exploration party in 1846. In 1866, Jesse had been living in Yoncalla, Oregon on his donation land claim, when he lost all of his holdings because of indebtedness. He left Oregon in 1872 and went to work in California. He made enough money to return to Yoncalla, where he spent the rest of his days raising grapes in the first established vineyard in Douglas County. Jesse died in 1888 in Yoncalla Oregon.


Lindsay Applegate

Lindsay Applegate took up a Donation Land Claim in Yoncalla after the road expedition of 1846 and established the Grist Mill on Halo Creek (Halo was the chief of the Yoncalla Indians). Lindsay was a carpenter by trade, building the first Ferry in Polk County in 1844. Lindsay owned the Toll Road out in the Siskiyous along the trail, finally selling to Dollarhide in the 1860's. Lindsay was also an indian agent in Klamath Falls. He spent his last days with his family and died in 1892.


Levi Scott

Levi Scott came to Oregon in 1844 with his son John. Levi had tried to find a southern route into Oregon earlier in 1846 but had to abandon the expedition because of four deserters, making their party very vulnerable to indian attacks. Jesse Applegate came to him early in 1846 and asked if he would be willing to try again with 14 other dedicated men. He dropped his work and fell in with them at once. After locating the route in 1846 and warding off the slings and arrows of Jesse Quinn Thornton and others because of the terrible road through the Umpqua Canyon, he knew he could take wagons through in a faster time. Levi took wagons through in record time in 1847 establishing the South Road or Applegate Trail as a viable alternative to the Columbia River route and Barlow Road.

Levi Scott founded the town of Scottsburg in 1850 on the banks of the Umpqua River. It was the only supply place for the miners in Southern Oregon and Northern California until Crescent City was founded. Levi Scott died while visiting his son John's place in Malheur County at the age of 93. He had just completed his memoirs at age 92. Scott Mountain in Douglas County is named after him along with Mount Scott in Crater Lake National Park.


John Morgan Scott

John Morgan Scott, Levi's son, was born in Illinois in 1827, one of 13 of Levi's children. John crossed the plains with his father in 1844 then accompanied his father on the South Road Expedition in 1846. In 1848, John took up a Donation Land Claim at the foot of the Calapooya's on Elk Creek, which he later sold to Charles Applegate. Around 1880, he moved to Malheur County where he died in 1905.


Robert Smith

Two years after the 1846 exploration of the South Road, in 1848, Robert Smith went to California to try his luck in the gold fields. He returned in 1849 and took a Donation Land Claim in Douglas County. In 1850, he married Charles Applegate's daughter Susan, and was a successful farmer until his death in 1888.


Moses Black Harris

Moses Harris was thought to have been born around 1800 in Union County, South Carolina (no real record) and was believed to be a freed slave. Moses Harris made many fur hunting expeditions between St. Louis and the Rocky Mountains in the early 1830's. He spoke the Snake Indian language very well. It was said of Moses that he had so much stamina and endurance that whoever gave out on an expedition with him, that person was abandoned to his fate in the wilderness. He was painted in the 1830's by Alfred Jacob Miller. Miller's observation of Harris; he was wiry of frame, made up of bone and muscle with a face composed of tan leather and whipcord finished up with a peculiar blue black tint, as if gun powder had been burnt into his face. In 1836, Moses Harris served as guide for Marcus Whitman and his wife Narcissus for part of their trip to Oregon. After the South Road Expedition, Moses Harris left the Willamette Valley in 1847 for St. Louis Missouri. He died there of Typhoid Fever in 1849. His epitaph read as follows:

HERE LIES THE BONES OF OLD BLACK HARRIS
WHO OFTEN TRAVELED BEYOND THE FAR WEST
AND FOR THE FREEDOM OF EQUAL RIGHTS,
HE CROSSED THE SNOWY MOUNTAIN HEIGHTS
WAS A FREE AND EASY KIND OF SOUL,
ESPECIALLY WITH A BELLY FULL.


William Sportsman

William Sportsman came with the immigration of 1845 and settled in Tualatin, Oregon. He left the area in 1846 after the expedition and was traced to California in 1847.


David Goff

David Goff was born in Virginia in 1795. When he was 17 years old, he enlisted in a company that served in the war of 1812. He moved to Kentucky in 1814 and married Kezziah Ford. Shortly after marriage he moved to Missouri. He migrated to Oregon in 1844 and settled in Polk County in 1845. On the South Road Expedition, Goff was the Lt. of the company (2nd in command). Levi Scott gave credit for much of the success of the expedition to Goff. His good sense and wise decision making often saved the day. David Goff was the father-in-law to James Nesmith, Oregon's US Senator during the Civil War.


John Owens

John Owens crossed the plains in 1844 with his father. He may have joined the road party in 1846 with the intention of meeting his mother and escorting her from Fort Hall, Idaho the rest of the way. He met her at Fort Hall and did accompany her to the Willamette Valley.


Bennet or Benjamin? Osborn

No information on him after 1846.


Henry Boyque

Henry Boyque left the party that was continuing on to Fort Hall for supplies. He wanted to return to Missouri, so he attempted to catch up with a party that had left Fort Hall a day or so before he arrived. He was alone during this undertaking and was probably killed by Indians. His horse and gear were identified on an indian about a year later. He was never heard from again, and didn't make it back home to Missouri.


John Jones

John Jones traveled a lot after the road expedition. He settled in California and believed to have died in Idaho.


Samuel H. Goodhue

Samuel Goodhue was born in Maine in 1813 and came to Oregon by sea on Capt. Couch's ship the "Cheinaus". He married Laurinda Davidson in 1849. He was a cabinetmaker by trade and was in business with W.S. Barker until dissolving their partnership in 1852. He then returned to Ohio.


William Parker

William Parker was Jesse Applegate's brother-in-law (his wife's brother). He was born in 1822. He could swim very well and saved himself in a fall in the Columbia River in 1843. After the South Road Expedition, he moved to Southern Oregon and by the 1860's was operating a Stagecoach stop between Ashland and Klamath Falls called Parkers Station. He married the daughter of an old mountain man, Capt. Soloman Tetherow.


Ben Franklin Burch

Ben Burch was born is Missouri in 1825. He came to Oregon in 1845, and married in 1848. He settled on a Donation Land Claim in Polk County, where he owned a flour mill. He served in the Cayuse Indian War as an assistant to a commanding officer and as Captain of the Polk County Volunteers in indian wars in 1855-56. For most of his later career, he was active in Oregon politics. In 1857, he served as a delegate to the Territorial Convention. In 1858, he was elected to the state senate and served four years. He was appointed by Governor Chadwick to the position of Superintendent of the Oregon State Penitentiary. In 1887, he was appointed as Receiver of the Land Office for the state.


This information is from the Douglas County Museum in Oregon

The Applegate Trail - Main Page

Sunny Valley Applegate Trail Interpretive Center

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