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Jesse Applegate notes and communications on Oregon history

 Collection — Multiple Collection Box: [A 001, A 002, A 003, A 004, A 005, A 007] 1
Identifier: A 003

Scope and Contents

Collection contains notes and correspondence regarding Oregon.


  • circa 1811-1888


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time.

Conditions Governing Use

Property rights reside with Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections and University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Biographical / Historical

Jesse Applegate was born in Kentucky and attended the Rock Creek Seminary in Illinois. He later worked as a school teacher and a clerk before serving as deputy surveyor to the Missouri surveyor general. In 1832 he married Cynthia Ann Parker who became mother to their 13 children. Applegate's brothers, Charles and Lindsay, and their families joined Jesse and his family on the Oregon Trail in what was known as the "Great Migration" of 1843. Jesse led a company of immigrants across the plains and mountains to The Dalles on the Columbia River in Oregon. The next year he started a farm in what is now western Polk County. He also built a mill and worked as a surveyor, including the 1844 survey of the Oregon City townsite.

Applegate played a key part in opening the South Road to Oregon that is also known as the Applegate Trail (Scott-Applegate Trail). The route started at Fort Hall in present day Idaho and followed the Humboldt River before crossing the Klamath Basin. Advocates saw it as a way to encourage settlement in southern Oregon and the upper Willamette Valley. The route had fewer obstacles for wagons than the northern route to the Willamette Valley but offered its own set of problems.

Oregon politics attracted Applegate's attention beginning in 1845 with his service in the provisional government where he helped in the complete revision of the government that increased its influence in the Oregon Country. He later helped shape the development of the Oregon Territory as part of the United States and worked to elect Abraham Lincoln president.

Applegate settled on a land claim in the Umpqua Valley in 1849 in a place he called Yoncalla after the local Indian tribe. There he farmed and raised cattle. A student and writer, Applegate maintained a large library in his house. He continued his influence over public issues and gained the title "Sage of Yoncalla" from his friends.

Source: Oregon Blue Book


0.1 linear feet (1 container) : 1 folder

Language of Materials



Jesse Applegate was an Oregon pioneer, politician, and helped to establish the Applegate Trail. Collection contains notes and correspondence regarding Oregon.

Related Materials

Other collections relating to the Applegate Family at Special Collections and University Archives include: Oliver Cromwell Applegate papers, MF 002; Jesse A. Applegate Letter, SFM 014; Views on Oregon History by Jesse Apple Gate, SFM 052; Moray Lindsey Applegate Letters to Herbert C. Thompson, A 005; Albert Applegate Letters, A 147; John R. Williams letters to Lucy Applegate, A 148; John Applegate letter, CA 1865 May 7; Elisha L. Applegate Scrapbook, CA Ap52; Alex M. Applegate Diary, A 004; Applegate Quartz Mining Co. account book, time roll, and check book, B 010; Ann Applegate Kruse manuscript history of Applegates in Oregon, F978 K945; Lindsay Applegate papers, Ax 004; Jesse Applegate Photograph, PH277; Oliver Cromwell Applegate papers, Ax 005.

Other collections relating to the Applegate Family at Oregon Historical Society Research Library include: Applegate Family papers, Mss 233; 1200 SW Park Avenue, Portland Oregon 97205, Phone: 503-306-5240.

Other collections relating to the Applegate Family at the Idaho State Historical Society Public Archives and Research Library include: Daniel W. Applegate papers, MS 733; 2205 Old Penitentiary Rd, Boise Idaho 83712, Phone: 208-334-3356.

Processing Information

Collection processed by staff.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Guide to the Jesse Applegate notes and communications on Oregon history
Complete Description
Finding aid prepared by University of Oregon Libraries, Archivists' Toolkit Project Team and Jenn Newby
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives Repository

1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR 97403-1299 USA