The Applegate Trail was the southern alternative to the Oregon Trail. The trail is named for the Applegate
brothers, Charles, Lindsay, and Jesse, who came along the Oregon Trail in 1843.
The family and several friends had reached The Dalles, and had loaded everything and everyone onto rafts for
the final leg of their journey through the Columbia river gorge to the Willamette Valley. Near The Dalles,
tragedy struck the Applegate clan. "Whirlpools looking like deep basins in the river, the lapping, splashing,
and rolling of waves... Presently there was a wail of anguish, a shriek, and a scene of confusion in our boat
that no language can describe. The boat we were watching disappeared and we saw the man and boys struggling
in the water."
Eleven year old Elisha and nine year old Warren Applegate were drowned. Lindsay and Jesse each lost a child
to the river; Lindsay later wrote that, "We resolved if we remained in the country, to find a better way
for others who might wish to emigrate."