Indian Agent Lindsey Applegate

Indian Agent Lindsey Applegate was born in Kentucky in 1808, later moving to Missouri. In 1822, fur trader William Ashley advertised for 100 “enterprising young men” for a fur trading expedition to Yellowstone. Even though he was just 14, Lindsey joined the expedition. After the expedition Lindsey came back to Missouri and worked in various businesses with his family.

           
At the age of 35 Lindsey, along with his two brothers migrated to Oregon, eventually moving to southern Oregon near present-day Salem. When the Rogue River War broke out in 1853, Lindsey formed a company to fight in the war. Following the war a treaty with the Umpqua Indians was developed and signed in Lindsey Applegate’s cabin. This, incidentally, was the only treaty signed with the Umpqua, and was not violated by either side.
               
In 1864 the Klamath and Modoc Indians signed a treaty with the government establishing the Klamath Reservation. Because of Lindsey’s favorable treatment of Indians, the tribes requested him to become the Indian agent for the reservation. This almost never happened in the Old West.
 
Unfortunately, Lindsey only served four years in this ill-fated post. Although the Klamath and Modoc Indians spoke a similar language, they were in no way friends. The Modoc, being the smaller of the two in size had a tough time. And when a group of them under the leadership of Captain Jack left to go back to their traditional grounds in California, Lindsey felt he was a failure and resigned his duties as an Indian Agent.
 
Lindsey Applegate died 27 years later on November 28, 1892. He always regretted not being successful in getting the Klamath and Modoc Indians to live peacefully on the same land, a failure that was more the result of the government’s lack of understanding of the Indian’s tribal differences.   

Filed under: Old West History

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