Jesse and Lindsay Applegate headed south from Willamette Valley, Oregon, June 29, 1846, seeking a less hazardous route to that region from the east.  On July 21, they came to a large meadow on the Humboldt River, which is now the nearby Rye Patch Reservoir.  Thus they established the Applegate Trail.

During the remainder of 1846 and for the next two years, Oregon emigrants successfully traveled this trail.

In 1848, Peter Lassen, hoping to bring emigrants to his ranch, acted as a guide to a party of ten to twelve wagons bound for California.  He followed a route from here to Goose Lake where he turned southward over terrain that was barely passable.  The emigrants suffered great hardships including the loss of many lives and livestock. It became known as the “Death Route.”

Dail e. turney