Applegate House, Yoncolla & Douglas County Museum, Roseburg
June 29, 1988
The bus trip to Yoncalla on June 29, 1988 (a beautiful sunny day) seemed very brief because of the interesting stories about the early history of the Applegate clan and the lives of the present-day members which Ingrid Carmichael told. Col. Rex Applegate, present owner of the property, who was to talk to the 30 Obsidians and take them through the house and grounds, was a part of the O.S.S. in WW II and was associated with Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and other government leaders. Now in retirement, he is still called upon as a consultant in crowd and riot control.
Col. Applegate took the group first around the grounds, showing the site of the small fort which Charles Applegate, the Colonel’s great-grandfather, had built immediately after settling on the land in 1848 – an unnecessary precaution as the local Indians were friendly. On display outside are farm Implements, many forged by Charles Applegate and his sons right on the homestead. The white clapboard house with its many windows, the most elegant in this part of the state at that time, was built between 1852-56. Tall pillars support a portico across the front; it has porches on both the ground and 2nd floor level. Separate doors enter into “the men’s side” and “the women’s side”. Much of the furniture was built by Charles Applegate. In a Bible on a table are listed the 16 children of Charles and Melinda Applegate, and nearby are their photographs when about 60 years old. They show a sturdy, intrepid-looking man and a thin, very sober woman.
Lunch was eaten in the garden under huge trees, catalpa, locust, black walnut, grown from seed brought from Missouri when they came to Oregon in 1843. Near the rear door on “the women’s side” is a rosebush, grown from a slip which Narcissa Whitman had given to Melinda Applegate when the Applegates stopped at the Whitman Mission on their trip west.
At the Douglas County Museum in Roseburg, after lunch, two excellent volunteer lecturers took the Obsidians through the Museum. Any Obsidian on this trip will strongly urge a visit to the Museum with its archaeological displays, its exhibits of pioneer days (rooms — kitchen, living room, bedroom, a bank, dentist’s office, general store, etc.); its natural history exhibits with specimens of birds and animals of Douglas County, ranging from tiny vole to Roosevelt elk; pictures of historic houses of the county, and out-of-doors, a memorable collection of mining and lumbering equipment. The architecture of the Museum itself justifies a trip to Roseburg.
The trip back to Eugene included a stop at the favorite ice cream center in Rice Hill.
Viewers of Oregon history were Margaret Baldwin, Bernice Ballaine, Bernice Claypool, Clair Cooley, Virginia DeMers, Marjorie & Bill Eaton, Minnie Foskett, Jan Gund, Vera Heidenreich, Evelyn Hile, Jane Hilt, Lillian Johnson, Ainsley Jorgenson, Virginia Kapsa, Charlotte Lemon, Eunice Mickel, Frances Newsom, Janice Pattison. Lois Schreiner, Mary Sheehan, Ethel & Robin Steussy, Betty Waddell, Mildred Weatherby, Frances Witzel, Freda & Harold Young, and co-leaders, Ingrid Carmichael and Ardis Ebbighausen.