West Side Old Territorial Road 1848-1865 - Franklin, OR
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member NW_history_buff
N 44° 09.342 W 123° 18.491
10T E 475356 N 4889212
A historical marker highlighting an old stage route that passed through here in the mid-1800s.
Waymark Code: WMY6X8
Location: Oregon, United States
Date Posted: 05/02/2018
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member TheBeanTeam
Views: 0

This marker reads:

West Side Old Territorial Road 1848-1865

This marks the Old Stage Route and the
Daniel Smith
Donation Land Claim Homesite 1852 - 1908
Smithfield Dedicated in His Honor 1862

Presented by
Oregon Lewis & Clark Chapter, D.A.R.
Eugene, Oregon, 1950

An excellent online article from 1980 by the Benton County Museum highlights the history of the Willamette Valley and mentions this old territorial road:

...The old Hudson's Bay Company pack trail, called "the old California Trail" on early maps, ran south from the Marys River staying on the west side of the meandering swamp known as the Long Tom. Passing present Monroe it went almost due south through Lorane to Drain and Yoncalla in Douglas County.

This route later became - and parts of it are still known as - Territorial Road. It became a stage route between the Willamette Valley and California. The first telegraph line into the valley used this route, providing transcontinental service beginning in March 1864, when the mayors of Portland, Maine, and Portland, Oregon, exchanged greetings by wire. Cartwright's Mountain House south of Lorane, a Lane County historical site, was a stage stop and telegraph relay station on this route.

But this Territorial Road, which missed Eugene City by 12 miles, did not help much in providing communication with the rest of the valley.

Over on the east side of the valley, the old Molalla Indian trail also became a Territorial Road in 1851. It ran along the foothills of the Cascades through Silverton and Lebanon to Brownsville. It was extended south from Brownsville to cross the McKenzie at Spores Ferry and enter the Forks of the McKenzie and Springfield area. Skinner's ferry connected it with Eugene City.

Another wagon road used by some of the earliest immigrants coming into the valley from the south ran north from Skinner's through present Santa Clara and wandered off to the northwest to cross the troublesome Long Tom near Monroe and then on north across the flat, soggy prairie to Winkle Butte and Marysville.

A branch of this road turned northeast at Lancaster to ford or ferry the Willamette near Harrisburg. In seasons when it was usable it provided connection with New Albany and Chemeketa, but much of the time it was impassable.

In the 1920s these routes became the Pacific Highway, 99W and 99E.

The Oregon State Historic Preservation Office mentions some interesting history revolved around this historical marker on their inventory datasheet from 1976:

This marker replaced rival historical markers which were dynamited in a bitter and decades-old feud between the Smith family and others who resided in Smithfield--OR--Franklin, Oregon. On July 27, 1930 the Lewis and Clark Chapter DAR erected a marker at this site which read: “Pioneer home of Daniel Smith, 1852, for whom Smithfield was named and also the Westside Old Territorial Road, 1848-1865.” Within three years near this same site the same DAR chapter from Eugene erected this stone marker: “By the ruling of the court, this is and has been Smithfield since 1857. Dedicated Smithfield 1862 in honor of Daniel Smith, pioneer of 1852, Donor of village site.” This rather strident marker was destroyed and the earlier one vanished.

Historic Topic: Pioneer

Group Responsible for placement: Historical Society

Marker Type: Roadside

Region: Willamette Valley

County: Lane

Web link to additional information: [Web Link]

State of Oregon Historical Marker "Beaver Board": Not listed

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