Levi Scott (Oregon politician)

Levi C. Scott (1797–1890) was a politician in the Oregon Territory of the United States in the 1850s. A native of Illinois, he was a captain during the Cayuse War, helped lay the Applegate Trail, served in the Oregon Territorial Legislature, and in 1857 was a member of the Oregon Constitutional Convention. Scott also founded Scottsburg, Oregon, and is the namesake for several natural features in Southern Oregon.

Levi Scott
Oregon Territory Council
In office
ConstituencyUmpqua, Douglas & Jackson counties
Delegate to the Oregon Constitutional Convention
In office
ConstituencyUmpqua County
Personal details
BornFebruary 8, 1797
Monroe County, Illinois
DiedApril 21, 1890(1890-04-21) (aged 93)
Malheur County, Oregon
Political partyWhig

Early life

Levi Scott was born on February 8, 1797, in what would become the state of Illinois.[1] He was married and had two children, and by 1844, he had moved to Iowa and was living in Burlington.[1] In May 1844, Levi and his son John Scott (b. 1828) immigrated to what was then Oregon Country and settled near Dallas, Oregon.[1][2]

Political career

In 1846, Scott, along with his son, as well as Jesse Applegate, Lindsay Applegate and others, set off to create a southern route into the Willamette Valley.[2] The route authorized by the Provisional Government of Oregon[3] would travel southwest from Fort Hall and cross the Rogue Valley and Umpqua Valley before turning north to the Willamette Valley settlements.[1] This Southern Route has become known as the Applegate Trail.[1]

During the Cayuse War Scott was made a captain and was responsible for sending dispatches for the Provisional Government south to California.[1] Following his involvement in the war, he settled in 1848 along Elm Creek in Douglas County, Oregon, with the valley named Scotts Valley in his honor.[1] In 1850, Scott founded Scottsburg along the Umpqua River.[1] Mount Scott in Crater Lake National Park in Southern Oregon is also named after Levi.[1]

Scott then entered the political field when he was elected to the Oregon Territorial Legislature in 1852.[4] He represented three southern counties, Umpqua, Douglas and Jackson as a Whig in the upper chamber Council.[5] Scott won re-election twice, serving through the 1854-55 session.[6] He returned to politics briefly in 1857 as a delegate to the Oregon Constitutional Convention.[7] Scott represented Umpqua County as an Anti-Democrat.[7]

Later life

He died in Malheur County, Oregon, in the Southeastern part of the state on April 21, 1890.[1] In addition to the town, valley, and mountain named after him, Scott Mountain in Douglas County is also named after Levi.[7]


  1. Corning, Howard M. Dictionary of Oregon History. Binfords & Mort Publishing, 1956.
  2. Flora, Stephenie. Emigrants to Oregon in 1844. Oregon Pioneers, accessed September 28, 2007.
  3. Brown, J. Henry (1892). Brown's Political History of Oregon: Provisional Government. Wiley B. Allen.
  4. Oregon Legislative Assembly (4th Territorial) 1852 Regular Session. Oregon State Archives, accessed June 20, 2016.
  5. Oregon Legislative Assembly (5th Territorial) 1853 Regular Session. Oregon State Archives, accessed June 20, 2016.
  6. Oregon Legislative Assembly (6th Territorial) 1854 Regular Session. Oregon State Archives, accessed June 20, 2016..
  7. Biographical Sketch of Levi Scott. Crafting the Oregon Constitution. Oregon State Archives. Retrieved June 20, 2016.

Further reading

  • Wagons to the Willamette: Captain Levi Scott and the Southern Route to Oregon, 1844-1847 by Levi Scott and James Layton Collins, edited by Stafford J. Hazelett, 2015, Washington State University Press (memoir in modern edition)
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