Edwin Young was born in Tennessee in 1799, and later moved west to what was then territory belonging to Spain and Mexico. He primarily worked out of Taos, New Mexico, during the 1820s, making forays into California through that decade.
But he never got farther north than the San Joaquin River. In 1833, he came close to Del Norte County, though, reaching what is now the Humboldt and Mendocino counties line.
As Young and a company of men searched for streams containing large populations of the prized beaver, they kept moving northward along the coast. The company tried to cross the Coastal Range several times in hopes of reaching better hunting ground.
After successfully doing so, they following Smith’s old trail to the Rogue River in Oregon. They turned eastward, and upon reaching Klamath Lake moved south into California again on their way home to Taos.
Young would go on to become a famous pioneer of Oregon.
In autumn 1834, he settled in Willamette Valley. As head of the Willamette Cattle Company, in January 1837 he traveled to California and purchased 630 head of cattle, which he brought back along the Siskiyou Trail to sell to settlers.
Because of his efforts, a provisional government soon formed in what is now Oregon, a key first step in defining what is now Del Norte County’s northern border.