The mouth of the Defeat River is located at Reedsport and is more commonly known today as the Smith River. In July 1828, fur trader Jedediah Smith led a band of trappers here exploring the area, and there arose a dispute between the local Kelawatset tribe and the men in Smith’s party. The incident resulted in the death of 15 of Smith’s men. Smith and three others escaped and slowly made their way on foot to Fort Vancouver on the Columbia River. Accompanied by The Hudson Bay Company’s Alexander McLeod and his men, Smith returned in October 1828 to the site of the incident to recover his belongings. He dubbed the river Defeat, indicating that his brigade of fur trappers was “defeated” on the banks of this river, where they remain buried below the tide today. Three years later, Smith was killed by Comanche Indians on the Santa Fe Trail near present day Ulysses, Kansas. He was 32 years old.