Caledonia stands on land that was
originally part of the
Miles Goforth Spanish Grant. Mr. Goforth sold
the Caledonia portion of his land to William Buford who
then resold it to Alexander Craighead. Mr.
Craighead, desiring to establish a town, had the
property surveyed & platted. He advertised the
sale of lots at an auction but it was six months before
the advertisement appeared in the newspaper. Mr.
Craighead stated that whoever bought the first lot could
name the town. The lots sold from $1.50 to $5.00
per lot. Craighead made it a point to buy the
first lot & named the town Caledonia after Scotland, his
country of origin.
To view original plat of Caledonia click here.
From Goodspeeds History of
Washington County, Missouri (1888 Reprint):
its origin in a blacksmith shop & a whisky distillery built near the
big spring. Thomas Sloan fitting up the former, & Ferges Sloan &
Joshua Morrison the latter. After them came Alexander
Craighead, who put up the first store as early or
perhaps earlier than 1817. His store was a double cabin,
one end being used for a dwelling. The first
dwelling house, a hewed-log house, was built by Robert Sloan. When
Caledonia was platted in 1819 & the lots offered for sale, it was
announced that whoever purchased the first lot could name the town. AlexanderCraighead named it after Caledonia, Scotland. The
land on which the town is located was secured to
Miles Goforth in
1804 by the Spanish Government. Goforth taught the first school in
Bellevue Valley in 1804 (now in Iron County). The first school
taught in Caldeonia seems to have been in a round log house, built
prior to & near the situation of the first Methodist Church.
The place is still a small village of less than 400 inhabitants.
The merchants are E.E. Southall, A.F. Carr, J.B. Headlee, S.
McSpaden & C. Goodykoontz. The physicians are W.R.
Goodykoontz, J.S. Eaton & G.A. Eversole. There are two
churches - Methodist & Presbyterian - the Bellevue Collegiate
Institute, a public school, the flouring mill of Harvey & Casey,
which was erected in 1875, at a cost of $12,000, the blacksmith &
wagon shop of Frank P. Morrow, & a blacksmith shop by James Jennings
Possum Trot Farm:
In 1941 Leonard Hall
married Virginia Watson, who thereafter collaborated with her
husband on many endeavors, particularly the production of nature
films. In 1945 they made their permanent home at “Possum Trot Farm”
near Caledonia, Missouri.
In 1943 Leonard Hall
became a regular columnist for the St. Louis Post‑Dispatch,
specializing in “outdoor” writing. Over the years the focus of the
column came to be upon "nature" and the environment. In 1959 he
moved the column to the St. Louis Globe‑Democrat, where it
appeared regularly until 1980. Hall was also the author of several
books, including Possum Trot Farm (1948), Country Year
(1958), and Earth’s Song (1981), and many articles.