Washington County, Missouri


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):  Caledonia had 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 (colored). 

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.



In 2007 I came into possession of a large shoe box full of misc. papers, store receipt books, letters, an old news paper, & a child's shoe.  Some old store wrapping paper was from the McSpadden's Golden Rule Store in Caledonia (now known as The Old Village Mercantile).  The letters & store receipts were dated as early as 1914 & 1915.  The letters were written by Miss Myrtle Hawkins to Ferson Carr who she later married.  I donated all the materials to the Western Historical Manuscript Collection ~ University of Missouri  - Rolla (except for the shoe which I still have).



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Trail of Tears
Monument on Mill Street.
Made out of native stone.
Photographed:21 Oct. 2002

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Historic home on lot #44.  Samuel Henderson, collateral ancestor of Esther M. Carroll, owned this lot from 1819 - 1827.   It is on Hwy. 21 next to the Methodist Church.  Photographed: 11 Sept. 2001

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Photographed: Feb. 2004


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This building built circa 1844 now houses the Main Street Cafe. Photographed: Feb. 2004

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Lucas-Wilcox House - Built 1850 by the Lucas family. Photographed: Feb. 2004


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Photographed: Feb. 2004

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Photographed: Feb. 2004


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This home was built in the 1920's.
Photographed: 21 Aug. 2001


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Built in 1858 this beautiful building now houses

They have a large selection of antiques & you are sure to find a little (or big) trinket that you just can't live without!



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Oldest house in Caledonia & possibly oldest in Bellevue Valley.  Built by Alexander Craighead in 1816.  This house on College Street is a double-pen stack of 6 inch oak logs with frame addition.   Notice the old stone fireplace in the picture at right.  Photographed: Feb. 2004

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Home on College Street. Photographed: Feb. 2004

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Forgot what street this house is on so will have to go
back & check it out. Photographed: Feb. 2004


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Part of down town Caledonia on Hwy. 21 looking south.  Photographed: Feb. 2004

Caledonia Masonic Lodge - Tyro 12





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Caledonia Methodist Church built 1909 after the previous church burned.  East side of Hwy. 21 in Caledonia.
Photographed: 21 Aug. 2001


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Cemetery is located north of Caledonia.   Hwy. 21 south goes through the middle of the cemetery. East half is to left, west half to right.  Photographed: 2 May 1999


CALEDONIA METHODIST CEMETERY - East half. Note red granite historic marker in left foreground.  Photographed: 4 February 1999


Enlarged picture of Shiloh Meeting House on Historic Marker Photographed: 4 Feb. 1999 



CEMETERY HISTORIC MARKER: "Shiloh meeting house & Methodist Church bldg.-1810   Deed-1818  Two firsts west of the Mississippi River" William Woods - Organizer   Thomas Wright - 1st Pastor


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CALEDONIA HISTORIC MARKER  Across the road from Caledonia Methodist Cemetery.  Made of native stone red granite & mineral blossom. Photographed: 2 May 1999


History of Caledonia -