Town of Caleb rises and falls in early 1900s
The lush grass region along what was known as Badger Creek about 12 miles southeast of Mitchell was first settled by E.B. Allen and S.G. Coleman. It was later located along the wagon road that went from Mitchell to Dayville, part of the old The Dalles/Canyon City Road. John Waterman established a store at the site in 1876.
Badger Creek is now known as Mountain Creek. A small town, known as Caleb, began to grow and at one time boasted Waterman's store, a blacksmith shop, Biggerstaff's Saloon, a hotel, a livery stable and a post officer. The post office was established at the town on April 3, 1899. It was first located in the home of James Keeton, who served as postmaster. It is reported that the town also had a family owned house of ill repute, with the husband the procurer and his wife the woman of interest. Sheep herders and miners appeared to have been the main clients.
The post office was named for Caleb Thornburg who was believed to have been involved with mining operations at Spanish Gulch near Antone.
At its peak, Caleb had a population of about 26 people. A school was never established at the site and the population began to decline as there was a desire by families to have their children attend school in Mitchell.
The town had mostly a livestock-based economy. Eventually, as the population began to decline, the post office was discontinued on Feb. 29, 1904. The site of the town became part of the Barnhouse Ranch and little remains of the once thriving little community. There is a small cemetery near the site of the community known as Caleb Cemetery.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.