HISTORY of CALEDONIA, MISSOURI

 

A View in Main Street, Caledonia, MO

You are referred to the article, in this history, entitled, "Settlement" for the prelude setting of this article. In a much longer article upon the History of Caledonia, with bibliography, this condensed writing has been pulled, therefore the brief story begins with the facts about the village.

Caledonia Site is a portion of the Miles Gorforth Spanish Grant. He sold "Caledonia Part" of it to William Buford, who came in from Virginia about 1812. Buford resold all of it to Alexander Craighead, a Scotchman, who has a mind of platting a city, that is all of it except a few lots, if Craighead was planning to plat it. Craighead did have it surveyed and advertised an auction, stating whoever bought the first lot could name it. It was 6 months before the ad appeared in a paper and the day was set for the auction. Craighead made it a point to buy the first lot and named the Village after his native Scotland. Lots sold from $1.50 to $5.00 per lot. (The original plat and buyers can be found in this section). Auction day was 1819. Craighead had built his home in the Village in 1816, still standing today, 1981, Marvin Scott, Sr. and wife, Pauline, owners. But this was not the first home in the Village, Robert Sloan, who came in with the Scotch-Irish Presbyterians in 1808, and built his home where the Presbyterian Church was built later.

The first two businesses were Tom Sloan's Blacksmith Shop and Fergus Sloan's Brewery. The story goes that the latter did not last long, because those Methodists, who started coming in the latter years of the 1700s were having preachers among them from the beginning and were having Camp Meetings in their location where the Methodist Cemetery is now, building their first church, the Shiloh Meeting House. Jacob Launius, pastor of the church, 1836-37, wrote in his diary, "I have learned that the brewery did not exist very long, because right in the beginning the Methodists were having a Camp Meeting and everyone got religion but one old drunken "Sot". The brewery was out of business.

A scene on Main Street in Caledonia, looking north, the first house on right, with steps is a business, where Al and Dee's Market is now. The white fence encloses the home Ellen Wilcox owns now and the Mary Sullivan home, torn down to set what is now the Dickey Home. The Jane Thompson House can be seen as a shadow through the trees on the left.

The first addition to the Village was established by Rev. H. M. Long whose home was the Methodist Parsonage and whose date for pastoring the Methodist Church is unrecorded, possibly among the years between 1838-44, since there is not a record for those years, although it is known he pastored the church and built the parsonage where Lee and John Lucas Property now stands. Whether it was that home or not, is not known for sure. Anyway Mill Street past that home is the Long Addition. The second addition continued on down Mill Street and was owned by Cecil and Betty Campbell, becoming Campbell Addition. The thurd and fourth additions were not easy, because there were fighters against them for forty years, according ti the written minutes of the Town Board, having a governmental body called Board of Trustees. The two newest additions are Southeast and Southwest Additions.

The first school was built in the Methodist Cemetery (not there then) in 1804. One was built in Caledonia, a two-room in the 1830s. The Bellevue Collegiate Institute was built by stockholders in 1864. In 1936 the Caledonia High School was built, also serving as an Elementary School. although the College building was also used until it was razed in 1952. High School pupils attend Valley High since 1952, with addition in 1965 and Junior High Addition. There was a school and church for blacks. Population was more than 500 at the time of College Students and blacks.

The Presbyterians and Methodists each built their first churches outside of the Town of Caledonia, the former building, the third church, standing. Second Methodist Church was built in Caledonia and burned in 1909. Present church dedicated in 1911.

One Lodge Hall burned, the seconded one built as the Southall Store on Main Street, in same building now and later.

The bank was also in that building at one time and then across the street. Bankers were Clarence Shelton, Ralph Bean, Sr., William Coghill, and Voyage Qualls.

Norman Whites Undertaking Establishment burned once when the Rev. John Headlee's building burned. It was in the White Home later, south of United Methodist Church. There was another undertaker in Caledonia at one time.

The Caledonia Banking Facility was established by the Belgrade State Bank in 1974. It is an asset.

 

Bellevue Valley Historical Society, Inc.

Almost every community has at least 1 or 2 preservation success stories. But there are some communities where preservation has taken deep roots. Caledonia is one such community. The Bellevue Valley Historical Society, Inc. was founded in 1975 and for 22 years the local group actively researched, preserved the local history; they even took on the enormous task of compiling and writing a wonderful history book that went into a third printing. Unfortunately in 1997 the Society was officially dissolved due to low membership and most of the ardent, hardworking members had passed on. On May 21, 2004, a small group of serious history enthusiast formally re-chartered the Society and is again actively pursuing the goals set forth by the original members.
Presently there are eleven active members. The Society has three officers and three Directors and two Honorary Directors. The Society operates on a calendar year basis.
The Bellevue Valley Historical Society, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization, tax exempt under Section 501 (c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code, Federal ID No. 43-1160481 (dated July 8, 2004). The Society receives funding by membership support and gifts. The Society continues to work with state and federal historical agencies to acquire additional funding as permissible.
The Society is developing plans for walking tours and materials to spotlight the area’s architectural and historical treasures. The group has no political connection; as it endeavors to work and participate with all; town leaders and families with true interest in preserving the Bellevue Valley area.
MISSION STATEMENT
To compile the vast amount of historical information of the region and preserve it for all generations. {1975}
The Membership to the Society is open to anyone.
Membership Levels (effective January 1, 2012)
Student …………………………..$ 10.00/ year
Individual Member………..…………..$ 25.00/year
Couple……………………………40.00 (Savings of $10)
Alex Craighead Society Member…..$ 100.00/year

 

 

 
 
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