The Mitchell of today
continues to cater mostly to travelers in much the same
way as it did when it began as a stage stop in
In 1861, when Gold
was discovered on Canyon Creek in Grant County - the
county next door to us on the east side - miners began
to blaze trails towards Canyon Creek.
On May 20, 1862, Abraham Lincoln
signed the Federal Homestead Act which opened
government-owned land to “homesteaders” by giving “any
person” who was the head of a family 160 acres to farm
for five years. If they were successful at farming the
land, at the end of five years they simply paid an
$18.00 filing fee and received deed to the land.
Miners and settlers alike ensued
along the trails and in no time, mule teams, wagon
trains, horse and foot traffic beat out a pretty fair
wagon road that connected the Dalles to Canyon City.
Stage stops were established about every 15 to 20 miles
along the way for weary travelers to rest and gather
Because of Indian attacks along
the Dalles to Canyon City wagon road, the U.S.
Government established base camps along the way and
partially improved the trail to allow for the movement
of soldiers. This route, referred to as The
Dalles-Canyon City Military Road, became officially
known as the Dalles-Boise Military Road in 1869, after
The city of Mitchell was founded
in 1873 when a blacksmith named William Warren “Brawdie”
Johnson requested that the government establish a post
office and asked that this settlement on Bridge Creek,
with a population of about 50 at that time, be named
after a friend of his, Senator (Oregon) John Hipple
Today, travelers still stop in
Mitchell to rest and gather supplies. Our population is
holding at about 150 now.