In October of 1852, Mathias Callahan, with his pregnant wife, their one and a half year old son, Winfield, and two Indian servants were traveling by horseback from Trinidad to Yreka. Mathias was moving to Yreka to take care of a store that he had opened there.
While crossing a fork on the Scott River, Mrs. Callahan's horse floundered, and she was swept downstream. The Indian boy servant managed to pull her to safety. The cold water and shock was too much for Mrs. Callahan, so the family found refuge in a nearby cabin. That same night, Mrs. Callahan gave birth to a son, Henry, who was frail and had to be kept warm in the brick oven of the cabin.
Callahan bought the cabin and property for two mules and some provisions. As the ranch, as it was called, was on the trail between Yreka and the gold fields of the Trinity and the Mother Load area of California, there was a continuous stream of gold miners traveling in both directions. Mr. Callahan found it profitable to open a store and build a large log cabin, which was used as a hotel, and eventually as a stage stop after a wagon road was opened over the Trinity Mountains. Around his hotel the town of Callahan was born.
from The Siskiyou County Museum and Historical Society