Antone: the Center of Bustling Activity

The center for early mining and logging operations

Antone was only a post office and a store located along Rock Creek between Mitchell and Dayville but it was at the center of early mining and logging operations in the vicinity. The post office of Antone was established on September 17, 1894 and was named for pioneer settler Antone Francisco who was of Portuguese descent.

Gold was discovered in the Spanish Gulch and Mule Gulch vicinities near Rock Creek in 1862. There was a rush to the area from mining activities in Canyon City and many mining claims were filed. The military established a camp in the timber fringe near Rock Creek in 1865 and it was known as Camp Watson. The fort was operational until 1869.

Early settlers John Erikson, George Owens and Milt Laswell formed a mining partnership and built a five mile ditch to bring water to their mining operations.. Mining operations included placer and hydraulic extraction and a stamp mill was constructed in the mining district. Mining continued in the vicinity for nearly 75 years and Antone became the center of business.

Antone was first located along the main road between Mitchell, Dayville and Canyon City and during early mining years it was an often traveled road. Antone never became a boom town but it did boast a post office ,store, stage stop, school, blacksmith shop and the old cemetery at Spanish Gulch, It served a scattered group of miners, loggers and stockmen.

Small sawmills were located in the timber fringe on the north slopes of the Ochoco mountains near Antone and another small site known as Barite. Locals often held dance parties at Antone and it was at one of these dance parties that a murder occurred. It was the result of an argument over the attention of a widow and Jack Hammond shot and killed Ben Gammy. It was not the last murder that would occur in the region.

The Hudspeth family arrived in the 1930’s and established a sawmill at the old Camp Watson site and a local boom in lumber began. The mill continued operating for several years. A new highway was built through Picture Gorge in the 1930’s and the traffic flow no longer passed through Antone. Mining activity diminished and lumber operations moved to different localities and Antone became mostly a stock raising region. The post office continued operation until November 30, 1948. It is now only referenced as a ranching region but once was the center of numerous activities.