Golden Campbellites

Ghost Town Photos By Evan & Julie Hendricks

Updated by Maracon on December 1, 2005

     Golden is a ghost town. Established in 1890, this mining town was unique in western annals in that it had two churches and no saloons. All that is left of Golden is a deserted school, miner’s cabin, church, general store and carriage shed. Golden post office was named for the mining activity of a locality about three miles southeast of Wolf Creek.
     In 1878, the Ruble family settled in Golden for the purpose of gold mining, and they were very successful at it. They soon met as a church and later built a building that still stands.
     Rev. William Ruble, leader of a group commonly known as "Campbellites" built the church in 1892. The Campbellites were a revival group competing with the popular Baptists and Methodists churches effective in the western movement initiated by Thomas Campbell (1763-1854) as an offshoot of frontier Presbyterianism. A Scotch-Irish minister of the Secession church and censured for his western Pennsylvania ministry because he allowed non-doctrinal or members into the Lord's Supper, he organized a nondenominational "Christian Association" which was run based on "where the Scripture speaks, we speak, where it is silent, we are silent, " in an attempt to promote Christian unity on a "simple gospel." But his aggressive son, Alexander (1788-1866) arrived two years later in 1809 and developed a catechism and a periodical, the Christian Baptist (1823-1829) to point out errors of existing churches. He soon led the Association into a denomination in 1811 at Brush Run, Pennsylvania.  His church associated with the Baptist Association for 14 years. But his traditional church doctrines of rationalistic theology and eccentric and legalistic sectarianism on the other hand had led them to depart. He was separate from the emotional revivalist movement as a rationalist philosopher and natural law advocate. As such  he had great impact on the "Christian Reformers" of America; he wanted to reestablish his idea of primitive Christianity with an emphasis in Reformed distrust of historical tradition and additions. Although he believed in the Reformed emphasis on divine law, he departed from the Reformed-Puritans's adulation of the  Old Testament/covenant and instead found the "law" for Christian living and a "free church" worship tradition in the New Testament. Thus, no musical instruments were found in worship; no imperative to found mission societies; a believer's baptism; no separated “reverend” status from laity; no hierarchy of church authority or polity; and holy communion on each "Lord's  Day."
     Ruble was ordained and the Golden church simultaneously dedicated by county judge Stephen Jewell. Shortly afterward it became the Free Methodist Church. Another group led by Rev. Mark Davis used the schoolhouse for their services. Both ministers worked local mining claims.
     While his brother William taught the adults on the Lord's Day, and Schuyler Ruble and his wife Abigail Smith made sure the children had their proper teaching on the Lord's Day, their attractive sister Columbia taught children on week days. She was the first school teacher in Golden, holding classes in a log cabin in the days before the first schoolhouse was built.
     There was an effort to set up a community that was free of "worldliness" as possible. Drinks were not sold and the miners went to Placer on Grave Creek for "refreshments." Likewise, there is no record of dancing in Golden. There were get-togethers with food and fun.
     The glory days of Golden were not to last. William Ruble moved his family to Ashland in 1901 so the would have access to better education. The family eventually moved to Eugene.
     Golden post office, named for the quartz and stamp mills in the area, was established January 10, 1896, with Schuyler C. Ruble (?-1905) first postmaster, and continued in operation until March 31, 1920, when it closed to Wolf Creek, three miles east.
     Placer activity on Coyote Creek began in the 1850s. Abandoning these claims during the Idaho Gold Rush on 1860, the men were returned to find them being worked by about 500 Chinese for ten cents per day plus rice. The Chinese contractor yielded possession.
     A two-and-a-half mile pipeline supplied water for the "giants" (hydraulic nozzles) resulting in the recovery of one-and-a-half million dollars in the next few years.
     The Josephine County School superintendent, Lincoln Savage, traveled by train from Grants Pass to Wolf Creek, rode his bicycle to Golden, and continued to the Greenback Mine by tramway to visit the schools.
     Wilma Gilkey and Edith Allen were among the early teachers. As late as 1906, there were still 36 children in the school.



 (1) Joseph E. Fitzpatrick (2) Mary Dodd Marker (3) Gold Miner Marion Ellis (4) "Jos" Marker


(1) Golden Outhouse (2) Golden Campbellite Church (3) Welcome To Golden, Oregon


(1) Golden General Store-Front (2) Golden General Store-Back (3) Golden Lodge

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