Biography - John Caldwell

JOHN C. CALDWELL, who has been a merchant of New Burnside for the past eighteen years, was born in Haywood County, N. C., April 21, 1829. His father was Robert Caldwell, a native of the same State, a farmer, who came with his wife and family to Illinois in 1849. He was in moderate circumstances at that time, and upon reaching Illinois first located in Williamson County, taking up eighty acres of timber-land belonging to the Government. They lived in a rude log cabin several years, and then sold out and bought forty acres of land, upon which they lived some time. After several moves they finally came to Johnson County, about 1853, where they lived with their children until their death, the mother dying about one month before the father, he dying April 4, 1864, in his sixty-third year. They buried two daughters, one of whom died in infancy, and Jane, the first-born, wife of Thomas Mount.
Since the death of Mr. and Mrs. Caldwell, a son, A. J., has also died in Johnson County past middle age, leaving a widow and seven children. The other members of this family are: William, who died in Kentucky in June, 1888, aged sixty-two years, leaving eight children; Mary Ann, wife of B. S. Smith, who died in Vienna Township in December, 1862, in middle age, leaving one son; Eunice E., wife of H. T. Taylor, who died in Johnson County in June, 1889, aged about forty years, leaving eight children; and Elizabeth, wife of Solomon White, who died at Creal Springs, Williamson County, in February, 1892, aged fifty-four years, leaving three children. Those living are: John C,, sixty-three years of age; Robert Caldwell, sixty seven years old, who is a farmer of West Plains, Howell County, Mo.; C. H. Caldwell, a minister of the Missionary Baptist Church in Burnside Township; and Caroline, widow of James Smith, living in Arkansas. John C. Caldwell had no schooling in his youth, and in his twentieth year married Martha Pittman, of Calloway County, Ky., a daughter of William and Peggy (Parks) Pittman. Her parents were farmers, and came to Illinois in 1849, settling in Williamson County, where they lived most of their lives. The farm which they bought upon coming to Illinois was sold some time afterward, and the family removed to Indiana, but after two years' residence in that State, they returned to Illinois, where the mother died in March, 1874, aged sixty-two years. The father died in 1877, aged sixty-six. They had two sons and five daughters, of whom there are now five living.
Jobn C. Caldwell began domestic life in Williamson County on Government land, upon which he made some improvement, but sold out afterward. He then bought and sold deeded land until 1854, when he bought one hundred and sixty acres in Williamson County under the graduation act. Upon this farm he lived twenty years, improving it very much, and clearing up one hundred acres. In 1874 he sold out and removed to New Burnside, then just starting. In August, 1862, Mr. Caldweil enlisted as a private soldier in Company I, One Hundred and Twentieth Illinois Infantry, but he was discharged August 17, 1863, on account of disability caused by chronic diarrhoea. He came home expecting to die, but recovered, though never since having had good health, and it was for this reason that in 1874 he left the farm and moved into town. Upon removing to New Burnaide he bought a store and lot, upon which he built a house, and opened a general store conducting it for ten or eleven years. After a time he sold out and bought a farm, upon which he lived three years, when this tract .was sold, and our subject removed to New Burnside, where he entered the mercantile business, buying out the business of Richard Bushings. In February, 1892, he was one of the large sufferers by the fire which swept the little village, his loss amounting to $1,000 more than his insurance. In the following April he again began merchandising in the new store erected on the site of the old one, and is now in company with his son, J. D., with whom he is doing a fine and prosperous business. Mr. and Mrs. Caldweil buried one infant son, and have nine children living, namely; Robert W., who is a farmer on the old home farm, where he was reared, and has a wife and seven children; Andrew Jackson, who has a wife and seven children; Willis A., a farmer of Williamson County, who has a wife and five children; John C., a farmer with a wife and five children; J.D., in business with his father, who has a wife and one son; California, wife of J. E. Miscelle, who has five children; John Ann, born June 22, 1863, when her father was in the army, who is still living at home, and was named for both her father and mother; Mary Magdalene, wife of S. S. Misell; and Tinna Belle, a young woman of eighteen years, living at home. These children have all been well educated, especially the younger members of the family.
Mr. Caldwell has been School Director much of his life, and appreciates the value of education. He is a Master Mason, and a member of the Missionary Baptist Church, in which he takes great interest, and is happy that all his children but one have embraced the same faith that he entertains. He and his son are doing a fair amount of business, and have won the confidence of the people of this vicinity by fair dealing and courteous manners. There is not a saloon in New Burnside, nor is any intoxicating liquor sold within its limits.

Extracted 15 May 2002 by Rick Girtman from 1893 Biographical Review of Johnson, Massac, Pope, and Hardin Counties, Illinois, pages 390-391.

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