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Chicago: Chapman Bros., Publishers


ROBERT L. CALDWELL, a pioneer settler of this county and one of its most prominent farmers and stock-raisers, came to this region as early as 1830, and has been the interested witness of its growth and progress for a period of nearly sixty years. The story of changes which he has witnessed, if properly related, would fill a good sized volume, and not much less wonderful than his long residence here, is the fact that all this time he has lived on the same farm, which comprises land secured by his father, David B. Caldwell, and where the latter spent his last days, after having expended a great amount of labor in bringing the land to a good state of cultivation and building up a comfortable homestead.

David B. Caldwell, who departed this life in 1852, was afflicted with blindness for seventeen long years prior to his decease. He was born in Pennsylvania and came of a good family - old Scotch Presbyterian stock, who crossed the Atlantic at an early day. His parents finally left Pennsylvania and removed to Kentucky, where David B., spent his boyhood days, not far from the town of Carlisle; there his parents passed away and there he attained to his majority and was first married to a Kentucky lady, who died and left two children. His second wife, the mother of our subject, Mrs. Nancy (Hudleson) Crawford, was born in Ireland and came to the United States with her parents in her girlhood. They located in Pennsylvania, where it is supposed that she was married to Mr. Crawford, who died in Kentucy, leaving her with one child.

After his second marriage, the father of our subject settled on a farm near Carlisle, Ky., where his four sons and two daughters were born and of whom our subject is the youngest, his birth occurring Nov. 13, 1828. He was but two years old when his parents decided to try their fortunes among the prairies of Central Illinois. They came to this county with very little means, but well provided with courage and industry the result of which was shown in the success with which they built up their homestead and gathered about them all the comforts of life. Mrs. Caldwell survived her husband a number of years, dying at the old home April 11, 1874, at the advanced age of eighty-two. She, like her husband was an active member of the Presbyterian Church.

The subject of this sketch was at an early age trained to habits of industry, and began to assist his parents around the farm, receiving very limited educational advantages. Soon after becoming of age he was married in the township where he now lives, Dec. 16, 1852, to Miss Juliet Smith. This lady was born in Indiana, April 16, 1837, and is the daughter of William R. and Eliza (Carlock) Smith, who are now deceased. The father was born July 12, 1805, in Erie County, Pa., and died at the homestead in township 15, range 11, Aug. 7, 1877. The mother was born March 21, 1814, in Kentucky, and departed this life Oct. 22, 1860, at the homestead in this county. Both were members of the Protestant Methodist Church. Their family comprised five daughters and three sons, of whom Mrs. Caldwell was the eldest born and all but herself are natives of this county.

To our subject and his estimable wife there have bene born twelve children, three of whom - Robert E., Mattie B., and Ezra N. died young. The survivors are Nancy M. at home; Samuel W., who married Sallie Hamilton, and lives near Orleans, this county; James H., who married Kate Pfiel, and who follows the profession of engineer at Jacksonville; Eliza S. the wife of Lewis Wilson, a farmer of Wyoming, Territory; Edwin G., George A., Lewis W., Charles R., and Effie M., at home with their parents. Mr. Caldwell, politically, is identified with the National Greenbackers, and both he and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, in which Mr. Caldwell, officiates as Steward and Trustee. Otherwise than serving as Justice of the Peace, he has carefully avoided the responsibilities of office.

1889 Index
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