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Sheboygan County, Wisconsin Genealogy & History
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J. G. Caldwell

Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record - Published 1894 by Excelsior Publishing Co., Chicago" Pages 506 - 507

J. G. Caldwell, who is so widely and favorably known in Lyndon Township, follows farming on section 26. He is a native of the Empire State, his birth having occurred near Syracuse, Onondaga County, May 1, 1845. His father, William C. Caldwell, was born in New York, July 27, 1808, and throughout life has followed farming. He emigrated to Wisconsin in 1845, when it was yet a Territory, making the trip by way of the Great Lakes. Locating in Waukesha County, he there followed the carpenter's trade for five years and then removed to Washington County, where he purchased one hundred and twenty acres of land. That he afterward sold, and bought one hundred and sixty acres, entirely destitute of improvement. In the midst of the forest he built a home and began the development of a farm. Later, he sold out and went to Milwaukee, where he worked for some time as a carpenter for the St. Paul Railroad Company. In 1859 he rented a farm in Fulton County, Ill., but after a year came to Sheboygan County, and in Sheboygan Falls carried on a grocery for a year. Later he engaged in general merchandising in Hingham until 1863, when he sold out and, accompanied by his wife, paid a visit to his old New York home. He then returned, and afterward went to Jackson County, Wis., but, not liking that place, he again came to Sheboygan County, and purchased the farm on which our subject now resides. He makes his home with his son Garrett. His wife, who was born in New York, March 26, 1812, died March 20, 1890, and was laid to rest in Lyndon Cemetery.

The Caldwell family numbered four sons and four daughters, only three of whom are now living: Henrietta, wife of Fred A. Balch, a merchant of Neillsville, Wis.; Elmina A., wife of A. S. Leason, a manufacturer of Neillsville; and J. G.

When our subject was a child of three months, he was brought by his parents to Wisconsin, where his entire life has been passed. His early education was supplemented by study in Milwaukee, but he is largely self-educated. During the late war his country found him a faithful defender of the Union. He enlisted in Hingham, September 9, 1861, as a member of Company I, First Wisconsin Infantry, under Capt. Rogers and Col. John C. Starkweather. They were drilled at Cascade, and Camp Scott, Milwaukee, thence went to Jeffersonville, Ind., and after a short time to Bacon Creek, Ky., to guard the Nashville & Louisville Railroad. At Munfordville they erected breastworks along the river. Here Mr. Caldwell was taken sick with measles, and was sent to the field hospital, lying there for three weeks. When the regiment was ordered to Louisville, the sick were placed in an old church at Munfordville, where he remained for five weeks, his only bed being his army blanket and one of the hard benches. His life was despaired of, and his father was bidden to come at once if he would see his boy alive. Mr. Caldwell, Sr., hastened South, and then went to Louisville, where he got a special order to take ten of the sickest soldiers to Louisville. Later, his father obtained for him a forty-days furlough, and they started for home. At Chicago their money gave out, and the landlord did not wish to take them in, but Mr. Caldwell happened to meet a friend, from whom he borrowed the necessary amount.

After his furlough had expired, Mr. Caldwell received word that he had been honorably discharged. During the summer of 1862 he was completely disabled, but in the fall he secured a position in Sheboygan. His health failing him, however, he returned to the farm. Having trouble with his lungs, he started for the Pacific Slope, August 25, 1868, by way of New York and the water route, crossing the Isthmus of Panama, and then going by steamer to San Francisco, where he arrived on the 25th of September. He afterward went to Sacramento City, arriving with fifty cents in his pocket. He then went to the head office of the Union Pacific Railroad, stated his case to the officials, and said he was willing to do any honorable work. He was given a squad of men and sent to the Sierra Nevada Mountains to report to the Superintendent of work on a construction train. For a time he worked for $2 per day, but soon was promoted. In June, 1869, having partially regained his health, he returned home, and has since followed farming.

On the 25th of August, 1872, Mr. Caldwell married Miss Lura Warner, who was born in Wisconsin, April 20, 1849. Five children grace this union: Ethel, who graduated from the Waldo High School in 1892, and has successfully followed teaching; Myrtle E., who possesses considerable musical talent; Jessie M., who is attending the High School of Waldo; Lillian M., a student in Neillsville; and Alda L., who completes the family. The mother was a daughter of Corwin and Eliza (Palmer) Warner. Her father was born on Long Island, has followed farming, and now lives in Ft. Scott, Kan. Mrs. Caldwell had four brothers, three of whom are living. She is a cultured and refined lady, who acquired a liberal education and was a teacher of recognized ability. She presides with grace over her pleasant and beautiful home and has the happy faculty of making her guests feel at ease.

Mr. Caldwell cast his first vote for Gen. Grant, and is an inflexible adherent of Republican principles. He has been officially connected with the schools for seven years, and the cause of education has found in him a warm friend. Socially, he is connected with A. O. Heald Post No. 182, G. A. R., of Cascade. He and his wife belong to the Baptist Church of Lyndon, and have contributed liberally to its support and to benevolent work. Their farm of one hundred and twenty acres is conveniently located two and a-half miles from Waldo. They are classed among the leading citizens of Lyndon Township, and it is with pleasure that we present to our readers this record of their lives.


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