CALDWELL, Ransom O.
Ransom O. CALDWELL, residing on section 20,
La Prairie township, is classed among the representative farmers
of the township and one of its most highly honored citizens. He
is a native of Greene county, New York,
born twelve miles west of Coxsackie, on the
Hudson river, June 13, 1821. His parents, Obadiah
and Sally Ann (GREEN) CALDWELL, were originally from Putnam
county, New York, but who
located in Greene county at a very early day, purchasing a farm
which extended across the Greene county line into
county. Of their family of five children three are now living.
The parents have long since passed to their reward.
The boyhood and youth of Ransom were passed
on his father’s farm in the old empire state and his education
was received in the common schools, finishing his course in the Greenville academy. He was a studious youth,
and at a very early age began to teach in the common schools of
his native state. For a time he entertained the idea that he was
to adopt some other calling than that of a farmer, and so
secured a situation as a clerk in a store at Brandy Hill, Greene
county, and later in country stores in Albany county. A short time previous to his
removal west he was a partner with his brother in a store in
Coeyman’s Hollow, Albany county.
The great west was now being rapidly
settled, and, in common with thousands of others, he felt the
opportunity for future advancement would be improved by his
removal to one of the new states. Illinois
seemed to him the most attractive, and with a much brighter
future than any of its sister states in the
valley, and to this state he determined to come. Before taking
this step, however, he took the more important one of marriage
with the one he had chosen to go with him through life’s
journey, and in 1845 his marriage occurred with Miss Sally
Marinda STEWART, a native of Albany
county, New York.
This was a happy union, and for forty-six years they endured the
joys and sorrows of this life together, reared their family of
children, who proved a blessing to them, and lived in the
consciousness of each other’s love. She passed away July 22,
1891, leaving a blessed memory that will be cherished by
husband, children and friends while life shall last. Of their
family of six children, Armina A. is housekeeper for her father, Frances died in infancy; Laura A.
married Wesley POWELL, of La Prairie township; Andrew died at
the age of seventeen years; Adelbert married Caroline BRIGGS,
and lives on a part of the home farm; and Rosetta is the wife of
Fillmore CALDER, and is also residing upon a part of the home
About one year after his marriage Mr.
CALDWELL came to Marshall county, Illinois, and purchased
land in La Prairie township, which is part of his present farm.
He came by way of the lakes, and while upon
encountered a severe gale, which had a very depressing effect
upon the eight hundred passengers aboard the vessel, the entire
number, with the exception of perhaps twenty-five, becoming
On landing at Chillicothe, Mr. CALDWELL found his entire
cash capital was but fifty-six dollars, but he purchased his
land, consisting of one hundred and sixty acres of the military
tract, for which he paid $120 for the tax title. At this time
much of the land in the military tract was defective in title,
and much trouble, inconvenience and loss were occasioned by the
early settlers before the cloud was removed from the title of
their lands. For some years after his settlement here Mr.
CALDWELL acted as agent for other parties in perfecting land
titles, making somewhat of a study of the subject. Probably the
title of half of the land in La Prairie township was passed on
by him as agent for would-be purchasers.
To his original purchase of one hundred and
sixty acres Mr. CALDWELL added from time to time until his main
farm consisted of three hundred and sixty acres. He also owned
for some years a half section in Stark county, for which he paid
twice on account of defective title, but which he sold some
years ago. While Mr. CALDWELL came to the county in 1846, it was
not until 1848 that he removed to his farm, where he has since
continued to reside, and where he has devoted himself to his
farming interests with good success, having a fine farm, well
improved in every respect. For some years, however, he has
practically lived a retired life, turning the farm over to his
sons. The first house built by him is a part of the present
dwelling, the lumber for which was hauled from Chicago, which
then required from a week to ten days in making the round trip.
Politically, Mr. CALDWELL is classed as a
democrat, though he is not a bitter partisan. In the discharge
of his duties as a citizen he has filled almost all the township
offices, with credit to himself and his constituents. For some
years he was a member of the Christian church, but now attends
the Methodist Episcopal church of La Prairie township. As a
citizen he is respected and honored by all who know him.
Extracted April 2011 by Norma Hass from
The Biographical Record of Bureau, Marshall and Putnam Counties, Illinois,