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.
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
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 farm.
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 violently seasick.
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
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
Source: The Biographical Record of Bureau, Marshall and Putnam Counties, Illinois
published in 1896, page 463.
Search the Archives