Prominent in the business circles of Concordia stands the name of W.W. Caldwell, where for years he has been one of the most enterprising and public-spirited citizens, To him the city is indebted for several of its most pretentious structures, among them the Caldwell Bank building, Layton & Neilson block and the "Caldwell Hotel." The latter, just completed, is said to be one of the most elegantly equipped and appointed hotels in northwest Kansas. The emigrant of the Caldwell family was John Caldwell, who was born and reared in County Antrim, Ireland. Tired of the poverty and oppression which English rule produced in his native land, he sought the freedom of America and took passage for the United States in 1809. But persecution followed him into the New World, for in 1811 he was taken from an American vessel by a British man-of-war and forced into severe service, as was the custom of those times. He deserted at Montreal one year later and enlisted in the United States army and served until the close of hostilities. He subsequently married Miss Mary McClure and established a home in Ross county, Ohio, where James, the father of our subject, was born. His mother before her marriage was Miss Elizabeth Shepard, of Athens, Ohio. She also came of English stock. James Caldwell moved to Iowa in the early settlement of that state, where W.W. Caldwell was born in Jefferson county, November 2, 1840. He grew to manhood on his father's farm, combining the duties thereon with attendance at school in Agency City, finishing his education by attending for one year the Denmark (Iowa) Academy.
He served in the civil war with H.B. Johnson's Independent Missouri Battery. After the war clouds had passed over he began the study of law with R.H. Gilmore, of Keokuk, Iowa. In March, 1866, he removed to Savannah, Missouri, where he pursued his studies under the instruction of the late James W. Strong, of St. Joseph, Missouri. Mr. Caldwell was admitted to the bar in 1870 by Judge Isaac C. Parker, of St. Joseph. While in Savannah he served as deputy clerk of the circuit court and was elected mayor of that city. He came to Concordia in 1885, and for several years was associated with Hale H. Cook and F.S. Ellis under the firm name of Caldwell, Ellis & Cook. They had a large clientage in the courts throughout northern Kansas. In 1897 Mr. Caldwell organized the firm of Caldwell, Wilmoth & Ackley, and conducted an extensive commercial and corporation practice. Since Mr. Ackley's death, in 1901, the firm has been Caldwell & Wilmoth. Mr. Caldwell organized the Citizens' National Bank of Concordia in 1887, and was president of that institution until its consolidation with the First National Bank of Concordia in 1898.
He is an ardent Republican in politics and has been a member of the Republican state central committee, and chairman of the Republican state central committee of Cloud county. In 1892 he was on the Republican national ticket for presidential elector and was a delegate to the national Republican covention which convened at Philadelphia, January 19, 1900. Mr. Caldwell has been twice mayor of Concordia and was the candidate in the last city election. He was defeated by S.C. Wheeler by one vote, after the hardest fought battle in the history of Concordia. Mr. Caldwell is a leader in politics, is authority on financial issues and one of the first to expose the fallacy of the free coinage of silver. He was an advocate of the maintenance of the "existing gold standard" long before it was written in the St. Louis platform in 1896. Mr. Caldwell was married in 1869 to Camilla A. Kellogg, of Keokuk, Iowa. Four children have been born to them: E.W., of New York City, J.F., of Hastings, Nebraska, Mrs. J.P. Barrett, of Concordia, and Miss Edith, who lives at home. Eugene W. Caldwell, their eldest son, has attained success and prominence in the professional world. Although but thirty-two years of age he has spent a year on the continent, is lecturer at Bellevue hospital, New York City, and the author of a scientific work for the use of the medical fraternity, entitled, "The Practical Application of Roentgen Rays in Therapeutics." He is also director of the Edward N. Gibbs Memorial X-Ray Laboratory, and the Bellevue Hospital Medical College.
Transcribed from E.F. Hollibaugh's Biographical history of Cloud County, Kansas biographies of representative citizens. Illustrated with portraits of prominent people, cuts of homes, stock, etc. [n.p., 1903] 919p. illus., ports. 28 cm.
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