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Below is a family biography included in the book, The History of Lewis County, Missouri published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1887.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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Capt. John Preston Caldwell, farmer and miller, was born in Bath County, Ky., in 1815, the son of Walter and Mary (Breckinridge) Caldwell, the former of Irish origin, born in Virginia in 1777. He was a farmer and speculator, and in his youth went to Kentucky, where they lived in Boone’s Fort for a few years, and afterward settled in Bath County. In 1818 he came to this State, where his brother, Samuel, was one of those who laid out the town of Louisiana, and afterward Palmyra, also. In 1827 Walter located at New London, where he owned a fine farm nearby, and afterward died in May, 1842. He was a major of militia, and a county judge, several years. He was a Democrat, and in 1830 he and his son, James D., were rival candidates for the State Senate, the latter being a Whig. Their canvass is a part of history, and it is well known that the father was defeated. The mother was born in Virginia in 1778, and was a cousin of John C. Breckinridge. She died the year before her husband, leaving six sons and three daughters. Our subject, the eighth child, was eleven years old when they came here, and when he was fifteen became a carpenter, serving two years as apprentice and six years as a journeyman. In 1839 he erected a water mill on the Middle Fabius. February 22, 1841, he married Elvira C., a daughter of Silas Reddish, a pioneer, whose name was given to a certain township. She was born in 1823 in Kentucky. Their children are Oliver K., James H., Sarah C., Matilda J., Annie B., Emma J., Minnie and Robert B., some of whom are married. After three years with his mill, he began farming; he was engaged in milling afterward, but in 1861 enlisted in the Confederate service, but soon returned, and became captain of a company he had organized. In 1862 he was captured, and imprisoned a year, but was then exchanged, and remained in service until 1864. For the last eight or nine years he and his son, Robert, have been partners, and have remodeled their mill. He now owns 240 acres. In 1852 he was sheriff and collector, serving two terms, and in 1876 became collector another term. He is a Mason, and the family are members of the Christian Church.

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This family biography is one of 293 biographies included in the Lewis County, Missouri portion of the book,  The History of Lewis, Clark, Knox and Scotland Counties, Missouri published in 1887.  For the complete description, click here: Lewis County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

View additional Lewis County, Missouri family biographies here: Lewis County, Missouri Biographies

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