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The Biographical Encyclopaedia of Kentucky of the Dead and Living Men of the Nineteenth Century, Cincinnati, Ohio; J. M. Armstrong & Company, 1878.
CALDWELL, HON. JOHN WILLIAM, Lawyer, as born January 15, 1837, in Russellville, Logan County, Kentucky. His parents were Austin Caldwell and Eliza A. Harrison. His father was for many years a well-known mechanic of Russellville, and, by parentage, a member of the extensive Caldwell family, who came to Kentucky from the State of Virginia. His mother was the daughter of Peyton Harrison, of Virginia, in which State this family name is wide-spread. The early education of the subject of our sketch was limited to the common schools of his native place, and a few months’ attendance at Bethel College. When thirteen years old, he went to Texas, but soon after returned to Kentucky. At Russellville, he began studying law, under William Morton. A year later, he attended law lectures at the Louisville University. In 1858, he was admitted, and entered upon the practice at Russellville, where, excepting the period of the war, he has ever since pursued his professional career. When the rebellion broke out, he went South and joined the Confederate army, as captain, in the Ninth Kentucky Regiment; in 1862, he succeeded Col. Thomas Hunt in the command of that regiment. With the regiment he participated in many of the battles in which the army of the Tennessee was engaged, including Shiloh, the siege of Vicksburg, Chickamauga, Stone river, Atlanta, and others. When the war closed, he returned to Russellville, and resumed professional life. In 1866, he was elected Judge of the Logan County Court, and, in 1870, was re-elected to the same bench. In 1876, he was the nominee of the Democratic party to represent the Third Congressional District of Kentucky in Congress, and was elected, by a handsome majority, over two competitors – E. L. Motley, of Bowling Green, and B. L. SD. Guffy, of Butler County. In politics, he has always been active and popular. He has written many political articles for the local press, which have ever been acceptable in his community. He has never been actively connected with any religious denomination. He was united in marriage to Sallie, daughter of Hugh Barclay, of Russellville; by this union they have three children. Mr. Caldwell has lived all his life in the community in which he was born, and now, when hardly in his prime, has achieved the highest success, and attained the most worthy honors in the gift of his fellow-citizens.