Obits & Deaths from Sebastian County

John H. Caldwell

Submitted by Tom M. Short II

Published on March 31, 1935 in an unknown newspaper.


Hundreds Are Expected To Attend Caldwell Service At Mansfield.
Long Life Devoted to Public

When the whole countryside assembles Sunday afternoon at the Methodist Church in Mansfield for the funeral of John H. Caldwell, tribute will be paid to a man who had done much for the promotion of every phase of civic progress for the district and state.

His death Friday at his home in Mansfield, marked the passing of one of the oldest members of the Masonic Lodge and the Order of the Eastern Star in the state. Identified with every movement for putting forward the education, religious and fraternal life of Mansfield and Sebastian county, he was for practically the whole of his 88 years, a "builder".

John H. Caldwell, known to his friends as "Uncle John" was born in Calloway county, Missouri Sept. 22, 1846. His religious life started with his conversion when 12 years old. Denominationally he was versatile. He became a member of the Presbyterian church at Belmont, Mo., in 1858. After moving to Arkansas he joined the Presbyterian church in Ft. Smith, later uniting with the Methodist Episcopal church, South, at Mansfield, where he was for 40 years a leading member. As an official of the church board he was instrumental in the building of the church where Sunday his funeral is to be held. Mr. Caldwell was married to Miss Alma Ann Jones of Witcherville, Sebastian county, in 1875. Mrs. Caldwell and two of their five children survive. His business career included activities in many commercial enterprises. At one time he operated a pottery at Jenny Lind, afterwards he engaged in the hardware business at Witcherville and Mansfield. For the last 30 years of his life he had been a mortician and jeweler, retiring following a fall at his home in which he was injured. Before his retirement he engaged for a few years in the manufacture of his invention of markers for graves.

A veteran of three "wars", Mr. Caldwell was a charter member of the Robert E. Lee camp, Confederate Veterans, in which he held the title of captain from the time of the camp's founding. With the death of Mr. Caldwell only one member of the camp survives, John Ellis, of Abbott.

His war record began in 1862 when he engaged in an expedition against the Pin Indians. He then was only 16 years old. In 1864, he enlisted in the Confederate army.

He was wounded after serving 20 days. In 1874 he enlisted in the Brooks-Baxter political war, aligning with the Baxter adherents. During this expedition he and his brother, the late Charles Caldwell with another man, by strategy captured 17 of Brook's adherents.

His war relics included a saber taken from a United States officer whose horse Mr. Caldwell shot from under him. The officer's life was not taken. He also had two army pistols in his collection. These were taken from Brooks' men.

The record of Mr. Caldwell in Lodge work matches that of his influence in religious, educational and political affairs. He served seven years as Master of Pulliam Masonic lodge No. 133 at Witcherville and for 10 years held the same position in Reed Lodge No. 163 at Mansfield. He had represented both lodges in the grand lodge.

While a member of the board of education, Mr. Caldwell was largely responsible for the election of the first brick high school building in Mansfield.