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Biography of Fred B. Caldwell

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Fred B. Caldwell. The cultivation of broad acres of land, the growing of crops, the raising of cattle and hogs, proved a stronger influence with Fred B. Caldwell than the profession of law, in which he was trained and which he followed for several years in Iowa before coming to Kansas.

While Mr. Caldwell had occupied his ranch near Howard in Elk County only a few years, there is no mistaking the fact that he is one of the well-known stockmen and diversified farmers of the state. His Poland China hogs in particular have gained him at least a national reputation. Stockmen all over the state are acquainted with the record of his animals at the State Fair held at Topeka in September, 1916. There Mr. Caldwell won the grand championship prize on boars of any age. He also had the distinction of having produced the first hog to weigh more than 1,000 pounds at eighteen months of age. There are no finer specimens of this old and standard breed of Poland China to be found anywhere in the world than on the Caldwell ranch in Elk County. Mr. Caldwell is vice president of the Kansas Poland China Association. While he concentrates his efforts upon Poland China hogs, he is also a diversified farmer, and his ranch of 1,047 acres, situated 2½ miles southeast of Howard on the Elk River, is pronounced by competent judges to be the best body of land in one piece in the entire county.

Mr. Caldwell represents a fine old family of Iowa. He was born in Mahaska County, near Oskaloosa, January 9, 1881. The Caldwells were originally Scotch-Irish people, and the first Americans of the name came from the North of Ireland to North Carolina in colonial days. At a remote distance in the family genealogy the name was spelled Cauldwell and history recalls that Oliver Cromwell married Ann Cauldwell.

From North Carolina the Caldwells crossed the mountains into Tennessee and for a number of years in the early part of the last century lived in Greene County, Tennessee. Mr. Caldwell’s grandfather, Thomas F. Caldwell, was born in that county in 1803. He became one of the pioneers of the Territory of Iowa, homesteaded a farm in Mahaska County in 1852, and died near Oskaloosa in the following year.

A. N. Caldwell, father of the Kansas stockman, was born in Greene County, Tennessee, in 1839, and at the age of thirteen accompanied his parents to Iowa. He grew up and married there, and followed farming all his active career. He died on the home place near Oskaloosa in 1908. He was a republican, served as county supervisor, and was a liberal contributor and an elder in the Presbyterian Church. His wife, Catherine Stump, who was born in Stark County, Ohio, in 1850, is still living, a resident of Oskaloosa. Their children were: Charles C., a farmer near Oskaloosa; Earl S., whose home is on a farm ten miles east of Oskaloosa; Fred B.; Warren A., a farmer and silo manufacturer at Oskaloosa, and at present a member of the County Board of Supervisors; Richard W., in the automobile business at Ashland, Kansas.

Aside from his early experiences on his father’s farm, nearly all the training of Fred B. Caldwell was on the literary and cultural side of life, and was rather directed to perfect him for a profession than for the vocation in which he had made such striking success since coming to Kansas. He attended the public schools of Mahaska County, was graduated in the preparatory course at Penn College at Oskaloosa in 1900, and in 1905 received his degree Ph. B. from the same institution. One year he spent studying law in the Missouri State University at Columbia and another year in the law department of Drake University at Des Moines. Following that for two years he was in the law office of Irving C. Johnson at Oskaloosa.

Probably by that time he had become convinced that his real forte was in the country, close to nature, raising corn and hogs, rather than playing a part in the litigations between his fellowmen. He returned to the old farm in Mahaska County and remained there until 1912, in which year he removed to Howard, Kansas. Without going into the smaller details, the record of his success as a farmer and stockman had been sufficiently indicated.

His home is in the southeast part of the Town of Howard. Mr. Caldwell is a vigorous and stanch supporter of republican doctrines, and on November 7, 1916, he was successful candidate from his district as representative in the lower house of the State Legislature. He is a member of the Friends Church, and still keeps his affiliations with the Knights of Pythias at Oskaloosa, Iowa. On September 11, 1906, at Oskaloosa he married Miss Edna Johnson, daughter of Charles and Caroline (Hawkins) Johnson. Her father, now deceased, was a prominent farmer at Hartford, Kansas, and one of the early stock dealers in that section. Mrs. Caldwell’s mother now resided at Hartford, Kansas. Mr. and Mrs. Caldwell have two children: Ruth Caroline, born August 17, 1908; and Robert Warren, born February 24, 1915.


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