Albert B Osborne.

Makers of America; biographies of leading men of thought and action, the men who constitute the bone and sinew of American prosperity and life (Volume 3) online

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years and brought forth in the end a new Union, stronger and
greater than before. He held the rank of Captain, Commissary

Mr. Bridgforth was a Steward in Fletchers Chapel Methodist
Episcopal Church of Lunenburg County, Virginia. Of his mar-
riage to Sallie Ann Seay were born seven children: George
Thomas, Mary Collier, Ann Jane, Sallie Lee, Louis William,
Austin Seay and Baskerville. Austin Seay Bridgforth married
Sallie Sidney Manson and they have six children.


lOBERT DAVID CALDWELL of Lumberton, North Caro-

Vlina, controlling head of local cotton manufacturies
operating with a capital of approximately half a million
dollars, initiated his career in the mercantile world as a
bookkeeper for his uncle in his native town of Lumberton. Am-
bitious for a wider range in which to exercise his trained capa-
bilities, after seven years of this routine work he and Mr. W. W.
Carlyle, brother of Mrs. Caldwell, entered into a co-partnership
with a modest capital. When this mercantile business was estab-
lished, the senior member of the new firm of Caldwell and Carlyle,
was but twenty-six years of age. In 1912 he bought out his part-
ner's share and reorganized the business. Under the corporate
name of R. D. Caldwell and Son, Inc., the house now carries on
an extensive business. Mr. Caldwell is President of the Lum-
berton Cotton Mill Company, and of the Dresden Cotton Mill
Company. He is also director of the Jennings Cotton Milling
Company and Vice-President of the National Bank of Lumberton.
As a member of the State Board of Internal Improvements and
chairman of the Board of County Commissioners he was a force-


ful unit in both County and State affairs.

A useful and enterprising citizen, he is a deacon in the
Baptist Church, a Master Mason and, in politics, a Democrat.

Robert David Caldwell was born February 11, 1859, and is
the son of Benjamin and Mary Ann Caldwell. He has lived all
his life in the town of his birth and Lumberton is proud to claim
him as her son and citizen, and points with appreciation to his
ever-growing usefulness to the community. No doubt Mr. Cald-
well entertains some feeling of gratification that his success has
been largely due to his own early and persistent efforts, and cer-
tainly credit is due him for clear foresight, good judgment and
determined perseverance.

Mr. Caldwell married Miss Sarah Davis Carlyle at Lumber-
ton May 26, 1884. She was a daughter of Simeon C. and Sarah
Carlyle. In compliment to her father the name of Simeon was
given to their first son.

Mr. Caldwell is a friend of education and has given his chil-
dren the benefits of the most advanced institutions of learning in
his native State. He was himself a graduate of the Lumberton
Grammar School and of Ansonville Academy before entering the
business world at the age of nineteen. He is trustee of the Lum-



berton Graded Schools, and, also, of Wake Forest College, North
Carolina, which is the Alma Mater of his son and business part-
ner, Simeon Foster Caldwell.

In 1915 Simeon Foster married Miss Kuth Keister, of Pul-
aski, Virginia, who is a graduate of Elizabeth College, another
North Carolina institution, located at Charlotte. At the present
time Master Kobert Caldwell and Master William Caldwell,
younger sons of Mr. Caldwell, are pupils of the Lumberton Graded
School. Their sister, Annie Euth Caldwell, exhibits strong
musical talents. As a student at the New England Conservatory
she is receiving the encouragement of the best training obtainable
in the American school of harmony. Miss Caldwell is a graduate
of Meredith College, Kaleigh.

The Caldwells are of Scotch-Irish ancestry. Three men of
this name John, Spencer, and Henry emigrated to America
about the year 1775. John and Henry are reputed to have settled
in North Carolina, and Spencer in South Carolina. In the first
Federal census, taken in 1790, Henry Caldwell appears as a resi-
dent of Charleston District, South Carolina. Among the tax-
payers of Granville County, North Carolina, the same year, is
found John Caldwell assessed for thirty-five acres of land in St.
Thomas' District. A John Caldwell also appears in Judge
O'NealPs Annals of Newberry District as a member of the Bush
River Baptist colony, and as a Captain in the war of 1812. It is
family tradition that John and Henry died in 1820. The subse-
quent history of Spencer has not been traced. Inadequate records
in this part of the country are the despair of the genealogist.

Lumberton is the seat of Robeson County. As this county
formed from Bladen in 1786 borders on South Carolina, it is
not unlikely that during the century and a half which has elapsed
since the arrival of the pioneers, the transmigrations of North and
South Carolina Caldwells across the nearby Carolina boundary
have resulted in an intermingling, if not a confusion, of the
descendants of Henry and Spencer with those of John. In this
connection it is notable that the same personal names occur in
the Caldwell lineage of both Carolinas. Eminent men of this
name have appeared in Virginia, Kentucky, and the Carolinas,
but probably North Carolina may claim the greatest number who
have attained prominence in politics and education, and in the
fields of divinity, medicine and jurisprudence.

Doctor Charles Caldwell, a native of North Carolina,, re-
moved to Lexington, Kentucky, where he held a professorship at
Transylvania College. He was a popular writer on many sub-
jects, and published some valuable pamphlets on medical studies.
He was one of the founders of the School of Medicine in Louis-
ville, and at the time of his death, which occurred in that city in
1853, at the age of ninety years, was probably one of the oldest
practicing physicians in the United States.



Doctor David Franklin Caldwell and Honorable Joseph Pear-
son Caldwell were brothers, and distinguished North Carolinians.
The former born in 1790, resided in Iredell County. He was edu-
cated at Chapel Hill, the seat of the State University, and after
graduating, studied law in the office of Honorable Archibald Hen-
derson, of Salisbury. He was a member of the House of Com-
mons from Iredell in 1816-17-18-19, and represented Kowan in
the Senate in 1829-30-31. Of the latter body he was chosen
speaker. As Judge of the Superior Court his name is luminous
in the legal annals of North Carolina. Joseph Pearson Caldwell,
was also a man of marked ability. Born in 1808, he grew to man-
hood in the interesting political period of 1825-30, and chose the
excitement of political life. He was elected to the legislature
in 1833-34, member of the House of Commons 183840-42, and
m'ember of the thirty-first and thirty-second Congresses. Such
brief chronological summary of his career, however, is inadequate
to describe the fullness of those brilliant years of public life. His
death took place June 30th, 1853.

In France the earliest record of the Caldwells relates to John,
Alexander and Oliver, who early in the sixteenth century were
members of a Mediterranean corsair crew dominated by the Bar-
barossas. After the power of the latter declined the brothers
returned to their native Toulon and settled nearby at Mount Arid.
Incurring the enmity of Francis I, they were forced to flee from
Normandy into Scotland. With the consent of James I they
acquired Douglas's bishopric near Solway Firth. One of the
conditions of purchase was that the lands should thereafter be
known as the "Cold Wells" (or Caldwells). Another was that
on demand, each should send his son with twenty sound men to
aid in fighting the King's wars. A silver cup or jorum is an
ancient heirloom in the family, and shows that the estate took its
name from a watering post. The cup represents a chieftain and
twenty mounted men, armed and caparisoned. Below a fire
burning on a hill are the words, "Mount Arid/' and the represen-
tation of a vessel surrounded by high waves.

Joseph, John, Alexander, Daniel, David, and Andrew, of
Caldwell, went into Ireland with Cromwell. (History records
that the Protector's grandmother was a Caldwell.) There they
remained till the ^Restoration, when John, David and Andrew fled
to America. Joseph and Daniel continued in Ireland, but several
of their children emigrated to America, settling on the James
Eiver in Virginia, and elsewhere. From thence the honorable
family of Caldwell has spread along the Atlantic seaboard and
into various States of the Union.

The so-called Caldwell settlement on Cub Creek was the
birthplace of the mother of John C. Calhoun. Her grandfather,
John Caldwell, whose name she gave to her illustrious son, had


emigrated from County Aiilvini, with his wife and children an.l
four sisters. They landed at Newcastle iu the State of Delaware,
on the 10th of December, 1727; going from there to Lancaster
County, Pennsylvania, and later removing to Cub Creek, in what
was then Lunenburg, now Charlotte County, Virginia. Here they
were joined by relatives, forming what was long know.i as the
Caldwell Settlement. John Caldwell was. the first Justice of the
Peace, and his son, William was the first militia officer commis-
sioned by George II for that section. John died in 1750 and was
interred beside the faithful mother of his seven children- -Wil-
liam, Thomas, David, Margaret, John, Robert and James. Each
of these brothers contributed something to early American his-

The youngest, the Reverend James Caldwell, a great-uncle
of Calhoun, was born in the Cub Creek wilderness in April, 17:51.
He studied for the ministry under the direction of the Reverend
John Todd Caldwell. Graduating at Newark, New Jersey, in
September, 1759, he was ordained the following year, and in 1761
became pastor of the old First Presbyterian Church at Elizabeth,
New Jersey. His wife was a native of Newark. He was one of

the founders of Princeton College, a man of learning, tact and
piety. The dominie was a patriot also, preaching during the
stirring times of the Revolution with a pistol at either side of his
open Bible. In 1776 he was chaplain of Colonel Drayton's regi-
ment, as popular with the rank and file as with his brother offi-
cers. From 1777 to 1779 he served as assistant Commissary-
General. Greatly beloved by his own people, he was equally hated
by the English and Tories; his patriotic zeal in the pulpit and
field incurred their bitter enmity, and they sought his life. He
was killed by an assassin in 1781. Among his congregation w T ere
such patriots as William Livingston, Governor of the State, and
Abraham Clark, one of the signers of the Declaration of Inde-

Another Charlotte County Caldwell, was General Samuel
Caldwell. Born in the Old Dominion, he emigrated with his
father's family to Kentucky during the great exodus of Virginians
to the "new country" in 1783, and settled at Russellville. He
fought against the Wabash Indians under General James Wil-
kinson of Burr conspiracy fame, and, in 1813, in the State mili-
tary force under command of Governor Isaac Shelby, was com-
missioned a Brigadier-General of mounted troops. He was buried
with military honors at Russellville.

One branch of the family which emigrated to America was
represented by John and Mary Caldwell, who came from the
north of Ireland about 1766-67, settling in what is now Spartan-
burg County and forming a part of the Scotch-Irish settlement on
the Tygers. The membership of the Old Waxhaw Church, just


south of the southern boundary of North Carolina, embraced the

/ /

Caldwells, the Calhouns, the Craigheads and the Jacksons the
latter the forebears of General Andrew Jackson. This small cir-
cle of earnest-minded patriots is said to have moulded the spirit
and sentiments of the w hole "upper country" of that day.

John and Patrick Calhoun Caldwell were sons of William
Caldwell. They were both educated at South Carolina College,
were both lawyers and members of the legislature. Patrick was
also a member of the House of Kepresentatives of the United

Many of the name of Caldwell have participated with honor
in the affairs of these United States since early colonial days
and their record has been meritorious and distinctive.


LENDING of good blood is like unto the mingling of good
wines it promotes the excel] en ce of both. Intermingling
of the life strain of the Celt with that of the Norman-Saxon
or the Gaul has ever produced a sturdy patriotic race.
From the French Flouruoys, English Spencers and Irish Clarys
of America has sprung an honorable line, of which the principal
of this brief sketch is a worthy representative in the second gen-

Of the Irish lineage, Artgall of the chiefs of Cineal Aodha in
Galway w T as the ancestor of O'Cleirigh and MacClerigh, which
Anglicised, is O'Cleary, Cleary, McCleary, etc. Congalach, who
first assumed the surname of O'Clerv, died in A. D. 1025. From

v 7

Shane, called "John and Elegant," and his brother Donall, de-
scended the O'Clervs of Mavo; from Thomas and Cormack, also

, >

brothers of Shane, the O'Clery's of Kilkenny descend. About
1620, Loy and Shane O'Cleary were co-tenants with the Ballochs,
O'Boyles and Farrells, of a tract embracing nearly a thousand
acres in the barony of Glenawley, in Fermanagh. Fermanagh
was one of the six counties confiscated to create the Ulster Plan-
tation. Among the Irishmen who went into the Spanish Nether-
lands with the Duke of York in 1622, serving in the Duke's own
regiment, were Florence and Thaddeus, who appear on the rolls
as "Don Florencio" and "Don Thadeo" Clery.

The present generation of Clarys of Charlotte County, Vir-
ginia, have the tradition that their paternal ancestor, who was
born in Ireland, landed in the State of Connecticut, was a tutor
at old Yale College, and perhaps lived for a time in New Jersey.

The catalogue of Yale records a Henry Clary as receiving the
Bachelor of Arts degree in 1818, Master of Arts in 1829. Joseph
Eldridge, later D.D., took his first degree at Yale the same vear,

Henry Eldridge Clary was born in Brunswick County, Vir-
ginia, about 1823. At that period Benjamin, John and Herod
Clary were residents of Brunswick, and William H. Eldridge was
a neighbor. The wills of Herod and Benjamin, probated in that
County, were dated in 1829 and 1831, respectively. If leisure
should permit an examination of old Brunswick church and court
records, more light might be thrown on the earlier home of this
Irish faniilv.


Mr. Clary's mother was descended from a long line of



Spencers and Flournoys of Prince Edward County, Virginia.
Both families were prominent in Old Briery Presbyterian Church
which v/as organized in that County between 1755 and 1760, by
the Keverend Kobert Henry. There, Thomas Coles Spencer was
ruling elder in 1804 and Samuel Flournoy Spencer in 1807. From
its organization until 1829 there were thirty-six members of Old
Briery who bore the name of Spencer, and doubtless others of
their blood whose patronymic had been changed by marriage. A
sister of Thomas Coles Spencer, Frances A., married a Wilfley
(or Whitfield?).

The name Spencer is of Norman origin, and relates to the
occupation of steward. It was founded in the time of William
the Conqueror. The most prominent of the earlier Spencers in
Virginia was Colonel Nicholas Spencer, a cousin of Lord Cul-
peper. In 1684 he was acting Governor pending the arrival of
Lord Effingham, and later, until his death in 1689, was one of the
Governor's counsellors. He emigrated to Virginia in 1659 and
settled in Westmoreland County, where the parish of Cople was
named in honor of his English home. His father was Nicholas
Spencer, Esquire, of Cople, Bedfordshire; his mother, Mary,
daughter of Sir Edward Gostwick. Colonel Nicholas left several
children who have descendants in Virginia. Among his sons
were Nicholas Junior, John "of Nominy" and Francis "of Cople."
His wife was Miss Frances Mottrom of Northumberland County,
Virginia. He had a brother in the Colony, Captain Kobert Spen-
cer, who was justice of Surry and died late in the seventeenth

Platt Rogers Spencer, born November 7, 1800, in Dutchess
County, New York, founder of the Spencerian style and system of
penmanship, was a descendant in the fifth generation of the first
John Spencer of Rhode Island, reputed to be of noble lineage.
His sons Robert C., Lyman P., Harvey A., Henry C., and Platt R.,
Junior, have done much to promote and popularize the method
introduced by their father, whose achievement has been classed
with those of Hoe, Morse, and other pioneers of recording and
transmitting processes. Mr. Spencer made of chirography an art
and a science.

The motto of the Spencer family as used by Sir Robert Spen-
cer, knight, of Northamptonshire, is a brave one: "I Dare If I

The probable connection of the Rhode Island Spencer with
Lord Robert is now being traced.

Of the daughters of John James (Jean Jacques) Flournoy
the emigrant, Elizabeth Julia, born December 5, 1721, married
"Thomas Spencer of Virginia." On the twentieth of March,
1745, one Thomas Spencer came into possession of four hundred
acres of land on Briery river, which lay in what was then Amelia


County, from which Prince Edward County was formed in 1753.
Obediah Spencer was a Revolutionary soldier from Amelia.
Thomas Spencer was a Revolutionary officer who marched from
Prince Edward ; he was Lieutenant of Captain William Morton's
company, fourth Virginia regiment, Continental Line, and doubt-
less a kinsman of Morton. Thomas and Elizabeth J. (Flournoy)
Spencer were the parents of at least eight children, all born be-
fore September, 1757: Mary, born 1742, Sion, 1744, John, 1745,
Elizabeth Julia, 1747, Ann, 1749, Thomas, Martha, Owen and one
child, name not recorded.

Thomas Flournoy Spencer, born in Charlotte County in 1794,
was the grandfather of Whitfield Spencer Clary. He married
several times; Mrs. Bouldiu Spencer was the mother of his chil-
dren, who were, Ephraini B. ; William G. ; Catherine, who married
Joseph B. Friend ; Margarette E., who married Henry Eldridge
Clary; Thomas F., Robert S.; Whitfield S., and Mary Virginia,
wife of Elbert M. Williamson of Danville, Avhose parents were
William B. and Pamelia Williamson. Captain Thomas Flournoy
Spencer died in 1865. His widow and fourth wife, Mrs. Emma
Spencer, never married again. Whitfield Clary's own grand-
mother having died, Mrs. Spencer became foster parent to the
tiny orphan, and he made his home with her until he was fifteen
years old ; spending a part of the time with his uncle, Robert S.
Spencer, a farmer of Roanoke township. Robert's widow, Mrs.
Mattie Spencer, is living at Aspen, Charlotte County, Virginia.
"Roanoke" is famous as the home of John Randolph, and Patrick
Henry lived (and died) at "Red Hill," in this County, within six
miles of which place, Whitfield Spencer Clary was born.

When the Civil conflict came to disrupt peaceful pursuits
and separate families, Henry Eldridge Clary was the head of a
happy home at Aspeuwall in Charlotte County and conducted a
successful institution of learning, a flourishing male school, where
he prepared students for college. He was also a modest farmer.
School affairs, however, taking most of his time, farm matters
were placed in the hands of a young overseer, Wyatt Harvey,
enabling the master to devote himself more exclusively to the
classroom. At that period Mr. Clary's family consisted of his
wife, Mrs. Margarette E. Clary, and their children : Thomas H.,
born June 1854; Paul, January 1856; William Eldridge, born
December 1857; SaUie A., 1859; Ephriam, 1860; Whitfield S.
and Robert S., twins, were born November 17, 1861, during the
war. Thrilled by the same impulses which summoned noble pa-
triots by the thousands to annihilation in the great struggle for
their homes, their fortunes and their beloved Southland, he identi-
fied himself with a command then known as "Bruce's Artillery
Company," which w r as sent South. Leaving Mrs. Clary and his
children in the midst of her friends and kinsfolk in her native


County of Charlotte, the devoted husband and father resolutely
marched forth to do his duty as a citizen and a Southerner. Alas !
his career was not long; but he escaped the after horrors of the
war. The gallant teacher-patriot succumbed to fever, dying in
the service at Savannah, Georgia, in May, 1862. (A Louisiana
battery commanded by Captain Rufus J. Bruce was present at
the bombardment and capture of Fort Jackson, Louisiana, by the
Federals on April 24, 1862. Captain Bruce's assistance to the
water battery received honorable mention in Confederate re-
ports.) Mr. Clary's widow, burdened with five children, the
eldest less than ten years of age and the youngest an infant in
arms, did not long survive the husband and father, dying during
the same month of an attack of measles. There were no Clary
relatives in the County, and after Mrs. Clary's death the orphaned
children were taken and raised by the Spencers. The oldest boy,
Tom, went to live with the uncle for whom he was named. The
next, Paul, was fostered by his uncle William and aunt Nannie.
Sallie was mothered by her aunt "Jennie" (Mrs. Mary Virginia
Williamson), and the baby, Whitfield, was, as already stated,
cared for by his step-grandmother. His twin brother Robert S.
survived his mother only three months. Thus the children were
absorbed into, and surrounded by, the family life and influence
of their kinfolk, the Spencers, a family of much worth and stand-
ing in two Counties. Whitfield S. Spencer, for whom the infant
was named, was killed in Mav 1863 at the battle of Chancellors-

/ t*

ville. He was born about 1840. Thus brother, father and hus-
band of Mrs. Clary were sacrificed during the dark days of the
'sixties. The marital union so sadly and prematurely shattered
bv the circumstances of war had been entered into at Old Roanoke


Church or vicinity, the girlhood home of Mrs. Clary. The cere-
mony which took place probably in 1852 or '53, was performed by
Alexander Martin, D.D., father of Miles M. Martin, a prominent
lawyer of Richmond. W. S. Clary was baptized in infancy by
Doctor Alexander Martin, who was also his pastor when a young
man in Danville. The Spencer family Bible was at one time in
the possession of Robert S., son of Thomas Flournoy Spencer.
None of the children of Thomas are now living, and no written
history of their generation or the one preceding it is extant, but
Mr. Clary will have in permanent form in this sketch at least a
fragmentary record of his family.

His mother's full name was Margarette Elizabeth Spencer.
She was a daughter of Thomas Flournoy Spencer and the wife,
who was Miss Bouldin. Margarette was born in Charlotte
County, which was set off from old Lunenburg in 1794. As nearly
as can be learned, her birth occurred about 1827.

Mr. Clary's maternal grandmother was a member of a dis-
tinguished family; of whom Major Wood Bouldin of Revolution-


ary fame, married the sister of President Tyler. Major and Mrs.
Joanna (Tyler) Bouldin were the parents of Thomas Tyler
Bouldin who was born in 1772, and represented his district in
Congress from 1829 until his death in 1834. He died while deliv-
ering a eulogy upon his predecessor, John Kandolph of Roauoke.
Thomas married Ann Lewis. Their son Wood Bouldin, born at
"Golden Hills" January 20, 1811, was Judge of the Virginia Su-
preme Court. Another son of Major Bouldin was James Wood,
born in Charlotte County in 1772, who succeeded his brother in
Congress, and died at "Forest Hill" on March 30, 1854. James'
wife was Alrneria Read, daughter of Reverend Clement Read,
Joanna Tj T ler Bouldin was a pensioner on the Revolutionary roll
and was living in Charlotte County as late as 1840, at the age of
eighty-eight years. One John A. Bouldin joined an ill-fated mili-
tary company mustered at Shepherdstown, which w-as largely
made up of Irishmen. The name has been variously spelled. It
even appears in the form of Boulling, Bowling and Boiling.

The Flournoys, "a prolific and short-lived family," are of
noble origin. Jean Jacques Flournoy, a French Huguenot, was
born November 17, 1686, and emigrated to Virginia from Geneva,
Switzerland (where his great-great-grandfather, Laurent, had fled
from Champagne). He was married, in Virginia, on June 23,

Online LibraryAlbert B OsborneMakers of America; biographies of leading men of thought and action, the men who constitute the bone and sinew of American prosperity and life (Volume 3) → online text (page 19 of 48)