HON. ANDREW STITES CALDWELL. To have lived in six of the great states of
the American Union engaged in useful pursuits, and won the high regard of
the people in each; to have been a valued, capable and popular school
teacher in three, and attained to high rank in the legal profession in the
same number; to have been selected for intricate, important and trying
duties in the service of the national government because of his special
ability and fitness for them; then to have returned, at the full maturity of
his powers and prime of his manhood, to the home of his youth, and become an
ornament to its bar and bench, is more than a record of which any man might
be proud. It is a proof of high character, commanding ability, varied and
comprehensive acquirements, and force of will sufficient to sustain their
possessor creditably in any situation, whatever its demands might be.
This is. in brief, an outline of the life-story to the present time of Judge Andrew Stites Caldwell, of Carbondale, and the outline indicates what the full recital must embody in the way of eminent qualification for work of a high order. It also indicates that in spite of the madness of their politics and the venom that madness frequently engenders, the American people are not blind to genuine merit, but know how to esteem it in the long run, and have the wisdom to confide their interests , to its care with confidence that those interests will be safely guarded and promoted.
Judge Caldwell was born in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, on September 15, 1853, and is the son of Isaac Hodgen and Eveline Sharp (Stites) Caldwell, prominent and highly respected residents of that state. The father was a lawyer and banker, and when the son was fifteen years of age moved his family to Carbondale, Illinois, where he continued the pursuits he had been engaged in at his former home, with success in his operations and high regard among the people of the city and the whole of Jackson county.
The son was educated under the tuition of Professor Clark Braden at the Southern Illinois College. He studied law under the supervision and direction of Hon. William J. Allen, long an honored judge of the United States court, and was admitted to the bar in 1878. He did not immediately give himself up wholly to the practice of his profession, but for a time enlarged his knowledge of himself and others by teaching school. He taught in Jackson county for a short period, then for three years served as principal of the public schools in Sedalia, Missouri.
In 1883 he moved to Boise, Idaho, and during one year was principal of the public schools in that city. He had not, however, wholly neglected his profession, but had kept in close touch with it, and used every opportunity to show himself alive in it in such a manner as to make the bench and bar of every locality in which he resided respect his talents and legal attainments, and look upon him. as a young man of present power and great promise as a practitioner.
After the election of Mr. Cleveland to the presidency, the future judge was appointed special agent of the government land office at Boise, and afterward at Denver, Colorado, for the purpose of prosecuting coal land frauds and timber trespassing. At the end of his term in this office he devoted himself to a general practice of law in Denver for three years. In 1892 he returned to Carbondale and continued his general practice for a number of years in this city, then began to make a specialty of insurance law, becoming local counsel for the Phenix, the Royal, the Liverpool and London and Globe Insurance companies, and others.
In 1898 Mr. Caldwell was elected county judge of Jackson county, and during his tenure of this exalted office he administered the law without fear or favor.
Judge Caldwell has taken an active interest in the organizations formed and conducted for the improvement of his profession and the promotion of goodfellowship among its members. He is a member of the State Bar Association of Illinois, a member of the bar in Colorado and Idaho, president of the Jackson County Bar Association, and in many other ways is active for the welfare of the guild of which he is so conspicuous and honored a component, his services in all of which are highly appreciated. The fraternal life of the community has interested him too. He belongs to the Order of Odd Fellows and the Modern Woodmen of America. In religious faith and membership he is connected with the Christian church, and is an elder in the congregation to which he belongs. In politics he is an earnest and active Democrat, always energetic and effective in his services to his party. He has been a delegate to every state Democratic convention of Illinois for twenty years except one. He was also a delegate from the territory of Idaho to the national Democratic convention of 1884, which nominated Grover Cleveland for the presidency the first time, and in the campaign that followed took a prominent and highly serviceable part in the effort that elected him.
Judge Caldwell was married on May 23, 1894, to Miss Ada L. Dunaway, a daughter of the late Samuel Washington Dunaway, of Carbondale, a sketch of whose life will be found in this work. Her mother is Mrs. Virginia (Thorne) Dunaway, who is still living, and is one of the most prominent and highly esteemed ladies of the city. The judge and his wife have had two children: Their son Edgar T., who died in August, 1909; and their daughter Virginia Stites, who was born in 1900.
Extracted 16 Jan 2018 by Norma Hass from 1912 A History of Southern Illinois, volume 2, pages 1067-1069.
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