Robert Henderson Caldwell

1825 - 1893

Cumberland Presbyterian Minister

Rev. Robert Henderson Caldwell was born May 17, 1825, at the head spring of Salt River, Boyle County, where he has always resided. He was educated at and is one of the Alumni of Center College, Danville. In 1846 he was licensed as a probationer by the Kentucky Presbytery of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, at Sugar Ridge, Scott County, and in 1848 was ordained to the whole work of the ministry, since which time he has actively engaged in his sacred calling. Besides other arduous labors, he has been pastor of the Caldwell Church in Boyle County over thirty years; Walnut Flat, Lincoln County, twenty-eight years; Hebron, Anderson County (in all) twenty years; he also served Bethel and Perryville five years at first. From 1867 until 1872 he conducted the Thornhill Boarding School at his residence, and he acted as county superintendent of public schools of Boyle County for over twenty years. He has been twice married: first on March 30, 1847, to Miss Rachel A., daughter of James and Sally (Givens) Harberson, of Boyle County. She was born in 1828, and departed this life in August, 1847. In December, 1849, he married Miss Lucy E., daughter of Abraham and Amelia T. (Moss) Irvine, of Boyle County, born October 1, 1828, and their union has been favored by the birth of Abraham I., Phebe J. (Starkey), James L., Amelia C. (Starkey), Ella, Logan W., Joseph W., Gabriel I., Robert T., Charles G., Maggie and Bessie. Mr. Caldwell has taken the council degrees in Masonry; is an Odd Fellow and a Good Templar; was a Union man during the late war, and in politics is independent.
[Source: Kentucky: A History of the State. Battle, Perrin, & Kniffin, 4th ed., 1887]


There is nothing more untrue than the oft repeated sentiment that while the evil that men do lives after them the good is interred with their bones. Some men stamp their lives and characters on a nation or a generation and put influences into operation that never cease. Among the great powers for good in his neighborhood, presbytery, synod, and indeed his whole church was our dear brother Caldwell. He spent his whole life in one community, and almost his entire ministry in one charge. He grew stronger in influence and power for good as years increased upon him, and at the age of sixty-eight he held the people to him with a power that could not be broken. He has stamped the character of at least two generations with the seal of a pure and earnest religion. His life was a wholesome commentary upon the beneficent and growing power of a long and faithful pastorate. He was with his people so long, visiting them in sickness, sympathizing with them in their affliction, marrying their children, and burying their dead, besides leading them to Christ, that he seemed to become and essential part of their social and spiritual life. His preaching was so instructive, earnest, and spiritual, and at the same time so full of affectionate simplicity that the people came to him week after week and year after year as the thirsty come to the pure mountain spring.

The name of Robert Caldwell will linger in the memory and be lisped with the tenderest affection when the children of 1893 shall become the hoary headed veterans of 1950. In his home he inspired the tenderest affection of his wife and each child of his large family. In his community his name was a synonynm for purity, integrity, and godliness. In his presbytery he was conservative, clear-sighted, potent in influence, and yet progressive. In his synod and in the General Assembly he was original and honest in the highest degree. He was much above the average preacher for ability; his sermons were systematic and logical and as a consequence clear and easily remembered. His delivery was animated and carried with it the conviction of great sincerity. Industrious and studious, he kept well up with the march of advanced thought. He read book freely and kept in his study a good number of newspapers and the current literature of the day. Having an investigating mind and believing that the world was advancing, he dipped into theories and philosophies that he might find out their truth or expose their falsity. Upon the whole he, was a well-informed, well-balanced and well-equipped preacher of the gospel. His life was long and useful and he came to his end peacefully; rich in experience, rich in wisdom, and rich in grace.

The Rev. Robert H. Caldwell was born in Boyle county, Ky., May 17, 1825. He was the son of James and Phebe Henderson Caldwell. He was licensed to preach by Kentucky Presbytery in the year 1846, at the age of twenty-one, and ordained in 1848. He was reared on the farm on which his brother, Hon. W. L. Caldwell, now lives and just across the road from where he died.

His father was one of the pioneers of Boyle county and Central Kentucky, a thrifty and intelligent farmer, and one of the first Cumberland Presbyterians in all that section of country. Being an elder and a firm believer in the doctrines of the church, his son breathed in childhood an atmosphere of wholesome doctrine. In early life he listened to such giants in the ministry as Hiram Hunter, Caleb Weedin, Jesse Anderson, and Laban Jones.

He believed with great sincerity the doctrines of the church of which he was a minister. Living, as he did, under the shadow of Center College. he was often pressed to cast his lot with the mother church, and though larger salaries were often within his reach, his convictions of truth were more to him than sordid gold. He was educated chiefly at Center College, but spent sometime in school at Lebanon, Tenn. He was never a member of any other than Kentucky Presbytery.

He was twice married, his first wife living but a very short time. His second wife, Miss ______ Irving, the faithful companion of his abundant labor in the Lord, the successful director of his house, and the mother of all his children, survives him.

His children are intelligent and religious, and two of his sons are successful ministers in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

The writer never lost a better friend or a dearer brother, having been much in his home and labored much with him in the gospel of Jesus, our Master. We will stack our arms on this side of the river and pass over and "rest under the shade." "Well done, good and faithful servant, thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things."

Mayfield, Ky.

[Source: The Cumberland Presbyterian, December 21, 1893, page 357]

Mortuary List 1894

Name: R.H. Caldwell
Presbytery: Kentucky
Date: November 16, 1893

[Source: Minutes of the General Assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterian Chruch, 1894]

Family Information

Robert Caldwell
[son of John Caldwell and Margaret Phillips]
wife: Mary Logan
born: 1739
died: 1815

Children of Robert Caldwell and Mary Logan Caldwell:

1. James Logan Caldwell
born 8 January 1778
died: 12 February 1850 - Boyle County, Kentucky
married 1st: 10 September 1805 - Mercer County, Kentucky
1st wife: Susan Harrison Slaughter

Children of James Caldwell and Susan Harrison Slaughter Caldwell:

1.1. Gabriel Slaughter Caldwell
born: 26 January 1811 - Kentucky
died: 11 May 1885 - Boyle County, Kentucky
married: 1 February 1830 - Mercer County, Kentucky
wife: Lucinda E. Moss
born: 1813

Children of Gabriel Slaughter Caldwell and Lucinda E. Moss Caldwell:

1.1.1. James Caldwell
wife: Martha Clenbrow

1.1.2. Susan H. Caldwell
born: 1833
died: 1881
husband: Joseph W. Fleece

1.1.3. Lucy A. Caldwell
married: 3 May 1854
husband: Logan R. Wharton

1.1.4. Sarah "Sallie" W. Caldwell
married: 17 December
husband: W.L. Kirk

1.1.5. Mary W. Caldwell
married: 19 August 1857
husband: Samuel M. Boone

1.1.6. Phoebe A. Caldwell
born: 24 November 1843
died: 1925
married: 20 November 1867 - Boyle County, Kentucky
husband: Obediah Brumfield
[son of James Brumfield]
born: 1 April 1833 - Boyle County, Kentucky

Children of Phoebe A. Caldwell Brumfield and Obediah Brumfield: Annie Brumfield
born: 1868 Lucy Brumfield
born: 1872 Ella Brumfield
born: 1874 Sue B. Brumfield
born: c1876 James S. Brumfield
born: 1877 Josie Brumfield
born: 1879 Caldwell Brumfield
born: 1881

1.1.7. John T. Caldwell
born: 1846
died: 1877

1.1.8. Pamela J. Caldwell
married: 6 January 1874
husband: James M. Smith

1.1.9. Lucinda "Linnie" Caldwell
married: 9 October 1872
husband: William G. Grinstead

1.2. John Caldwell

1.3. James S. "Cooney" Caldwell
born: 25 September 1818
died: 15 October 1883
wife: Nancy Jane Harbison
[daughter of James Harbison and Sara T. Givens]
born: 30 March 1822
died: 9 September 1893

Children of James S. "Cooney" Caldwell and Nancy Jane Harbison Caldwell:

1.3.1. Susan S. Caldwell
born: 8 January 1843
died: April 1886
married: 2 September 1861
husband: Joseph M. Tarkington

1.3.2. Phebe J. Caldwell
born: 23 February 1846
died: 9 July 1901

1.3.3. Sarah L. Caldwell
born: c1844
died: 1878
buried: Mitchell Cemetery
married: 19 December 1872
husband: Robert Henry C. Mitchell

James Caldwell married 2nd: 1824
2nd wife: Phebe Henderson
[daughter of John and Elizabeth Henderson]

Children of James Caldwell and Phebe Henderson Caldwell:

1.4. Robert Henderson Caldwell
Cumberland Presbyterian Minister
born: 17 May 1825 - Boyle County, Kentucky
died: 16 November 1893 - Boyle County, Kentucky
married 1st: 30 March 1847
1st wife: Rachel Ann Harbison
[daughter of James Harbison and Sara T. Givens]
born: 1828
died: August 1847
married 2nd: December 1849
2nd wife: Lucy E. Irvine
[daughter of Abraham Irvine and Amelia T. Moss]

Children of Robert Henderson Caldwell and Lucy E. Irvine Caldwell:

1.4.1. Abraham I. Caldwell

1.4.2. Phebe J. (or H.) Caldwell
married: 21 December 1876
husband: Jesse R. Starkey
[son of Joel W. Starkey and Jane C. Hagerman]
born: 12 August 1849 - Madison County, Illinois

Children of Phebe Caldwell Starkey and Jesse R. Starkey: Lucy D. Starkey Ella Starkey Horace L. Starkey Russell I. Starkey

1.4.3. James L. Caldwell

1.4.4. Amelia C. Caldwell
husband: ? Starkey

1.4.5. Ella Caldwell

1.4.6. Logan W. Caldwell

1.4.7. Joseph W. Caldwell

1.4.8. Gabriel I. Caldwell

1.4.9. Robert T. Caldwell

1.4.10. Charles G. Caldwell

1.4.11. Maggie Caldwell

1.4.12. Bessie Caldwell

1.5. William Logan Caldwell
born: 13 March 1827
married: November 1847
wife: Ellen B. Crumbaugh
[daughter of Eli Crumbaugh]

Children of William Logan Caldwell and Ellen B. Crumbaugh Caldwell:

1.5.1. James B. Caldwell

1.5.2. Robert C. Caldwell

1.5.3. Nannie C. Caldwell

1.5.4. William Logan Caldwell, Jr.

1.5.5. Ella Caldwell
husband: R.C. Palmer, Jr.

1.5.6. Maria Caldwell

1.5.7. Obadiah B. Caldwell

1.5.8. Lucy E. Caldwell

1.6. Sarah "Sally" S. Caldwell

2. William Caldwell
wife: Miss Wickliffe

Children of William Caldwell and ? Wickliffe Caldwell:

2.1. Lydia Caldwell
husband: Mr. McCord

2.2. Charles Caldwell
wife: Elizabeth Clemens
[daughter of Jeremiah Clemens]

Children of Charles Caldwell and Elizabeth Clemens Caldwell:

2.2.1. Jeremiah Caldwell
wife: Margaret Wilson

Children of Jeremiah Caldwell and Margaret Wilson Caldwell: Charles Caldwell Jeremiah C. Caldwell

3. Logan Caldwell

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Updated March 11, 2015