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 The  Name

CALDWELL: "CALD" in Gaelic means "Hazels."  Hazelnuts would have been an important food source. "Weil" means pool, so "pool by the hazels."  The Caldwell castles were always located by rivers. 

 Baronetage  of  Ireland

The Caldwell Baronetcy of Wellsborough, County Fermanagh was created in the Baronetage of Ireland on 23 June 1683 for James Caldwell, High Sheriff of County Fermanagh, Ireland.  He owned Castle Caldwell at Templecarne, County Fermanagh and also bought an estate in Wellsborough. Castle Caldwell was passed through the family to The Rt Hon Sir James Caldwell, 4th Baronet who was of service to Empress Maria Theresa, and created Count of Milan, in the Holy Roman Empire.  Sir James at his own expense comprised 250 men, which he commanded for years, to defend the Kingdom of Ireland. Sir John Caldwell, 5th Baronet, was Governor of County Fermanagh, and Lieutenant-Colonel, Fermanagh Militia, High Sheriff (Deputy-Earl) of County Fermanagh, and Captain, Belleek Infantry. Eventually in 1729, Julie's 7th Great-Grandfather, Capt John Caldwell and his wife Margaret Phillips along with their seven children set sail from Northern Ireland, arriving at the British Colonies of North America, in the pursuit of religious freedom.


 Castle  Caldwell


Castle Caldwell at Templecarne, County Fermanagh, is at the west end of Lower Lough Erne, in Northern Ireland.  It was built between 1612-1619 by Thomas Blennerhassett, on the 1,500 acre estate he acquired under the Plantation of Ulster.  It was a classic Gothic style, two stories over a basement, with two semi-circular projecting tower-pavilions, quatrefoil pointed windows, and surmounted by a pointed arch rather akin to a belfry.  In the 1660's, the estate was rented by the Blennerhassetts to the Caldwells, a well to do merchant family from Enniskillen, who bought it in 1662.  In June 1683 the head of the Caldwell family (James Caldwell) was granted an hereditary baronetcy and in the same year the first reference to a family home named "Castle Caldwell" occurred.  In the early 1800's Castle Caldwell came into the hands of John Bloomfield who married heiress Frances Caldwell, daughter of Sir John Caldwell, 6th Baronet.  In 1849 their son, John Caldwell Bloomfield, inherited the castle and estate. Castle Caldwell is now a nature reserve welcome to the public to explore, picnic, and boat.

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 Belleek   Pottery


Belleek Pottery is located in the village of Belleek, County Fermanagh. Established in 1857, Belleek Pottery holds a very special place in the cultural and commercial heritage of County Fermanagh.  Original and unique pieces are made using traditional methods passed down from generation to generation.  Belleek Pottery is one of Northern Ireland's oldest and most fascinating attractions.

In 1849, John Caldwell Bloomfield inherited the Castle Caldwell estate, which included the village of Belleek, from his father.  Concerned for his tenants after the potato famine, he sought to provide worthwhile employment.  As an amateur mineralogist, he ordered a geological survey of his land.  He was thrilled to learn it contained the raw materials to make pottery - feldspar, kaolin, flint, clay and shale.   With the village of Belleek, whose name in Gaelic, beal leice, translates to "Flagstone Ford," was a perfect location for the factory.  The River Erne, provided enough power to drive a mill wheel strong enough to grind components into slip.  John pulled strings, and was able to single handedly bring the Rail Service to Belleek. By rail, coal could be brought in to fire Kilns and finished product could be sent to market.


On November 18, 1858, Mrs. Bloomfield laid the foundation stone for Belleek Pottery.  By 1865 Belleek was exporting product to England, Canada, Australia, and the United States. Queen Victoria, the Prince of Wales and nobility became collectors of Belleek products.  Queen Victoria's Museum in England, has one of her favorite Belleek pieces on display.  Belleek Pottery has stood the test of time, and is a tribute to the land and culture of Ireland.  They have recently acquired Galway Irish Crystal, Aynsley China, and Donegal China. 


Whilst visiting the factory, stop by the Visitor's Center for a tour, if you are feeling lucky try your hand at painting a shamrock, or shatter some imperfect china pieces.  Afterwards, have a spot of tea in the Belleek Pottery Tea Room, where you can of course drink from Belleek porcelain, and enjoy various delights! 

 The  British  Colonies


Julie's 7th Great-Grandfather, Capt John Caldwell and family arrived at the port of New Castle, in the Colony of Delaware, on October 11, 1727.  He was granted authority to create "The Caldwell Settlement," on 30,000 acres in Cub Creek, Province of Virginia, by Governor William Gooch in 1738. Capt John Caldwell was Justice of Peace for the circuit court, and Ruling Elder of the Cub Creek Church. One May 26, 1738, he asked the government to ensure frontiersmen the right to worship as they pleased, assuring religious freedom, and it was granted. At first he held services under a tree, and then a log church was built.  On June 15, 1773, King George III of England, granted land to John Caldwell (Julie's 5th Great-Grandfather), in Craig County, Virginia.


At a meeting on October 13, 1774, in the Cub Creek Church, the seed was planted for two schools of higher learning to be established in Virginia.  Those two schools were, Liberty Hall Academy, later renamed, Washington College, and still later renamed, Washington and Lee University, which was founded in 1749. The school is named after George Washington who made a generous endowment, and Robert E. Lee, who provided innovative educational leadership during his tenure as President of Washington College, from 1865 to 1870.  Washington and Lee University is the ninth oldest institution of higher education in America. The other school discussed was to be a seminary in Southside Virginia, named Hampden-Sydney College, which was founded on November 10, 1775.  It was the last American college founded in British Colonial America, 10th oldest college in America, and last college founded before the start of the American Revolution. James Madison, and Patrick Henry were among the first Trustees of Hampden-Sydney College.





  The  Fighting  Chaplain

Capt John Caldwell's son Rev James Caldwell, Julies' 6th Great-Uncle, was known as a hero and true patriot of the American Revolution.  He was an ordained pastor and served as Third Battalion of Company No. 1, and was Commissary to the troops.  He was nicknamed, the "Fighting Chaplain."  Rev James went to Classics School and in 1755, entered the College of New Jersey (later Princeton University, where he  remained a Trustee), and graduated three years later with seventeen others.  He was ordained at 27 years of age, in March, 1762.  As a preacher, he was eloquent and rarely preached without weeping himself, and at times he would melt his whole congregation of over 350 parishioners to tears.  He served on a committee to promote missionary work among Indians, and sat on a committee to encourage missionary work in Africa and examine the church's position on slavery.  He was an ardent supporter of the American Revolution and was not ashamed to proclaim it from the pulpit.  Rev James Caldwell in April, 1775, was appointed to a committee to formally urge churches to support the rebellion.  These actions made him a target. 


Back at his church he preached thunderous sermons, pleading for loyalty to the cause of liberty.  It was extremely rare for ministers to preach liberty from the pulpit, but Rev James Caldwell did.  He traveled with the troops, so that he could minister them, but also minister the residents of nearby towns, hold baptisms and too often, funerals. It was documented that when excited, he became expressive of high resolution and energy, which made his voice loud enough to be heard above drum, fife, and musket fire.  In 1780, British troops burned his church to the ground.  He then made arrangements to move his family and church, but his wife, did not wish to leave.  She felt safer in her home than on the open road.  One day she heard the British troops coming, made last minute preparations, lowering items into a bucket and lowering them in a well. She dressed in nicer clothes, in case she needed to address an officer, and pocketed some silverware.  She then took her children into the bedroom, kneed down, and prayed.  Just then a redcoat jumped her fence, came up to the house, and shot through the window, shattering the glass, and killing Hannah Caldwell with a ball through her chest.  The British pilfered her pockets, looted the house and took five hundred sermons James had written out in longhand.  Neighbors collected her body before the home was torched.  James was with General Lafayette near Springfield, when he learned of the news.  He rushed back, delivered the eulogy that day, and immediately returned to his troops, taking no time to mourn.


During the next battle his troops ran out of wadding papers, which are used to roll powder and ball.  Rev James Caldwell ran into a nearby church and scooped up as many hymnals as he could carry, and distributed them to the troops, shouting "give 'em Watts boys!"  Caldwell's legendary deed stirred such patriotic fervor that Washington Irving recorded it in his biography of George Washington.  Rev James Caldwall was assassinated by a sentry, James Morgan, with two musket balls, on November 24, 1781.  James Morgan was hanged for murder on January 29, 1782 in Westfield, New Jersey, amid rumors that he had been bribed to kill the chaplain. It is easy to imagine Rev James Caldwell might have gone on to serve his country in the new Republic as one of the Founding Fathers.  His children now orphaned, were taken in by George Washington, and General Lafayette, who officially adopted Eric Caldwell.  After being educated in France, Eric returned to Washington D.C. and single handedly saved all of the important Supreme Court documents from the burning of the Capitol by the British.  There is a portrait of Eric Caldwell in the Supreme Court chambers.  He was also a pallbearer for Abraham Lincoln, accompanying his body to it's final resting place.





  In  Memoriam


Caldwell, New Jersey is located in northwestern Essex County, approximately 16 miles outside of New York City, and is named in honor of Reverend James Caldwell.  In 1837, Reverend Richard Falley Cleveland was serving as pastor of the Caldwell Church, when Grover Cleveland, the 22nd and 24th President of the United States, was born in the church's rectory.  In 1939, Caldwell University was founded.  It offers 25 undergraduate and 30 graduate programs, including doctoral, master's, certificate, and certification programs.  Caldwell, New Jersey, is famous in TV land as being the location of crime boss Tony Soprano's mansion used in the television series The Soprano's. 

There is an elementary school in Union, NJ, named in honor of Hannah Caldwell.  She is also memoralized on the seal of Union, NJ.

Rev James Caldwell was the Grandfather of John Caldwell Calhoun, the 7th Vice President of United States of America under John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson.  He was also a US Senator from South Carolina, the 16th US Secretary of State, 10th US Secretary of War, and Member of the US House of Representatives. There is a full body statue of John Caldwell Calhoun located in the US Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

 Kispoko  Shawnee


Capt John Caldwell's son William and wife Rebecca, are Julie's 6th Great-Uncle and Aunt. They had a son named William Caldwell. While working for the Indian Department during the American Revolutionary War, he met a Shawnee Indian woman, at a Mohawk refugee camp near Fort Niagara, named Bright Horn "Sarah" Rising Sun.  They married and had one child, named Sauganash "Billy Caldwell." Billy would later negotiate treaties on behalf of the United Nations of Chippewa, Ottawa, and Potawatomi, with the United States, and became a leader of a Potawatomi band at Trader's Point (Iowa Territory).


Sarah's parents were famous Shawnee war Chief Blue Jacket and Rising Sun Kishpoko Techacha Morning Star.  There was much speculation surrounding Chief Blue Jacket's ethnicity.  He had such light colored skin, it was believed he was a white man called Marmaduke Van Swearingen, who was captured by Shawnee Indians during the American Revolutionary War.  Modern technology, such as DNA testing, has put to rest this legend, and proved he was of Native American descent.  Rising Sun has very famous siblings including Tecumseh, a Shawnee Warrior and Chief, and his younger brother, The Prophet, a Shawnee spiritual leader.  Both men have been commemorated on silver and gold coins, and there is a sculpture by German sculptor Ferdinand Pettrich, called The Dying Tecumseh, located in the Smithsonian American Art Museum, in Washington D.C.

 Virginia  Tech


Oscar Ferdinand Wiley Craig Caldwell, is Julie's Great-Great-Grandfather. His brother George Charlton Caldwell and wife Lorena, are Julie's 2nd Great-Aunt and Uncle. Their children William Addison and Milton, were the first students to register at the Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College (V.A.M.C.).  The Virginia commonwealth's new land-grant institution  eventually became known as the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.  Addison, 16 years of age, and Milton, 18 years of age, left their home in Sinking Creek (Craig County), and walked 26 miles through the Blue Ridge Mountains to Blacksburg.  On October 1, 1872 they were registered as the first students. There is a statue of William Addison on campus.

  The  RMS  Titanic


Albert Francis Caldwell, wife Sylvia, and 10 month old baby Alden, on their return trip home from missionary work in Bangkok, Thailand, boarded the Titanic in England, in 1912. They were one of the lucky families to survive intact, via Lifeboat 13.  Their complete story is available in the book "A Rare Titanic Family, The Caldwells' Story of Survival," by Julie Hedgepeth Williams. 

This story is even more interesting given the Titanic was built in Northern Ireland, not too far from where the Caldwell ancestors called home.  The Caldwell's have a rich Irish-American history that is all their own.  "I am proud to be from such a passionate group of historical pioneers." Julie Wilson, Ms. Ireland USA 2018


Later in life Albert and Sylvia were divorced.  She remarried, George J. Mecherle, the founder of State Farm Insurance.

 Paint  Bank

Paint Bank, is were Julie's most recent ancestors lived.  It is nestled between Potts Mountain and Peters Mountain, in Craig County, Virginia, known as the Western Highlands.  It is famous for it's red clay taken from the banks of Potts Creek.  The Cherokee Indians, used the red clay as war paint, and to make pottery.  Later the same red clay was used to make commercial paint and red bricks for buildings.  Paint Bank has one church, one general store, one post office, one gas pump, and no traffic lights.


During the Civil War, Paint Bank became known as the "Union Hole."   It was a place for southern deserters and resisters.  This small area swayed heavily towards the north, in a traditionally southern state.  Julie's Great Grandparents are Kenneth Watson Rose, and Gladys Glendora Caldwell.  It has been documented that Julie's 4th Great Grandfather, Jackson Rose, paid heavily during the Civil War for his pro-Union beliefs.  He was collared so violently by Confederate authorities, that his hair was pulled in clumps from his scalp, and his blood covered the snow.

​One of the big local attractions in Paint Bank is the fish hatchery, which is run by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.  They raise Brown trout, Brook trout, and Rainbow trout, which are used to stock streams in nine counties. 

The best place to be on the fourth of July, is the firehouse!  There is an auction, plenty of home cooking to go around, and all the local news you can take! 

As a little girl Julie, remembers the winding, two-lane drive through the mountains, that offered risky encounters with deer, wild turkey, and black bear; as well as serving up plenty of falling rocks, and hair pin turns.  There are t-shirts sold stating, "I survived Route 311" to reach "the end of the world - Paint Bank, Virginia." Many of Julie's favorite memories, involve pulling off the road in the mountains, and looking through the freshly fallen rocks.  She was always lucky in finding prehistoric fossils, which was very exciting to her!  She continues to have a fascination with fossils, and has a nice personal collection, with her Paint Bank treasures in a prominent position.

Julie's family built the only church in town, by carrying supplies back and forth by horse drawn carriage over the mountains. 

Her Great Grandfather ran the General store.  Julie's Mother tells stories about selling peppermint sticks, working the cash register, and overhearing the towns gossip while upstairs.  The restrooms have recently been remodeled, and to Julie's Grandmothers dismay, there is a photo of her hanging front and center. 

Potts Mountain

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