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This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Caldwell, Joseph Pearson

by Homer M. Keever, 1979

75 Mar. 1808–30 June 1853

Joseph Pearson Caldwell, state legislator and member of Congress, was born in the northern part of Iredell County, the fifth son of Andrew Caldwell and Ruth Reese Sharpe Caldwell. His maternal grandfather was William Sharpe, member of the Second Continental Congress from North Carolina from 1779 until 1782. Joseph was related to David Caldwell, member of the House of Commons when Iredell County was formed, and David Franklin Caldwell, Joseph's oldest brother, was a judge of renown.

Caldwell was educated at Bethany Academy near Statesville and then read law with his brother, Judge Caldwell, afterward becoming an attorney in Statesville. In 1833 he was elected to the North Carolina Senate from Iredell, and from 1838 until 1844 he was member of the House of Commons. In 1849, when Nathaniel Boyden of Salisbury declined to run again for the U.S. House of Representatives, Caldwell allowed his name to be put forward by the Iredell County Whigs for the place and was elected without formal opposition from either party as representative from the Second North Carolina District. In 1851 he was reelected, again without opposition. In 1853 he declined to stand for reelection to a third term; he died in Statesville some two months before his successor was chosen.

In 1842 he married Amanda McCulloch, daughter of John McCulloch of Rowan County and a descendant of Thomas Polk. One of their daughters married Theodore Kluttz, later member of Congress from Salisbury. Another daughter, Janie, became a well-known teacher in Statesville. Caldwell's son, who was named for him and who was two weeks old when his father died, became one of North Carolina's most distinguished newspaper editors.


Biog. Dir. Am. Cong. (1928).

Salisbury Carolina Watchman, 1849–51.

John H. Wheeler, Historical Sketches of North Carolina (1851).

Additional Resources:

Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, Joseph Pearson Caldwell:

Historical Sketches of North Carolina from 1584-1851, available from GoogleBooks.

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