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History Monday: Mrs. Etta Caldwell Remembered

By Mike Watson

Life as we knew it will probably never be the same. That happens from time to time, and has in our own lifetimes, if we think about it. So much changed after the 9-11 attacks; after the Vietnam Conflict; after Pearl Harbor. We all have our own way of looking at life and its progression. In fifty years--or less, perhaps--there will be an examination of this time, 2020, and what life was like, and how we remember events and people. This is the proverbial 'circle of life' that will come again and again.

Mrs. Etta Caldwell was born in Kentucky in 1857. In 1951, at the golden age of ninety-four years, she was featured in a one-hour television program in Oklahoma City. Mrs. Caldwell related memories of her early married life in Adair County. She left here with family in 1906. Her husband, Robert T. Caldwell, had died and she migrated with her sons to New Mexico, as was a trend at that time, to homestead. Several years later she removed to Oklahoma and resided in Oklahoma City with a son in 1951.

Mr. and Mrs. Caldwell were parents to Charles, of Oklahoma City; Mrs. Edna Robinson, of Oklahoma City; Rufus B., of Albuquerque, New Mexico; James A., of Cincinnati; and Rollin T., of Milltown, Adair County; and two sons who predeceased her.

Four of her sons served in World War I as volunteers, one earning a Silver Star, and four grandsons served in World War II. She had served as a national officer in American War Mothers organization.

In 1956 Mrs. Caldwell celebrated her ninety-ninth birth anniversary. An article in the Adair County News stated she had been a school teacher, farmer, sorority housemother, and mother of seven children, six boys and one girl. She recalled soldiers watering their horses at her home near Creelsboro during the Civil War. "They usually always stopped at our place to water and feed their horses, and we would sing Southern songs to them while they were there," she stated.

Migrating to New Mexico, Mrs. Caldwell staked a claim to 160 acres of land and began farming. She later moved to the town of Elida where she operated a small hotel. When the older boys reached college age, she moved to Albuquerque where they attended the University of New Mexico.

Mrs. Caldwell celebrated her century birth anniversary on 20 April 1956 at her home in Oklahoma City with many congratulatory cards and letters, including a card from President Eisenhower. After suffering a stroke in early 1959, she passed from this life in Oklahoma City on November 24, 1958, aged 101 years.

Sources: Adair County News, 13 March 1951, p1; 13 June 1956, p7; 24 April 1957, pp 7, 12; 17 December 1958, pp 1, 12; etc.

This story was posted on 2020-06-01 06:35:30
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