James Peckham Caldwell, Brazoria County planter and soldier, was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on January 6, 1793, and resided for a time in Kentucky. He raised his nephew, Robert James Calder, after Calder's father died. After receiving a land grant from the Mexican government in 1824, he arrived in Texas in 1832 and established one of the first sugar mills on the Brazos River. After Henry William Munson's death in 1833, Caldwell married the widow, Ann Bynum Pearce Munson, on May 12, 1835, and continued to operate Munson's plantation, Oakland. The couple had two children. In 1852 Oakland produced 200 hogsheads of sugar, and throughout the antebellum period (see ANTEBELLUM TEXAS) Caldwell supplied sugar and hired out slaves to nearby plantations. Caldwell was wounded at the battle of Velasco. In March 1835 he was one of six men who applied to the Louisiana Grand Lodge for a dispensation to form the first Masonic lodge in Texas. Caldwell was to be one of the principal officers of the new lodge. Dispensation for the Holland Lodge was granted, and it opened in December 1835. Caldwell died of yellow fever on November 16, 1856, at Gulf Prairie, Texas, and was buried in Peach Point cemetery.
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James A. Creighton, A Narrative History of Brazoria County (Angleton, Texas: Brazoria County Historical Commission, 1975). Abigail Curlee, "History of a Texas Slave Plantation," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 26 (October 1922). Joseph W. Hale, "Masonry in the Early Days of Texas," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 49 (January 1946).
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Diana J. Kleiner,
“Caldwell, James Peckham,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 20, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
December 1, 1994