Caldwell, Mathew (1798–1842)

By: L. W. Kemp

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: September 5, 2019

Mathew Caldwell, a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence and soldier in the Texas army, was born in Kentucky on March 8, 1798. He moved to Missouri with his family in 1818 and settled in Texas in the DeWitt colony in 1831. He has been called "the Paul Revere of the Texas Revolution" because he rode from Gonzales to Bastrop to call men to arms before the battle of Gonzales in October 1835; he was also called "Old Paint" because his whiskers were spotted. Caldwell served as one of the two delegates from Gonzales Municipality at the Convention of 1836 at Washington-on-the-Brazos. On March 2, 1836, after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the convention dispatched couriers with the news and sent Caldwell with one of the couriers to the Texas army in order to ascertain the condition of the force and the movements of the enemy on the frontier.

On January 15, 1839, President Mirabeau B. Lamar named Caldwell captain of a company of rangers to be raised for the defense of Goliad. On March 23, 1839, Caldwell became captain of a company in the First Regiment of Infantry. He was wounded at the Council House Fight in March 1840 but headed a company at the battle of Plum Creek on August 12. As captain of Company D of the scouting force on the Texan Santa Fe expedition in 1841, he was captured with the expedition and imprisoned in Mexico. Upon release he hastened to the relief of San Antonio and on September 18, 1842, commanded a force of 200 men who met and defeated Adrián Woll in the battle of Salado Creek.

Caldwell was noted as married in the list of DeWitt colony settlers in 1831, but his first wife's name is not known; he married Mrs. Hannah Morrison in Washington County on May 17, 1837, and had at least three children. He died at his home in Gonzales on December 28, 1842, and was buried with military honors. Caldwell County, established in 1848, was named in his honor. In 1930 the state of Texas erected a monument at his grave in the cemetery at Gonzales.

Louis Wiltz Kemp, The Signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence (Salado, Texas: Anson Jones, 1944; rpt. 1959). George R. Nielsen, "Mathew Caldwell," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 64 (April 1961). Texas House of Representatives, Biographical Directory of the Texan Conventions and Congresses, 1832–1845 (Austin: Book Exchange, 1941).

Time Periods:
  • Texas Revolution

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

L. W. Kemp, “Caldwell, Mathew,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 01, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

September 5, 2019