Historic Preservation, Education, Patriotism...We are so glad you found us. The Reverend James Caldwell Chapter has been actively furthering historic preservation, promoting education, and instilling patriotism in the Morgan County area for more than 100 years. We are very proud of our past and are looking forward to the next 100 years of promoting the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) motto: God, Home, and Country.
As a lineage society, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) members can trace their family tree back to an ancestor (man or woman) who supported the cause of American independence. Your family member may not have fought but may have supported the American cause in other ways, such as providing food or shelter to the troops. Membership in the DAR honors and preserves the legacy of your patriot ancestor. If you think you are eligible to join, come to one of our meetings, or send us an email.
Over two hundred years ago, American patriots fought and sacrificed for the freedoms we enjoy today. One of those patriots was Reverend James Caldwell. His great-granddaughter, Julia Duncan Kirby, was the organizing regent of the Reverend James Caldwell Chapter in 1896. Julia was the daughter of Joseph Duncan and Elizabeth Caldwell Smith. Does that explain the connection between a Revolutionary War chaplain and an Illinois governor's mansion? Learn more about the Governor Duncan Mansion here.
Through participation in the DAR’s various programs and activities, you can continue this legacy by actively supporting historic preservation, promotion of education, and patriotic endeavors. Did you know that if you have a relative who is or was a member, the process of joining is simplified!
Who Was Reverend James Caldwell?
Reverend James Caldwell was born in April 1734, in Charlotte County, Virginia. He was the seventh son of John and Margaret Caldwell, who were Scots-Irish settlers. He graduated from the College of New Jersey (later called Princeton University) in 1759, and, though he inherited 500 acres in Cub Creek, became pastor of the Presbyterian church in Elizabethtown, New Jersey. He was an active partisan on the side of the Patriots, and was known as the "soldier parson." His church and his house were burned by Loyalists in 1780. While Caldwell was stationed with the army in Morristown, his wife Hannah was killed by British gunfire under disputed circumstances during the Battle of Connecticut Farms in what is now Union Township, an act which Union County immortalizes on their county seal to this day. His wife had been at home with their baby and a three-year-old toddler. As the British moved into Connecticut Farms, Hannah Caldwell was shot through a window or wall as she sat with her children on a bed.
Caldwell, who fought in the Battle of Springfield, was killed on November 24, 1781, by an American sentry in Elizabethtown, New Jersey, when he refused to have a package inspected. The sentry, 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. There were nine orphaned children of Hannah and James Caldwell, all of whom were raised by friends of the family. A monument to Caldwell in Elizabeth, New Jersey, was dedicated in 1846.