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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2014

Origins Available: Scottish-Alt, Scottish

Where did the Scottish Caldwell family come from? What is the Scottish Caldwell family crest and coat of arms? When did the Caldwell family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Caldwell family history?

Scottish history reveals Caldwell was first used as a surname by the Strathclyde-Briton people. It was a name for someone who lived in Renfrrewshire. This place-name may also be derived from the Old English words caeld, which means cold, and welle, which means well, and indicates that the original bearer lived near a well that gave cold water.


It is only in the last few hundred years that rules have developed and the process of spelling according to sound has been abandoned. Scottish names from before that time tend to appear under many different spelling variations. Caldwell has been spelled Caldwell, Coldwell, Caldwill, Cauldwell, Cauldwill, Cawldwell, Guildwell, Calewell, Caldewell and many more.

First found in Renfrewshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Rinn Frił), a historic county of Scotland, today encompassing the Council Areas of Renfrew, East Renfrewshire, and Iverclyde, in the Strathclyde region of southwestern Scotland, at the Caldwell Tower, a mansion and old estate that dates back to 1294. The current Caldwell Tower stands on a mound, and is a small, free-standing tower that was probably built in the 16th century. It was fully restored in 2011 with the addition of a small extension. Caldwell is also a village and civil parish in the Richmondshire district of North Yorkshire. The Caudle variant may be related to a thickened and sweetened alcoholic hot drink so named. It was popular in the Middle Ages for its supposed medicinal properties and dates back to at least 1297.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Caldwell research. Another 185 words(13 lines of text) covering the years 1342, 1500, 1628, 1679 and 1929 are included under the topic Early Caldwell History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 55 words(4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Caldwell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Caldwell family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 109 words(8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Unwelcome in their beloved homeland, many Scots sailed for the colonies of North America. There, they found land and freedom, and even the opportunity to make a new nation in the American War of Independence. These Scottish settlers played essential roles in the founding of the United States, and the shaping of contemporary North America. Among them:

Caldwell Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Archibald Caldwell, who landed in New Jersey in 1685
  • John Caldwell, a bonded passenger, who came to America in 1693
  • Vincent Caldwell, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1699

Caldwell Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Robert Caldwell, who landed in Charleston, South Carolina in 1703
  • Allen Caldwell, aged 60, landed in New York in 1710
  • Andrew Caldwell, who landed in America in 1718
  • Charles Caldwell, who arrived in New England in 1718
  • Charles Caldwell, who landed in New England in 1718

Caldwell Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Jos Caldwell, aged 22, landed in New York, NY in 1803
  • Patrick Caldwell, aged 25, arrived in New York, NY in 1803
  • Isabella Caldwell, aged 13, arrived in New York, NY in 1804
  • Jane Caldwell, aged 7, landed in New York, NY in 1804
  • Elizabeth Caldwell, aged 7, landed in New York, NY in 1804


  • Erskine Preston Caldwell (1903-1987), American novelist
  • Millard Fillmore Caldwell (1897-1984), American politician, Governor of Florida 1945-1949
  • Sarah Caldwell (b. 1924), American conductor and opera director
  • William A. Caldwell, American reporter who won the 1971 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary
  • Gail Caldwell (b. 1951), American chief book critic for The Boston Globe awarded the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Criticism
  • Tracy Caldwell Dyson (b. 1969), American chemist and NASA astronaut with over 188 days in space
  • Brigadier-General Charles Henry Caldwell (1900-1967), American Commanding General Lowry Air Force Base (1950)
  • Philip Caldwell (1920-2013), American Chief Executive Officer of the Ford Motor Company (1980-1985)
  • Alexander Caldwell (1830-1917), American politician, United States Senator from Kansas (1871-1873)
  • Alfred Caldwell (1903-1998), American landscape architect in Chicago



  • Cook, Caldwell, Peoples, Stuart, and Other Families by David Stuart Peoples.
  • David Caldwell, 1705-1781, and His Descendants in the United States of America by William W. Caldwell.

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Fac et spera
Motto Translation: Do and hope.


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  1. Scots Kith and Kin And Illustrated Map Revised 2nd Edition. Edinburgh: Clan House/Albyn. Print.
  2. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  3. Innes, Thomas and Learney. Scots Heraldry A Practical Handbook on the Historical Principles and Mordern Application of the Art and Science. London: Oliver and Boyd, 1934. Print.
  4. Warner, Philip Warner. Famous Scottish Battles. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1996. Print. (ISBN 0-76070-004-4).
  5. Moncrieffe, Sir Ian of That Ilk and Don Pottinger. Clan Map Scotland of Old. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1983. Print.
  6. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  7. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  8. Innes, Thomas and Learney. Socts Heraldry A Practical Handbook on the Historical Principles and Modern Application of the Art of Science. London: Oliver and Boyd, 1934. Print.
  9. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  10. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  11. ...

The Caldwell Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Caldwell Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 17 March 2014 at 16:11.

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