Father: Jacob Abraham Caudle “Abram”
Born: September 7, 1837 Boonesville, North Carolina
Died: November 15, 1899 Age 62
Mother: Margaret Reece
Born: December 8, 1827 Boonesville, North Carolina
Died: March 2, 1911 Age 83
Parents: Abraham & Mary Reece
Married: December 21, 1858 for 30 years
Buried: Radcliffe Cemetery, Radcliffe, Iowa. Caudle Family Plot
next to James & Emma Caudle, near the main gate.
Abram Caudle was a solidly built man who had great faith in his own judgment. Weathering the disapproval of his future in-laws, he managed to court and wed Margaret despite the fact that she was ten years his senior.
Margaret was a very short, pretty, southern lady who was once voted the “Belle of Yadkin County” (North Carolina). A little over four feet tall, she also chewed tobacco, probably a habit she picked up from her rancher father.
The death of Margaret’s mother in the spring of 1858 may have helped clear the way for the marriage of the two as they exchanged vows later that same year. Abram then assumed ownership of the Reece Plantation (from his wife’s side of the family).
It was not the best time to be starting a family in the South. A little over two years after the couple had been declared man and wife, the state of North Carolina married itself to the Confederacy. Abram and his brothers ended up fighting for the South. One surrendered and was somehow shot later in the war while the other two deserted.
According to family legend, Abram and his brother Abner became horrified by the scenes of death around them and decided to return home. Hiding behind a barricade of dead men and mules, they stole away from the scene of the fighting and eventually made their way back to the plantation. There they dug a hole under the barn and had the children take the fresh dirt out to the field so no one would be aware of the hideaway, which was used for the rest of the war whenever unwanted company appeared. There also is a story of them breathing through reeds while hiding in a pond or river.
Raising a family in the South during the Civil War involved almost unendurable hardship. All the slaves save one had left the plantation while Margaret gave birth to two boys. She was sometimes forced to cook for “visiting” soldiers, first the Confederates, then the Union. If troops were know to be in the vicinity, some of the food would be hidden by bending a sapling over, tying a ham to the end, then releasing the tree.
After the war, two more boys and a girl were added to the family. Abram and Margaret then left the South, moving to Hardin County, Iowa in 1869. Then, in 1877, relocated one county over, to a farm some six miles northeast of the town of Ellsworth. Abram donated land for the Lincoln Church there of which he was a member. The farm ended up staying in the family for over a century. A grandson, Robert Caudle, at one time farmed land that had been owned by both his grandfathers: Abram, and John Vollenweider.
Abram died just before the turn of the 19th century, having been bothered for some time by a festering ulcer in his leg.
Margaret lived to an advanced age and her good looks never left her. She finally passed away due to cancer that had started in her mouth, probably a result of her tobacco chewing. Her granddaughter Lucille Caudle (Wilson) remembered seeing Margaret standing in front of a hall mirror trying to see how the cancer was spreading.
Editors’s Note: When my “Grandma Lu” shared the above memory with me back in 1984, she was talking about a woman who had been born when John Quincy Adams was president.
Ironically, although the family survived the Civil War unscathed, two of the sons later died violent deaths as noted below.
Children of Jacob & Margaret Caudle Abraham Reece Caudle – Minister Born: October 20, 1859Died: Unknown "Reece" moved to Nebraska and married a divorced woman. He and his wife were later murdered by the woman’s son from her first marriage. Sara J. Caudle Born: December 20, 1860Died: December 21, 1861 Aaron Caudle – Farmer Born: March 14, 1862Died: April 10, 1910 Aaron suffered through what we would now call a mid-life crisis. After becoming increasingly depressed, he finally shot himself in the corncrib. It is a known fact that the number of suicides increased during the "end of the world" stories that circulated prior to Earth’s encounter with the tail of Haley’s comet in May of 1910. It is interesting to speculate whether this was a contributing factor. John Henry Caudle – Farmer, Cattleman Born: April 28, 1864Died: May 5, 1927 John was named after John Henry Hoodsbeth, the one Negro who stayed and helped the family during the Civil War. James Jackson Caudle – Farmer Born: April 17, 1868Died: August 18, 1940 Mary Cornelia Caudle (Foster) – Housewife Born: February 28, 1871Died: March 19, 1939 William Caudle – Farmer Born: February 4, 1872Died: January 5, 1948