James Parks Caldwell

"true to principle"

James Caldwell was just 14 when he helped organize our fraternity. To enter university at such a young age, he was surely as faithful to his studies as he was to his fraternity and to its brothers. At Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, Caldwell more than lived up to his academic potential and proved to be a serious young intellectual. “Jimmie” was constantly reading poetry, plays and essays—even while on hunting or fishing excursions with his fraternity brothers. He delighted in reciting and discussing literature during chapter meetings and in college lecture halls.

But Caldwell was anything but a dull introvert. He was lively, fun-loving, and witty. The combination of a quick mind and youthful enthusiasm made him a favorite in Oxford, and he won the affection of everyone from custodians to the president of the university. It is no wonder that he is remembered so fondly for his spirit of youth.

Yet Caldwell was more than a precocious, good-hearted teenager. He possessed a grown-up sense of principle and fi delity to cause. After college graduation, Caldwell—like several of his brothers—left a budding professional career in Mississippi and enlisted as a soldier in the Civil War. Caldwell was a Confederate. After being captured and taken prisoner by the Union Army, he was offered release provided that he renounce allegiance to the Confederacy. It was not in Caldwell’s character to surrender his loyalty, even with freedom at stake. He refused the offer.

Following the war, the Ohio native returned to Mississippi, where he had spent time as an educator. Caldwell then thrived as a lawyer and a journalist. He was an avid traveler until his death in 1912. There is no doubt that his famously youthful spirit sustained him into old age, and his faithfulness to principle continues to make him worthy of our admiration.