Copyright notice

This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

Printer-friendly page

Caldwell, Greene Washington

by Victoria C. Hollowell, 1979

13 Apr. 1806–10 July 1864

Greene Washington Caldwell, physician, lawyer, and congressman, was born in Gaston County near Tuckasegee Ford on the Catawba River. He received his early education under John Dobson and took a medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1831. After a short private practice, he served as an assistant surgeon in the U.S. Army for four months in 1832. Dissatisfied with medicine, Caldwell turned to the study of law, was admitted to the bar, and established a law practice in Charlotte.

His political experience began with his election to the state House of Commons in 1836. He was reelected three times and then elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1841. He declined reelection to Congress and returned to Charlotte, where he was appointed superintendent of the U.S. Mint in 1844. He was the unanimous choice of the Democrats for governor in 1846 but declined the nomination.

The outbreak of war with Mexico prompted Caldwell to volunteer for the infantry. He was made captain of the Third Dragoons in 1847, with lieutenants E. C. Davidson, J. K. Harrison, and A. A. Norman. The unit saw little action, and Caldwell was mustered out 24 July 1848.

Caldwell returned to political life with his election to the state senate in 1849; at the same time, two of his lieutenants, Davidson and Harrison, were elected to the House of Commons. Caldwell was unsuccessful in a bid for Congress in 1851 and resumed his medical practice in Charlotte. He died there and was buried in the Old Cemetery.


J. B. Alexander, History of Mecklenburg County from 1740 to 1900 (1902).

Biog. Dir. Am. Cong. (1961).

J. G. deRoulhac Hamilton, ed., The Papers of William Alexander Graham, vol. 2 (1961).

H. T. Shanks, ed., The Papers of Willie Person Mangum, 5 vols. (1950–56).

John H. Wheeler, Historical Sketches of North Carolina (1851), and Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina (1883–84).

Who Was Who in America, 1607–1896.

Additional Resources:

Greene Washington Caldwell, Biographical Directory for the United State Congress:


Origin - location: