Joseph Caldwell was born in Northern Ireland about 1737. He probably was the older brother of James Caldwell. By the early 1770s, the Caldwells were in Albany and advertizing their grocery items in the newly published Albany Gazette. At that time, their grocery was located in the house of John Visscher on Market Street.
His wife was named Rebecca. They married prior to his arrival in Albany. She was the mother of a number of children.
During the War for Independence, he lent financial support to the crusade for American liberties. In January 1778, he petitioned to be excused from military duty because he was "the schoolmaster." At that time, two assistants were teaching with him. Caldwell supplemented a teacher's income by continuing to sell groceries - even petitioning the city council for permission to build on to the Market House in 1786.
In 1779 and for a decade after, his modest home was located in the second ward. Over the next decades, he relocated several times within the Albany area. In 1790, the census showed he was living in Watervliet near the Manor House. In 1799, he was living on Maiden Lane but in business in Watervliet with Isaac Mark. The census for 1800 enumerated his house in the second ward. In 1802, Caldwell purchased a lot on Steuben street and took up more permanent residence there. His name appeared in the first city diretories as a teacher at 25 Steuben Street. In 1822, his residence was at 4 North Pearl Street.
Joseph Caldwell lost his wife, Rebecca, in 1808. He died in June 1822 at age eighty-five. He was called "a respectable citizen."
first posted: 7/25/02; last revised 12/28/09