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God bless our veterans



Mr. and Mrs. Berlin Caldwell, Sr., have received word from the War department that their son, Berlin, Jr. was killed in action in Korea on August 18.  The telegram which they received late yesterday evening reads:

“Deeply regret to inform you that your son, TSgt Berlin Caldwell, Jr., U.S. Marine Corps, was killed in action August 18, 1950 in the Korean area in the performance of his duty and service of his country.

“No information available at present regarding disposition of remains.  Temporary burial in locality where death occurred probably.  You will be promptly furnished any additional information received.  Please accept my heartfelt sympathy. Letter follows.

“C. B. Cates, General U.S. Marine Corps, Commandant.”

Young Caldwell was born on December 24, 1920 and up to the time that he joined the Marines in 1939 he had spent his whole life in Springer.  He was a graduate of the Springer High School.

As a result of his close application to the duties in the Marines young Caldwell quickly qualified and was awarded for expert rifleman, expert Thompson submarine gunner, sharpshooter, pistol expert and bayonet expert.

At the opening of our participation in hostilities of the second World War, he was shipped to the Pacific theatre of combat and with a contingent of Marines he landed on Guadalcanal in October 1942 and stayed with a group mopping up Japs who had sought refuge in the jungle interior, until this job was completed in February 1943.

During this period of service, he contracted elephantiasis and was returned to San Diego, California where he was hospitalized for several months, later being sent to a Marine hospital in Chicago for further treatment.

With each expiration of his enlistment period he reenlisted.  For the past numerous months before being shipped overseas, he was stationed at Quantico, Va.  With his contingent he embarked for duty in Korea on July 14.

He was married and has three children, the wife and youngsters now being residents of Springer.


“woven into the life of our ancestors”

To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child.  For what is the worth of human life, unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the records of history?

– Marcus Tullius Cicero


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Berlin Caldwell, Jr.

Fred Lambert and my grandfather Berlin Caldwell

Fred Lambert illustrated his book of poetry  and  it was published by Burton Publishing company, Kansas City, Missouri in 1948.  There was a 1970 printing by  Western Heritage Press, Fort Worth,Texas.

J. Frank Dobie wrote:  “His [Lambert’s] rhythm is as natural and regular as a hound dog’s elbow thumping on a ranch galley floor after dark when the fleas get into action.  This foreman, Wild Hoss Charlie that tells so many bunkhouse tales in the book, is really one of the creations of the West.  He deserves to stand up beside Pecos Bill and Paul Bunyan.  He is a liar, of course, but he’s authentic as the Encyclopedia Britannica.  His talk is better tonic than a whole case of Peruna with a dozen bottles of Cod Liver Oil thrown in.

From the point of view of bookmaking and illustration, it is a magnificent work.  I predict it will become a rare item of Western Americana.”

Cowboy Poetry

Cowboy Poetry is in a league all its own and I especially love to hear it recited and sung.  When we first moved to Seguin, Judge B. B. Schraub and his wife Estella would come by our house on their daily walks.  Estella said they had been going to the Cowboy Poetry Gatherings for years and never missed a one.  Estella passed away in 2008 and I know that the Judge misses her every day – and misses the things they always did together, such as the Poetry Gatherings.

My grandfather, Berlin Caldwell, was a friend of New Mexico lawman Fred Lambert, who published a book of poetry entitled Bygone Days of the Old West.  A first edition copy of this book is kept under a locked glass case in the Denver Public Library and is a beautiful book, illustrated with pen and ink drawings by Lambert.

Fred Lambert told me many stories about the Wild West days in Cimarron, New Mexico and the surrounding area.  He  knew my maternal great-grandfather Robert Walker “Bob” Sammon and delighted me with his remembrances.

At the time of Bob Sammon’s death, he was doing some work for Thomas Benton Catron, a controversial New Mexico politician and lawyer in early New Mexico.

An aside about Fred Lambert:  his father, Henri (Henry) Lambert built the St. James Hotel in Cimarron, New Mexico.  This hotel has a most interesting history; we stayed there several years ago when we were in New Mexico for a family reunion – but didn’t hear or see any ghosts!

The St. James Hotel, built in 1872-80. Built by French entrepreneur Henri Lambert, a former field cook for U.S. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and a White House chef for President Abraham Lincoln, the two-story adobe property began as Cimarron’s best saloon, built in 1872. Several men were shot and killed there, the violence evident in the 26 bullet holes in the bar’s pressed tin ceiling, now the hotel’s elegant dining room.

ANOTHER aside:  the Real Live Cowboy in our family – now in the 21st Century – is Leroy Webb (whom my grandchildren adore!! – well, we  all adore Leroy).