Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens
Lawrence County Pennsylvania 1897
[p. 403] the subject of this biography, whose portrait appears on the opposite page, is a brick and stone contractor of New Castle, where he has made his home for the past thirty years, and where for over twenty years he has been identified with the building trades and industries. He was born in Richmond, Va., July 2, 1850, and is a, son of Elisha and Anne (Moss) Caswell.
Our subject's mother was a daughter of George and Bessie Moss. George Moss brought his family, in which was his daughter Annie, to this country from Staffordshire, England, and after his arrival in the United States first worked at Haverstraw, N. Y., but went from there before the war to Richmond, Va., where commencing as a heater and roller in an iron furnace he rose by industry and superior ability to the position of superintendent of the iron works, and became a man of means. He lived to a good old age, and died in the South. Our subject's father was born in the State of Massachusetts, where for a number of years in his youth he worked as a bookkeeper. He afterwards learned the trade of a nail-maker, and became foreman in the Dago's Nail Works at Belle Isle, Richmond, Va. He built a mill at Manakin, Va., which he lost by fire with the savings of many years. He returned to Belle Isle after this financial reverse, and departed this life there in 1852.
Elisha E. Caswell was reared in the city of Richmond, Va., and secured an education in the private schools of that place, attending whenever oportunity offered. At the age of nine years he began work in the nail mill, and for four years was thus employed, and also selling papers in the Confederate Army. In 1863, he made his way from the rebel capital to Baltimore Md., and thence to Wilmington, Del., where he worked for three years. In the spring of 1867, he came to New Castle, where he worked in the nail mill until 1870, in which year he started to learn the trade of a brick and stone mason. Within a few years, with the enterprise and independence so characteristic of him, he worked as a journeyman and began contracting for himself, in which he has met with the most unqualified success. Many fine buildings and handsome structures in New Castle and the vicinity testify to his skill, taste and careful workmanship. This brief epitome of Mr. Caswell's life brings out the manly qualities of self-reliance and perseverance, that have enabled him to accomplish what he has; his life has been a steady advance from the age of nine years when he set out to support himself till the present time, when he occupies a recognized place in the community as one of its leading citizens.
Mr. Caswell was married Nov. 6, 1873, to Emma A. Fisher, daughter of Henry and Catherine (Cummings) Fisher, the latter a daughter of James and Sarah (Burge) Cummings. Henry Fisher, a brick contractor of New Castle, was a son of Solomon and Polly (Stickle) Fisher, and grandson of George and Catherine (Haager) Fisher; the father of George Fisher was a native of Saxony, Germany. To Mr. Caswell and his wife had been given four children, as follows: Henry Guy; Bertha Althea: Emma Belle; and Annie Ellen. Mrs. Caswell died April 23, 1897. Mr. Caswell is a member in good standing of the Disciples Church. In his political beliefs, he sides with the Republican party. Mr. Caswell is a friend of organized labor, and is a member of the Bricklayers' International Union. Both Mr. and Mrs. Caswell were members of the Protected Home Circle, New Castle Lodge, No. 6. He has a pleasant home on Spruce Street, where the family dispense their every-ready hospitality with lavish hand.
On the outbreak of the Civil War, a brother of Mr. Caswell, who was at work in the Treadgear Iron Works at Richmond, was conscripted and forced to serve in the militia company, formed of the operatives of the works. At the first opportunity he deserted, and came to the North.
Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens Lawrence County Pennsylvania
Biographical Publishing Company, Buffalo, N.Y., 1897
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Updated: 5 June 2001