One of the early settlers of Pitman valley in Montague county was Benjamin S. Caswell, who has resided there since 1878 and is one of its upright and honored citizens.
On his advent to the county, Mr. Caswell purchased a half section of Titus county school land upon which there was a primitive cabin, and this, with the mere garden patch which was cleared, comprised the advantage he had of Nature when he first called the valley his home. For some years he was engaged chiefly in the cow industry, but with the subsequent settling up of the desirable lands this industry fell into decline and in the end it disappeared altogether. Farming was also carried on, and with the disappearance lands this industry fell into decline and in the end it disappeared altogether. Farming was also carried on, and was the disappearance of the range its interests received an impetus which made in the chief occupation of our subject’s household, and so long as the health and vigor of his body would permit its worthy head found not only profit but pleasure in adding his mite to the internal development of his county, and to the material well-being of his home.
As he drew wealth by his labors from the earth’s fertile crust, Mr. Caswell expanded his domains in the valley until they embraced more than five hundred acres, but as age came creeping over him, dissipating his energies and contracting his effective capacity, it resulted in the reduction of his estate to an area in keeping with his ability to handle it, and two hundred and twenty acres now comprise his home.
Benjamin S. Caswell is by nature and training a southern man. He has passed from east to west across the Southland and has mingled with its people of all climes and participated in their civil affairs. He was born in Troop [Troup] county, Georgia, May 5, 1837, and in Troop [Troup] county and Hurd [Heard] counties he grew up. The country schools of his day gave him his scant mental training and the work of the farm developed his rugged physique. In 1855, the family moved to Columbia county, Arkansas, and there he reached his majority, married and launched his craft which held the destiny of his career. His beginning was of a primitive sort and many happy years of his early married life were passed ‘neath the portals of an Arkansas mansion of logs and chink. At the inception of his career he engaged in teaming with oxen from Champinola to Atlanta, Arkansas, and for some five years he knew prosperity but saved little money. He finally dropped back to the scenes of his youth, the farm, and after the war his attention was directed toward little else.
In 1861, Mr. Caswell enlisted in Company G, Thirty-third Arkansas Infantry, Captain Mixon, of Colonel Grinstead’s regiment. He served in the Trans-Mississippi department of the Confederacy and saw plenty of the rough-and-tumble of army life, and was in many skirmishes but no heavy engagements. He enlisted as a private, was with his command around Marshall, Texas, when the war closed.
Mr. Caswell is a son of Isham Caswell, born in Hancock county, Georgia, who was a soldier in the 1812 war, and in the Florida Indian war under General Floyd, and, when he settled down, pursued the vocation of a farmer. His father, John Caswell, was born, lived and died in Georgia, and his wife, nee Sallie Shepherd, died in Columbia county, Arkansas, in 1862, while he survived until 1875.
November 1, 1859, Benjamin S. Caswell married Miss Elliott, a daughter of James Perkison, a Georgia farmer. Mrs. Caswell was born in Merewether [Meriwether] county, Georgia, and is the mother of William H.; James L.; Lee; Sallie; Mattie; Wesley W.; and Jesse C.
Until retired on account of infirmity, Mr. Caswell was always a busy man. While the business of his life was to help himself and to care for his own, he has overlooked no opportunity to give aid and comfort to others, and his attitude toward his fellows has been that of a brother or a father and his heart has been filled with neighborly kindness. For five years he has been associated with the work of the Methodist church of his locality and his example in life has been such as to convince the skeptical of the power of religion to do good among men.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, p. 626.