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Caldwell and Davidson families papers

Identifier: MS0208

Scope and Contents

This collection contains material primarily about the Caldwell and Davidson families of the Rosedale plantation of Mecklenburg County, N.C. Includes correspondence, newspaper clippings, journals, financial and legal records, material about related families, and photographs.


  • Creation: 1779 - 1997
  • Creation: 1824 - 1986


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.

Biographical / Historical

The Caldwell family of Mecklenburg County has been closely linked with the Davidson family and with Rosedale -- a nineteenth century Federal-style plantation house located at 3427 North Tryon Street in Charlotte -- since the early 1800s. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, Rosedale was built in 1815 by Archibald Frew. From the beginning, the house became known as "Frew's Folly," apparently because of the lavishness of the structure as compared to other homes in the county. In 1819, however, Rosedale and 911 acres of land were sold at public auction because of Frew's tax problems. The purchaser was U.S. Congressman William Davidson (1778-1857), who had married Frew's sister, Sarah (1772-1812), in 1802. Their daughter, Harriet Elizabeth Davidson (1806-45), married Dr. David Thomas Caldwell (1799-1861) in 1826. He was the son of the Rev. Samuel Craighead Caldwell and Abigail Bain Alexander. He attended the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill with James Knox Polk, the future president, and worked as one of Mecklenburg County's few doctors. William Davidson sold Rosedale to his son-in-law in 1833. Harriet and David Thomas Caldwell's son, Dr. William Davidson Caldwell (1829-68), was a surgeon in the Confederate Army. He married Abigail Amelia Dunlap. Their daughter, Miriam Abigail Caldwell (1860-1927), married James Hall in 1884. Harriet and David Thomas Caldwell's daughter, Margaret Abigail "Minnie" Caldwell (1840-98), married John Springs Davidson (1838-99), whose great-grandfather, Maj. John Davidson, established Rural Hill plantation in northern Mecklenburg County. Minnie and John's son, Baxter Craighead Davidson (1875-1947), as a young boy, went to live at Rosedale with his Aunt Alice and Uncle Robert Baxter Caldwell, the unmarried siblings of Minnie Caldwell Davidson. In 1914, he married Louise Heagy (1891-1958) of Jacksonville, Fla. Louise and Baxter Craighead Davidson lived at Rosedale and eventually inherited it from R. B. Caldwell. Their daughters, Mary Louise Davidson (1916-96) and Alice Caldwell Davidson Abel (b. 1926), sold Rosedale in 1985 to the Historic Preservation Foundation of North Carolina Inc. Historic Rosedale Inc. purchased Rosedale from the Preservation Foundation in 1986. [For further biographical information about the residents of Rosedale, see appendix A, "Rosedale Family Tree."]


1 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Papers of the Caldwell and Davidson families of Rosedale plantation in Mecklenburg County, N.C. Includes medical account books (1824-47) of Dr. David Thomas Caldwell; land records and surveys (1833-1942); journal (1837) of Sarah Frew Davidson; correspondence (1861-1984); plantation account books (1869-85); and photographs of family members and of Rosedale, including images of the latter by Frances Benjamin Johnston and Bayard Wootten.


The Caldwell and Davidson Families Papers are organized into a single alphabetical folder title series.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Alice Davidson Abel, 1994; Additional materials received from Jane Estep, 2016.

Related Materials

Preliminary pages of J. Murrey Atkins Library Rare Book Collection copy of v.2 Holy Bible, 1831-1832 (RARE BS491 .B73 1831) feature notations in pen about Davidson family members' births, deaths, and marriages. Clipping of news story from the March 13, 1943, edition of the Charlotte observer about the death of Lieutenant Joe G. Davidson Jr. in an airplane accident laid in.

Processing Information

Processed by Johanna Goltzman, October, 1998; encoded by Robert A. McInnes, October 2010.

Caldwell and Davidson families papers
Johanna Goltzman
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Manuscript Collections, J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections and University Archives, UNC Charlotte Repository

Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte
9201 University City Blvd
Charlotte NC 28223 United States

About this Site

Finding aids are guides to archival collections, including manuscripts, university records, and oral history collections. These guides help you find physical collections which can be viewed in the Dalton Reading Room on the 10th floor of Atkins Library. A small number of finding aids link to digital content online. Please contact us to learn more or to schedule an appointment:

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