Skip to main content
Carolina Story: Virtual Museum of University History

Wilson Caldwell (1841-1898)

Wilson Caldwell was born in 1841, the son of November Caldwell and Rosa Burgess. Before the Civil War, he worked on the campus as a gardener and waiter. When Sherman's troops approached Chapel Hill in 1865, Caldwell walked to meet them with Swain and others under a white flag. After the war, when blacks gained the right to vote and hold office, Caldwell served as a justice of the peace and town commissioner. He also ran schools for black children. Returning to work at the university in 1884, Caldwell remained head of the campus workforce until his death in 1898.