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Col William King "Will" Caffee
Birth: Jun. 30, 1856
Licking County
Ohio, USA
Death: Mar. 10, 1923
Jasper County
Missouri, USA

Warden Caffee
Sarah Mariah Gill

Caffee Family Background History

His father, who was a native of Ohio, descended from a Pennsylvania family, whose members performed military service, during the Revolutionary War, was a druggist by occupation.
During the Civil War he was assistant chief clerk in the office of the United States quartermaster at Philadelphia, one of the most important supply depots in the country during that period. He died in 1867.

His mother was a native of New York, descended from New Hampshire ancestors, who served in the army during the Revolutionary War and in the war with Great Britain in 1812. Her husband having died, she accompanied her late husband's brother Dr. Amos H. Caffee, along with her mother Louisa Bingham Gill and young son William to Carthage, MO
She remarried to Albert M. Drake owner of Drake Hardware Store.

2 Half Brothers:
Charles F. Drake
Sherwood A. Drake

Anna Belle 'Pattie' Wilkins
of Bowling Green, Kentucky
September 7, 1878 at Bowling Green, Kentucky

3 Children
John Warden Caffee (died in infancy)
Arthur Gill Caffee
Mahlon M. Caffee

Graduated Shattuck Military Academy
Fairibault, Minnesota
He was graduated with the highest honors of his class.

Upon returning to Carthage, he went into business with his step-father Albert M. Drake. After a period of time, he then left the hardware business and went into partnership with his Uncle Dr. Amos H. Caffee, Sr. in the drug store and insurance business.

Although a mere youth, he was one of the most active in the organization of the famous old Carthage Light Guard and was a charter member of the organization. He had just completed his course at Shattuck Military Academy and was well versed in military tactics and consequently when the formation of a guard organization came up he was one of its most ardent advocates.

At a later day he became an organizing member of the Caffee Drug Company, wholesale druggist, at Joplin, and is the present manager of that house, which controls an extensive trade in southwest Missouri, southeast Kansas, northwest Arkansas, Oklahoma, and the Indian Territory. He is also interested in the business of the Caffee jobbing and retail drug house at Carthage, and the Caffee retail drug house at Sarcoxie, Missouri.

He was a stockholder in the Central National Bank* [see footnote] at Carthage.

Colonel Caffee, inheriting the martial characteristics of his ancestors, has had a marked fondness of military affairs. While a student at Fairibault, Minnesota, he was a model member of the Cadet Corps, and was advanced to the position of adjutant. He was one of the original members of the Carthage Light Guard in 1876, in which he was early made sergeant.

In 1878 he was promoted to second lieutenant, and the following year he was made captain, in which position he greatly advanced the efficiency of the company in manual of arms, maneuvers and soldierly discipline. He held this rank until the organization of the Second Regiment, Missouri National Guard, in 1892, when he was commissioned colonel.
With this rank he accompanied his regiment to the field at the outbreak of the Spanish-American War in 1898. He assembled his command, of which his old company, the Carthage Light Guard, was a portion, at Jefferson Barracks, March 3rd, and in a few weeks brought it to excellent condition, in point of discipline, and celerity and accuracy in battalion movements. May 12th the regiment was mustered into the service of the United States, and May 20th found it at Chickamaugua, assigned to the Third Brigade, Third Division, First Army Corps.
In September it was removed to Lexington, Kentucky, and in November to Albany, Georgia.
On restoration of peace it was mustered out of the service of the United States, March 3, 1899. The regiment, during its term of service, achieved high reputation for its morale and efficiency.
Most creditable to it, and a high tribute to the ability of its commander, is the fact that its sick list was less than that of any regiment in the division. During three months of his active service Colonel Caffee was brigade commander, by virtue of seniority.
After his regiment had been released from service he resigned his commission, after connection with the military establishment of the State for a period of twenty-four years, a longer period than is ascertainable in the case of any other soldier of his rank.

Because of his leadership qualities, young Carthage boys as they grew up wanted to be part of the Light Guard - later known as Missouri Militia. The Light Guard were regularly drilled and trained to be crack shots and won many drill and shoot awards throughout the state in competitions. The town looked up to the Light Guard boys/men and it was considered a privilege to belong.

As a citizen he has always taken a deep interest in educational affairs, and has rendered efficient service as a member of the Carthage Board of Education.

Col Caffee was also president of the Library Board and was instrumental in obtaining funding from the Carnegie Foundation for the construction of a new library in Carthage in 1902, and because of his continued efforts, the Carthage Library was built.

According to his Missouri Death Certificate, he passed away on March 10, 1923 at the age of 66 years, 8 months, and 10 days.
The death certificate can be viewed at Missouri Digital Archives/death certificates online website.



A distinguished citizen has gone.

Of no common clay was William King Caffee. Distinction was written in every feature of his handsome countenance, in every movement of his military figure, in every sentence of his crisp and courteous conversation. In every circle, military, social or civil, his individuality was one which commanded a second look.

A retrospect of more than forty years of community life in Carthage finds always prominent the military figure and unusual personality of Colonel Caffee. If the recollection is of the old Carthage Light Guards, so long conspicuous in Carthage life, there instantly comes the picture of its trim and efficient commander, and the background made up of practically every young man in Carthage, who at some time during its existence saw service in its ranks.

If the retrospect is of the old Light Guard Ball, once the most important event on the social calendar, it carries the picture of Captain Caffee, his charming wife on his arm, with a background of the old armory for it's setting, and all of the fair and gallant of that day. If the retrospect is of the Second Regiment, the military figure of it's Colonel immediately presents itself, with the background of that Regiment's distinguished service in the Spanish American War. If the retrospect is a business one, it carries the old drug firm of Caffee & Caffee, and their store at the northwest corner of the square, and their identification with the business interests and the business welfare of the community.

If the retrospect is a religious one, it carries with it the consistent support and regular attendance of Colonel Caffee at the Episcopalian Church. If the retrospect is of Colonel Caffee's family, it is of the tragedy of his losses which marked the last few years of his life.

Accompanied by a guard of honor made up of the member of his old company, by a military escort of the National Guard Units of the district, the casket covered with the flag of his country, his burial was accompanied with full military honors. As the casket was lowered into the grave the trumpeter sounded taps. Over the hills and through-out the oak woods came the echoing answer of that last call which marks a soldier's life, a most fitting farewell to the community's best known, and best loved soldier.

It is to the memory of Colonel William King Caffee that the Carthage Chamber of Commerce offers this tribute of admiration and respect.
Information prepared by Nancy J. Brewer
Carthage, MO.


*Joplin Globe
11 January 1923

"Central National bank of Carthage elected officers & directors: Samuel McReynolds was re-elected chairman of the board; J. E. Lang, president; John C. Guinn, vice president; H. M. Boggess, cashier and Charles A. Scott, assistant cashier; Mr. McReynolds, Mr. Guinn, Mr. Lang, Mr. Boggess, T. N. Davey, W. K. Caffee, W. J. Sewall, G. M. Calhoon, L. E. Koken, J. C. Squires, A. M. Drake and D. W. Replogle, directors."
Family links: 
  Warden John Caffee (1832 - 1867)
  Sarah Mariah Gill Drake (1833 - 1922)
  Anna Belle Wilkins Caffee (1860 - 1911)*
  James Warden Caffee (1879 - 1879)*
  Arthur Gill Caffee (1882 - 1910)*
  Mahlon Wilkins Caffee (1886 - 1918)*
  William King Caffee (1856 - 1923)
  Charles Freeman Drake (1870 - 1926)**
  Sherwood Albert Drake (1874 - 1911)**
*Calculated relationship
Park Cemetery
Jasper County
Missouri, USA
Plot: Bl 13 Lot 27 Sp 7
Maintained by: Julie Perry
Originally Created by: TJYahoo
Record added: May 26, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 27111375
Col William King Will Caffee
Added by: NJBrewer
Col William King Will Caffee
Added by: NJBrewer
Col William King Will Caffee
Added by: NJBrewer
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In memory of Company A, Spanish-American War leader and veteran of Carthage, MO.
- NJBrewer
 Added: Dec. 11, 2016

- Neil B (John 3:16)
 Added: Nov. 12, 2014

- Ryan D. Curtis
 Added: Jun. 30, 2014
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This page is sponsored by: Julie Perry

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