Thaddeus Caraway, the son of a farmer, was born in Stoddard County on 17th October, 1871. He moved to Clay County, Arkansas, with his family in 1883.
After graduating from Dickson College in 1896 he married fellow student, Hattie Wyatt, and moved to Arkansas where he became a school teacher. He studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1900 and found work in Osceola, Arkansas.
A member of the Democratic Party, Caraway was prosecuting attorney for the second judicial circuit of Arkansas (1908-1912). In 1912 he was elected to the 63rd Congress.