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The Childers ~ Childress
Family Association

The Clarence Edwin Childress Family
By
Jimmie Ruth Childers Mounger

PREFACE

I began my draft of The Clarence Edwin Childress Family in 1987. The tattered and faded obituary of R. G. Childress, Clarence's father and my grandfather, from the 1908 edition of The Roscoe Times in Roscoe, Texas, did not divulge what the initials R. G. stood for, nor the first name of his father. But it gave the family's point of entry into Texas at Rusk County.

My journey to Henderson, Rusk County, Texas, the early cross roads from the deep South westward, proved some what disappointing. One hundred and forty-two years had elapsed since my great grandfather had removed his family from Alabama to the new frontier. The old courthouse had burned. The library census machines provided several Childress first names, but with no proof as to which Childress each first name belonged; nor how it related to R. G. Childress.

Better luck prevailed on my trip to Meridian, Texas of Bosque County. There, while standing at one of those tall tables, poring over the huge record books in the courthouse records room, a young man, engaged in the same type of endeavor, asked me who I was looking for. "My grandfather, Judge R. G. Childress", was my eager reply. His response was gratifying, "Well, there are five portraits of judges hanging out there in the hall, let's go see if we can find him.

Sure enough, in the great hall was the large portrait of Judge R. G. Childress. On the third floor of the beautiful 1886 courthouse was the Bosque County Historical Society office. The information I needed to get started was at last in sight.

The Bosque County Historical Society had in its files a letter from Alice and Dorman Gunter, also seeking Childress names. I learned that Dorman Gunter is the grandson of Rufus Taggart Childress the son of Judge R. G. Childress making Dorman Gunter my second cousin. Rufus Taggart Childress was the second child of Judge R. G. Childress and Mary Taggart Childress, and the elder brother of Clarence Edwin Childress 1.

Dorman's wife, Alice, introduced, by mail, the two Childress groups doing research on the Childress name, and brought me up to date. I soon learned that R. G. stands for Rufus Green. Rufus Green Childress, my grandfather

Subscriptions to the two news letters from the Childress groups put me in touch with other researchers. I gained much from what Alice had learned, and began to see my own efforts become effective. I have enjoyed knowing my cousins, Dorman and Alice Gunter, and owe Alice my deepest gratitude for her Help and friendship.

Garland K. Childress wrote an article he entitled "A Brief History of The Surname Childress," for the April, 1987 issue of the Childress Chatter Newsletter, which reads:
"The name Childers, also spelled Childers, Childress, Childres, and Childrey, is an ancient English-Anglo-Saxon name that probably has its origin in the old German language, one of the forerunners of our standard American English of today. The first hint of a name similar to our present spelling is to be found in the Frankish name of Childeric 1,leader of the Germanic tribe of Franks of A. D. 458 - 481."

The Lives of The Kings and Queens of France by Rene de La Croix duc de Castries, written in 1908, provides an excellent account of the Childerics, and their Frankish descendants from A. D. 450 - 751.

As I read this fascinating history, I contemplated the possibility that these ancient Gauls may have made up an ancestor pool, from which our modern version of the Childress name evolved.

The question, then, comes to mind: What's in a name?, When a search through the dusty pages of history turns one up with such a familiar ring, the importance of a name becomes clear. It is like a steady handle for the researcher, on his road back through history.

The question, then, comes to mind: What's in a name?, When a search through the dusty pages of history turns one up with such a familiar ring, the importance of a name becomes clear. It is like a steady handle for the researcher, on his road back through history.

That Rufus Green Childress ever pondered the possibility that his Civil War skirmishes related, in some remote way, to the tribal battles that the Childerics waged, is doubtful. It is not out of place, however, to review the history of these little kings, Childeric 1, Childeric 11, and Childeric 111, with the spirit of kinship for all warriors, who risked their lives in battle.

Childeric I - 450-481.
Pharamond thought to be the ancestor of Frankish kings, sired Clodion who begat Merovius the general officer who helped repel the Huns from Gaul; who was the father of Childeric I.

The dusty and worn pages of ancient history reveal very little about Childeric 1. But the little tribal king had his day, as proven by the discovery of his grave at Tournai in 1653. He had been laid to rest, with the royal trappings of his jewels, his arms, and his signet ring, inscribed with the name, "Childerici Regis," in the year A. D. 481. The translation of his name: Childe means battle, ric means ruler in the Germanic tongue. As a "Battle Ruler" at the age of twenty-three, it is likely that Childeric 1 died in battle.

That same fate appears to have befallen his son Clovis, Clovis' son Childebert, Childebert's son, Thibert, and down the line for almost 200 years, when Childeric II appeared in 656.

In A. D. 742 Childeric III was brought from his cloister to serve as king, but was soon replaced by Pepin who sent Childeric 111 back to his convent, where he lived out his life.

Bertha, the daughter of Charibert, who was the king of Paris and the great grandson of Childeric 1, married King Ethelbert. Their daughter, Ethelburga, married King Edwin of Northumbria, England in 625. King Edwin died in battle in 633 while in his late teens. This family of Northumbria, the Franks, Britons, Scots and Picts, lasted for two hundred years.

Around 1272, the Close Rolls of York County, England named several of the Childress ancestors: Isabel de Childers, during the reign of Henric III; in the Parish of Halifax, England, the Christening of the daughter of Roger Childers, Susanna, on 26 November 1559; in 1604 Hugh Childers became mayor of Doncastor of York County; his great grandson, Leonard Childers, gave England its first thoroughbred horse, "The Flying Childers", the greatest racer of its time.

Thoroughbred breeders of America can trace their bloodline to "The Flying Childers" bred by the ancestors of the Childers/Childress line.

Erskin Hamilton Childers, a descendant of Hugh Childers, served as the second president of Ireland until his death in 1974. Erskin Hamilton's father, Robert Erskin Childers, left England for Ireland before the Irish revolt.

How many of this Childress line left Britain for the colonies remains in question, but the first one is on record: Abraham Childers, son of William Childers, Gentleman, and his wife Anna, of Saunby Manor, County Nottingham, was the first to come to our shores. Born in Nottingham County in 1622, Abraham was a soldier in the army of King Charles I. When the Royal Forces of Charles 1 were defeated in 1649, and Charles's head rolled, Abraham Childers left Britain for for safety in the America colonies.

Abraham was surely one of those we so often read about, a "fugitive Cavalier." If so, he brought with him only a horse, a servant or two, and the hope that he would return to Britain, eventually.

In the case of Abraham, that hope lost its meaning. By the time Charles II was brought to power, Abraham Childers was firmly entrenched in the colonies.

In 1653, four years after landing at Chesapeake Bay, Abraham had married Anne Howard, the daughter of John Howard, Sr., a James River planter. He settled at Curles in Henrico County, Virginia, an area rich with the historical records of Childers/Childress families, just across the Virginia line and in North Carolina on Crooked Creek; all of them near or distant members of the same Childers/ Childress family.

The 1987 issue of The Childress Chatter provides material from the Whitley Papers, written by Col. Gracey Childress, later researched by the niece of Geneve Stephenson, Genan Underwood: Colonial Wills of Henrico County Virginia Part 1 1654 1737, including the wills of five Abrahams with the surname Childers, sons and grandsons, so stated in most cases.

1. The will of Abraham married to Anne, wife and executrix, dated 1693, naming several children, including a John Childers.
2. The will of Henry Pew of Henrico Parish, naming several grandchildren, one John Childers and one Jane Childers. Pew was the father of Anne, widow of Abraham.
3. The will of Thomas Childers of Henrico Parish, naming wife, Mary the Executrix, dated 1734; land and houses to sons Thomas, James, John, and others.

These names appear in later records from across the Virginia line and in North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi Territory, and the states of Alabama and Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, and Kentucky; as descendants migrated toward Texas, where the five year old Rufus Green Childress's father brought him in 1845.

The Whitley Papers give 1678 as the year the first Abraham Childress died. About thirty years later, in 1709, his wife's father, Henry Pew, made a will naming his grandsons: Abraham Childers, John Childers and one other grandson and one granddaughter.

In 1734 the will of Thomas Childers was probated in Henrico Parish naming, sons Philemon, Thomas, Benjamin, James and John and his wife Mary.

Leaving Virginia and moving across its border into Surry County, North Carolina in 1776, the citizens of Captain Hickman's district were listed in the State's census. John Childress, the census taker, listed the following Childress inhabitants: Abraham Childres, John Childress, Mary Childres, David Childres, Major Childriss and Paterson Childres.