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The Childers ~ Childress
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Pleasant Childress, was born in the l760’s or 1770's

The Childress family came to Henry County, Tenn. by 1830, and des-cendants have lived in Henry and Benton Counties probably to the present day. Others may be near Jackson Co* Tenn.

The original settler. Pleasant Childress, was born in the l760’s or 1770 ‘s in Virginia or North Carolina and was married in 1793 in Warren Co. N.C. to Sarah Bush, daughter of Jeremiah and Sarah Bush and granddaughter of John and Ann Bush. The Bush family owned a mill in Warren Co. on Six-Pound Creek. Pleasant’s parents are not known.

Pleasant and his family lived in Caswell Co. N.C. 30 years, from ca l800 to ca l830 before coming to Henry Co. Tenn. around 1830 to 1832. Three of his known five children—GuiIford B.» Nancy, Jeremiah, Thomas and Artelia—were born in Caswell Co., and some of them were married there. A Solomon Childress, who was married in September, 1807, in Caswell Co. to Susannah Bush and died about seven years later, is believed to have been a brother of Pleasant’s.

Pleasant’s oldest son, Guilford B. or P. Childress, was born 23 Dec. 1795 in Warren Co. NC and was married 1 Sept. 1818 in Lincoln Co. GA. to Nicey/Nici Collins. He and his wife had four children before her death 30 April 1826—Solomon Collins Childress born 30 May 18l9» Pleasant born 13 March 182l» Abel born 14 April 1823, and Sarah born 29 Oct. 1824. When and where Guilford died is not known. Pleasant, son of Guilford, died 19 March 1873 in Texas. Solomon and Sarah both died in 1885. It is not believed that Guilford and his family lived in Henry Co.

Pleasant*s oldest daughter. Nancy, was probably born in the late 1790*s in Warren Co* because she was married 11 April 1813 in Caswell Co N.C., to a William Swift, parents unknown* She apparently preceded her father in death since her three children—Alfred, Anthony and Louisa Swift—were named as heirs in the division of the property of old Pleasant Childress 29 Nov. 1844 in Henry Co. It is probable that she died before her parents came to Henry Co. What became of her husband and the three children is unknown.
Pleasant and Sarah-s three younger children—Jeremiah, Thomas and Artelia—came along to Henry Co. with Pleasant and Sarah around 1830. Jeremiah already had a wife and family by then, and Thomas probably was married either just before or just after they came to Henry Co. Both Thomas and Jeremiah farmed near old Pleasants farm, but Jeremiah moved to Wayne Co. MO. after his father's death In the early 1840*s.

Jeremiah was born around 1800 and was married in Caswell Co. on 7 ' July 1821 to Mary Wells* Jeremiah probably had at least 13 children since censuses of North Carolina and Henry Co* Tenn. show that he had at least seven children.. names unknown, born between 1820 and 1835 • Wayne Co* Missouri census of 1850 and 1860 listed six more children for him—Sarah, born ca 1838 in Henry Co.* Mary, born CA 1839/40 in Henry Co.» Emily, born ca 1843/1846 in Henry Co.» Bedford B.. born ca 1853 in Wayne Co.» Artelia, born ca 1855 in Wayne Co*, and Amanda, born ca 1857 in Wayne Co. It is not known when his wife Mary died or if he had a second wife. Jeremiah probably died in the 1860 *s in Wayne Co., or else moved away* His son Bedford has not been located in 1870 censuses. A Wayne Co* history by Rose Fulton Cramer, published in 1972, states that Jeremiah was a carpenter in the 1850*s and a miller in the 1860*s. There is a Childers Hill in Wayne Co*, but other families by that name also lived in the county.

Pleasant's youngest son, Thomas Childress, was born ca 1810 in Caswell Co. N.C. and probably was married there or in Henry Co. Tenn. by 1832 to a lady whose last name is unknown and whose first name is spelled various ways in records* Her name was given as Ema, Emma, Ena and Eva in censuses and land records* It is even possible that her name was Rowena because a descendant by that name was called "Ena." She was born ca 1811 in North Carolina and probably died in the 1870*s near Camden in Benton Co. Tenn.

Thomas and his family lived in Henry Co. in the l830*s, 1840*s and 1850*s, moving over to nearby Benton Co. by I860. He and his wife had seven children, and there is uncertainty about when and where he died and whether or not he had three more children by a second wife.

A granddaughter in Benton Co. was told that he went off to the war in the 1860*s, even though he was middle-aged, and never returned. In 1925, a man named Taylor Childress came to visit old Thomas* youngest and only surviving son, John C. Childress, near Camden and told him that old Thomas had remarried after the war and had three children*-Taylor and William Childress and Mrs. Betty McCord. However, a death record on Taylor Childress states that he was the son of a Starling Chil-dress. Starling Childress of Weakley Co. Tenn. was the son of a Thomas C. Childress, who was born ca 1808 in South Carolina and who also lived in Henry Co. in the early 1800*s. The wife of Thomas C. Childress came from a Caswell Co. M.C. family also, according to a power of attorney record. This Thomas C. Childress often was confused with Thomas son of Pleasant. It is possible that they were ca 1ose cousins and that the Thomas C. born ca 1808 in S.C. was the son of an older John C. Childress whose estate was listed in Henry Co. Tenn. tax records in 1830 and years following. It is possible that a number of Childress born in S.C. who lived in Henry Co. were descendants of this John C. and that this John C. was a brother of old Pleasant Childress*

Descendants of Thomas, son of Pleasant, have lived in Benton Co. near Camden more than 130 years, and some have lived in or near Jackson, Tenn., 100 years. Others are in Arkansas, Utah, Texas and California. Some descendants of Thomas C. born in S.C. lived in the later 1800*s in Weakley Co. Tenn. and other West Tenn. counties. Childress or Childers now living in Henry Co. do not descend from these two families.

The seven known children of Thomas and Ema/Emma/Ena/Eva Childress, all born in Henry Co., are as follows:
1. Elizabeth Childress, born ca 1833» nothing further known of her.
2. Sarah Childress, born ca 1835, also nothing further known.
3. Rufus Adel Childress, born ca 1837/8» married 1859/60 to Amanda Belle Alston, daughter of James and Rebecca Alston of Benton Co., died ca 1878/1879, probably near Camden} father of seven known children. A grandson said that he was known as a fiddler and that he had seen remains of Rufus' old log cabin near Camden.
4. Mahala Childress, born ca 1840» married 19 Dec. 1959 to Amanda*s brother, William Marshall Alston* lived later in Pemiscot Co. Ho. and Boone Co. Ark. They had a son, Charles Henry Alston, and two daughters, Roena (Ena) and Mary Ann Rebecca Alston. Charles Henry lived in Oregon with his family.
5. Thomas Pleasant Childress, born ca 1842i married 15 Aug. 1867 to Melinda J* Beasley and later to Vilena ______; father of three
children—Cora, Eva and Otto* He died before March, 1893, near Camden, Tenn. It is believed that he was a Confederate veteran.
6. Mary Childress, born ca 1848» married 5 July 1877 to W. M. Holland» nothing further known, but it is believed the family and descen-dants remained in the area.
7. John C. Childress, born 6 June 1851; married 3 Jan. 1872 to
Elizabeth McKelvey by whom he had eight children, and died 6 June 1930 in Benton Co* Tenn. He and some of his family are buried in Flat Woods Methodist Cemetery near Camden. It is believed that others, possibly his father Rufus included, are buried in unmarked graves there. One of Rufus’ two sons, Charles Horace Childress, 1868-1948, is in an unmarked grave there. Some of John C’s children, including Sherman and Dells Childress and Mrs. Flora (Flossie) Berry, were residents near Camden many years. This family had annual reunions many years. A Rev. A. G. Childers, formerly of Alabama, was pastor of Flat Woods Church in the 1940's, but it is not known if he was related to the Childers/Childress families of Henry and Benton Co.
Pleasant Childress' youngest child, Artelia E. Childress, was born ca 1816 in Caswell Co. N.C. and was married in April, 1835. in Henry Co. TN to Shadrack Kirkland. She and her husband and their large family apparently remained in Henry Co. all their married life* He died probably between 1864 and 1870, and she probably died between 1870 and 1880. Her mother, Sarah, apparently lived with them after Pleasant* s death until her own death in the 1850*s. By an odd coin-cidence, a Shadrack Kirkland was listed in the 1830 census of Wayne Co. Mo., where Artelia •s brother Jeremiah settled in the 1840 *s.
The names of the children are known only through the censuses of Henry Co. Tenn., but nothing further is known of them, such as marriages places of residence later, death, etc. The names and dates may be inaccurate because the censuses varied. Names of the children are* Annis Kirkland, born ca 1838» Sarah E. Kirkland, also born ca 1838» Mary T. Kirkland, born ca 1839» Ann T. Kirkland, born ca 1843» Pleasant Kirkland, born ca 1844» Rebecca Kirkland, born ca 1845» Parmilia, born ca 1847» ?01ilea, bom ca 1850» Anderson Kirkland, born ca 1852j Shadrack K. Kirkland, born ca 1852» James B. Kirkland, born ca 1857» and U. V. Kirkland, a girl, bom CA 1864.

It is believed that old Pleasant and Sarah and the Kirkland family are all buried somewhere in Henry Co., but the graves have not been found. Descendants of the Kirkland family have not been located. Except for Thomas* two sons, Rufus and John C., not much is known of what became of the descendants of- old Pleasant and Sarah.
Rufus and his wife Amanda had at least seven children, all probably born in Benton Co. Tenn. They are:
1. Alice Childress, born ca 1861, nothing further known of her.
2. Dora Childress, born 28 Nov. 1862» married 12 February 1882 to Leander Holland, and died 31 Jan. 1961. They had at least three children—Lena, Girdie and Morris. Descendants may live around Jackson, Tenn.
3. James L. Childress, born 13 Feb. 1865; wife, Mary Katherine
Gates (?). died young, and he died 17 Mar. 1948 near Harrisburg, AK. Their only son, Laxie, was a country and western singer in Oklahoma and Utah, but now lives in Russellville, Ark. He and his wife have a large family of children living mostly in Utah, California and Texas.
4. Rebecca, born ca 1869. who married George Washington Payton. Nothing further known, but descendants still may live near Camden, TN.
5. Charles Horace Childress, born 2 June 1868; married 21 Nov 1895 to Mabel Ferguson of Marion, IN; divorced 10 years later, and died 14 Feb. 1948 in Paris, TNy.» leaving a widow, Ruth Hilliard Childress of Huntingdon, Tenn*. and two sons, Harold S. Childers of Aurora, Ind. and Ca 1air P. Childers of Portland, Ore*, both now deceased. The sons only saw their father two or three tiles in their lives as they were toddlers when their parents were divorced, but were told their father was a riverboat gambler and a shoe salesman*
6. Geneva, born ca 1873, nothing further known.
7. Blanch, born ca 1879, also nothing further known. Amanda moved with the children to Malesus, outside of Jackson, Tenn., ca 1880 after Rufus* death and remained there until her own death 9 Sept* 1914 there. Her grandson said she smoked a corncob pipe for her asthma. She is buried in Ebenezer Cemetery, Malesus, between Henrietta T. Oailey and Katie L. Dailey, but it is not known if they were related* In the 1900 census she was living with Dora and Leander Holland and their two children, Girdie and Morris, in Malesus, and in 1910 she was living with a grandson, Julian P* Hartley, in the Jackson, Tenn. area.

The Bible record of the family of John C. Childress, Rufus* youngest brother* lists the following eight children*
1. Flora Childress, born 4 April 1873» died 11 July 1950, and mar-ried to Alonzo Pafford 29 Sept. 1889. Descendants probably still live near Camden.
2. Dora, born 2 May 187?, died 1 April 1965.
3. Delia Childress, born 29 April 1878» died 15 Feb. 1958» married M. E. Ourden 4 Dec. 1895. Descendants probably still live around Camden.
4. George T. Childress, born 7 Feb. 1881) died 11 Oct. 1925»
Married Allie Davidson in 1903) buried in Flat Hoods Cemetery.
5. Mary Childress. Born 6 Sept. 1884» died 20 July 1967» married Ca 1aud Johnson Melton. Descendants may live around Camden.
6. Boyd Childress, born 8 Sept. 1886» died 15 Aug. 1929. '7. Sherman Childress, born 29 June l888» died 14 Aug. l952» whose widow Mary Fuel Childress died 14 Apr. 1977 in Benton Co. with burial in Flat Woods Cemetery. 8. Essie Childress, born 1 July 1893s died 1 June 1911. According to his obituary, when John C. Childress died in 1930 at the age of 79, he was living with his daughter, Mrs. Durden, and was survived then by five children—Mrs., w. L. Pafford, Dora Holland, Delia Durden, Mrs. C. J. Melton, and Shenaan Childress—in addition to 19 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren. It is probable that many of the descendants of John C. and Rufus still live in West Tenn., but it is not known what became of the children of their brother Thomas Pleasant.
The name is always spelled Childress by John C.’s family, but was spelled sometimes as Childres and Childers in censuses, deeds, and other public records. It is spelled Childress on John C.’s tombstone near Camden, but Childers on Amanda,s tombstone in Malesus. Rufus’ grandsons spelled it Childers.

The above was based on many news items in the Camden Chronica1e, books and newspaper columns by Jonathan K. T. Smith, and censuses and marriage, probate, court, land and tax records of Henry and Benton Cos., Tenn. The author, Mrs. Virginia Childers Zeboski, 4538 Juno Way, Sacramento, CA. 95864, granddaughter of Charles Horace, would like to hear from other descendants. Because of her mother's death at a very young age, she was raised by her mother's parents in Southeastern Indiana and never knew any of the family in Tennessee*