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Childress was born in Nashville, Tennessee, to John Childress and Elizabeth Robertson. In 1826 he attended, and graduated from, Davidson Academy. Two years later, he was admitted to the Tennessee Bar. George C. Childress studied law for two years later he became chief editor for the Nashville Banner which he remained for 10 years. On June 12, 1828, he married Margaret Vance. Seven years later, Margaret gave birth to a son, but died from complications a few months afterward.
After spending some time raising money and volunteers in Tennessee for the Texas army, Childress left permanently for Texas. He arrived at the Red River on December 13, 1835, and reached Robertson's colony on January 9, 1836. The following February he and his uncle, Sterling C. Robertson, were elected to represent Milam Municipality (formerly known as Viesca) at the Convention of 1836. Childress called the convention to order and subsequently introduced a resolution authorizing a committee of five members to draft a Declaration of Independence. Upon adoption of the resolution, he was named chairman of the committee by Richard Ellis and is almost universally acknowledged as the primary author of the document. The other members of the committee were Edward Conrad, James Fannin, Bailey Hardeman, and Collin McKinney. The committee finished the drafting in only one day, leading many to believe that Childress had gone to the convention with a draft already prepared.
The convention approved the document on March 2, 1836. The document is modeled closely on the United States Declaration of Independence with its list of causes. Although the document is dated March 2, the actual signing took place on March 3, after errors were discovered when it was read. On March 19, 1836, Childress and Robert Hamilton were sent to the United States to gain recognition of the new Republic of Texas. They were later replaced by James Collinsworth and Peter W.
On December 12, 1836, Childress married Rebecca Jennings and they had two daughters. Childress attempted three times, in 1837, 1839 and 1841, to start his own law practice, but each attempt failed. In despair at his fortunes, on October 6, 1841 while living in Galveston, Childress took a Bowie knife and committed suicide by cutting open his abdomen.
The original Texas Declaration of Independence was not returned to Texas until June 1896. William H. Wharton had taken the original to the United States and dropped it off at the Department of State on May 28, 1836.
- Childress County, located on the edge of the Texas Panhandle, was named for him on August 21, 1876. In addition, its county seat (Childress, Texas) was also named for him.
- Is buried at the Trinity Episcopal Church Cemetery in Galveston
- Is one of four 'founding fathers' of Texas to commit suicide: Anson Jones and Thomas Jefferson Rusk both died from self-inflicted gunshot wounds, and James Collinsworth drowned when he jumped off a boat.
- James L. Haley, Passionate Nation (Free Press, 2006), ISBN 0-684-86291-3.
- H. W. Brands, Lone Star Nation (Anchor Books, 2005), ISBN 1-4000-3070-6.