George Childress

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George C. Childress is credited as being the author of the Texas Declaration of Independence

George Campbell Childress (January 8, 1804 – October 6, 1841) was a lawyer, politician, and a principal author of the Texas Declaration of Independence.

Early life[edit]

Childress was born on January 8, 1804 in Nashville, Tennessee, to John Campbell Childress and Elizabeth Robertson Childress. 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.[1]

Texas[edit]

Statue of Childress at Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historical Park in the Washington-on-the-Brazos community in Washington County, Texas, United States.

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, then illegally crossed the Red River into the nation of Mexico in violation of the Law of April 6, 1830.[2][3] He 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 (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 (as such, Childress is almost universally acknowledged as the primary author of the document and a newspaper article for his brother Wyatt's memorial states George wrote it in his brother's blacksmith shop).

The convention approved the document on March 2, 1836. The document is modeled closely on the United States Declaration of Independence, where most of the signatories had moved from, often illegally. 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. Grayson.

Personal life[edit]

On June 12, 1828, he married Margaret Vance. Seven years later, she gave birth to a son, but died from complications a few months afterward.

On December 12, 1836, Childress married Rebecca Stuart Read Jennings. This union produced two daughters.[1]

Death and legacy[edit]

In despair at the loss of his law practice, on October 6, 1841, while living in Galveston, Childress took a Bowie knife and committed suicide by cutting open his abdomen.[1]

Childress County, Texas is named in his honor.[1] The city of Childress, Texas is named in his honor.[citation needed] In 1936, the year of the Texas Centennial, the state erected a statue of Childress in Washington-on-the-Brazos, Texas.[4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Ericson, Joe E. (June 12, 2010). "CHILDRESS, GEORGE CAMPBELL". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved August 26, 2018.
  2. ^ Steen, Ralph W. "Provisional Government". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 10 October 2011.
  3. ^ Webb, James; Duvall, Thomas (1849). "Sam Houston v The Administrators of the Estate of Sterling C. Robertson, Appeal from Travis County". Reports of Cases Argued and Decided in the Supreme Court of the State of Texas during December term 1847. Vol II. Galveston: The News Office. pp. 1–36.
  4. ^ Shuffler, R. Henderson (January 1962). "The Signing of Texas' Declaration of Independence: Myth and Record". The Southwestern Historical Quarterly. 65 (3): 310–332. JSTOR 30236204.