Texas Archival Resources Online

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Biographical Note

Scope and Contents

Arrangement

Restrictions

Index Terms

Administrative Information

Accession Numbers

OCLC Number

Description of Series

Inventory

University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

George Campbell Childress Papers, 1794-1859



Creator Childress, George Campbell, 1804-1841
Title: George Campbell Childress papers
Dates: 1794-1859
Abstract: Papers consist of letters written by Childress to his second wife, Rebecca Jennings Childress, during Childress's five trips from Tennessee to Texas (1834-1841), and letters between Jennings family members (1828-1874) including letters from Childress's mother-in-law, Ann Jennings of Nashville, Tennessee, to her daughters. Also included are legal documents, several photographs, and a bible given by Rebecca Childress to her daughter Ann Childress.
Identification: camh-arc-004216
Extent: 1 inch
Language: Materials are written in English.
Repository: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

Biographical Note

Born January 8, 1804, in Nashville, Tennessee, Childress grew up in a prominent family and was educated at Davidson Academy, later named the University of Nashville. In 1828, he was admitted to the Tennessee Bar, and soon became the editor of the National Banner and Nashville Advertiser. The same year he married Margaret S. Vance of Nashville. She died July 27, 1835.

During 1834, Childress traveled to Texas as an editor-reporter for the newspaper. Sterling C. Robertson, his uncle, had established a colony and Childress was impressed by the possible opportunities that awaited educated men. He moved to Texas in late 1835.

Serving as a promotion agent and possessing family connections with Andrew Jackson and Sam Houston, Childress was elected to the constitutional convention in 1836, which met at Washington-on-the-Brazos. On March 1, Childress and four other representatives were appointed by the convention president to draft a declaration of independence from Mexico. From sources that describe the convention years later, it is apparent that he had already written a draft declaration before arriving at Washington-on-the-Brazos, and the other committee found it suited to the task.

The document was patterned after Thomas Jefferson's Declaration of Independence, complete with a statement of rights and a list of grievances against the Mexican government. From his legal, oratorical and journalist background, Childress produced a declaration to every delegate's liking. The convention adopted the Declaration of Independence of Texas the next day March 2, 1836.

For a time, the future appeared bright to Childress. He was well known and respected in Texas and he married Rebecca Jennings of Nashville in December 1836 on a return trip from Washington D.C. as a special envoy. Over the next five years, he made three lengthy trips to Texas while Rebecca, afflicted with tuberculosis, remained in Tennessee. Each time, Childress tried in vain to establish a law practice in Texas upon which he might support a family and gain prominence. In 1837, 1839, and in 1841, he travelled to Houston, and then Galveston using funds borrowed from family and personal friends. Each time he vigorously attempted to establish himself and transport his family by river boat to Texas. The economic climate in the late 1830s was depressed, and Childress could not establish a successful venture.

As his debts mounted, his loneliness for Rebecca and his three children increased, and his hopes dimmed, Childress committed suicide on October 6, 1841. He was buried in an unmarked grave in Galveston. Rebecca Childress died of tuberculosis in Alabama in 1847.

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Scope and Contents

Papers consist of letters written by Childress to his second wife, Rebecca Jennings Childress, during Childress's five trips from Tennessee to Texas (1834-1841), and letters between Jennings family members (1828-1874) including letters from Childress's mother-in-law, Ann Jennings of Nashville, Tennessee, to her daughters. Also included are legal documents, several photographs, and a bible given by Rebecca Childress to her daughter Ann Childress.

The George Campbell Childress Papers concern primarily the period in which Texas was an independent nation (1836-1845).

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Arrangement

Organized by form of material and arranged chronologically.

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Restrictions

Conditions Governing Access

A portion of this collection is restricted. Contact repository for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

There are no use restrictions on this collection. Publisher is responsible for complying with copyright law.

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Index Terms

Personal Names
Childress, George Campbell, 1804-1841
Subjects
Declaration of Independence (Texas)
Shipping
Voyages and travels
Places
Galveston County -- Texas
Nashville
Document Types
furniture

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

George Campbell Childress Papers, 1794-1859, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Archives Staff.

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Accession Numbers

38-; 78-24; 82-24

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OCLC Number

21349170

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Detailed Description of the Collection

Inventory

box
3N196 [SRH1230018873] Legal waiver of sheriff enforced land sale of Elisha Rice, witnessed by Jonathan Childress; Stone River Davison County, Tennessee, August 9, 1974
Letter from Ann Jennings to Rebecca Connell, April 1, 1828
Scope and Contents
A description to her cousin of the Jennings family's recent move to Nashville and the city's opportunities; describes problems of starting out, getting supplies, discusses religion; Nashville to Philadelphia.
folder
2.325/OD19 Portrait of George Campbell Childress (miniature painted on ivory), ce. 1830
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3N196 [SRH1230018873] Letter from Ann Jennings to Ann Jennings Wise, November 21, 1836
Scope and Contents
Expresses to daughter her sadness over granddaughter's illness; concerns her daughter's subsequent cancelled trip to Nashville; revelation of daughter Rebecca's engagement to George Childress; comments on Childress' sensible character, although void of religion; Nashville to Drummond Town, Accomack County, Eastern Shore, Virginia.
Letter from Ann Jennings to Ann Jennings Wise, December 23, 1836
Scope and Contents
Describes daughter Rebecca's recent marriage to George Childress, notes his illness at Clinton, Mississippi and that he may die soon; details his good characteristics as a husband; Rebecca's positive feelings for him; Nashville to Drummond Town, Accomack County, Eastern Shore, Virginia.
Letter from George Childress to Rebecca Childress, April 9, 1837
Scope and Contents
Notes news of possible Mexican naval blockade of Texas ports; decides to take land route through Texas for fear of capture; comments on wife's ill health, his loneliness and the depressed economic times; New Orleans to Nashville.
Letter from George Childress to Rebecca Childress, March 9, 1839
Scope and Contents
Details loneliness and displeasure at receiving few letters from wife; states he will enter a law practice in Louisiana; New Orleans to Sommerville, Tennessee.
Letter from George Childress to Rebecca Childress, February 19, 1840
Scope and Contents
Depicts difficult economic times; comments on neighbour; states love for family; Memphis to Sommerville, Tennessee.
Letter from George Childress to Rebecca Childress, March 14, 1841
Scope and Contents
Because of loneliness, he asks wife to send a letter on the next steam packet; Houston to Nashville.
Letter from George Childress to Rebecca Childress, May 10, 1841
Scope and Contents
Describes the frame house, lot, furniture, and gardens he purchased in Galveston; notes the healthy location;; details notable neighbors; says will send her steamboat passage as soon as Texas government reimburses his claim; Galveston to Nashville.
Letter from George Childress to Rebecca Childress, August 1, 1841
Scope and Contents
Describes terribly unhealthy Texas summer climate in lowlands; says he will conduct land title and other business affairs from Galveston until fall; notes his living arrangements at a boardinghouse in town; Galveston to Nashville.
Letter from William Henry Daingerfield to Rebecca Childress, September 17, 1842
Scope and Contents
Describes terribly unhealthy Texas summer climate in lowlands; says he will conduct land title and other business affairs from Galveston until fall; notes his living arrangements at a boardinghouse in town; Galveston to Nashville.
Letter from William Henry Daingerfield to Rebecca Childress, September 17, 1842
Scope and Contents
Expresses his sincere sorrow at having not visited her while she was in Philadelphia; also notes his sadness at not marrying her sister; Philadelphia to Wilmington, Delaware.
Letter from [Mary I. Margle?] to Rebecca Childress, June 7, [ce. 1842-1847]
Scope and Contents
This sister describes her husband and her travels through Virginia, Washington D.C., Wheeling, Cincinnati, and St. Louis, by coach, steamboat and rail; notes Cincinnati society and western immigrants; Cincinnati to Wilmington, Delaware.
Letter from Mary I. Margle to Rebecca Childress, June 28, [ce. 1842-1847]
Scope and Contents
Describes her trip to Philadelphia from which she has just returned; recounts many friends visited; Nashville to Wilmington, Delaware.
Letter from Mary I. Margle to Rebecca Childress, July 25, [ce. 1842-1847]
Scope and Contents
Expresses deep sadness over the death of their mother, Ann Jennings; discusses family acquaintances around Nashville; Nashville to Wilmington, Delaware.
Letter from Jonathan A.S.R. Green to Charles S. Childress, August 19, 1859
Scope and Contents
Lawyer writes to update Charles on the progress of his legal suit to recover claim to his father's (George Childress) land lying in the Daniel Boone Friar league, near Washington-on-the-Brazos; need to contact witness, A.M. Sullivan; Austin to Monticello, Arkansas.
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4L803 Bible, copyright 1946, November 1847
Scope and Contents
Given by Rebecca Childress to her daughter, Ann Jennings Childress; inscription at beginning states Ann's sense of deep loss of her mother; several handwritten verses and poetic thoughts.
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3S11 [SRH1230027687] Two unidentified female portraits (in color and framed)

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