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Below is a family biography included in The Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois published by Biographical Publishing Co. in 1894.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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MAJ. CHARLES J. CHILDS, M. D. All loyal Americans will agree that the old soldiers who sacrificed home comforts, endured hardships and braved dangers during the days of the Nation’s peril are deserving of remembrance. The historian cannot detail the lives spent on the tented field, but he can mention the chief events by which the gallant soldier secured victory, too often, alas, at the price of manly vigor and missing limbs. Were there no other reasons than his army life, we should be glad to present to our readers an outline of the history of Major Childs, a prominent physician of Randolph County, who is residing at Coulterville.

Our subject was born March 12, 1826, fourteen miles from the city of Baltimore, Md., and is a son of Nathaniel Childs, who was born in Maryland in 1770. The family traces its ancestry back to three brothers who came to America from Sweden, one locating in New England, another in South Carolina, and the third in Maryland. Our subject’s great-grandfather was a blacksmith in Emmetsburg, Md., where he lived over two hundred years ago.

Nathaniel Childs, the father of our subject, was a soldier in the War of 1812, where he commanded a mounted company. The lady whom he married was born in Baltimore in 1785, and bore the name of Miss Ann Jessup. She was the daughter of William Jessup, a native of England, who emigrated to America during the Revolutionary War. Our subject’s parents came west in 1839 and made a permanent home in St. Louis, where the father was engaged in running a sawmill. He took an active part in politics in that city, and was a member of the City Council for ten years. He was Probate Judge in Baltimore for a number of years, and was a valuable and influential man in his community. He departed this life in 1852, and his good wife died in 1865.

Our subject is the only survivor in the parental family of sixteen children, fourteen of whom grew to mature years. He was a lad of twelve years when his parents removed to St. Louis, where his education was completed. He first attended the college at St. Charles, that state, and later the St. Xavier Catholic College at St. Louis. Deciding to become a physician, Mr. Childs entered the Eclectic Medical Institute of Cincinnati with the Class of ‘45, and two years later became a student in the St. Louis Medical College, from which he was graduated in 1848. After practicing three years in that city he went to Madison, Ind., and after a residence there of three years returned to the Mound City. A twelve month later, however, he came to Chester, this county, where he engaged in the practice of his profession until 1861, when he took up his abode in Sparta, this county.

In September of the above year, Dr. Childs entered the Union army, being commissioned First Lieutenant of Company K, Fifth Illinois Cavalry. He was sent to Pilot Knob, Mo., in February, 1862, and advanced through Arkansas to Helena, in the meantime skirmishing with Generals Price and Van Dorn. July 1, he moved with his company to Jackson Port, Ark., and in the skirmish which followed with General Hovey, Major Childs led the advance in person, and compelled the retreat of the enemy. Later they went to Clarendon, and on crossing the White River to Helena, Ark., he encountered the guerrillas. He then received command to go forward with one hundred men as guards along the river, and in February, 1863, joined Grant’s army.

His health having been very much impaired, Dr. Childs returned home, intending to devote his time to his profession. His plans were frustrated, however, in May, 1864, by a call for one hundred day men, when he raised a company of one hundred and thirty-five volunteers, and on going to Springfield was commissioned Major of the One Hundred and Forty-second Regiment. He was then ordered to Memphis, Tenn., where he served under Gen. A. J. Smith. At the time Forrest made his last raid on Memphis, our subject’s regiment was ordered to hold White Star Station, which he did at the head of his command. On his return to Memphis he was ordered to Chicago, where they were to be mustered out. General Price at that time was making a raid in Missouri, and Major Childs’ regiment was called upon to go down and aid in the defense of St. Louis. They went forward, and after reaching the city reported to General Rosecrans, who ordered them to Benton Barricks and afterward to guard the Missouri Pacific Railroad. After ten days thus occupied they returned to Chicago, where they were mustered out November 1, 1864. Major Childs was very popular with “the boys” and was on many occasions highly complimented for his brave actions by his superior officers.

On returning home from the war, Dr. Childs practiced medicine in Sparta until April, 1874, when he came to Coulterville, and has since made his home at this place. In March, 1847, he married Miss Elizabeth A. Balridge, who was born in Ohio, November 13, 1828. She is the daughter of Alexander H. Balridge, M. D., who was Professor in the Eclectic Medical College at Cincinnati, Ohio. Mrs. Childs is a lady of high culture and fine education, and by her union with our subject has become the mother of eight children, of whom those living are: Emma F., the widow of S. B. Brown; Nathaniel, a student in the theological college at Xenia, Ohio; Charles A., a farmer; Elizabeth May, the wife of C. R. McKelvey, and Sally J., the wife of R. A. Leiper. The Doctor is a Presbyterian religiously, while Mrs. Childs holds membership in the United Presbyterian Church.

In politics the Doctor always takes an active part, and began making political speeches in behalf of the Whig party when eighteen years old. He is an influential citizen, and was President of the Board of Trustees of Coulterville for twelve years. The schools of this vicinity find in him an earnest advocate, and the Sparta High School owes its existence to his push and energy. He has been School Director for the past nine years, and during that time was Secretary of the Board. Dr. Childs was a personal friend of Gen. John A. Logan, Governors Yates, Hamilton and Fifen and Senator Cullom. He was present at the state convention that instructed for Grant, during which time the contest between Logan and Farewell for the United States Senate took place. At different times he has been associated on committees with Stephen A. Douglas, Jr., and Robert Lincoln. He has been delegate to five state conventions, and presided over the first Republican convention, held in Randolph County in 1856.

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This family biography is one of 679 biographies included in The Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois published in 1894.  View the complete description here: The Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois

View additional Randolph County, Illinois family biographies here: Randolph County, Illinois Biographies

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