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Below is a family biography included in the Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania published in 1904 by T. S. Benham & Company and The Lewis Publishing Company; Elwood Roberts, Editor.  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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S. POWELL CHILDS. There are few older or more prominent families in Montgomery county, Pennsylvania, than that bearing the name of Childs, and S. Powell Childs, now deceased, was one of its most worthy representatives. He was a descendant in the sixth generation of Henry Child, who resided in Colds Hill, in the parish of Rinderham, Hertford county, England. The family were members of the Society of Friends, and Henry Child was eminent as a writer and speaker among them. He was on close terms of acquaintance with William Penn, from whom he purchased five hundred acres of land for which he paid ten pounds sterling; the purchase was made on January 20, 1687, and the land was then located in Plumstead, Bucks county, Pennsylvania. Henry Child was the father of several children and, in 1693, he accompanied his young son Cephas to America. Cephas Child was placed with a family in Philadelphia, where he learned the carpenter trade, and his father returned to England, but subsequently crossed the ocean again and finally settled in Anne Arundel county, Maryland, and in 1715 he gave the above mentioned land to his son Cephas.

Cephas Child was married to Mary Atkinson, of Philadelphia, in 1716, and at once settled on the land bequeathed to him by his father, which was located in Bucks county, Pennsylvania. They were the parents of nine children, the sixth of whom was named Henry. He was born on the homestead in Bucks county, January 1, 1725. He married Mary Shoemaker, of Gwynedd Monthly Meeting, August 3, 1750, and their children were: Sarah, John Isaac, George and Thomas.

John Isaac Child, grandfather of S. Powell Childs, was born April 3, 1755, in Plumstead, Bucks county, Pennsylvania, from which place his father removed with his family to Cheltenham, Montgomery county, same state, in 1776. On June 5, 1777, John I. Child was married to Mary Phipps, daughter of Peter Phipps, of Abington, and twelve children were the issue of this union, eight of whom attained years of manhood and womanhood, their names being as follows: Mary, Peter, Sarah, James, Tacy, Elizabeth, John and Margaret.

Peter Child, father of S. Powell Childs, was born in Cheltenham township, Montgomery county, Pennsylvania, in 1780. He married Sarah Rogers, by whom he had several children, all deceased. Sarah was the widow of Charles Shoemaker, late of Whitpain township, whom she married in the year 1840. The second wife of Peter Childs was Rosanna Lee, nee Kerckbaum, of Lower Merion, Pennsylvania. One child was born of this union, S. Powell Childs.

S. Powell Childs was born June 7, 1832, in Plymouth township, Montgomery county, Pennsylvania, on the farm upon which he resided until his death. It was then the property of Samuel Powell, his maternal grand uncle. The farm was then rented and occupied by Peter Child and his family, who afterwards purchased it. Samuel Powell (grand uncle) was a widower and childless, and he made his home with the Childs family, being cared for by Mrs. Childs, his niece, until his death in April, 1844. S. Powell Childs was named in honor of his uncle, who bequeathed to him a handsome legacy, and when he became old enough he was the almost constant companion of Mr. Powell. S. Powell Childs attended school regularly from the age of six to eleven years, after which he worked until his fifteenth year on the farm during the summer months, and attended school during the winter months, and the knowledge thus gained was supplemented by one term in the private academy of Samuel Aaron, at Norristown, Pennsylvania. At this time he was an earnest and thoughtful reader, and the books from which he derived a vast amount of knowledge were obtained from the Whitpain library and other sources. After the death of his father, in 1844, his time and effort were needed in assisting his mother in the management of the farm, and in marketing the products in the city of Philadelphia. Upon attaining his majority, in 1853, he purchased his father’s estate of sixty acres and the old homestead, to which he added twenty-five acres a few years later, and he greatly improved this property by the erection of new and commodious buildings, and by a skillful system of husbandry.

In politics Mr. Childs was a Republican, having been one of the local founders and an active member of that party, but he never desired or sought office, although he served in various capacities. He held for a term the office of assistant internal revenue assessor, and in 1876 he was tendered and accepted the nomination for state senator, and although he received all the votes of his party, which was then in the minority, he was defeated. He always manifested a great interest in educational matters, was instrumental in the many improvements in the public schools, was one of the early advocates for a township high school, and later had the satisfaction of assisting in the organization of one. In 1856 he was elected a school director, and was the incumbent of the office for a number of years, during which time he served as secretary of the board. His nomination for office has always been on the minority ticket, yet he has always been elected by a large majority. He contributed liberally of his time and money to the establishment of the corporation known as the Plymouth Valley Creamery Company, and for a number of years was a member of the Montgomery County Agricultural Society, a portion of which time he served as manager and vice-president. For a long period of time he was a reporter of statistics for the state board of agriculture of Pennsylvania, chief reporter for Montgomery county, and at the same time filled a similar position for the United States board of agriculture. In matters of local interest and improvement Mr. Childs evinced a deep concern, and he materially aided every worthy enterprise. He was a member of the board of managers of the Montgomery County Mutual Fire Insurance Company, and he aided largely in having the company extend the principles of insurance to damage done by storm as well as by fire. He was an advocate of good roads, and prior to his death enjoyed the privilege of seeing the principal roads of Plymouth township macadamized, and also the running of trolley cars on the principal roads of the township. In every position in which he was placed he was a progressive, liberal and public-spirited citizen, who could be depended upon to support every worthy object. He was active in the organization of Cold Point Grange, No. 606, Patrons of Husbandry, in October, 1875, and was elected its first master, to which position he was re-elected several times, and during this time it became the banner Grange of the state. He was also treasurer of this Grange. For several terms he held the position of master of the Montgomery County Pomona Grange, being treasurer of the same, and he also held membership in the Pennsylvania Grange, serving as a member of the executive committee. His father and all his paternal ancestors, both male and female, for five generations, were members of the Society of Friends. His mother was not a Friend by birthright, but was reared in that faith. She resided with her son and his family until her death, February 20, 1888, at the advanced age of ninety-two years.

On February 9, 1854, Mr. Childs married Mary A. Schlater, a daughter of William and Sarah Schlater, of Plymouth township, who died January 21, 1855. On February 24, 1859, Mr. Childs married Malinda Freas, born September 17, 1837, a daughter of George and Margaret Freas, of Plymouth township, and a descendant of the Rev. Thomas Dungan or Dungannon, an Irish refugee, who fled from religious persecution in his own country to America, settling in Providence, Rhode Island, where he became a disciple of Roger Williams; in 1684 he came from Providence to the colony of Penn, locating in Bucks county, where he was the first Baptist minister, and his death occurred there in the year 1688. The children of S. Powell and Malinda (Freas) Childs are: 1. Horace G., born June 7, 1860, who was killed by lightning on June 6, 1883. 2. Mary B., born June 13, 1862. 3. Sherman, born August 1, 1864, died August 7, 1866. 4. Sarah S., born September 20, 1868, a teacher in the public schools of Norristown. 5. George Freas, born August 6, 1870, mentioned hereinafter. 6. Ella F., born June 17, 1872, died November 19, 1880. 7. Elizabeth H., born January 27, 1875. S. Powell Childs, father of these children, died May 7, 1890, in the home where he was born, and where he resided during his entire lifetime. His widow and children reside in Norristown, Pennsylvania.

George Freas Childs, only surviving son of the late S. Powell Childs and his wife Malinda H. (Freas) Childs, was born on the homestead in Plymouth township, Montgomery county, Pennsylvania, August 6, 1870. He attended the public schools of the township, Treemount Seminary, Norristown, which was under the competent preceptorship of Dr. John W. Loch, and the Norristown high school. During his vacations he assisted with the manifold duties of the farm, and upon the completion of his studies he was engaged in farm duties for a year. He then pursued a course at the Pierce Business College, Philadelphia, after which he secured a position with the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, at Philadelphia, and later was transferred to the auditing department of the same corporation, at Pittsburg. In 1898 he was transferred from Pittsburg to the Philadelphia office of the same company, where he has since been located. Since his return from Pittsburg, Mr. Childs has resided in Norristown. He is a Republican in his political views, but takes no active part in politics outside of casting his vote for the candidates of his party.

Mr. Childs married, August 11, 1897, Sarah Yeakle, daughter of Samuel Hudson and Rebecca Pollis (Burke) Yeakle, of Bucks county, Pennsylvania. They have one child, Charles Raymond, born May 19, 1900.

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This family biography is one of more than 1,000 biographies included in the Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania published in 1904 by T. S. Benham & Company and The Lewis Publishing Company.  For the complete description, click here: Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania

View additional Montgomery County, Pennsylvania family biographies here: Montgomery County, Pennsylvania Biographies

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