Biography of William S. Childress

William S. Childress, farmer and stock-raiser; P. O. Ashmore; was born in Knox Co., East Tenn., April 11, 1827; he is a son of Richard and Rebecca Childress. In 1831, his father removed to Edgar Co., and settled just on the line between Illinois and Indiana. In 1848, Mr. Childress came to Coles Co., being the first of the family to settle here, his father following in the spring of 1849; his father died about 1862; his mother still survives, and now resides in Farmington, in Coles Co., at the age of 75 years. Mr. C. was married April 30, 1848, to Miss Temple A. Barnes, a daughter of Enos Barnes, one of the pioneers of the county; she died Sept. 17, 1874, leaving nine children – Elizabeth J. (wife of Washington Moody, of Ashmore Tp.); Lucinda E. (wife of H. Ph. Goodnight, of Ashmore Tp.), Richard M., Rebecca A., Florence A., (wife of George Honn, of East Oakland Tp.), John F., William A., Melinda and Viola. A stranger, viewing Mr. Childress’ farm, comprising over 1,000 acres, his large and beautiful residence, his herds of over a hundred cattle, fifteen to twenty horses, a hundred and fifty sheep, and a hundred and twenty-five hogs, would find it difficult to realize the hardships through which he has passed in accumulating them. When he came to the county his total possessions would not amount to $200; he has chopped cordwood at 30 cents a cord, and made rails at 50 cents a hundred; he made about 7,000 rails the first winter he spent in the county. To illustrate the gradual manner in which he has acquired his land, we give the following, showing the amount purchased at different times, and the price per acre. His first purchase was 110 acres, at $1.25 per acre; next 80 acres, of Government at $1.25 per acre; then at intervals as follows; 40 acres at $15 per acre; 50 acres, at $22 per acre; 40 acres at $17.50 per acre; SO acres, at $30 per acre; 120 acres, at $25 per acre; 20 acres, at $40 per acre; 20 acres, at $27.50 per acre; 40 acres, at $18.75 per acre; 40 acres, at $40 per acre; 40 acres at $8.75 per acre; 43½ acres, at $10 per acre; 240 acres, at $20 per acre; 30 acres, for $50 in all, and 20 acres at $10 per acre. He has made it a practice to buy but never sell, consequently all of his original purchases are still in his possession, and what is, perhaps, more remarkable, there never has been a mortgage on an acre of it. Mr. Childress was married a second time, Dec. 1, 1874, to Mrs. Nannie Shoemaker, a native of Kentucky.



Chapman Brothers Portrait and biographical album of Coles County, Illinois Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887.

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