Jefferson Pearse Childers was born 23 November 1841 in Lumpkin, Stewart County, Georgia. According to family records located in the vertical file at the Walker County Library in Huntsville, his parents were Douglas Childers and Amanda Cheshire, who were married in 1838 in Stewart County, Georgia. He moved to Montgomery County, Texas, with his parents after 1850; they are enumerated on the 1860 census of Montgomery County as W. and A. Childers. He was the brother of Reuben Childers.
Jefferson was the brother-in-law of T. J. Spears, who was married to his sister, Mary. And after the war he became the brother-in-law of Henry E. Bell, who married his sister, Adner. He was the grandson of Richard Jesse Cheshire. And he was the nephew of Eliza J. Cheshire who married John Baker Reding.
Jefferson joined Co. B 24th Regiment Texas Cavalry on March 29th at Danville, Texas, where he was enrolled by John E. George. He gave his age as twenty. His home was fifty miles from the place of rendezvous.
He went to Camp Carter at Hempstead with the other men on April 28th and trained as cavalry. There he was elected Fourth Corporal of the company.
Jeff assembled with the men from Carter's Brigade at Crockett in May and rode to Arkansas. His brother, Reuben, died of illness at Shreveport, along the route.
On August 31st, he was counted present, but there was a notation that he was sick in camp. By this time, the regiment had moved to Camp Sulphur Springs near Pine Bluff.
On the muster roll of October, 1862, there is a notation that Jefferson was on sick furlough. This furlough began on September 3rd before the regiment was moved to Arkansas Post.
The rest of the company fought in the battle of Arkansas Post in January, were captured, and sent to prison at Camp Butler, Illinois.
Meanwhile, Jefferson was apparently in the hospital in Shreveport, Louisiana. On December 31, he was on a list of Refugees from Arkansas Post, Arkansas of the different Regiments of Gen. Churchill's Division.
Jeff's whereabouts are unknown until June 5, 1863, when he petitioned to be transferred because of his bad health to Capt. Dickie's Company, Col. Elmore's Regiment, Magruder's Division. See images above.
Shreveport, La. June the 5th 1863
I J. P. Childers of Comp. B 24 Texas
Cavalry Wilkes Regiment beg to be transferred
on account of bad health, to Col. Elmores
Regiment, Magruders Division now sta-
tioned at Galveston in Capt. Dickey's Comp
I have been in Churchill's Division for fif-
teen months, during which time I have been
sick most of the time and if I would
be transferred as desired above, I hope
that I can be to service to myself
and to my country.
For further confirmation as to the state
of my health I most respectfully refer
you to Dr. Gale Surgeon of the 24th
I certify that the above private Childers
has been in bad health for some time
(Chronic Diarrhoea) -- has been sick on fur-
lough nearly the whole of the time he
has been in service and that in my
opinion it is absolutely necessary for his
recovery that he be transferred to the locality
C. M. S. Gayle
This is to certify that I am willing
receive the within named J. P. Childers
by transfer into my company 20__ T.V.I.
J. C. Dickie Capt
Co. H 20 Regt. T. V. I.
H. M. Elmore
Col. Comdg. 20th Texas
Jno Hart [?] Col
X B DeBray
J. B. Magruder
HQ Tex Dist &c
---June 29th 1863
Even though Captain Dickie approved a transfer for Jefferson into his company in the 20th Texas Infantry, there is no record of Jeff ever served in that regiment.
This document, from Shreveport, Louisiana, states that Jefferson would remain in his current position until there was an opportunity for him to rejoin his regiment.
According to the War Department message to the Texas pension office, Jefferson's last muster roll was dated May 1, 1863, and he was furloughed Sept. fifth for sixty days. But on his pension application, he stated that in September, 1863, he was transferred by Gen. Kirby Smith to Magruder's command at Galveston and remained there until 1865. He stated on his pension application that he was honorably discharged in May of 1865.
We do find records of J. P. Childers, in Company B of the 17th Consolidated Regiment, who was detailed as a guard (meaning a prison guard) in Shreveport from July 8, 1863.
We also find records of a Jeff P. Childress serving in Company I, 24th detached regiment, in January 1865, recruiting volunteers for the regiment. In February, he was absent without leave. It seems probable these records refer to our Jefferson P. Childers.
Also, according to the 1909 deposition of Thomas E. Byrnes, I was Provost Marshall for the District including the City of Houston and knew he was in the army. I delivered prisoners to him. This tells us that Jefferson was a prison guard at some time during the final year.
He took the Amnesty Oath as he passed through Houston on his way home to Montgomery County. His name was copied into the list of men who took the oath, and it was bound into a book in the clerk's office.
On 17 October 1866 in Montgomery County, Jefferson married Elizabeth L. (Lizzie) Bell, who was the sister of Henry E. Bell. She was born in Alabama in about 1844, the daughter of James H. and Sarah A. Bell. The Bell family migrated to Texas in 1852 from Marion County, Alabama.
At some point, Jefferson became a Baptist minister. He was enumerated as a farmer residing in Maysfield, Milam County in 1870, at which time his wife was recorded as Lizzie. In 1880, he was again living in Montgomery County with wife E. L. and three sons. By 1897 he was living in Houston and was listed in the city directory for that year. In 1900, his sons and a daughter were living in Houston, but he was not in the household, nor was his wife, Elizabeth; presumably she had died.
Jefferson was living at 217 Huntington in Houston in 1909 when he applied for a pension based on his Confederate service. This application was misplaced in the pension office.
It seems almost certain that he is the Jeffie Childers who is enumerated in Beaumont, Jefferson County, in 1910, a minister of the Gospel, born Georgia, with a wife of three years named Maggie. No marriage record has been located for this marriage.
Again in 1911, he was living in Houston and re-applied for a pension. He stated that he had lived in Houston since 1893. John S. Hulon filed a deposition in support of his pension application, as did R. L. Wood , O. P. Chambers (1912), and T. E. King. The pension was approved March 1, 1912.
Jefferson died of a cerebral hemorrhage on the 10th of December 1913 in Houston. His death certificate states that he was widowed. Providing the personal information was his daughter, Mary Ross Childers Hanson. He was buried in Hollywood Cemetery in the Heights on December 13.
The above information was compiled from the Compiled Service Records accessed on microfilm at the Hillsboro Confederate Archives, from county records, from his pension application at the Texas State Archives, and from family records of Patsy Johnson, on file at the Walker County Library, and from his Texas death certificate. Thank you to Patsy Johnson for additional records of Jefferson P. Childers' family.
Thank you also to Frank Johnson for reviewing the Compiled Service Records in the name of J. P. Childers/Childress filed with those of various Texas Confederate units, and for assessing them in the light of Jefferson's service to the Confederacy.
For further information and records of all Confederate soldiers of Montgomery County, Texas, as well as histories of the regiments they served in, see Montgomery County, Texas, CSA by Frank M. Johnson. The book may be purchased by visiting Frank's website at frankmjohnson.net or by contacting Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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