This week’s topic is Misfortune. According to Merriam-Webster:
Definition of misfortune: an event or conjunction of events that causes an unfortunate or distressing result: bad luck
I’m writing about my 2nd great uncle, Hugh Berrell Childs. He wasn’t always unlucky but when he died, it’s one of the more unlucky events I’ve come across while doing research (although I came across a doozy today while talking to my mom about my great-uncle Jess’ family – but I digress.)
Hugh was born on October 22, 1898, in Mart, Texas. His parents were Charles Hensley (26) and Kate Eudora Johnson (22). He is listed as the second child of Kate and Charley. The first, Ruby Orine, was born in 1893 – before they were married, so we’re still trying to figure that out. He had three younger brothers (Robert and Roy – twins, and Cecil) He also had two younger sisters (Syble and Mary Ellen).
According to the 1900 census, the family lived on the farm in Limestone County, Texas with his twin brothers. Interestingly, Ruby isn’t listed. They lived next door to Charley’s sister Allie, her husband W.D. Dromgoole and their two sons John and James.
In 1902, his baby sister Syble Eunice was born (Jan 14) and died (Sep 14). He was 3.
In 1905 his mystery sister Ruby died on Jan 6. He was 6.
In 1907, his brother Cecil was born on July 4th. He was 8.
In 1910, Hugh was living on a farm in Limestone County that the family owned. He was there with his parents, and brothers Robert, Roy, and Cecil.
In 1911, his sister Mary Ellen was born on October 6th. He was 12.
On June 23, 1917, Hugh enlisted in the National Guard in Groesbeck, Texas for WW1. Initially, he was in Company K, 6th Texas Infantry. This turned into US Army Company I of the 72nd Infantry Brigade – 144th Infantry Regiment – 36th Division. His number was 1498414. They were in Camp Bowie, Fort Worth, Texas.
When I found out he was here (I’m in DFW) I went to see the Camp Bowie monument. The camp disappeared as fast as it went up, but they have a really cool monument to the 36th division where it used to be. Of course, I had to go find it. 🙂 While he was at Camp Bowie he was promoted to Pvt First Class on August 4, 1917, and then promoted to Corporal Feb 1, 1918.
I suspect the picture below was taken sometime in 1918 before Hugh (and Paul) went to France.
On April 11th, 1918 – The 36th division had a review (parade) in Fort Worth, Texas.
The 36th division went over to France on July 18th, 1918 from Hoboken New Jersey.
The ship he went over on was the USS George Washington.
When they arrived in France, they trained in Bar-sur-Aube until September 1918.
According to the Texas WW1 war records, he was 18 at the time he enlisted and fought in Somme Py & Givry France; and Meuse Argonne (1) (2) He was slightly wounded on October 13th, 1918 during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. (This would later earn him a Victory Medal/Purple Heart designation)
He was in France until May 24th, 1919. He arrived back at Hoboken, New Jersey on June 6, 1919, via the USS Pretoria.
He was honorably discharged June 21, 1919.
Upon his return, he applied for and received a Victory Medal for fighting in the Great War. I would really be interested to see who in our family has this, or if it ended up on eBay.
Here’s a video about the 36th division also.
Sometime before January 23, 1920, Hugh got married to Maudie Lorene Morgan. According to the 1920 census, they were living in Limestone County – Cottonwood School District (part of Precinct no 2) Enumeration district 85. He was 21 and she was 19. They lived on Mart Road on a rented farm. His occupation is listed as Farmer in the General Farm industry. He was farming on his own account. They were farm #172 in the farm schedule.
On December 30, 1920, his first son, Hugh Burrell Childs (Jr) was born at 7pm. According to the birth certificate, they had moved to 630 Live Oak in Marlin, Falls County, TX. (Unfortunately, there is a closed down supermarket in this location currently.) He is listed as an insurance agent. He was 22.
On October 28, 1924, his second son, James Lionel Childs was born in Marlin. Hugh is listed as a life insurance agent this time. There is no address listed. Interestingly, it also shows that by this time, they had had 3 children but only 2 were living. 😦 I do not have info on this 2nd child at this time. Hugh was 26.
On August 20, 1926, his third son, Darrell Edgar Childs was born in Marlin at 3am. Hugh is listed as insurance for his occupation. There is no address listed. Hugh was 27.
On April 2, 1928, his fourth son, Jack Morgan Childs was born in Marlin. Side note: Apparently, there was a typo on the original birth certificate, because there was an amendment to his certificate of birth filed in March of 1990. It appears that on his original birth certificate, his name is listed as Chtels. His brother Hugh Jr had requested this amendment.
On October 28th, 1929, his first daughter Joy Laverne Childs was born at 6:05am in Marlin. Hugh was 31. Side note: Someone was really creative filling out this birth certificate. Hugh is listed as Hubert, Maudie Lorene is listed as Laverne (???).
On January 30th, 1930 his father Charles Hensley Childs passed away.
According to the Fifteenth Federal Census of the United States, Hugh was still living in Marlin, Falls County, Texas. The enumeration was completed on April 14th, 1930. Hugh was 31. They were renting a house located at 675 Coleman Street in Marlin. It was $22 a month to rent. Wouldnt that be nice?!? It is a block away from their home in 1920. For occupation, it shows him being an Insurance Investigator. He lived there with Maudie, Hugh Jr, Lionel, Darrel, Jack, and Joy.
On Christmas eve 1931, his second daughter Bettie Carolyn was born. He was 33.
In March of 1933, investigator Hugh had to testify in a murder trial in Austin, Tx. A man named Calvin B Yarbrough was accused of killing his 15-year-old adopted daughter. Apparently, she was helping him work on an automobile in the garage. Her dress caught on fire when it came into contact with a blow torch sitting near the car. The father then threw a bucket of gasoline on his daughter “on accident”. Apparently, Yarbrough had taken out $12,000 in life insurance prior to this “accident”. Below is a clipping from Hugh’s testimony.
The accused was found guilty and got 25 years in prison. Also, it appears he may have poisoned his first wife. There was an article about them exhuming her body to try to do testing. Creepy.
John Doyle Childs, his fifth son, was born on March 17, 1934.
Seems like a lot of his kids were all born around holidays. (random)
In 1935, Hugh and his family were living at 522 Capps Street in Marlin.
As soon as I say that, his sixth son Don Alfred was born on August 11, 1937. No holidays there. Hugh was 38.
According to the 1940 census, Hugh was still at 511 Capps. They rented it for $20/month. It looks like that house may still be there. He was living with wife Maudie, Sons Hugh, Lionel, Darrel, Jack, John, and Don and daughters Joy, Patsy, and Bettie. As if 11 people weren’t enough in one house, Maudie’s mother Sarah Morgan, and her brother Richard also lived with them.
A little about the family:
- Hugh Sr’s highest grade completed was 7th. He made $1500 for the year 1939.
- Hugh Jr (19) completed all 3 years of high school. He was a day watchman for Compress (?) industry. He made $150 in 1939.
- Lionel (15) and Darrel (13) were paper boys and carrier boys for the paper. They made $180 and $40 respectively in 1939.
- Jack (12) was a magazine salesman. He made $50 in 1939.
- Maudie’s brother Richard was a laborer in Soil Erosion Control. he made $540 in 1939.
- Side note: Maudie was selected for supplemental questioning on the census! It says she was only married once. She was 19 when she married. She has had 11 children (not including stillbirths) The highest grade she completed was 9th.
In January of 1942, Kate had a family reunion! Hugh et al attended!
In Feb 1942, Hugh participated in the “Old Man’s Draft” of WW2. He was still living at 511 Capps in Marlin. His phone number was 870. He was 43 and he now worked for Adams Burial Association. He was 5′ 11″, weighed 235 lbs. His hair was gray and his eyes were brown. His complexion is listed as “ruddy”.
At some point between 1942 and 1955 they moved to 421 Capps in Marlin.
Everything to this point has been good. So where’s the misfortune??
Well on December 12, 1955 at age 57, Hugh was found dead at in an overturned vehicle in a creek bottom. He appears to have had a heart attack around 7:20 am.
Maudie put in a request for a military headstone.
Looks like it needs a good cleaning. I need to take a day trip down south…
If you’re related to Hugh, please leave me a comment on things you know about him or pictures!! 🙂