Thomas Henry Childs
Thomas Henry Childs was born on August 3, 1830 to Henry Inloes and Susann (Turner) Childs in Baltimore, MD.  He enlisted at age 31 in Big Mound, Lee County, Iowa on September 28 1861 as 6th Corporal.  Mustered into the 14th Iowa Infantry, Company D, on November 2, 1861.  Promoted to 5th Sergeant on March 25, 1862. Missing on April 6, 1862 - captured at Shiloh, TN.  Served at Libbey Prison. Promoted to 3rd Sergeant on May 1, 1863.  Discharged for promotion to 1st Lieutenant in the 56th US Colored Infantry (USCT) on August 18, 1863 in St Louis, MO.  Stationed on Island #63 (Mississippi River) in 1864.  Discharged for disability on December 20th, 1864 as 1st Lieutenant.

He died on October 15, 1891 from internal injuries from a fall in Adrian, Minnesota. He is buried in Adrian Cemetery, Adrian, Nobles County, MN, Lot 3, Section 5.

portrait is a pencil sketch provided by Carol BenningSubmitted by: Karen Childs


Dear Annie:

Since writing last, Chaplain Thomas brought a letter from Helena addressed to father (Henry), which I knew to be from you, so I took the liberty of opening it, as I was anxious to hear from you.  Father has gone up the river I supposes.  At least, some one told the Capt. they saw him on the Memphis picket; but what his business was he could not say.  Perhaps to settle up with the government and get his pay. What his program for the future is, I do not know; that he has one I am sure.  Perhaps he has told you.  There was a letter came here to his address from Farmington a few days since but I do not know where to send it.  Our Serg. Major came down with some clothing for our company 3 days ago and reports the paymaster at Helena: so the prospect is that we will get some pay soon, for 4 months I suppose.  The govt. aims to keep the troops 2 months behind as security for good behavior.  Lieut K went to Helena for rations yesterday; when he returns we will know.  The Capt. sent word for his wife to get everything ready to come down.  So please make what preparations you think necessary.  When I write again it will likely be to give you the directions for the trip.

Since writing you last there has been a scout down.  The boat came to the island first. Major Carmicle of the 15th ILL cavalry, Capt. Meatyard of Gen. Buford's staff, and a new regt. of term, sergt. of cav., and Lieut. Madlock of the 1st Louisiana battery, colored, was with the colored troops as boat guard.  The term boys were not mounted, the object being partly to get horses to mount them.  Capt. Holibaugh took his horse and accompanied them the first day.  The boat took the scout above and in sight of our island.  This was about dark but the moon was shining beautifully.  Our pickets were not aware of a scout being down and thought the movements of the boat very suspicious;  and on her return wanted to know what she landed for and not getting an answer fired into her.  Nearly scared the Capt. of the boat out of his hide.  The boys on the boat fired back and that made the matter worse.  The heroes of the freedmen's camp with 3 or 4 guns rushed out and joined in the fray.  Fortunately, no one was hurt. Two balls struck the pilot house and one went into Capt. Meatyard's bed but the bed alone was injured. Lieut. Chapell and my self mounted our horses and went tearing to the upper end of the island but by the time we got there all was quiet.

Next morning in going around the island we saw our Cav. opposite the center of the island in the Miss. side.  The Westmoreland (boat the scout came down on) lay at our camp all night.  I went aboard with our field glass and Lieut. Chapell with his howitzer and gun squad to quiet the fears of the Capt. of the boat, who appeared to have a desperate antipathy toward getting within range of secesh guns.  We went to see what was wanting and there was Capt. Holibaugh with a small detachment of Cav. and had brought down a lot of plunder from Colonel McNeal's place-the Col. himself a prisoner with his whole slave population, having cleared the plantation of all its stock, hands and all.  Searching his house they found all Jeff Davis orders and other papers that identified the Col. as a reb. so they took him along. This is the man I spoke of as being the 'author' of most of the young slaves.  The testimony of the women and the appearance of the youngsters confirm this.  All his women and some of the men are at the upper camp.  The able bodied men went to Helena as recruits.  The boat then went up to Friars Point  They all got aboard there and went below the Cavalry getting off on the Ark. side and going through to Helena by land.  The boat returned last  evening. While down the river they captured the notorious Casteel who has been giving them so much trouble for the last year.

One company of our regt. and one of the 1st Iowa Cal. detached and on duty opposite Friars Point on the Ark. shore.  An unfortunate occurrence took place there Tuesday night by which Lieut. White of Co. C of our regt. lost his life.  By an agreement of the officers of the detachment the guards were ordered not to halt but to fire upon anyone coming from the outside I suppose he went out to see whether they would do their duty and the guard shot him through the bowels.  There is no hope of his recovery.  He was a promising young officer whose worst fault was reckless daring.  He was quite young, not more then 19 or 20.  His father I believe is Col. of the 47th Iowa.  Am anxiously expecting Lieut. K's return in hope he will have a letter for me.  Will likely stay here all summer.

T. H. Childs
Island #63, Miss.
23 April, 1864

Family information

Thomas Henry Childs married Anna Maria Billingsley 11 March 1855 Van Buren Co., IA by Rev. Elder Hare.  She being the dau. of John & Charlotte (Barlow) Billingsley of MD & OH.  Anna was born 1834 OH.   Thomas born 1830 Maryland and son of Henry Inloes & Susann (Turner) Childs of Maryland.

Their children were:

May Gordon b. 1859 Cedar Twp., Lee Co. IA
Eugene M. b. 1860 Cedar Twp., Lee Co., IA
Howard Oliver b. 1865 Salem, Henry Co., IA (Spanish American War-Co.H  15th MN Vol.)
Eva J. b. 1869 Big Mound, Lee Co., IA
Clyde Turner b. 1872 Big Mound, Lee Co., IA
Lloyd Willis b. 1879 Adrian, Nobles Co., MN

Thomas has several occupations during his lifetime: engineer at saw mill; farmer; Justice of the Peace, Noble Co., MN and school trustee & treasurer of Adrian district.

Thomas moved from Maryland with his parents and his siblings to Warren Co. Ohio about 1840 where the family lived for a short while.  Then the entire family moved onto Bonaparte Twp., Van Buren Co., IA.  By 1850 he was living with the family in Fort Madison, Lee Co., IA and later to Cedar, Lee Co., IA. The family moved many times since leaving Maryland.  It is theory that Dr. Childs was searching for a town that needed a doctor.

After the War, Thomas moved to Olney & Adrian, Nobles Co., MN from Iowa about 1871, where he and his family stayed for the remainder of his life.  He had a working farm of 160 acres.  In 1877 he was elected as Justice of the Peace of Nobles Co.

He was instrumental in bringing about the establishment of the Adrian  school district.  Hiring the teacher & paying her salary out of his own pocket.  Three  out of eleven  children attending were his.  He was the first treasurer of the school district.