State Normal School, San Jose

 Bio-Pen Pictures

            The subject of this sketch has a fine orchard home on the Almaden road, four miles from the city of San Jose.  In 1882, in connection with his brother-in-law, J. L. Mosher, he bought 100 acres of stubble ground, of which he retained 50 acres, later parting with ten acres, which his father, W. W. Childs, has planted with trees, and upon which he now resides.  The Professor is an enthusiastic horticulturist, and finds the work of caring for an orchard a pleasant and profitable relaxation from his professional labor.  His forty acres of land, aside from what is occupied by his cottage residence and other buildings, is all in orchard.  There are in all over 4,250 trees, nearly all of which were planted in the season of 1883.  About one-half of his trees are French prunes, and one-quarter silver prunes, and the remainder apricots.  The last season (1887) the orchard was too young for general results, but from a small portion (three acres of apricots, which he himself dried) a net amount of $1,200 was realized.

            Mr. Childs also owns, on Stevens Creek, in the Lincoln District, a fine orchard property of twenty-five acres, the trees now (1888) being six years old and in splendid condition.  Two-thirds of that orchard is in prunes and one-third in peaches.  The Professor also engages in fruit-drying.  Of the crop of 1887, he cured about 120 tons, and expects this year (1888) to handle about 250 tons.

            Long and thoroughly identified with the State and its best interests, and one of its leading and ablest educators, ‘tis fitting that more than a passing mention should be made personally of Professor Childs.  He was born in Genesee, Livingston County, New York, August 24, 1844.  He is the son of W. W. and Nancy H. (Putney) Childs, both of whom are now living in his immediate neighborhood.  In 1850 the family moved westward to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where the Professor received his rudimentary education and finished a course in the High School.  In the autumn of 1860 the family again moved westward, making their temporary home in Clark County, Missouri.  This was the winter of great excitement, following the election of Lincoln to the presidency, and before the firing upon Fort Sumter the subject of this sketch had enlisted in a company of home guards.  A few weeks later he joined a company of Missouri Volunteers detailed for the protection of emigrants across the plains and mountains to this State.  This company was informally disbanded before the journey began, but Mr. Childs came with a volunteer company across the plains and reached Placerville in November, 1861.  Later, he helped to organize a company of home guards, of which he was made First Lieutenant.  The company was assigned to the Second Infantry Battalion, Fourth Brigade, California Militia, and Lieutenant Childs was appointed Quartermaster.

            Professor Childs commenced his career as an educator soon after coming to California, and has uninterruptedly continued in the practice of his profession up to the present time, with the exception of a portion of 1866 and 1867, which was given to attendance as a student at the State Normal School at San Francisco, and at Heald’s Business College.  He resumed teaching at Placerville in 1868, and later had charge of the High Schools at Suisun City, Solano County, where he also served two terms as County Superintendent of Schools.  From that county, in 1878, he removed to San Jose, where he accepted a position on the staff of teachers in the State Normal School, taking charge of the History, Civil Government, and Book-keeping departments.  For the past two years he has occupied the position of Vice-Principal in the school.  He is the author of a work on Book-keeping, a work on Civil Government, and one on the History of the United States, the superiority of which is attested by the fact that they have been adopted as text-books by the State Normal Board.

            In 1871, at Placerville, Professor Childs was united in marriage with Miss Ellen Hardie, who was born in the State of Illinois, but was reared in El Dorado County, this State.  She was a teacher in the public schools at Placerville, when married.  She is the mother of six children, viz.:  Florence, Lloyd, Beatrice, Blanche, Wallace, and Harold.  The eldest two, at this writing, are pupils at the State Normal School, and the others, except the youngest, attend the Willows District School.  Professor Childs resided from 1878 to 1882 at the Willows, where he owned an orchard home.

            He is a member of the order of Odd Fellows, affiliated with Suisun Lodge, No. 78, with Encampment No. 63, and with the Grand Lodge of California.  He is also connected with Mount Hamilton Lodge, No. 43, A. O. U. W.  In politics, he is fully in accord with the principles of the Republican party.  Mr. Childs may well feel proud of the eminent position which he has won in his profession, in that he has worked his way to the top entirely by his own efforts.  By his energy and application he has reached the goal which his ambition fixed, without the aid of favorable circumstances.  And not only has he been successful in his own profession, but also in other lines, as his profitable horticultural interests bear witness.
Pen Pictures From The Garden of the World or Santa Clara County, California, Illustrated. - Edited by H. S. Foote.- Chicago:  The Lewis Publishing Company, 1888.
Pg. 338-339
Transcribed by Kathy Sedler
Proofread by Betty Vickroy


SANTA CLARA COUNTY The Valley of Heart's Delight