of the first cases of horse stealing in the very early days of the
Republic of Texas involved George
C. Childress, author of the Texas Declaration of Independence,
and his six-year old roan stallion.
a lawyer and former editor of the Nashville Tennessean and
the nephew of Empresario Sterling Clack Robertson, first set foot
in Texas in 1834 as his uncle was establishing Robertson's Colony.
He returned to Nashville to recruit Tennesseans for the Texas cause
and returned in January of 1836. A month later somebody stole his
The May 31, 1836 edition of the Arkansas Gazette carried a
notice from Childress
offering a $50 reward for a "Bay Roan saddle-horse about six years
noted that his missing horse "walks and gallops finely, and has black
legs, mane and tail. He was stolen from the undersigned (Childress)
at the falls of the Brazos, in Texas, about the 1st of February last,
and is supposed to have been taken to upper Red river, or into Arkansas.
The above reward, and all reasonable expenses, will be paid for his
delivery to Col. R. Childress of Little Rock, or to the agent of Mr.
Robert Hamilton, on Red river."
The crime took place a month prior to the Convention of 1836, where
introduced a resolution calling for five people to draft a declaration
of independence from Mexico. Childress
is generally recognized as the author of that document, which states
in part "that our political connection with the Mexican nation has
forever ended; and that the people of Texas do now constitute a free
and sovereign independent republic."
probably drafted the document before he arrived at the convention,
possibly about the same time his horse went missing. That's the last
we hear of the horse. It's almost the last we hear of Childress.
After the convention, Texas president David
J. Burnet sent Childress
to Washington with Robert Hamilton to lobby for U.S. recognition of
the republic. He returned to Texas three more times to open law offices
in Houston and Galveston,
but without success.
In October of 1841, in Galveston,
killed himself with a Bowie knife, one of four Texas founding fathers
to die by his own hand. Childress
County, Texas was formed and named in his honor on Aug. 21, 1876.
powers of expression were considerable his penmanship was sloppy at
best, illegible at worst. He presented his draft on March 2, 1836
- Texas Independence Day - but it wasn't signed until the next day
after a clerk made a copy. That copy resides today with the Secretary
of State in Austin. The
original draft by Childress
is presumably lost forever. Along with his horse.