Childs an organizer of the State of Jefferson

June 07, 2007 11:00 pm
John L. Childs moved to Crescent City in 1892 and was a school teacher. He also studied law and opened his own law office in 1897. He later was elected governor of the proposed State of Jefferson. (Photos courtesy of Del Norte County Historical Society).
John L. Childs moved to Crescent City in 1892 and was a school teacher. He also studied law and opened his own law office in 1897. He later was elected governor of the proposed State of Jefferson. (Photos courtesy of Del Norte County Historical Society).

One of the former owners of Crescent City News started life in Del Norte County as an invalid with $3 in his pockets, but went into local history as one of the State of Jefferson movement organizers.

Judge John L. Childs, an immigrant of Irish parents, became self-supporting at the young age of 14.

He began toiling on a New York farm, later eking out a living as a teacher. Childs went on to graduate from Starkey Seminary and became principal of Greenville Academy in New York.

His life there changed when he developed pneumonia and was advised to seek a climate change.

Childs found a job tutoring in San Diego, but moved to Gold Beach, Ore., to teach school. From there he came to Crescent City to take his teacher's exam.

He apparently liked Del Norte County so well that he decided to make it his home.

After teaching for a number of years, Childs bought the Crescent City News. His political life began in 1892 when he was elected county clerk. Three years later on Christmas Eve, he was admitted to the Bar.

He opened his law office in April 1897 and was elected district attorney that fall. He held the position until 1903 when he became a superior judge, a post in which he served until 1920.

Childs played an important part in the development of Del Norte County and in securing recognition from other sections of the country.

Most notably was his election as governor of the then proposed 49th state – Jefferson.

Between Nov. 19 and Dec. 10, 1941, San Francisco's newspapers, the Eureka's Humboldt Times and Crescent City's reporters and those representing The Oregonian in Portland covered the proposed state's struggles to correct perceived wrongs in northern California and southern Oregon.

The story was also covered by the intrepid New York Times on Dec. 5, 1941.