One of the outstanding men in Auburn in
days gone by was Mr. Dave Childress, known to everyone as Deacon Childress. He was the
leading deacon in the Baptist Church and as nearly an ideal deacon as any man have ever
known. Never shall I forget shortly after I was converted and joined the Baptist Church,
Deacon Childress was leading prayer meeting and to my surprise and consternation, he
called on me to pray. I could not refuse him, so right there began my public prayer life,
which continued for over 53 years. I loved Deacon Childress as did everyone who knew him.
They tell me that before I was 3 years old, father had told me when I went to Mr.
Childress' store not to ask for candy. So in order to obey and, still get the coveted
candy, I would walk up and down the store saying to myself, "I love candy, I love
candy," and the good deacon would come to my rescue and present me candy. When I grew
up to considerable size, he used me in his store, as errand boy I guess, for surely I
couldn't do much selling.
Later, when I had finished the course
at Auburn College (presided over by my father) at the age of 17 and taught a country
school for a term, the good deacon went with me to Louisville and got me a job with W. B.
Belknap & Co., now the Belknap Hardware Co. I got the enormous sum of $15.00 per
month. Deacon Childress and my father were very close friends. He had only one child,
Jessie, who died not many months ago. She was by his first wife, who was a Miss Baker. I
knew her, but she died when I was quite young. Bro. Childress married the second time in
Mayfield, KY. I knew his second wife well and have never known a finer, more Godly woman.
His home was on the Bowling Green road beyond the creek and I understand has been disposed
of since the death of Miss Jessie.
Auburn never had a finer citizen and a
more devout and consistent Christian man. For many, many years he was the leading grocer
of the town. Guess I carried to our home from his store enough groceries to feed a
regiment. I was delivery boy to supplement the wagon.
His two nephews, Jim Ackerman (deceased) and Wheeler Jamison (now living in
Asheville, N. C.) were employed in the store for many years. They were half-brothers. The
boys all called Wheeler Jamison "Gouger." I have known just why. D. Childress'
grocery was located on the corner of Pearl and Main; with the front door on Main Street
and a side door in back part of the store on Pearl Street.
I want pay tribute to one of the
truest, best friends I have ever had. Somehow he seemed to believe in me and it is a great
thing for us to have a friend who really believes in us.