|Sandusky County, Ohio, has a long tradition of producing superb athletes.
Perhaps one of its most fascinating was Clarence Childs. Born in Wooster, Ohio,
in 1881, Clarence moved with his family to Fremont at age eleven. It was in
Fremont that Clarence would not only discover his talents as an athlete but also
as a musician.
Clarence ran track, pitched baseball, and played football. But Clarence’s
love of music was as strong as his passion for sports. One summer, when the
circus left town, Clarence left with it. His brother found him in Shelby, Ohio,
playing his trombone with the circus band. Persuaded to return home, Childs
enlisted in the Ohio National Guard where he could play his beloved trombone in
the band. During his senior year, he played halfback for the Fremont Football
Childs’ plans for his future were cut short by war. Called to active duty
before graduation, Childs mustered in as a musician, trained at Chickamauga, and
served with the occupation forces in Cuba until the close of the Spanish
American War. (Diary
Transcription) After discharge, Clarence traveled to Europe with the
All-American Concert Band and performed at the Paris Exposition.
He later enrolled at Kenyon College where he ran track, played football, and
managed several music clubs. His senior year, he transferred to Yale to study
law. He continued to play football and took part in track and field events.
The crowning achievement of his athletic career came in 1912 when he was
tapped for the Olympic games in Stockholm, Sweden. Childs won the bronze medal
in the hammer throw event, missing the silver by less than an inch. After
touring Europe and the U. S. with the Olympic team, he joined Yale’s coaching
staff. That summer Childs married Zella Sherrard of Fremont, Ohio. He coached at
Wooster College and then Indiana University. His assistant was his Olympic
teammate, the legendary Jim Thorpe.
Once more, war disrupted Childs’ life. Still a member of the Ohio National
Guard, Childs was called to duty on the Mexican border and then on the Western
Front during World War I. While serving as operations commander of the
147th Infantry, Major Childs was severely wounded by shrapnel. He
spent nearly two months recuperating in France and then returned to duty in
Belgium as part of the demobilization operations.
After 3 ˝ years of war, Major Childs returned to Fremont and took an interest
in politics. In 1921, he received an appointment to the U. S. Treasury. A short
time later, Childs became a casualty of political infighting and lost his
position. Childs remained in Washington, D. C., and is believed to have worked
for the Secret Service or the Treasury Department until his death in 1960.