RECORD OF A FAMILY OF THE WESTERN RESERVE
1850 - 1940
Willis A. Chamberlin
(Typing by Mrs. Louise Wellman Wright)
Granville, Ohio, 1940.
CHARLES I. CHAMBERLIN
Head of Our Family
By Right of Seniority and Personal Worth,
Affectionate Brother, Generous Friend, Inspiring Example,
This Work is Gratefully Dedicated.
Dear Brother Charley:
To you who have shown an inspiring interest in this undertaking and have furnished me with many details of my account, I wish to explain at some length my purpose in this work. My aim was at first merely to set down the main facts in the origin and growth of our family, as they were found in the few remaining papers or were known by me personally and through the narrative of others. It was to preserve to the younger generation a record of the group into which they had been born, of the heritage which they enjoyed. It was not intended for publication, as I realized that the family was not of such outstanding importance as to attract widespread attention. The private character of the account permitted me greater freedom in dealing frankly with the features of my narrative.
As the work progressed, it was seen that its importance might be enhanced by giving to it a wider scope than at first designed. It might reflect the great events transpiring on the national stage. In the space of less than a century and a half, the Western Reserve has developed from the unbroken forests to fertile farms, to a domain of royal wealth, in which populous cities have risen and whose natural resources and manufactured products are famous throughout the country. The moral and cultural relations have found equal development, as shown by the existence of well-known universities and schools, numerous libraries, churches and similar institutions. This change in so short a period of time is truly amazing. It is the theme of history and romance. So it seemed that this biographical sketch might have increased significance, if portrayed on the background of phenomenal growth, in which our family has played a deserving part. Within the limits of one family, whose origins reach back to the pioneer days of the Western Reserve and whose members have been active in affairs for nearly a century, might be observed the circumstances and the motives that have actuated THE BUILDERS of this commonwealth. So the narrative has increased in breadth to include some portrayal of the environment and social conditions of the period in which our parents and we have lived. It may serve in this way as a contribution to the picture of life in Ohio in the nineteenth century, which some future historian will paint in more glowing colors and in broader outline. This larger purpose has occasioned a rearrangement of my material and the writing of connecting paragraphs, to make the whole a more logical account.
In this sketch I have relied mainly on my personal knowledge of the family and on information furnished by living members. Such written documents as have been preserved have been used, where personal information was lacking. I have not desired to introduce fiction into my narrative nor to dramatize any of the events in the manner of biography so popular at the present time. I shall be content, if my simple and realistic narrative meets your approval and shall inspire the younger generation with a knowledge of what their forbears have accomplished and with the desire to continue the good service to humanity.
December 21, 1940
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Chapter I Origins pp. 1 - 5
Chapter II The Family Takes Root pp. 6 - 10
Chapter III Springtime in the Old Homestead pp. 11 - 14
Chapter IV End of an Era pp. 15 - 21
Chapter V Rebuilding the Broken Household pp. 22 - 26
Chapter VI Expanding Horizons pp. 27 - 34
Chapter VII Lengthening Shadows pp. 35 - 43
Chapter VIII Twilight and Evening Star pp. 44 - 57
Three homes within a stone’s throw of one another in the town of Geneva, Ashtabula County, Ohio, symbolize the unity of a family that settled here in the pioneer days of the community, laid its foundations deep in the life of the place and while it has sent its branches out in many directions, is still united in spirit around this point as its center. The descendants return often to this spot as to the old homestead to hold reunions and to quicken the family associations. This family is typical in many respects of the people who settled and developed the young commonwealth just beyond the fringe of the thirteen original states. Its roots strike deep into the soil of this new state, earliest formed from the Northwest Territory, while it has grown in the favoring atmosphere of western expansion. Into the sturdy New England stock was grafted a scion from the midlands of England. The result was a combination, therefore, of the practical virtues of the long-headed Yankees with the serious, tenacious qualities of the British. The family entered bravely into the hard struggle for existence in this inland state, it bore its part in the hard-handed toil of building a commonwealth founded on agriculture and industry. It turned its strength both to the plow and to the artisan’s tools. But with its eye on the main chance, it gave its attention eventually to trade and established enterprises which have grown and prospered.
The members of this family have been fully awake at all times to the call of spiritual affairs. They have all been firm believers in Christianity and zealous churchmen.
“Faith of our fathers, living faith,
We will be true to thee till death,”
might be taken as their motto. They have engaged heartily in all the activities of the church and supported generously its enterprises. Coupled with this faith in religion is an ardent approval of education as the means of molding the mind and heart to a reliable character and trained intelligence. The training in the schools was supplemented in the home, where the environment of books and the conversation about public matters stimulated a lively interest in civic affairs. They have been leaders in causes whose aim is to improve social conditions. They support institutions that minister to human needs, both physical and moral. They are marked by patriotic loyalty to country. From Civil War days down to the World War they have responded to the country's call in time of national emergency. Chiefly, however, this patriotic fervor is expressed in devotion to the ruling government and in active support of those men and issues whom they consider most fit for the common welfare.
This family originated in the person of Isaac Cyrus Chamberlin, who was transplanted from England to this country one hundred years ago. He was born in Rothwell, a small industrial town in Northamptonshire in the English midlands.
Of his father, David, little is known. He is believed to have come from Overstone, a village near the city of Northampton. Accounts say he was of an earnest, reflective nature. He was a working-man, probably a member of the boot and shoe industry, which is even today the main part of the town’s activity. Only one relic of him is preserved, an ancient arithmetic, in which is inscribed in a clear hand on the fly-leaf: “David Chamberlin, his book, November 14, 1811”. He married Elizabeth Bollard, of the near-by village of Harrington, in the early 20's of the last century. No doubt their lot was hard, as it was with all English workmen of that period. Wages were extremely low and the cost of living high. Men of a particular trade, like David, got at the warehouse a certain amount of materials, which they fashioned at home into the finished product. Their wages depended on the number and quantity of the product which they were able to complete. There was no limit to the hours of labor, which were necessarily long in order to gain a bare existence.
David and Elizabeth were pious people, to judge by their names, and they called their three sons after Bible heroes: Samuel, born November 8th, 1824; Daniel, who appeared May 13th, 1826; and Isaac, whose birthday was February 1st, 1828. The mother was a member of the Fuller Baptist church at Kettering. Entered on the church book are two admissions to membership on May 4, 1814: Richard Bollard, Harrington, and Elizabeth Bollard his daughter. On the church's book her name is changed to Chamberlain after her marriage. There is no known reason for the change of spelling from that form so clearly indicated in David's book but the added “a” in the ending was retained by the English branch. The mothers piety is attested by her habit of walking back and forth to church, four miles each way, on Sunday. Her religious life had no small part in shaping the character of her sons, all of whom became staunch members of the Christian church. To her belongs most of the credit for their training. For she was soon left a widow, as her husband David died at the age of 29. The cause of his early death is not now known. He was buried on Christmas Day, 1829, in the Rothwell cemetery in an unmarked grave.
The record of the young family fails for the succeeding years. Probably the boys grew in a normal way, played on the streets with other boys and worked when they could in the fields. The ruins of an old stone market-house on the square, with open arches and cloistered passages, is remembered as a favorite place of sport. The boys romped around it and the youngest one, Isaac, received an ugly bruise one day in falling on the stone wall. The old structure, which bore the coat-of-arms of Thomas Tresham of Rushden Hall, has been restored in recent years and houses the Town Council and the public library. The boys must have attended the town school, although it was not free, for they learned to read and write and acquired the elementary education that was offered. Each of them developed a taste for education, which made them strong advocates of the public schools in years of manhood. The oldest boy became a physician, Daniel served as teacher in the school of his native place and both he and the youngest became members of the board of education in their respective towns.
It was apparently impossible for the mother to keep the little family together. Consequently when a chance was offered of a home for the youngest son with an uncle, John Bollard, who had migrated to the United States, it was accepted, even though it would presumably mean parting with him forever. That was in the year 1841. Isaac, thirteen years old, was made ready for the long voyage to the new land. He went under the care and protection of a man named John Rawson, who had gone to the United States several years before and had settled on a farm in Harpersfield, Ohio. Having returned to England for a wife, he was now about to go back to his home in Ohio. Isaac's brother, Daniel, related years afterwards how he and his mother walked beside the wagon, which took the departing travellers a part of the way to Liverpool, to the top of a hill not far away, then watched it disappear in the unknown future.
The following letter written by the 13-year old voyager after his arrival at Liverpool is an interesting record of the occasion:
April 5, 1841.
As I promised that I would write a few lines I thought it my duty to fulfil that promise. I hope this will find you quite well as it leaves me. You wished me to let you know how I got down to Liverpool. We rode in the waggon from Farndon to Rugby and took the railroad from Rugby to Bir(m)ingham. We got comfortable lodgings at a public house and from Bir(m)ingham to Liverpool in the railway. We got private lodgings. We expect to set sail on Tuesday, 5th of April.
Mr. Rawson found his chest safe where he left it. The name of the ship is the Republic. It is American vessel. They all say it is a very good one. The Captains name is Mr. Thompson.
I am affectionate son
This letter was folded so as to leave the address plainly written:
Mr. Thos Hodgekin
The passengers embarked on a sailing ship, which reached New York after a voyage of five weeks in May, 1841. Only one incident relating to this voyage is remembered. The mother back in England heard that a boy had been washed overboard and drowned. Thinking that it was her son, she mourned him as dead, until the joyful news of his safe arrival was received.
Of his early years in America, which must have been full of adventure as well as hard work, only a few meagre facts are known, as related by him many years afterwards in occasional reminiscence and in a brief autobiographical sketch written in 1897. He was not a homeless waif in the unknown land, but he had a home with his uncle, John Bollard, in Geneva, Ohio. His journey from New York was by the familiar route of the Hudson River to Albany, by the Erie Canal to Buffalo, thence by boat to Ashtabula and overland to Geneva. The journey took about two months. He lived with his uncle Bollard in Geneva and then about a year in Austinburg. Some time in this period he learned the tailor’s trade, which he practiced for several winters where work was found. He worked in various places near home and two winters in Chippewa, on the Canadian side near Niagara Falls. His oldest brother Samuel preceded him to America, but he was in Indiana or somewhere too far away to be of any help. Farming seemed to attract him more than his trade, for to that he tuned his hand. In the spring of 1848 he found a place to work on the farm of Lemuel Wiard. This was a fortunate opportunity, or providential, he would say. For Mr. Wiard was an industrious, forward-looking man of excellent character, a pioneer of the Western Reserve, who had a large farm on the South Ridge one mile east of Geneva. He had come with his young wife, Anna Hart Bunnell Wiard, from Connecticut in 1811 to establish their home in the new state organized nine years previously from the Northwest Territory. He bought his homestead from the Connecticut Land Company. Lemuel Wiard belonged to a family which is well represented in New England annals since the earliest colonial times. The progenitor settled in Boston and bore the name Robert Wyer. His son John was born November 30th, 1646, as noted in Vital Statistics of Boston. He moved to Wethersfield, Connecticut, and was soon followed by his father and mother. There the name changed to Wyard and eventually to Wiard. In the genealogy of this family only one descendent named Lemuel is mentioned. He was of the fifth generation. He was the son of Elisha Wiard and was born February 14th, 1754, in Farmington. The record says of him: “He was a soldier of the Revolution.”1 In the records of the Revolution he is listed as a private in Capt. Heart’s company, Connecticut State Troops, 1776; also in Capt. Stanley’s company, June 24, 1776; and finally in Capt. Bray’s company. He arrived in camp April 3, 1777, and was discharged May 15. Although he is not again mentioned, it may be judged by the name and appropriate date, that he was the father of the Lemuel who was a pioneer of the Western Reserve.
The pioneer just mentioned was a native of Berlin, a little town in Hartford County, Connecticut, where he was born April 21, 1788. His wife, Anna Hart Bunnell, was born in West Britain, afterwards called Burlington, in the same county, on January 22, 1790. They were married September 21, 1809. They started for the Western Reserve, October 7, 1811, and arrived at their destination on November 2. Their farm was in the township which was then called Harpersfield, which was later divided and a part became Geneva.
They prospered evidently in their undertaking, for Lemuel acquired more and more land. His farm extended on both sides of the Ridge road and was suitable for dairying, sheep-raising and general purposes. It included also a large peach orchard and a maple sugar camp in later years. The upper course of Cowles Creek lay in a ravine on the south side of the farm. On the north it extended to the present line of the Nickel Plate Railroad. Mr. Wiard was a cooper by trade, an important business in pioneer days, when a man handy with tools was in demand to make furniture and farm utensils, as well as barrels. His shop was still standing until the 70's or 80's of the past century a few rods west of the homestead. It played an important role in the spiritual development of Geneva, for in it the First Baptist church of the town was organized in 1817. Lemuel and Anna, his wife, were baptized the next day and were consequently almost constituent members of the organization. In Lemuel's own hand it is written in quaint phrase:
“We made a profession of religion 1816 and were baptized and constituted into the church the 7th of February, 1817. This was the time the first Baptist church was formed in Geneva.”
The new organization used his cooper shop for many services, until its meeting house was built.
To Lemuel and Anna seven children were born, whose names and date of birth are given in his writing on an old scrap of paper now yellow with age, as follows:
Albert H. born Jan. 12, 1811, died Jan. 31, 1812
Alonzo H. born Feb. 8, 1814
Almeron, born Sept. 25, 1815
A son, born July 24, 1818
Beulah, born March 7, 1820
Lycyann, born March 3, 1824
To this list should be added the youngest, a daughter, Laura, born November 28, 1829. As is seen by the above dates, the oldest son died in infancy, perhaps as a result of the rigors of the first winter in the new home.
THE FAMILY TAKES ROOT
It will be easily recognized that the English boy, Isaac Chamberlin, was fortunate in finding a place with the Wiards. He worked 18 months for them, before returning to his trade in Geneva in the winter of 1848-49. Of chief influence on his future, however, was the presence in the Wiard home of the youngest daughter, Laura. She was nearly of his age. She had a happy disposition and an attractive appearance. A picture of her when she was nineteen shows an oval face with a sweet and mature look, expressive eyes, hair parted in the middle and combed back, comely hands folded in her lap. She is remembered by her children for her cheerful spirit, which made her a real companion with them. No wonder that the farm-boy fell in love with her. She reciprocated the feeling and so they were married March 4, 1850, somewhat in opposition to parental advice, it is rumored.
They continued to live in the Wiard home, where Laura was needed to help in the work. The husband worked the farm on shares with his father-in-law for several years. But he was not strong enough to be a farmer. His health failing, he tried selling churns and notions of various sorts. Then he returned to his trade, working for William Fowler of Ashtabula and finally for Z. Sherwood of Unionville. His experience in farming left traces in his character, which may probably account for his fondness for horses, which were a hobby with him, and his love of tilling the soil, even if it was but a garden.
In 1856 he secured a permanent position with Mr. John Mansfield, who had a clothing store in Ashtabula. Leaving his wife and family on the farm with her parents, he worked during the week in the store, driving back late Saturday night to spend the week-end with them. He kept this up for eight years, during most of the Civil War, except for five months in the winter of 1863, until he was able to establish a store of his own in Geneva.
One exciting interlude occurred during the war days. It was at the time of Morgan’s raid into southern Ohio. The Confederate cavalry leader made a bold dash into this Union stronghold, hoping to draw back the northern soldiers and relieve their pressure on the South. Cincinnati was threatened and to guard it and other cities, troops were hastily raised for three-months service. The clothing clerk, not strong enough for the rigors of the regular army, enlisted loyally for this short service of the so-called “Squirrel Hunters”. Letters found in 1923, when the old home on Walnut Street was broken up, narrate his decision to enlist and some of his experiences in the brief period of army service.
Ashtabula, Aug. 8/62.
You will wonder at receiving a letter from me at this time, and I almost wonder at it myself. Mr. Tourgeé2 has been recruiting a company and has succeeded in filling it, composed of the best men in the country. I saw him this morning and he says if I want to go, he will give me a chance. I must decide Monday morning, as he goes into camp on Tuesday. Now Laury don’t go to feeling bad or don’t be hasty about deciding, be heroic like an American woman should be in such a time as this. I have tried to know what my duty is, and I want to go, and I want you to feel willing. Do not think I have ceased to love you, for be assured I never loved you more or better in my life, and I shall as long as I live. Also the children, God knows I love them and never do I lie down at night without asking God to help them and you. But I cannot bear to have this struggle decided without trying, at least, to assist. If I go, I go in the strength of God, and asking his blessing to go with me.
But I must close. I shall try to come home on Saturday evening, but do not be disappointed, if I should not come.
From your ever affectionate
I. C. Chamberlin
Evidently a month elapsed before the call to action came, as related in the following letter:
Ashtabula, Sept. 10/1862.
I sit down to write a line to inform you that I expect to start to Cincinnati tomorrow morning. I hope you will not feel bad, as I expect to have a pleasant time and be back again in a few days. We were drilling on the green, when Mr. Prentice received a dispatch from Governor Todd to send all the men he could, armed and equipped. They then called for volunteers. I with twelve or fifteen others stepped out and soon others came out and put down their names.
I should like to see you one minute and give you and the children a good kiss, but must defer that until I get back.
No more at this time. Will write again in a day or two.
From your loving husband
I. C. Chamberlin.
The following, written a few days later, indicates the type of service that was performed:
Ohio River.On Gunboat, N. York, Sept. 15, 1862.
Once more I sit down to write a few lines to you. Conveniences are not very good. I am now writing on one of our tin plates, which serves very well. We are cruising up and down the river. A party of fifteen of our men have gone out now on a scouting expedition. We hope to be able, when we return again to Cincinnati to come (illegible) --- to tell for certain. We are very comfortably situated, as much so as can be in this service. We have marches to do, only guard duty, good officers and a pleasant crew, but I cannot say I like the company or society. Yesterday was Sunday. I have no doubt you was rather lonesome, more so than I was, for there was so much going on here it did not seem like Sunday at all. I was up in the city in the afternoon, and such a military display I never saw before. I could but think it was wrong and remarked to Mr. H. Hubbard it was a desecration of the Sabbath. This, I think, is one reason we as a people are not prospered. Now I wish we as a nation would respect the Sabbath and live in accordance with the principles of His holy Word and the profession we have made before the world. We are called a Christian nation, but how far short. May the Lord have mercy upon us and avert the threatened judgments, that hang over us.
I have seen and heard more about matters and things than I ever did before. The drill I am perfectly captivated with. I should like you to see us go through our evolutions. I love it better than to eat, when I am hungry. But the society we are with I do not like. How true I have found Bro. Joseph Webster’s remark with regard to the demoralizing effect of the Army. But when I get home I will tell you all about it. How often I think of you and the children. Hope you are all well. Should be very glad to hear from you, but hope to be home before a letter would arrive, so shall have to wait. I have been a little under the weather for two or three days, but I feel some better today. I shall be all right by tomorrow, as I have no guard duty today or tonight. We are tied up to the shore today waiting for orders. We are protected from the enemy’s guns by pressed hay bales piled up in such a way as give us a chance to see them and protect us. A. Southwick and myself mess and keep together as much as we can. We have some very rough men, but most of the men are very good hearted.
Dinner is about ready and my paper is full, so must close. Will write again the first opportunity. We are expecting the packet-ship down every minute with orders. Shall send this with that.
Good-bye, best love to all
From your loving husband,
I. C. Chamberlin.
He went with his company to Cincinnati, where they embarked on boats and patrolled the river as narrated above. Nothing happened. Morgan the raider was captured in eastern Ohio, as he was attempting to escape back to Confederate territory and was confined as a prisoner at Columbus. The Squirrel Hunters were disbanded without a shot fired at the enemy.
When Father (as we may hereafter call him) opened a clothing store in Geneva in April, 1864, Mr. Mansfield and Mr. Bruce were partners. But he bought their shares the following year and became the sole owner. The store was located on the northeast corner of East Main and North Broadway, but after one year it was moved to a small wooden building on a part of the lot of the present business.
Father was in middle life at this time. He had eight years’ experience in business with Mr. Mansfield, who was always a kind friend and adviser and was held in high regard by the Chamberlin family. Geneva was a thriving village with already some prospects of becoming an industrial town. Its location on the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railroad (now a
part of the New York Central system), gave it advantages of transportation.3 It was far enough from Cleveland not to be overshadowed by the large city. A factory of agricultural implements (now a plant of the American Fork and Hoe Company) had been started in 1855 by N. S. Caswell and was a growing industry. A grist mill and planing mill were in operation. Another factor in the growth of Geneva were the rich farming communities lying around it, which turned to this place for a trading center. A new era of prosperity was about to open for the town.
Four years after opening the store, in 1868, the home on Walnut Street was built and the family moved into it in the late fall. It remained the family home for more than fifty years, until 1923. It was a modest frame house, of the style of that time, two stories in front with a gable end towards the street, a story and a half behind, with a large attic. It contained seven or eight rooms, including four bedrooms. The attic with a large brick chimney standing in the center was used for storing trunks and boxes and was a favorite play room and shop for the children, on rainy days. A sink room, which became a summer kitchen, was at the back end and joined to it was a woodshed. On the northeast porch stood the pump for drinking water. Back of the house was a good-sized barn, with stables for a horse, cow and chickens, and a hay-loft. Adjoining it was the buggy shed. Beside and behind the barn were a garden and a small orchard.
SPRINGTIME IN THE OLD HOMESTEAD
In the years while Mother remained in the country-home of her parents to take care of them and while Father was getting his business experience and establishing his own store, children had come to make the family circle complete. All but the youngest first saw the light of day in the old homestead and spent their earliest years there. The eldest was a daughter, Frances Anna, who died in infancy. The oldest son, Charles, appeared on the scene in 1853, on the same day of the same month as the immortal Lincoln, February 12th. He was followed four years later by Carey, born June 19, 1857, and named in honor of William Carey, pioneer missionary. These two sons, so near in age, grew up as chums, and as their experiences were similar they preserved a singular sympathy with one another throughout life. Their eyes were opened early in childhood to visions of the world beyond their door. For past their farmhouse on the South Ridge road surged the main stream of traffic between the east and the west. Thereon sped occasionally the four-horse stage-coach, even though it was rapidly superseded by the railroad built just before their birth. The shrill whistle of the steam horse would sometimes reach their ears. Visible on the northern horizon was the blue fringe of Lake Erie, beckoning them to adventures beyond their own familiar scenes. They were favored in having some of these early visions realized in later years. But at first their experiences were confined to duties on the farm and in school. They helped Grandfather with the chores and with the lighter work in the fields. Horses and cows were to be cared for twice a day. Besides them were sheep, sheltered in the hillside pastures. One of the annual tasks, which had its amusing as well as laborious side, was the washing of these sheep in the creek preparatory to the shearing of their fleece. One man stood in a pool of deep water and caught each animal as it was pushed or thrown in to him. Then he doused the struggling creature in the water and rubbed his coat vigorously to remove the grime, before he released him on the further bank.
The boys began their school days in the country-school, located a half-mile east of the Wiard home. A populous neighborhood had grown up along the South Ridge road, comprising some of the substantial families of Geneva. Close neighbors of the Wiards on the west were the Carmers, Scheverills and Shepards, and east of them the family of Almeron Wiard, a son, then the Goulds, Stones, Gaylords and others. The children of these farmers made quite a large group of scholars. One of the teachers was Henry Gaylord, son of the above-mentioned family. His teaching was broken off by the outbreak of the Civil War, when he enlisted in the Army. In the bloody battle of Shiloh, April 6 - 7, 1862, he lost his right arm, which a cannon shot tore away. Two months later he was brought home. Charley remembers that when the wounded soldier was driven past the schoolhouse in his father’s buggy, the scholars stood outside to greet their old teacher. It was the last time they saw him, for he lingered but a few days after reaching home. His monument stands near the middle gate of Evergreen Cemetery, engraved with an effigy of a miniature cannon and the simple epitaph.
Charley as the eldest son was too much needed on the farm and then in the store to permit his extended education. He was one of the first students of the Geneva Normal School, which corresponds to the present High School, but he had to leave before completing the course, in order to help in the store. To supplement his training and to fit him better for a business career, he took a course in the Spencerian Business College in Cleveland in 1873. He turned this opportunity to good advantage, and laid the foundations for his skill in business methods, which he was hereafter to practice on an ever enlarging scale.
Carey was given the opportunity to complete the course at the Normal School and was in one of the first classes to be graduated from that institution, the class of 1873. One of his companions was the gifted poetess, Edith Thomas, whose poetry revealed a delicate sympathy with nature and a deftness of touch that brought considerable recognition.
A third son, Clarence, born October 14, 1858, would have formed a happy trio with the other two, if cruel destiny had not so early snatched him from earthly scenes. When he was a mere youngster, not yet three years old, he fell accidentally into the large fireplace, with which the living room was heated, and was so terribly burned, that he succumbed to the injuries, in spite of all that could be done to heal the wounds. This tragedy brought great sorrow to the household. But the busy life, with its ever urgent duties, and the coming of other children, blurred at least the sharpness of this grief.
The Civil War was in its second year, the darkest of all, since victory hung in the balance, when Albert appeared on the scene. It might be said figuratively, that booming cannon ushered in his advent into the world. But in reality the old homestead, where he first saw the light, was far from the scene of war and was as peaceful as a summer’s night. Yet the old house had echoed in a very real sense to the tumult of war, in which Father, one of its inmates, had played his brief but patriotic part. After “doing his bit” to repel the invasion of the Southern raider, Morgan, Father returned only a short time before Albert’s birth. His birthday fell on the anniversary of another momentous event, the discovery of America by Columbus. But probably neither of these occasions had any significant influence on Albert’s birth on October 12, 1862. He was joyfully received in the farmhouse, which Mother still occupied while caring for her parents. In recognition of a friend, she named him Albert Warner.
His boyhood was quite normal and natural. He grew up like other boys in the country, with some work and lots of play. He was the first of the children to start his education in the town school and go through the entire course. In the home and school he acquired steady habits which characterized his whole life. He enjoyed play and out-door sports, baseball in summer, skating and coasting in winter. When the first autumn frosts loosened the chestnuts, Albert and other boys used to get out early in the morning, go to some well-known trees in the country and gather several quarts of the nuts before school-time. Then we would put a handfull into our pockets to eat at school. Others were roasted on the stove or boiled on Sunday afternoon. When the snow melted in the spring and the sap began to flow, a day’s outing was enjoyed at the camp on the old farm, where the sap was boiled down to sugar in an iron kettle slung over a fire. The boiling sap needed careful attention, especially when it was thickening, lest it burn and the whole batch spoiled. The Brainerd boys, who tended the camp for their uncle, were Albert’s companions on these occasions. They had a gun and a dog, a horse and sled with which they gathered the sap, and if it was not time for sugaring off, they would take out a small kettle of sap and boil it down to candy. These days left very pleasant memories in his mind.
Baseball was a favorite sport and often a little game was organized in the side-yard of the Walnut Street home. May be five or six boys and girls of the neighborhood would engage in it. On one occasion the ball had flown over the board fence into the neighbor’s yard and Albert, vaulting over the fence after it, fell and hurt himself seriously. His face turned white with pain. The rest of us children were frightened and dismayed, when the doctor came and found that Albert had a fractured collar-bone. We remember his wan face as he sat in the arm-chair, his arm in a sling. Our sympathy took the practical turn of helping him in every way we could, until he was recovered from the injury.
After this quartet of boys a daughter was unusually welcome in this home. She came July 10, 1864, and was named Jennie Olive. She and Albert spent their early years in the country, but moved to town by the time they were ready for school and were the first ones to have all their schooling in the town schools.
The removal of the family to the new home on Walnut Street took place in the late autumn of 1868. Three weeks earlier, on October 6, Willis was born, while the family still occupied a small house, long since moved away, on the bank of the little creek near the new home. He received his name, doubtless, in honor of Willis Richmond, son of the Baptist pastor. The middle name, Arden, indicates presumably the mother’s admiration for the hero of Tennyson’s poetic tale. She cherished wonderful hopes for this youngest son. It was tacitly understood that he was to go to college, which was sometimes mentioned to him in his youth for his encouragement. It is possible that the parents indulged the hope that he would follow in the footsteps of his namesake, who became a well-known Baptist preacher in the East. That dream was realized, however, in Carey.
Father showed good sense in choosing a site on Walnut Street for his home. It was a new part of the town which had only a few houses. Across the street from the home was a sandy lot, on which stood an old abandoned mill, a favorite spot for the children’s play but spooky at night. A few years later, in the early ‘70’s, Charles Talcott purchased this land and built the large brick house, still standing, that was the most pretentious and modern of any in the place. A cluster of sheds, housing a blacksmith- and carriage-shop of Henry Forman and the stone works of Charles Stevens occupied the corner of Walnut Street and South Broadway (where Dr. Christian’s home now stands). The glowing fires in the smith’s forge and the flying sparks were an ever attractive sight to the children, as they passed to and fro to school or paused to see a horse shod. The stone-cutter, too, as he made the chips fly or chiselled out letters on a tombstone, was an object of curious attention.
A year earlier, in 1867, the Geneva Times was founded as a weekly with Henry Thorpe as editor. In the next year Warren Spencer bought out the paper, which he continued to edit as long as he lived. Its pages are a repository of Geneva lore, tucked away for the antiquarian or the future historian. In the number of May 13, 1879, is a sketch of Geneva written by Reverend N. P. Bailey, editor of the Painesville Telegraph, in which he pays this compliment to the place: “All those elements of beauty, neatness and comfort, which lend such a charm to villages in northern Ohio, here meet the eye of the beholder at every turn.¼ Where is there a village whose population is estimated at only 1700, that can make a better showing than Geneva?”
THE END OF AN ERA
In the next year, after the removal of the Chamberlin family to town, in 1869, Grandfather and Grandmother Wiard died, only a month apart, the former on May 13 and the latter on June 16. They were buried on the family lot in Evergreen Cemetery and the epitaph reads: “For over sixty years our father and mother travelled the road together. Blessed in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.”
In the division of their property a part of the farm lying north of the Ridge road fell to Mother. So Father undertook to work this land with the help of the older boys. This was a big job. There were cows to milk and the usual animals of the farm to feed, the crops of hay, corn and potatoes to gather and an orchard to take care of. Much of the produce had to be transported to the town house. So there were trips back and forth twice a day, at least, for milk. It was an idyllic life, enjoyable in retrospect, but laborious at the time. It was a combination of town and country occupations, which could happen only in a village. It reminds one of the inn-keeper in Goethe’s epic, Hermann und Dorothea,
“the small-town dweller,
Who combines the farmer’s work with the towns-
The farm was sold in 1875 for $2000. But remnants of this country life persisted in the village home long afterwards. A cow was still kept, which was driven morning and night in summer to some pasture lot not too far away. It was before refrigeration was common, so the milk was kept in large pans on the cellar shelf. Once or twice a week butter for the family use was made in a stone-ware churn, with a dasher that was worked up and down. It was a great relief to feel the cream thickening into butter, although the dasher was harder to move. A few chickens supplied the larder with eggs and an occasional Sunday dinner. Their wings had sometimes to be clipped, to keep them from bothering the neighbors too much. Always a horse was kept, sometimes two, for numerous trips that Father had to make in the course of business and also for pleasure. He was proud of his horses and kept them in sleek condition. Each of the boys had his turn in currying and brushing them and in washing and greasing the buggies and spring-wagon. The spring-wagon was hitched up ordinarily, for it had capacity for light loads. The boys used the buggy for extraordinary occasions, of which they knew the significance.
In the side of the yard stood customarily piles of wood, which grew in length as the season advanced. One chore of summer time was to fill the woodshed with wood, dry and ready for fuel in the cook-stove in the cold winter season. This wood was taken in barter for clothing at the store. Direct exchange of farm products for mercantile goods was common in business, for money was not too plentiful. Thus Father took in every year many cords of wood, some of which he would sell, also many other agricultural products, such as hay, oats and corn, grapes, apples, peaches, honey, maple syrup, and beef and pork. It was provident to buy or take in trade a quarter of beef or a side of bacon. Then a butcher was hired to cut it up and several pieces were hung around the kitchen to dry. Hunks of drying beef were a customary drapery around the cook-stove in winter.
Father’s store on North Broadway was enlarged from time to time, to accommodate his increasing business. His oldest son, Charley, who was made a partner in 1874, brought new impetus to the enterprise. Frequent trips to Cleveland, and even to New York on occasions, were made to purchase goods. Among the trade connections thus formed, none has been so lasting and satisfactory as that with the firm of Koch, Goldsmith, Joseph and Company, clothing manufacturers of Cleveland. Chamberlins began buying of them in 1874 and are numbered among the oldest living patrons in this present year, 1939, when the firm celebrates its seventy-fifth anniversary. The wholesale merchants used to send out their salesmen (“drummers”) months ahead of the season with several enormous trunks of samples. It was an important day when one of these salesmen came. He would lay out his samples in the store or at a public room in the hotel, from which the retail dealer would choose his goods and give his order.
While Father was building up his business, Mother’s part in developing the family was exercised in the home, over which she wisely presided. Though she has been gone in person more than sixty years, her character and personality loom large in her children’s memory. The daughter of Connecticut pioneers, she was endowed with their virtues of thrift and enterprise. She learned housekeeping arts under the eyes of a careful New England mother and practiced them industriously and cheerfully. In a time when food came mainly from one’s own field and garden, she was experienced in the preparation of fresh food and preserves for winter use. Her cooking, especially pies and bread, gratified her family’s tastes and added to their contentment. This was at a time when the housewife lacked many of the conveniences which simplify housework of the present day. She was a home-body in the sense that her interests centered largely in her home and family. She lived in her children. She was too indulgent to discipline them severely. She was rather their chum and confidante. Their names suggest her admiration for some friend or for some hero of religious work or of romance.
She united with the Geneva Baptist church in 1850, perhaps at the same time as Father. She was a loyal member and faithful in attendance at the local and sometimes associational meetings. Her neighbors knew her friendliness and sympathy. It is unfortunate that only one letter from her hand remains to reveal her thought. Not one book that she read is left to testify of her taste. Probably she was not much of a reader, for she was too busy with practical duties to have leisure for books. But she was interested in her children’s school work and had high plans for their success in fields that were closed to her. She was not a traveller. Perhaps in all her life she did not leave the borders of her native state but twice. The one letter found among her papers described a trip that she made with Father in the summer of 1871. It was a lake trip to Ogdensburg, New York, and to the Thousand Island of the St. Lawrence. It reads as follows:
Dear Children, Delia, Anna,4 and all the rest:
Here we are at the end of our journey. This may (be) and it is the dullest place I ever saw. Our passengers are all gone but two ladies. The river is one mile and a half wide at this place. I have not been off the boat yet here. We ran in at Oswego yesterday morning. One of our line of boats was there, which had caught fire a day or two before in the hold somewhere. They sank her far enough to let the water in and put it out. It was loaded with corn and five hundred barrels of flour. The corn was hot and sprouting. I went up into town a little while. It is a beautiful place. I hope we shall stay longer on our return. We left the canal at four o’clock on Friday and sailed out into the great waters of Lake Ontario. The water looked like a sheet of glass. I never saw a lake so still. Our boat skimmed like a bird on the water, no motion except that of the engine. At four o’clock yesterday we entered the river. We saw a great many islands, a great many of them nothing much but rocks. It came on dark early, so we did not see all of them. Pa has been and got the Times. We are glad to hear from home. Don’t let Willis get into cistern, as I suppose it is full of water. Jennie must be a good girl and if the boys try to plague her, as I suppose they will, she must not get angry but never, never mind it. And Albert of course will be good and mind every time what Delia and Charley tell him. Albert, do not let the cow swallow you or Lucy either. I suppose Willis L.5 comes to see Jennie yet. I suppose Delia feels like a step up mother. You need not look for us until next Saturday night. I do not think we can get home before that time. It has stopped raining and tomorrow we shall go out some, I think. The City of Concord has just come in and Pa thinks we had better return on her. So I guess he is homesick and is in a hurry to get home. The air is so invigorating and bracing on the water, I think it is doing him good. The Young America, another one of our line has just come in. It has cleared up, and we shall get a livery and go into the country tomorrow. I think it will be nice riding and we want to see the country.
(Both letters were written in pencil but are still real legible). Father also wrote about this trip:
Ogdensburg, Aug. 27, 1871
It is Sunday and we are here on the boat, as it is raining and has been ever since last evening, oh, so nice. We can’t help hoping you too have had rain. It is quite chilly and we have fire in the cabin. I wanted to go to church, but it was so far and rained so hard, I gave it up. We have been very well since we started. Have enjoyed our trip very much. The boat seems a good one. We have a comfortable state-room and the officers seem very accommodating. The captain cannot tell today when he will start out again, as he has to obey orders. There is another boat of the line starts out tomorrow afternoon, and if we don’t start, I mean this boat, we may exchange. But we hate to do so, as we live well on this boat and we might not live as well on any other, and I tell you that is quite important to us. You never see folks eat more and enjoy eating better than the passengers on this boat have ever since we started. Ready every time when the bell rings and each vying with the other for the choice of seats and victuals, etc. I need not say we were glad to hear from you and hear that you were well and getting along well. Carey’s letter came just in time. If it had been two minutes later, we should not have got it until we returned. Also yours came in after we had got to bed Saturday evening. I got up and read and then told Ma about it. I am glad you are doing so well in the store, glad you are getting in so much money. I think by the time we get around home, if I continue gain as I have since I left home, I shall be able to earn at least a part of my board. It is rather lonesome on board, as the most of our passengers have left and gone their several ways and it rains, so we cannot look around much. But tomorrow will come soon and then it will be more pleasant again. We got into this port about half past nine o’clock, and a little after ten the steward rapped on our door and told us he had a letter for us. The paper you spoke of has not come in yet. I went over to the office, but it was not there. Hope it will come as we very much want to see it. But Ma wants to write some and paper is almost full, so will close. Goodbye for this time, will write again as soon as we find out when we shall start.
From your affection father to all of you,
(signed) I. C. Chamberlin
The hands are unloading our boat in good earnest and the captain thinks we shall get out tonight. If so we shall stick to the old boat.
From I. C. Chamberlin
Another journey was in 1872 at the time when Uncle Daniel of England came on a visit to his two brothers in this country and Father and Mother with the two youngest children accompanied him to southern Indiana to see the elder brother. How long she was away from home and what were her impressions of this visit, it is impossible to say.
The home over which she presided was normal. The parental care and love were responded to by filial respect and obedience. The hard work was sweetened by love and the moral gratification of tasks accomplished. The children grew up healthy and strong, with moral and religious sense awakened. They were fortunate in the neighborhood environment. The neighbors were kind and considerate people whom it was pleasant to know. Next door were the Formans, whose house was almost in the same yard. Cordial relations were always maintained with them. On the other side were the Bartholomews, Doels and Holts, who were all good neighbors. Across the street Charles Talcott had built a modern house, which was a mansion in those days. The young people in these homes formed a pleasant coterie, whose members often joined in sports and in the common tasks of school.
The first seven years in the town house were probably the happiest of all, when all the children were at home, the family circle was complete, and the days sped swiftly, filled with business enterprises, school activities and the usual home duties. It was a happy time for the family. Parents and children lived in sympathetic relationship ruffled only by the ordinary cares of life. One custom which Father maintained with scarcely a break was the daily family-worship after breakfast. Each member of the family had a Bible and read a verse in turn of the daily lesson, then the whole circle knelt and Father led in prayer. This custom made a deep impression on the religious nature and in fixing steady habits of worship.
Both Charley and Carey, four years younger, were fond of society. They were active members of a fine group of young people who entered gaily into the innocent pleasures of the season. Many were the parties which punctuated the routine of business. In summer there were picnics and camping parties at the Lake; in winter numerous sleigh rides to some country home, where an oyster supper was served, before the merry couples started homeward.
One can imagine how eagerly these events were discussed in the family, which consisted of parents and five children (four brothers and a sister). Mother would be especially interested and would enter into the fun almost as heartily as her sons. One can fancy the merry twinkle in her eye, as she listened to Charley relate some prank or happy circumstance of these parties. Both Father and Mother looked upon them indulgently. Charley has recorded somewhere, that he was never chided, if he stayed out later than usual. Both of them remembered, doubtless, their own youth and they know their boys could be trusted.
But now when the conditions were so favorable and every prospect was inviting, the time of severest testing came. A heavy blow fell, that shook this social structure to its foundations. We look back upon this trial now, after the lapse of a lifetime, with horror, and amazement that so little change was suffered. We speak of it as the typhoid fever scourge, which raged through the family in the fall and winter of 1875, until every member but Charley was laid low. Its cause is uncertain. But at the time when the village lacked a sanitary system and a pure water supply, contamination of well-water was possible. Modern knowledge of bacteriology, of prevention of typhoid and of immunization from its ravages was unknown. Hospitalization in the small community was impossible. Nurses were scarce and untrained. So when Willis came down with fever, there was no other way but for Mother to take care of him. No way of protecting the other members of the family being known to science, they gradually succumbed to the same disease. Carey, Albert, Jennie, Father, one by one they took to their beds. What a gloomy winter! But even though the home was full of sickness, a little brightness dispelled the gloom on Christmas Day with the usual distribution of gifts. It seemed as if the worst was past. All the patients were convalescing. Mother had been able to keep up with the help of two practical nurses and of kind neighbors. Charley had managed the business and helped Mother in every possible way. She used to say of him:
“Charley, you are worth your weight in gold!”
But her strength gave out finally. Having nursed all her sick ones through the worst stages of the disease and seen them on the way to recovery, she broke down before the attack of the same dread enemy. If she had been in her usual health, she might probably have thrown it off. But weakened by her incessant watch by the sick for months, she was unable to overcome it. The fever reached its height, leaving her most critically weak. Even then there was hope of her recovery. But the disease attacked her lungs, which were delicate after an attack of pneumonia two years before. She was not able to rally from this second attack and passed away on the morning of February 3, 1876. She was only forty-six, but in that comparatively short time she had filled out a complete life. She had carried with exceptional devotion her share of the burdens of the home. She had reared a large family of children and seen them started in the right way. She could lay down the responsibility with the satisfaction of knowing that she had given her best, herself, to them. The memory of her sweet self-devotion has been a constant inspiration to them in succeeding years.
Notice of Mother’s Death and Brief Record of her Life.
(A newspaper clipping, presumably Geneva Times)
Chamberlin. - In Geneva, Ohio, Feb. 3rd, 1876, Mrs. Laura Wiard,
wife of I. C. Chamberlin, and daughter of the late Lemuel Wiard.
The subject of this notice was born in the township of Geneva, November 28,1829, her age at the time of her death being 46 years, 2 months and 6 days. She was married to Mr. Chamberlin March 4th, 1850. She was the mother of seven children, five of whom survive her. Something more than twenty years since she embraced the Christian religion, accepting fully the provisions of the gospel for the salvation of lost men, and united with the Geneva Baptist Church; retaining her connection with the same until her death. Hers was an earnest Christian life; never obtrusive, never neglectful, her piety was of that consistent, every-day type, which has for its perpetual reward the approval of the Master.
When sickness came and one after another of her family were stricken down, she watched untiringly beside them, administering the medicine with her own hand, until nature yielded to the pressure, and she too sunk under the fell power which had prostrated the others. When the summons came to depart, her work was well done and she fell asleep in Jesus.
“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.”
REPAIRING THE BROKEN HOME
The readjustment to new conditions was difficult. Outwardly the home showed few signs of the great loss it had borne. The patients gradually returned to health and took up again the daily program. A housekeeper performed the household duties. Charley managed the store during Father’s absence, so that the business went on as usual. He had been received into partnership in 1874, when Father gave him a quarter interest. Hereafter the firm name became I. C. Chamberlin & Son. His entrance into the business was one of the decisive steps of his life. His boyhood and youth were over. Henceforth manhood’s years stretched out before him. He had acquired the principles of education and of business training that were the foundations of his career. He entered heartily into the work to which he brought the strength and enthusiasm of youth. Long hours of persistent effort, with few vacations, were hereafter to be his program. Heavier responsibilities only added to his satisfaction. It was in the “horse and buggy days,” now looked upon somewhat contemptuously, the period of coal-oil lamps and wood stoves. But the same qualities of character were required then as at present. Persistence, industry, integrity, marked the steps of his course. Honesty and fairdealing were fundamentals of this business, whose reputation extended to an ever widening circle of patronage throughout the neighboring country and towns.
It must not be thought that Charley’s business smothered all other interests. He took keen enjoyment in out-door sports, especially baseball, which was just springing into popularity as a national game. Not only did he enjoy playing the game himself, as one bent finger of his right hand shows, but he was and still is an enthusiastic “fan” in watching others play. Sometimes he still goes to see professional teams match their strategy and skill. He also enjoyed fishing and boating and took opportunity as often as possible to indulge this inclination. These occasions were sometimes not lacking in dangerous adventure. One time he and a companion, (perhaps it was his brother Carey), hired a sailor in Cleveland to take them for a ride in his sailboat. Out on the high sea the skipper took it into his head to scare the landlubbers. He gave the boat so much sail as to throw it on its beam ends and the gunwale was almost dipping water as the boat sped along. Then the boys discovered that they were at the mercy of a tipsy seaman, who might capsize them with his high jinks. But they remained game and did not let on that they were scared. Fortunately he had sense enough to avoid a catastrophe and to bring them eventually to land.
On another day in spring, when fishing was still good in the lake, he and his “pal”, O. C. Pinney, decided to try their luck in this sport. They drove to Sturgeon Point (now Mapleton Beach), taking Willis along with them. They hired a rowboat and started out on the lake with their lines and bait, leaving Willis to his own devices on the shore. After several hours he grew sleepy and on account of some whim crawled under the buggy seat for a nap. Great was the consternation of the fishermen, when they returned to land, not to be able to find the “kid” anywhere. They feared he had gone in the water and drowned. They hunted all around without avail. They decided finally to go home, to see if possibly he had wandered there on foot. On the way it occurred to one of them to look under the seat, where, of course, the perpetrator of this joke was crouched. It was an immense relief to all three, when he was pulled out.
Carey was also engaged in a business career, but in a new direction. After graduating from the Geneva Normal he secured a position in Painesville with John Lockwood, a dealer in boots and shoes. So Carey was initiated into that line of trade. After learning the business he determined to start a store of his own and he chose Ashtabula for the place. Probably with Father’s financial aid, he established his store and entered heartily into the effort of building up his business. He was successful and in a few years his business was the largest in that line in the city. Not daunted by the destruction of his store-building by fire in the early ‘80’s, he rebuilt on a larger plan on Main Street in one of the best locations and continued the business with greater success.
The greatest change in the household, after it was broken by Mother’s death, was apparent in the inner circle. How desolate it was without her the older boys fully realized. They soon found escape in homes of their own, while a step-mother came to preside in the family-home. She was Julia Williams Cushing of Conneaut, Ohio. She was of New England descent and of a family that sent two or three of its sons into the Civil War. She was the widow of Benjamin Cushing, Probate Judge of Ashtabula County. She supplied Mother’s place as fully as was humanly possible. She engaged her strong and devoted personality in the adopted family, identifying herself with its interests. With tact and devotion she kept the family together. The home on Walnut Street remained still the rallying-point of the now diverging branches of the family, to which they returned on Thanksgiving Day and at other special reunions.
Only remembered now as an interlude in the main drama was the brief life of her son, Hervey Walter, who did not survive the period of infancy. When Mother Julia became seriously ill with pneumonia, Walter contracted the disease, to which he succumbed at the age of one year, in December, 1880. He is buried in Evergreen Cemetery.
The younger children, Albert, Jennie and Willis, resumed their places in school as soon as they recovered from their sickness. They attended school in the old frame building in the spacious, maple-shaded grounds on Park Street, which served many years for the grades, after the Normal School building was erected in 1868. Ray’s Arithmetic and Harvey’s Readers were in use. Writing was taught according to the Spencerian system, in which all written characters were analyzed into seven fundamental strokes, which were practiced in copy books, first separately, then combined in words and lastly in model sentences. The primary and intermediate grades occupied the first floor, between which a broad hall containing a winding stairway led to the grammar school on the second floor. J. S. McCalment was principal of the grades for many years, while the Chamberlin children were in school. He had a virile personality and was a strict disciplinarian, before whose stern glance the unruly pupil quailed. To be sent in to the principal was about the severest penalty to be meted out. He was assisted by Miss Helen Barnum in the grammar grade, by Miss Wood, Miss Hermione Burrows and Miss Jessie Johnson at different years in the intermediate and by Miss Lucy Kelley in the primary grade.
The three Chamberlins progressed regularly through the grades and entered the Normal. This was more than a High School, as it prepared students for teaching and attracted many young people from other towns, who lived at the school. It was a lively and earnest group that sat in the class-rooms, and the work had a more serious purpose and a wider outlook than is customary in ordinary high schools. Professor J. P. Treat presided over it during the years that Albert and Jennie were students. He and Mrs. Treat shared the teaching and were assisted by Laura Burnette. These teachers lived in the building, which imparted to this institution something of the atmosphere of a boarding school. Besides the fundamental subjects of Grammar, Geography and Arithmetic, higher courses were given in Mathematics, Latin, English Literature, Physiology, Natural Philosophy and Psychology. Temperance education was stressed in the study of Physiology. The daily program always included religious exercises during the first quarter-hour, consisting of reading of Scripture, prayer and a song. No one objected to this, although there were a few Catholic and Jewish students.
During the ‘80’s the Normal School features gradually decreased and the course was shaped more toward a preparation for college. The expansion of the course in two new directions so as to offer two years of Greek and two or three years of German and French as electives is noteworthy. Few schools in towns of the size of Geneva could offer such facilities fifty years ago for the study of the classic and modern languages as were found here. Greek was taught by Professor J. S. Lowe, a thorough scholar, who succeeded Professor Treat. The course in the classics gave a solid foundation for college entrance and the number of students going to college from this school rose at once. An unusual opportunity for learning German existed in Geneva, owing to the circumstance that Francis A. Dauer, a native Alsatian and proficient on that account in both German and French, had been attracted to Geneva and engaged as teacher of Modern Languages. He spoke both languages fluently, had been in the French Army in the War of 1870 and was familiar with Paris. He was an enthusiastic teacher, willing to go to any length to help his pupils master this difficult subject and delighted, if they showed interest in the work. He remained a popular teacher until his sudden death about 1912. It became quite common for his students to greet one another on the street with “Wie geht’s?” and “Was gibt’s Neues?” or similar phrases, for he used the so-called Natural or Direct method and accustomed the classes to hear and speak German. Worman’s “Deutsches Echo” was one of the books used in the elementary course.
Considerable attention was paid to Rhetoric and English composition. To further this interest a literary society, called the N.K.Y. Society, was organized in the ‘70’s, perhaps under the leadership of Professor Treat. It enrolled practically all the students of the Normal School and met once a week for a program of declamations, essays, orations and debates. All business was conducted according to parliamentary usage. It was very popular and one of the most useful activities of the school. Many exciting debates were held and it is no exaggeration to say, that many persons gained poise of manner and ease of speech in this society, which has stood them in good stead in later life.
Albert was graduated in the class of 1880, which was small but counted several members who rose to considerable eminence later. Each member had to deliver an oration or, if a girl, to read an essay. His oration was on the subject: Judge not the Workman by His Tools. Meantime, with adolescence his religious life had awakened and he joined the Baptist church on March 4, 1876. His connection with this church continued during the remainder of his life. It was characterized by unusual devotion, which led him to accept service in almost every line of the church work. He was particularly active in the Bible school as superintendent and teacher. He was leader of the Men’s Class for many years up to the time of his death. For a long period he was church treasurer and later a trustee and chairman of the finance committee.
Jennie followed Albert by two years in graduating from the Normal in the class of 1882. Among her class-mates was her intimate and life-long friend, Jennie Blinn, who became quite noted as a singer and teacher of vocal music in the Denison University Conservatory of Music and later as a Y.W.C.A. secretary in Washington, D. C. Other class-mates were Ella Treat, sister of the superintendent, Ruth Kelley, Fred Bollard, John Ewing, Homer Cummings (from Madison) and John Orton (from Perry). The fame of Jennie’s graduating essay spread as far away as Lawrenceburg, Indiana, where Mrs. Lilian Truett, adopted daughter of Dr. S B. Chamberlain, related in 1937 that she remembered its title: On the Borderland. This refers naturally to the boundary between school and real life, an appropriate topic for such an occasion.
Willis was graduated in the class of 1886, which was notable, at any rate, as the first to pass from the halls of the new High School building. It is interesting to note, that Charley was a member of the board, probably the president, under whose direction this building was erected, as Father was clerk of the board which built the first Normal in 1868. The new building of 1885 was a model for school purposes. It was a large two-story structure, with high roof and gable at each side, of brick with stone trimming. Broad halls led from each entrance to the assembly room, which occupied the entire breadth of the building. On the south side was a stage used for rhetoricals, lectures and the literary society. On one wing was a book-case containing a small library. There were special class-rooms and a large room up-stairs for the commercial department in charge of S. R. Webster. On account of the expansion of the curriculum, several members of Willis’ class, including himself, remained an extra year to study the added courses. They took the classical courses, two years of Greek and three or four of Latin. Willis used this extra time in getting a grounding in German and also in shorthand and type-writing. He became, in short, secretary of Mr. Webster, who rewarded his services with free tuition in these subjects. Professor Webster would have secured him a position in Cleveland, if Willis had not formed other plans. This class was composed of twelve members, six boys and six girls, among whom were several gifted in scholarship, destined to be future leaders. Worthy of mention are Will King, school superintendent and then hardware merchant; Claude Jones, physician and later head of Ford Republic, near Detroit, Michigan; Aaron Ewing, pharmacist; Charles Johnson, who died after a year or two of teaching in the Normal; and Kate Morgan (Stephens), May Higley (Webb), Martha Tuttle and May Stephens.
Willis was so impressed in reading Horace Greeley’s The Irrepressible Conflict in his junior year, that he took the Civil War as the subject of his oration at the close of that year. Next year he read, perhaps in Tennyson’s Idylls of the King, the story of the Holy Grail and composed his graduating oration on that theme, entitling it: The Sangreal Prize. Claude Jones was captivated with the career of Napoleon and began his oration with the startling sentence: “But for a rain-storm the fate of all Europe might have been different,” referring to Grouchy’s delay in reenforcing Napoleon at Waterloo. At one time Claude, eager and enthusiastic, persuaded Willis to join him in challenging Robert Ewing and Charles Johnson, champion debaters, to debate on the question of capital punishment. It was to be a great battle. As the discussion began, it was seen that, owing to some confusion, all the disputants were on the same side. So the debate was postponed and was never renewed.
In the years reviewed in the preceding chapter, the town increased in population and added many improvements. Signs of industrial life floated in the air. A new factory or two reared their tall chimneys, while the old plants were enlarged. Modern stores and residences multiplied. Schools and churches were rebuilt or remodeled. The Soldiers and Sailors Monument was erected on the Square. Its dedication by James A. Garfield, President-elect of the United States, on August 3, 1880, was one of the biggest days in Geneva’s history.
The Chamberlin business prospered during these years, especially when new life was infused in to by Charley’s connection. He felt himself justified under these circumstances in establishing a home of his own. He found a congenial companion of his hope and aims in Sophie Berry, eldest daughter of Samuel and Allie (Dix) Berry, of Forestville, New York. They were married September 5, 1876, and visited the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia on their honeymoon. Their home was for several years on Grant Street. Eventually they bought the property at No. 81, Walnut Street, remodeled the house to suit their needs and made it the family home.
Sophie came of a cultured family who had a lively concern for religious and intellectual matters. She had enjoyed excellent school-advantages, including some time at Geneva College, Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. She had an alert mind, a positive personality, and an appreciation of beauty in art and literature. She identified herself with Charley in his undertakings and assumed gladly and efficiently her domestic responsibilities. She became a member with him of the Baptist church and used her ability and strength in furthering its cause. For some years she was a member of the choir, to which her rich contralto voice added strength and harmony. She was a leader in the women’s work of the church. Most appropriately the women’s parlor of the church is dedicated to her memory.
Carey did not wish to be outdone by Charley and did not wait long to follow his example. During his initiation into the shoe business in Painesville, he became acquainted with Harriette Rogers, a teacher in the public schools and member of a respected Baptist family. Their acquaintance developed into love and as soon as Carey had gained a footing (an apt figure in this case) for his business in Ashtabula, he married Harriette and inaugurated their home. That was on August 8, 1877, at the bride’s home. They occupied for years a modest house on Park Street. Their eldest son, Harrie, was born there. Later they built a modern residence on Prospect Street, one-half block from the west and of the present viaduct on Route 20, which remained their home as long as they stayed in Ashtabula. It was in the days when high bicycles came into use. Carey became an enthusiastic cyclist and often made trips to Geneva and to more distant points. His best record was a day’s run to Westfield, New York, nearly ninety miles, on his way to Chautauqua Lake. This was on dirt and sand roads, not on modern, cement highways.
In addition to his business Carey became deeply interested in the work of the Baptist church. This was a small and somnolent organization. He endeavored to enliven it. He worked in close cooperation with the pastor. In these years he was intimate with Lyman Sweat, secretary of the city Y.M.C.A. Mr. Sweat was a diligent student of the Bible and gave Bible readings, consisting of passages from the Scripture with an exposition and running comment on their meaning. The effectiveness of this exercise influenced Carey to take up the same line of work. It became a passion with him, almost to the neglect of his regular business. He studied commentaries and books about the Bible, attended conferences of religious leaders and made frequent addresses before church gatherings. He was virtually doing two men’s work. His strength was not equal to it, especially when a great emotional strain was added in the sickness and death of their little daughter, Frances Anna, on December 4, 1888. Carey’s health was impaired. A change of climate and rest were imperative for his restoration. It seemed to him a sign to give up his business and, if the way opened, to devote himself wholly to religious work. He sold his store and home in Ashtabula and moved to Denver, Colorado, for a complete change of scene. This had a beneficial effect on his health, which was restored. While he was seeking for some new line of activity, an offer came to him to be assistant pastor of the First Baptist Church of Denver. He accepted the call and entered this entirely different field of service. He never returned to business life but pursued henceforth the path of a Christian minister. In a year or two the pastor, Reverend Kerr Tupper, was called to the First Baptist Church of Boston and took Carey with him as assistant pastor. Thus was he transplanted to New England, to the austere atmosphere of Unitarianism and other liberal forms of belief. These few years as assistant pastor in large churches were preparatory, a practical training in pastoral work into which he was soon called. He accepted the invitation to be pastor of the Baptist Church at Hudson, Massachusetts, and thus assumed the full responsibility of a Christian minister. After a few years in that small industrial town he was called back to Boston to be pastor of the Dorchester Temple, and thence, after five years, he was called to the Ashland Avenue Baptist Church of Toledo, Ohio. Dr. Emory W. Hunt, who had developed this body from a mission church to the leading Baptist organization in the city, had just accepted the presidency of Denison University. That Carey was asked to succeed him was a very high compliment. Further considerations were, that it brought him back to his native state and near the old home.
On Carey’s resignation from the pastorate of the Dorchester Temple to go to the Ashland Avenue Baptist Church, the Board of Deacons passed the following resolution, approved by the Church:
“Five years ago we, as a church, called the Reverend Carey W. Chamberlin to be our pastor. Since that time ours has been a time of uninterrupted prosperity, and of advance along both spiritual and material lines. Our mortgage debt has been decreased by $6000; we have erected the Bersan Chapel on Laureate avenue and hold an equity of more than $6000 on that property; we have paid current expenses of $5000 per year, and have contributed annually about $1000 for benevolent purposes. Since the coming of Brother Chamberlin our church membership has been increased by 414, of which number 137 have been baptized into our communion. During the five years past there has been no dissension within the church; the attendance has been large, and the Bible school has almost outgrown our accommodations, numbering now almost 750 members.
“But our pastor has received an urgent call to labor in a city far away. The call for him is a loud and repeated one, and as he has listened thoughtfully and prayerfully, he believes that he has recognized the Master’s voice. If such be the case, we have no right to interfere; and though our hearts are heavy at the thought of separation, it becomes us to bow in submission to the will of God, and to congratulate our brother on his summons to a wider field of service. Therefore, with the prayer that the blessing of heaven may follow him and his family as they go, and abide with us who remain to till the old vineyard; and in the glad hope of a time when we shall all be reunited in the service and in the presence of our King, we, the Board of Deacons, move that the resignation of our beloved pastor be accepted, to take effect November 15, 1901.”
The care of the large Toledo parish was a heavy task for one so conscientious as Carey. That he was able to meet the demands and continue the work with a large degree of success was a tribute to his devotion and ability.
Training and opportunity pointed Albert to a business career. During his years in school he had an initiation into the store as an extra helper on busy Saturdays and in vacations. The store in those days was kept open each evening and usually until eleven or twelve o’clock on Saturday nights.
On graduating from the Normal School he was prepared to go into the store at a full-time job. There was not a week’s interval between leaving school and entering into business. He made no complaint at this, but rather took it as a matter of course. Thus before he was eighteen he was settled in the work which was to engage him for all his future years, for more than fifty. With him into the store went Charles Peck, class-mate and intimate friend.
The following year, early in 1881, he went to Cleveland for three months to take a course in business and book-keeping in the Spencerian Business College, where Father and Charley had preceded him. This gave him experience in city ways. He lived in Glenville, a village now incorporated in the city, in the home of a former neighbor, Mr. Arthur Bartholomew. He used the street cars in going back and forth to the college. It was just at the time that electric lights were invented and a cluster of arc lights erected on a high mast near the Square was a famous feature of the city. Charley Peck accompanied Albert and was his room-mate. Both boys made good use of the College and acquired a thorough knowledge of book-keeping. Albert needed it, for he soon had a set of books to keep in his business.
At this time Father was planning to build a new store. The business had outgrown the old place, a wooden building that had been enlarged several times and was still inadequate. The need evoked the desire for a larger and more substantial structure. This shaped itself into a plan of a two-story brick building with two connecting store-rooms. In the second room it was proposed to open a boot and shoe department, including trunks and travel equipment. Albert was selected to manage this new department. In order to gain experience he went into his brother Carey’s store in Ashtabula and worked for several months. Meanwhile the new store was built in 1882. When it was opened in the fall of that year, the new department was well stocked with boots and shoes for men’s and women’s wear, and Albert had charge. He had his separate set of books to keep and the responsibility of the business. He was received into partnership with a quarter interest which Father gave to him. This established him and made him a member of the firm, which was thereafter known as I. C. Chamberlin and Sons. It decided his life work, which focused thenceforth in this special line of merchandise, not excluding him, however, from interest in the general business.
His business settlement gave Albert opportunity to establish a home of his own. One of his class-mates was Blanche Gould. She was not a native of Geneva, but came there at high-school age with her elder sister and brother. They were of English ancestry of a sea-faring family. As their parents were dead, they came to live with their uncle Doel, whose home was two doors up Walnut Street from Albert’s. So the Chamberlin and Gould children were often together playing and studying their lessons. What was more natural than that Albert and Blanche grew attached to one another even in school? This friendship grew stronger with absence, when Blanche went to Kingsville to live. They found ways of meeting often, especially while Albert worked in Ashtabula. When his position was settled and he had a sufficient income, they decided to marry. The wedding was celebrated in the midst of a company of friends at the bride’s home in Kingsville, October 11th, 1883, one day before he was twenty-one. They made their home first on Grant Street. Improving their condition gradually, they built eventually the large house, No. 196, South Broadway, which they equipped with all the conveniences for comfortable living. They moved into this home in 1902.
In less than a year after Albert left home Jennie celebrated her marriage with Herbert Bollard, on August 21, 1884. Herbert was a friend of the family, distantly related through his grandfather. After several years’ experience with a hardware firm in Greenville, Pennsylvania, he went to Omaha, Nebraska, and became connected with the First National Bank. Jennie went with him to reside in Omaha. Thus the house was rapidly depleted of its young life, especially when Willis departed for college two years later. That was the third period of this homestead, when quiet settled in its precincts, save when they were invaded by young and old members returning for a family party.
But the impression must not be made, that the spirit of the house drooped and the circles of interest narrowed to the confines of its walls. Father and Mother maintained active interest in life, in the affairs of their children, in business, town and church and in the world. They made several trips to Iowa and Kansas to visit her relatives, and to Omaha to see Jennie. The time had come when Father was able to realize a dream which he had cherished ever since his youth, of returning to his native place in England, especially to visit the brother living there. A singular affection had bound these two brothers together, though they were divided by the expanse of the Atlantic Ocean. They exchanged letters regularly and it was quite an event when a letter from the English uncle came and it was read aloud to the whole family. Uncle Daniel read much about the United States and yearned to visit this country, particularly since Grandmother Rawson (his mother) had come here and others of his nearest friends. He was able to gratify this desire and to visit America in 1872. His coming was an event of the greatest interest. Together the two brothers journeyed to Lawrenceburg, Indiana, to see their eldest brother, Samuel. Thus they renewed the ties, which remained close after more than thirty years of separation.
Father’s finances were in such favorable condition and the business safe in Charley’s and Albert’s management, that he could made a return visit in 1886 to the scenes of his boyhood in England. Careful plans were made in the spring of that year, for a trip to Europe was a momentous event in those days. Generously Father decided to take Willis along, who had just finished high school. What an opportunity in his life, to broaden his outlook and his experience! So the three travellers, Father, Mother and Willis, set out one June forenoon on this adventure. Stopping at Niagara Falls for a few hours, they continued their journey to New York. There they embarked on the S. S. “City of Rome”, one of the fine large boats of that era and in a week reached Liverpool. From there it was only a few hours’ journey to Kettering, where Uncle Daniel met them and took them to his home in Rothwell. Then followed a season of visitations to many relatives and sight-seeing trips to historical points. Uncle Daniel used his pony and a low-slung surrey, with seats facing one another, for these trips to places within a radius of twenty-five miles. Longer journeys, as to Leicester and Northampton, were made by rail. A week was spent in London, where Cousin Alfred was teaching. He gave up his time to guide the party to the well-known historic places of the metropolis. His familiarity with these scenes and his interest in their history made him an invaluable guide. The party stayed at Turner’s Hotel, which Uncle Daniel recommended on account of its temperance attitude, in contrast to most English hotels. It was a “homey” place in Southampton Row, just around the corner from the British Museum. Under the name of the West Central Hotel it has become a popular stopping place for tourists and has sheltered the Chamberlins several times.
Alfred planned each day’s sight-seeing and appeared each morning to take the party in charge for the visit to public halls and old haunts known in history and legend. One memorable afternoon and evening were spent at the Crystal Palace, which was then one of the most popular resorts outside of London. Sunday brought a never-to-be-forgotten opportunity to hear Charles Spurgeon in his tabernacle near the “Elephant and Castle” tavern in the Kensington district not far from London Bridge. In the evening they attended another service in the City Temple to hear Joseph Parker. In these visits to the Tower of London, to Westminster Abbey, British Museum, St. Paul’s and Trafalgar Square, and a hundred interesting scenes, history lived again and made deep impressions, some of which Willis recorded in a series of articles in the Geneva Times of that summer.
The return voyage was made in August in the old S. S. “Teutonic” of the White Star Line. Uncle Daniel accompanied the travellers to Liverpool. On a wet afternoon they all boarded the tender which was to take them to the ship anchored in mid-stream. On the deck of the ship, when the warning whistle blew, the two brothers bade each other an affectionate farewell, not expecting to see one another again. But the future was kinder than they thought and brought them together after a few years, when Uncle Daniel visited the United States for a second time on the occasion of the World’s Columbian Exposition at Chicago in 1894. On this visit the two brothers spent a week at the World’s Fair. Uncle Daniel journeyed as far west as Wisconsin to visit relatives. On the way to embark for the return voyage he and Father stopped for several days with Carey and his family in Boston. Carey took them on several trips in the city and to places farther afield, so that Uncle Daniel became acquainted with some of the beautiful scenery of New England.
On the return from England Willis entered Denison University, Granville, Ohio, in September, 1886. The choice of college was determined by denominational reasons. Dr. N. S. Burton was temporary president, but Dr. Calusha Anderson succeeded him the following January. Willis chose the classical course, which was composed mostly of prescribed subjects, Latin and Greek predominating. Professor Charles Chandler with his accurate and precise scholarship, and Professor R. S. Colwell, a dominant and yet hospitable character, made deep impressions on Willis. Unconsciously they established themselves in his mind as ideals. Professor J. L. Gilpatrick’s friendliness was hidden at first under a somewhat brusque exterior. Professor George F. McKibbon’s thorough scholarship came to be appreciated later. Compulsory attendance at the Baptist Church (or any other of one’s choice) aroused no objection on Willis’ part, for he found Dr. Charles J. Baldwin’s sermons exemplary in form and inspiring to religious thought. Along with Latin and Greek, Willis had opportunity to advance in German, for which his work in Geneva with Professor F. A. Dauer had been a good preparation, and in French. He was fortunate in his friendships, which embraced many of the worthiest students. His acceptance of an invitation to join the Sigma Chi Fraternity introduced him to a fellowship of leaders in all lines of college activity. In class-room, literary hall and on the athletic field he formed lifelong friendships.
As it was known that he had chosen teaching for his work, a rare opportunity was offered to him to gain some experience while still in college. Dr. J. D. S. Riggs, principal of the Academy, selected him to conduct the classes of Professor L. E. Akins in preparatory mathematics, while he was sick for several weeks. Willis accepted with alacrity and evidently satisfied Dr. Riggs. Near the close of the senior year came as out of a clear sky the offer of Professor George F. McKibben to substitute for him during a year’s leave of absence, with a probable opening later as assistant in the department of Modern Languages. The condition was, that Willis should take a year of graduate work abroad or in some renowned university in America. He chose the latter alternative. Having received the A.B. degree in June, 1890, he matriculated at Harvard the following September. As was common at that time, he did not aspire for the master’s degree in one year but was content with the A.B. from Harvard. His main courses were in German with Professor Hans Carl Gunther von Jagemann, French under Professors Adolphe Cohn and Louis Sanderson, and Modern European History with Professors McVane and Channing.
Romance played its role with him in these experiences. While still in the high school he was attracted by the winsomeness of Frances Warren, a fellow-student who made her home with her aunt, Mrs. J. P. Treat. This inclination increased during the years at college and resulted in an engagement at the beginning of his senior year. When he went to Harvard it was understood that they were to be married at Christmas time and go back to Cambridge together. This plan was carried out. The wedding of Willis and Frances occurred at the bride’s home on December 29, 1890, in a company of intimate friends. On New Year’s day they arrived in Cambridge and occupied apartments at No. 16, Oxford Street, within a short distance of Harvard Square.
The course of events involving the family affairs suffered one rude interruption in these years. That was the destruction of the Chamberlin store in the disastrous fire of August 19, 1892, which swept away the buildings on both sides of North Broadway. It was the worse disaster in the history of Geneva. As soon as it was seen that the Chamberlin block was doomed, owners and helpers began with feverish but well-directed haste to pack up the goods and remove them to a safe place. Carey and Willis happened to be visiting there at the time and jumped in with the rest to help in the work of rescue. The tables loaded with clothing were carried to the open square by the depot. The shoes were packed in the empty trunks and quickly moved to safety. The store books were carefully preserved. The half hour before the fire reached the store was used in this work, that was carried out in an orderly way and according to a plan pre-arranged for such an emergency. Watchers stood over the salvaged merchandise until morning, by which time a new room had been secured for it. The best available store-room in town that was for rent was leased temporarily, until a new building could be erected. A contract for a new block was made immediately, so that for temporary and permanent need the firm was forehanded. Their foresight in this crisis was evidence of courage and wisdom. They received at once messages of condolence and offers of assistance from the firms of whom they bought goods. As examples are the following telegrams which have been preserved:
New York, N.Y., August 19, 1892.
To Messrs. I. C. Chamberlin & Sons,
If cash is needed to start, draw on us without hesitation.
Sincere sympathy in this trouble. Will hold orders.
(signed) David Marks & Sons.
Cleveland, Ohio, August 19, 1892.
To I. C. Chamberlin & Sons.
Regret to note that you burned out. Can we be of any
service to you? If so, wire us.
(signed) Goldsmith Joseph Feiss & Co.
What better evidence of the reputation of this firm for honesty could be desired than these unsolicited offers of help, even of money, from those with whom they dealt? Fortunately, no financial aid was needed. The new block, larger and better than the old one, arose out of the ruins and still stands on the same site as the store which Father purchased in 1865. Only minor changes have had to be made in the restored building, as the wiring for electricity, and especially the installing of a new front in 1938.
On Thanksgiving Day, 1906, the family met as usual, this year under the old roof-tree. As all the members were present, save Jennie, this reunion was historic. Jennie and Herbert were separated from us by a thousand miles of plains and perforce were absent in body, but not in spirit. Carey and Harriette came from Beverly, Massachusetts, where he was settled as pastor of the First Baptist Church, after five years of exacting service in Toledo. In taking charge at Beverly he was following in a line of distinguished men, who had served as pastors in this historical and staid New England city. He was there in port, anchored for the remainder of his life. Willis and Frankie arrived with their two daughters, Grace and Frances, from Granville, the first time in twenty years that they could join this group at Thanksgiving Day. It was the last occasion on which the family gathered in the same unbroken circle. The afternoon sun shot its beams in slanting rays across the old home. Its zenith was past, the shadows were lengthening.
In 1897 Father had retired, leaving the business to Charley and Albert, who operated it hereafter under the firm name of CHAMBERLIN BROTHERS. Father maintained his interest in the store. Scarcely a day passed without his visiting the scene of his long and successful work. He spent a great deal of time reading the daily papers and thus kept en rapport with public affairs. He devoted more attention also to his private matters, maintaining his houses in good repair. He was seldom absent from the church services, the Sunday preaching and Bible study class and the prayer meeting on Thursday evening. He took part invariably in the mid-week meeting, lifting his voice in supplication to the Throne of Grace or in earnest testimony of his Christian experience. Through lifelong habit he had acquired remarkable fluency in the expression of his religious sentiments. He was proud of his children and followed their careers with the utmost interest. Almost weekly letters were written to those away, reporting the home affairs. When Albert had to go, in one of these years, to the Cleveland hospital for the removal of a swelling on his cheek, involving one of the maxillary glands, Father was much worried. He followed with anxiety the slow convalescence and was visibly relieved, when Albert was able to return. Leisure gave Father and Mother opportunity to take some trips to the West to visit relatives. Strange that they did not seem to care to go South, to escape the severities of the winters.
The next day after the Thanksgiving reunion the four brothers visited the local photographer and had a group picture taken. Though not exhibiting the best features of the subjects, this view gave great satisfaction to Father.
During the long, cold days of March Father seemed unusually frail. The next month it became evident that his health was broken and he was going down. He lay patiently on his bed and was not anxious or fearful about the future. His mind was clear and he was thinking of those who would be left behind. The absent ones were informed of his condition. Willis made a last visit early in May, and Jennie came to be at hand. In the afternoon of May 20 he slipped away. “Roll Call Answered,” was the caption under which the evening FREE-PRESS announced his going. He was in his eightieth year, the oldest survivor, with perhaps one exception, of the business-men of town. The funeral was held two days later in the home. Reverend O. E. Hall, the pastor, used the text from the Twenty-Third Psalm, verse 4, which Father had chosen: “Yes, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me.” The house was filled with friends, many coming from a distance. The four sons served as bearers, carrying him tenderly to the grave in Evergreen Cemetery. His brother Daniel in England had preceded him by only a few months. His will left the home and other property to Mother in trust during her lifetime, which relieved her of all anxiety. Charley and Albert administered the will with scrupulous care. Mother kept the home just as it had been while Father was there, opening it frequently for visits from the family.
Albert was one of the first men in Geneva to own and operate an automobile. It was an Elmore (a make no longer known) a four-cyclinder car which responded usually satisfactorily to the driver’s desires. In those days of dirt roads, the autos were placed in winter quarters and driven only in the pleasant season. Many trips were made in the old Elmore, to and from the Lake, or a longer journey to little Mountain or even to Cleveland. About the turn of the century Charley and Albert joined a small group of men who bought out the old Sturgeon Point picnic grounds on Lake Erie and converted it into a park for summer cottages. They renamed the beautiful spot Mapleton Beach. In the midst of the maple grove they laid out streets and building sites, installed a water system and other conveniences and opened up the allotment to restricted sale. Charley and Albert built modern cottages for their own use on lots near the lake front, and thus had places for comfortable residence during the summer. Many fine days were spent in these homes, which were often open for the entertainment of guests and friends. They were close enough to town, so that the men could drive back and forth to business, while their families remained at the Lake. A general movement lakeward began, which resulted in taking up all the choice lots along the shore and the erection of summer homes. Other allotments near Mapleton were opened and in a few years Geneva-on-the-Lake grew into a community, crowded with tourists during the season. After ten or twelve years the company owning Mapleton had an offer to sell the property and decided to take it. Charley and Albert sold their cottages, in which they had spent many happy weeks each summer, but which had become less desirable on account of noisy resorts not far away. Thereafter the Township Park has been substituted for Mapleton as the spot for an occasional family picnic.
In 1910 the long cherished plan for a Public Library in memory of Platt H. Spencer, pioneer penman of Geneva, was realized. This project was conceived as early as 1882, by the women of the W.C.T.U. of the town, but for lack of financial support it was postponed. Ten years later it was again agitated, leading to the organization of the Platt R. Spencer Memorial Library Association, with nine trustees, of whom Charley was one. A bequest was made for the Library, but not sufficient. The plan remained quiescent for another long period, until a gift of $10,000 was secured from Andrew Carnegie, largely through Charley’s influence,6 which provided for the cost of the building.
Charley maintained active support of the Library. When the original building became too small, he was one of four citizens to guarantee half the cost of constructing an addition, doubling the capacity and availability of the Library. Again referring to the FREE-PRESS, as in the note on the preceding page, we learn
“that the new addition to the library is complete except in some details and open to the public. It was made possible by the generosity of four citizens, who gave $10,000, approximately half the cost of the improvement. These citizens are C. I. Chamberlin, S. S. Searle, A. W. Gilmore and Mr. and Mrs. A. M. Ford. The addition doubles the space of the building, is two stories (a basement above ground and the main floor). The remaining cost is covered by bequests to the Library in the course of years.”
As Charley became able to gratify his taste for travel, he and Sophie made some extensive tours in this country and abroad. The summer of 1905 was the occasion of one such tour, which extended to England and Scotland and then to a short trip to the continent, to the Netherlands and Paris. They took the whole family with them and were joined by Carey and Hattie. They visited our English cousins, with whom they renewed family ties. We have been fortunate in this respect, in that we have kept up intimate relationship, based on personal acquaintance, with that branch of our family that remained in “the old home.” A correspondence has been carried on with them and the members on each side have maintained a lively interest in the affairs of the others.
It was on this tour that they attended a celebration of the English Foreign Missions Society held in Kettering. Carey was invited to preach in the Fuller Memorial Church, in which William Carey had given the memorable sermon in 1792, which led to the organization of the Foreign Missions Society.
At another time Charley and Sophie made an extensive trip to the west coast, and in 1917 a cruise to Alaska. In this way as well as by reading they became familiar with most places in this country and abroad. They were internationally-minded. They stocked their home with books and pictures as eagerly and naturally as with fine furnishings, so that the environment was conducive to good taste and refinement.
Carey was winning great success in his pastorate at Beverly. His business training was an advantage over the ordinary minister in dealing with average people. He had a sympathetic approach to them and a genial personality, that gained their hearts. His sermons were fresh, practical, based on convictions. The Bible was his main reliance, his source of authority. As the pastor of important Baptist churches, he won a large sphere of usefulness in New England and in the denomination as a whole. An article by him on the subject of NEEDED CHANGES IN BAPTIST POLICY, printed in THE WATCHMAN of November 29, 1906, was given considerable credit for the organization of the Northern Baptist Convention. He called attention to the overlapping of the various denominational agencies and the consequent wasted efforts. He argued for the establishment of a central commission or convention, which would be able to unify the different boards and simplify the general work, emphasizing that this would be possible without any sacrifice of the independence of the individual churches. Such views, shared by many leaders of the denomination, led to the formation of The Northern Baptist Convention in the annual meetings of the Baptists at Washington, D. C. in 1907.
In another discourse entitled SOCIAL SINS AND REMEDIES IN OLD TESTAMENT TIMES, he drew a parallel between the social conditions of the olden times and those of today, claiming that there was much similarity. The very sins that the old prophets condemned are present in modern society.
“There is much in this old time history,” he remarks, “that is not antiquated, because human nature is fundamentally the same. There have been with us the same changes from agricultural to commercial and industrial life. The drift to the cities and the accumulations of great fortunes are familiar characteristics of our day. One farther step, the change from hand tools to machinery, from hand work to the factory, has taken place with us. We have seen that wealth increased much more rapidly after the first change, and the opportunities have been multiplied twenty-fold following this latter movement. Parallel with these movements a readjustment of society has taken place. The old simple life when families were nearly on an equality and were neighborly, has been superseded by the growth of class distinctions. The possession of large wealth and the more artificial life of the cities have introduced new temptations and sins and magnified old ones. The parallel development of Old Testament times and our own is matched by the prevailing sins of both periods.”
Among the sins he lists: Self-indulgent Luxury and Indifference to Moral Conditions; Excessive Competition; Immorality in its three-fold Manifestation of Drunkenness, Prostitution and Divorce; The Substitution of Religious Rites and Ceremonies for Morality.
His services were often unique; as when he invited all the couples that he had married to come to a special service and sit together as an object lesson in successful marriages. He pointed out that only a small percent of marriages ended in divorce and emphasized the sanctity of marriage.
The relationships at Beverly were mutually satisfactory. He settled more thoroughly into the life of this staid community. He bought a home on the shore of the bay, where the ships sailed by from Salem, and made it a permanent residence.
Carey’s deep interest in Foreign Missions found a wide outlet in his connection with the Board of the American Foreign Missions Society. He attended the meetings in New York and took a prominent part in the work. After the World War, when some uneasiness was felt about our missionaries and the conditions of the churches in the foreign field, Carey was chosen as a special delegate of the Board to accompany Secretary James H. Franklin on a visit to the stations in Japan and China and report on the situation. He was given a leave of absence from the Beverly church for this purpose. He and Harriette set out in March, 1921, sailing from San Francisco. They spent several months in visiting the important fields in East China and Japan and interviewing the missionaries. Their report on their return was favorable to the men and to the work, and approved the policies of the Foreign Missions Society.
Then the year 1914 rolled around. Chamberlin Brothers decided to signalize the half-century of existence of their store. In the first place they installed considerable improvements in their equipment in the shape of glass-front cabinets and other modern fixtures for the display of clothing and wearing apparel. They then invited the public to the spring opening of the store. In a half-page announcement in heavy type in the press, they gave a brief review of their business, as follows:
“AN INTERESTING MESSAGE FROM AN OLD FIRM”
FIFTY YEARS YOUNG
On April 1st, 1864, Mr. I. C. Chamberlin, the father of the members of the present firm, started in a small and modest way the CHAMBERLIN STORE, which has served the public of Geneva and surrounding territory during all these years. Successive generations have honored this firm by their trade. We have tried to serve them faithfully, to give the utmost in value at the minimum of price, to do business in accordance with strict business ethics, to be in truth the friends of all our customers. As we consider the record of the half-century of business life in Geneva, we believe it has been a successful one. Each year has brought us new friends, and made stronger the bonds of friendship with the old. Each year has marked an advance in volume of business. The one just closed marked the largest record of sales of any of the fifty.”
The GENEVA FREE-PRESS TIMES of April 2, 1914, noted that in spite of rain the “opening” was well received.
“Many words of admiration were expressed on the handsome appearance of the store, which was decorated with a profusion of azaleas, hyacinths, daffodils and carnations, besides palms and ferns.”
During these years Albert’s business ability and integrity were recognized and were engaged more and more in industrial and philanthropic enterprises of the community. He and Charley were charter members of the Geneva Savings Bank. Both were elected to the Board of Directors of the Bank. When the Geneva Telephone Company was organized, Albert was chosen president, to add the prestige of his name to the organization, although he owned only a little of the stock. He served several years in this position, giving to it intelligent attention. As chairman of the finance committee of the Baptist church for many years he gave invaluable service in looking after the property.
In 1913 the Church was repaired and improved at an expense of over $3,000. Albert was chairman of the building committee. The FREE-PRESS TIMES of November 3, reports that
“The re-opening of the First Baptist Church was blessed with smiling skies, the weather being perfect for November. The church edifice in its new beauty was rededicated with very interesting services throughout the day.
“Pastor E. W. Powell spoke of the great satisfaction and joy of the occasion in the knowledge that the improvements undertaken have been so handsomely completed, adding to the appearance and convenience of the church.”
Ten years later a more ambitious improvement was undertaken in adding the educational building to the plant, to provide quarters for the Bible School and for social meetings. The need of such a building touched him deeply, for no department of the church’s activity interested him more sincerely and vitally than the Bible school. To this school he had given whole-hearted devotion during his life, first as scholar and later for many years as superintendent and then as teacher of the men’s class.7 He is credited with initiating the movement for the educational building by his quick response to the pastor’s desire for such a place. When the last dollar for it was paid, the FREE-PRESS TIMES of April 15, 1936, contained an article recounting the incident and running as follows:
WISH OF PASTOR EXPRESSED TO A. W. CHAMBERLIN
ENDS IN LARGE CHURCH ADDITION
“The existence of the Baptist educational building, built ten years ago in an improvement program which cost approximately $53,000 and made free of debt with the burning of a $3,000 note on Thursday night, is proof that wishes do come true. ‘My, I wish we had a dining room like this,’ Reverend T. G. Erler, pastor of the church, said at a dinner in Ashtabula in 1924, ‘Why don’t you try to get it?’ the late A. W. Chamberlin, to whom Mr. Erler made the remark, replied.”
One year later the church decided to build.
“A. W. Chamberlin was chairman of the building committee.”
“The late Deacon J. E. Knapp broke sod for the start of the work July 8, 1923. A. W. Chamberlin gave a brief historical sketch of the church and its building programs.”
The period of the World War, when the United States was engaged with the Allies, was a grim experience for everybody. The Chamberlins did their part loyally and supported the government in every possible way. Willis, who had been professor of German in Denison University since 1903, offered himself at once for such service to the War Department as his experience had fitted him. He was accepted in March, 1918, and commissioned first lieutenant in the Signal Service, later the Interpreters’ Corps. He was detailed to Fort Ogelthorpe, Georgia, as censor in the War Prison Barracks under direction of Military Intelligence at Washington. On January 1, 1919, he was transferred to Fort McPherson, Atlanta, Georgia. He was relieved from duty in August of that year, after nearly eighteen months in uniform, and returned to Denison as professor of Modern Languages.
Carey Judson, younger son of Carey, was in Union Theological Seminary when the war broke out. He was a graduate of Harvard and had chosen the ministry. Instead of claiming exemption as was justifiable, he volunteered for the Army and was sent to Camp Devens, Massachusetts, for training. At its completion he was commissioned first lieutenant of Artillery. He was shifted to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, for further training and was under orders to go overseas as the armistice was signed.
His older brother Harrie was really a victim of the War. After graduation from Harvard and the Rochester Theological Seminary, he served first as assistant pastor of the Lake Avenue Baptist Church of Rochester and then was called to be pastor of the First Baptist Church of Morgantown, West Virginia, seat of the State University. After a short but successful work there he accepted an invitation to be pastor of the Immanual Baptist Church of Newton, Massachusetts. He married Elizabeth, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Julius Lamson, of Toledo, Ohio, June 30, 1910, and after a wedding trip abroad, they settled in Newton for several years of happy experience together. When the War came, Harrie engaged in volunteer work. Under the strain he fell severely ill just at the beginning of the new year 1918. For weeks it seemed that he improved, but each time there came a relapse, as the disease assumed a different form, leaving him weaker. Conscious until the end, he was concerned for his loved ones, whom he exhorted to be brave and calm. He succumbed on March 12, 1919. Funeral services were conducted by the Reverend Henry K. Rowe of the Newton Theological Seminary, assisted by Dr. Emory W. Hunt, the Reverend Woodman Bradbury and others. Reverend Mr. Bradbury testified to his characteristics, saying, in part:
“Certain characteristics will always be prominent in our recollection of him. He was always a gentleman, and could no more be slovenly in dress than in his mental processes. His innate self-respect flowered into that perfect courtesy which he invariably showed to the personality of others. He loved nature in all its moods, gaining inspiration alike from calm and storm. For him the miracle of Horeb was daily repeated and every bush was aflame with God. A bookish person, never! a lover of books always. He read widely, both in current literature, on the great problems of our age, and in the literature of power. He feasted in the classics and had aptitude for the best in all the arts.”
Life went on in the old home during these years much as it had been. Mother had preserved her strength remarkably well. She was able to walk to town for shopping and usually attended church. It was her regular custom to greet the pastor and to express appreciation of his messages. She continued her interest in life about her. When she was too frail to take care of her home, a housekeeper was engaged to do that. But usually Mother preferred to wait on herself. Blanche and Sophie were almost next door and came in frequently to see that she had attention and care. Gradually the burden of years overcame her strength and she passed away on March 10, 1921, at the age of 83. The OHIO BAPTIST of March 31, 1921, published a tribute to her entitled: BLESSED ARE THE DEAD WHO DIE IN THE LORD. After a brief biography the article continues:
“Her life has been closely identified with the Church and all good enterprises of the community. Though she has been in frail health for several years and often shut in for weeks at a time, she has maintained a lively interest in all affairs that promoted the welfare of others both at home and as wide as the world.”
“The Gospel of a life like hers
Is more than books or scrolls.”
In settling affairs it seemed best to dispose of the Old home on Walnut Street, as no member of the family needed it as a residence. We all regretted to see it pass out of the hands of the family, for whom it stood as a monument, when it had served so many years as a gathering point. But we were glad that it was purchased by Mr. Hartman, who appreciated its value and its sentimental attachments. He improved it to some extent without changing materially the exterior appearance. In it must still dwell the spirit of our family and it is easy for one familiar with the scene to visualize Father sitting on the front porch in his favorite rocking chair, scanning the daily paper, as he was wont to do, and Mother busy with her flowers, which she cultivated with such care and fondness.
TWILIGHT AND EVENING STAR
On account of its excellent transportation facilities Geneva was ideally located for industrial concerns. Through its situation on the New York Central system and also on the Nickel Plate line (N.Y.C. & St. L. R.R.), it had superb railroad connections both east and west. In addition to the rail system, Route 20, the most important highway between New York and Chicago, put Geneva “on the map” of truck and transport service. Several industries moved their plants to the town, whose employes were drawn from local people who were of the industrious American kind. First class schools and churches attracted many people here as a good place of residence. Many improvements were made in the prosperous period just preceding and following the World War, such as paved streets and highways, new schools and churches, a remodeled municipal building, reconditioned and enlarged hotels, extension of the business section in all directions from the public square, new allotments of residence sites, and recently a new post office and an underpass underneath the diagonal crossing of the New York Central Railroad.
These material improvements were matched by a notable gain in business and financial interests. This is indicated most clearly in the history of the bank, called the Geneva Savings and Trust Company, that was founded about the turn of the century. Charley and Albert were stockholders and both were chosen to the first board of directors. This bank gained headway from the start and has increased its business every year. A new building of modern construction and equipment arose to meet the needs of the growing success. It has a capital of $125,000 and savings deposits exceeding one and one-third million dollars. It is a member of the Federal Reserve System. Charley was elected vice-president and was virtually the acting-president for a period of years during the declining health of the first president. At the latter’s death about ten years ago, Charley succeeded him in the chief position. He attends regularly the weekly meetings of the Board, with whom his judgment on loans and investments has great weight. The bank has prospered in spite of years of depression. After the “bank holiday” at the beginning of President Roosevelt’s administration in 1933, the Geneva Savings and Trust Company opened on the first day and no suspicion of its soundness has ever been raised. Parenthetically it may be added, that it has such a reputation for soundness, that a nationally known bank was ready to rush financial assistance to the Geneva company in case it had been needed.
Another concern in which Charley has played a leading role and which has become one of the substantial assets of the town is known as the Champion Hardware Company. Operating in a small way in Cleveland, it was moved to Geneva about thirty-five years ago to find more room and occupied an old factory. The Champion Company manufactured a varied line of light hardware for houses, such as fasteners, hinges, locks and bolts on doors and windows and many other articles of household use, as well as toys. The factory turned out goods for the Government during the War and had a prosperous trade. But the difficulties increased with the readjustments after the War and in the years of depression the business was going down. Repeated deficits stared the stockholders in the face, until they were forced to reorganize the company. Charley was elected president in 1919. It was a responsible task that he undertook. The business was in a critical condition. Orders were often cancelled. Old stock had accumulated, which had lost much of its value. Thousands of dollars of debts to the Company were carried along year after year. Drastic action was required, and it was evident that it would take a long pull to put the Company back on a paying basis. Charley’s experience qualified him for the financial management, while Guy Wellman, shop superintendent, was responsible for the mechanical side. Charley inspired the new organization with energy and hope. He animated the concern with a vigorous esprit de corps. The officers took hold with fresh courage. The sales management was invigorated. Soon an upturn of business was manifested. Orders were carefully handled; customers of poor paying ability were avoided; settlement of old debts was pressed and new obligations cautiously guarded. In a few years the business was “out of the red” and forged ahead. It regained its standing and is now (1939) one of the prosperous industries of the town, with 200 employes and annual sales aggregating a half-million dollars.
Charley was associated for a short time with the American Fork and Hoe Company as a member of the board. He attended meetings in Cleveland and Wallingford, Vermont. In the reorganization of the officers and board he retired.
Turning now to domestic affairs, the heavy blow that fell in the household must be recalled. It was in the middle of the first decade following the War. Charley and Sophie were looking forward to the fiftieth anniversary of their marriage, that was now less than a year ahead. Their life together had been blessed in material and spiritual lines. They had borne the calm and storm together like true comrades, they were justified in looking back over the path with satisfaction and facing forward with confidence. Sophie’s utmost confidence in Charley supported him in his undertakings. She “put her shoulder to the wheel” in whatever cause she espoused. She was a natural leader, pushing her projects along with determined energy. She could not endure shams or shoddy work of any sort. Although she suffered occasional attacks of illness, they did not seem serious in comparison with her usual health. In the course of the year 1925 we heard of some discomfort from a mysterious cause, but were inclined to discount its gravity. But it came to a point that she went to the Community Hospital for treatment and there an operation was advised. In her weakened state she was unable to rally from the operation. She lingered for a few days until the end came on Monday forenoon, October 12, 1925. Once more the family gathered to pay respect to one of its own. Among them were Carey and Harriette, Franklin and Alice Southworth (Alice is Sophie’s sister), Albert and Alice Scott (her daughter), Frankie and Willis. On the following evening, as we were sitting with Charley in the darkened home, he began to speak of Sophie. His calmness awakened our wonder and admiration. He spoke of our family circle, that had remained unbroken so long; and Sophie had always been a leader in it; she was interested in family matters and in public affairs and in the church. Even in her last sickness she thought of some detail of the church building that she wanted to have changed. “Now that she is gone,” Charley continued, “we must draw close together.” Then he asked Carey to lead us in prayer. “Such a prayer,” one wrote who was present, “as I have heard only once or twice in my life, so sympathetic, so comforting. It lifted us away from earth and made the veil seem very thin between this life and the future. It was a mountain-top experience.” The last touching services in her memory were held in the home in the afternoon of October 14th. Reverend T. G. Erler, her pastor, read Scripture passages ending with King Lemuel’s tribute to a virtuous woman, Proverbs 31. Franklin Southworth read a beautiful poem by Chadwick. Then Carey, from his intimate acquaintance with her for half a century, spoke sympathetically of her as the home-maker, the center of the home-life, who radiated hospitality. He closed with a poem by Mrs. A. D. T. Whitney. Charley sat with composure through the service, triumphant over sorrow. She was buried beside her little daughter Marjorie, whose death in childhood had been a hard blow to bear. The Church Bulletin of October 18 pays the following tribute to her:
“This issue of the Bulletin is dedicated to the loving memory of Sophie B. Chamberlin, who went to her eternal reward, Monday, October 12, 1925. Mrs. Chamberlin came to Geneva as a bride forty-nine years ago, and ever since had been closely identified with our church, having been baptized by Rev. J. Ransom Hall, February 23, 1882. She ably and efficiently filled many offices in the Church, Bible School and Women’s Department, as well as singing in our choir for a number of years. She loved the church and was a regular attendant at its services. We shall miss her presence, words of encouragement and advice and the many evidences of the good works and almsdeeds that she did.
“A member of the family has summed up her life in three fine phrases. ‘She was a woman of great candor; a lover of the beautiful; and an example of Christian generosity.’ Mrs. Chamberlin despised display and ostentation and never sought for praise. Our church has sustained a great loss in her departure. Her place will be hard to fill. Yet we are confident that Sister Chamberlin would call upon us who remain to redouble our zeal and activities and rally to the support of the Kingdom that she worked so diligently to usher in. Her mantle has fallen upon us.”
The ten years following the World War were marked by sincere efforts on the part of the United States at readjustment of European finances and rehabilitation of the defeated nations. President Coolidge exerted himself to restore financial balance in our country and to regain our foreign trade. Business leaped forward with great bounds, and easy money was plentiful. Legitimate trade was swallowed up in booms and speculation ran riot in what a popular writer called “an orgy” and a “devil’s dance.”8 There were prophets of impending doom, there was something uncanny about the situation, but no one could stop the rush for gold. President Hoover’s administration opened under these circumstances, yet with apparently favorable auspices. Yet hardly six months elapsed, before the crash on the New York Stock Exchange came one October day of 1929, which precipitated the country into the worst depression it had ever experienced. It was destined to work revolutionary changes in our economic system.
It was a terrific strain on all business and multitudes of companies and men, unable to weather the storm, went down. Charley and Albert, like all other business men of those times, had tremendous loads to carry. While Charley’s attention was divided among the interests of the store, the bank and the Champion Company, Albert was occupied with the responsibility of a similar character in another line of manufacture. This was the Metal Wheel Company. This company had moved to Geneva in 1902, and was then making wheels and wagons. Something was wrong, as the company was making no profit. They decided to give up the manufacture of wagons and to concentrate on wheels. Glenn Webster was called to be superintendent in 1914. Albert was already president and continued in that position as long as he lived. The Company made all sorts of metal wheels, from the small size used on wheel-barrows to those for tractors and machinery. Glenn said of Albert, in a recent interview:
“Albert had a wonderful spirit, one of the sweetest Christian characters. His strong point was his friendship for the workmen. They trusted him and knew he would treat them fairly. His absolute honesty was well-known. He had sound judgment also. He did not pretend to know the details of manufacturing, would not dictate to the die-maker how he should do his work, but he chose good men and depended on them to know the technicalities of their trade. He was very patient even under provocation. During the depression Albert was worried, not about his own investments, but about those of other people who depended on their dividends of this Company for their living. This worry broke his spirit and made him a prey to disease. It was the real cause of his death. I loved him like a brother,” Glenn concluded.
By strenuous efforts the Company pulled through and is now again prosperous. Its stock is at a premium, and its volume of sales amounts to a million dollars per year. It employs 150 men, including office force.
Before the enormity of the depression was apparent, Albert had a respite from care, while he and Blanche made a Mediterranean cruise in a small group which Willis organized under the management of the F. C. Clark Company. They embarked on the S. S. “Transylvania” on January 29, 1930, where they found themselves with a party of 450 tourists. The ship was their home for two months, while they visited the sites of ancient civilizations around the basin of the Mediterranean Sea. In 1914 they had made a tour of Europe, travelling as far south as Rome and Naples. Now they were to go still farther afield, to visit the places familiar in history and legend. They included in their itinerary such romantic scenes as the Alhambra, the acropolis of Athens and the ruined temples of Karnak. They journeyed as far east as Damascus and south up the Nile to Luxor. Returning to Europe, they made the journey overland form Naples to Cherbourg, then by boat to Glasgow. They drove in a private car through Scotland and England to London. Albert and Blanche made the return voyage in the S. S. “Scythia”, while Willis and Frankie, who parted from the tour at Cherbourg, remained for two months in France and Germany. This tour was a constant joy to them, while it lasted and later in retrospect. We who participated in it look back upon it as one of the greatest privileges of our lives.
In the year 1927 Carey and Harriette celebrated their golden wedding anniversary. It was the occasion of many felicitations. A multitude of pleasant memories thronged their minds in contemplation of their busy and happy lives. About this same time Carey was honored with the degree of Doctor of Divinity from Colby College. It was a fitting tribute to his useful service in the ministry.
Carey had now spent forty years in the Christian ministry and as the year 1931 marked the end of a quarter-century in the pastorate of the Beverly church, he decided to retire. A great reception of the church was held in his honor, when the time of retirement came. The Beverly paper of April 9, 1931, had a long article on its front page about this event, in which it said:
“Tribute to Dr. Carey W. Chamberlin, recently retired after twenty-five years of service as minister of the First Baptist church, was paid at a notable reception held in his honor at the beautifully decorated chapel last evening. More than five hundred attended representing Beverly and North Shore churches and the North Shore Northern Baptist Convention.
“The feature of the evening was the presentation of a check for $1,000 to Dr. Chamberlin by members of the church and gifts from the Women’s association and Chamberlin class for Mrs. Chamberlin. . . .
“Mr. Cameron paid a tribute to Dr. Chamberlin for his long and splendid service as minister of the church, spoke of the accomplishments during his quarter of a century as its leader and expressed the best wishes of the members of the church for the future happiness of Dr. and Mrs. Chamberlin.”
This beautiful reception and the evidences of general esteem were the splendor of the western sky at the close of day. Carey hoped to spend several years as an occasional preacher, with leisure to devote to his reading and writing. He had hosts of friends, for he was on good terms with the Italian street vendor as well as with the true-blue aristocrat.
In the summer of 1932 he wrote of the enjoyment he had with his work on the lawn and with the flowers.
“We do some riding,” he continued, “though we have taken no long trips, I usually have some golf twice a week. I supplied during July in Dorchester Temple, where I was minister 1896-1901. While many of those who were active while I was there have passed on, I was given a very kind and happy hearing by new and old friends. I am supplying in other places through this month. Last Sunday was precious to us because it was the fifty-third anniversary of our Harrie’s birth, and Monday was our fifty-fifth wedding anniversary. We said nothing about it here and spent the day very quietly.”
In closing he wrote: “I am reading some fiction and some heavier stuff. You had better come this way and view the total eclipse on August 31.” This eclipse of the sun was predicted to be total in New England, but only partial in Ohio. It was on August 11 that he wrote and in a few more days an eclipse occurred of which we little dreamed at that time.
On the golf course one day in summer of 1932 he was stricken with pain indicating an acute attack of appendicitis. He was taken at once to the hospital, where an operation was performed, but it was too late. During the few days before the end he was heard frequently to murmur the words that had often been his comfort in hours of distress: “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.”
On the morning of Tuesday, August 23, 1932, he passed to his eternal reward. If ever one was ready for the transition, it was he. But oh! how our hearts ached as we thought of his vacant place. On the day of the funeral the Beverly paper devoted one of its editorials to him, saying that “all Beverly mourned him as a friend of all in need, a ray of sunshine in the hospital, a Christian gentleman.” His body was borne by train to Painesville, where a simple service in the presence of relatives and acquaintances was held before the commitment to the grave in the beautiful spot overlooking the Grand River valley. After the funeral those of our family who were present had luncheon at the Old Tavern in Unionville. Sixteen of us gathered as a quiet group and listened to Harriette and Carey Judson tell of the last days and of the general sorrow in Beverly at his passing. Once more as on similar occasions the words came in spirit, “Close Ranks! and carry on.”
Jennie could visit us only occasionally, perhaps every three or four years on the average, because of the distance from her home. Herbert had come with her only two or three times in all the years they were in Omaha. But through the medium of frequent letters we kept in touch with them and knew of the good records of their children and of the fine start made by their grandchildren. Each of us brothers had visited Jennie at least once. Herbert was an expert accountant, with a long experience in banking. Such training fitted him admirably for the position as financial expert with the late Edward Creighton, a wealthy citizen of Omaha. Herbert had this post for years, attending to filing taxation reports and making out other involved statements required of a large estate. This responsibility lasted until Mr. Creighton’s death. Then Herbert conducted a private business as accountant. After their children were grown up and had married, Jennie and Herbert were able to make several delightful trips east and west. On one of these back to Ohio in the summer of 1926, the family united at the meetings of the Northern Baptist Convention at Washington, D. C. in a reunion that has often since been spoken of as outstanding. It was remarkable for so many members of the same family to come from the east, west and middle states. Only Willis and Frankie were lacking to make the family complete. Being called to military service in the War Department at Washington just after the Commencement at Denison and preparing for a trip to Europe, Willis felt that he did not have the time to attend this famous meeting.
Another enjoyable trip that Herbert and Jennie made was to Colorado in the summer of 1931. Meeting Don and Lucile and the two boys at Kansas City, they all drove by automobile to Colorado Springs, Manitou, and over the Ute Pass to Green Mountain Springs. Here they stayed for some time, making day excursions to picturesque points in the mountains, more especially to Pike’s Peak.
“The most enjoyable trip we had,” Jennie wrote, “was to Cañon City and Royal Gorge. Here a new suspension bridge has been constructed within the last year or so, the highest in the world. We did not go on, for it cost a dollar each, but we could look down into the Gorge and the railroad down there looked like a toy -- something the way things look from the new Terminal Tower in Cleveland. The last day there we drove through the boulder fields -- often one boulder piled on top of another looked as if a little push or gust of wind would topple it over. These are just some of the interesting things we saw. Don and the boys went up Pike’s Peak, but we did not venture. They drove as far as they could and walked the rest of the way. Left about 10:30 A.M. and reached the top about 4:30 in a snow storm and just about frozen.
In our family parties Albert had always supplied the salt of humor. Many an embarrassing situation had been saved by a witty remark from him. He inherited more than any other of us the cheerful disposition of our mother, who always saw the funny side of every incident. With warm-hearted hospitality he never failed to meet us at the train, whenever we came to Geneva. We seemed almost to have special right to the comfortable guest-room in his home and a sojourn there meant being received like one of the family into the inner circle. He and Willis, whose birthdays in October were only six days apart, used to exchange letters at that time. As Albert’s seventieth birthday drew near, Willis did not write at first, thinking that Albert would not like to be reminded of entering a new decade. But Albert’s letter came as usual, merely a few days late. He mentioned have a touch of the grippe, and feeling miserable, but his message was cheerful and closed with “Good bye and good wishes to all.” It was in reality a farewell, such as we little expected. Ordinarily, he would have recovered soon from such an attack, if he had been able to stay at home and rest. But on Saturday of that same week the clerk was detained at home and Albert, always responsive to duty, stayed at the store all day and until late in the evening. When he returned home he was exhausted and running a temperature. On October 25th Charley sent word that Albert was seriously sick, but in response to a telephone call he said that Albert was better again and temperature normal. The poison had permeated his system, however, and was not so easily to be dispelled. It went from one place to another, especially to the heart, that showed an organic weakness. He cast his ballot on November 8th from the sick room for the re-election of President Hoover. Days went on, during which he lay very quiet, very weak. A specialist from Cleveland was called in consultation and a trained nurse employed. Every aid that could be thought of was used, but to no avail. On Sunday forenoon, November 20th, just at the hour when he would usually have been in church, his spirit took its flight to join the choir invisible, immortal, surrounding the Great White Throne. Messages of sympathy poured in from all sides. The town paper commented editorially on his public spirit, his exemplary life and his leadership in enterprises of general welfare. President Avery A. Shaw wrote to Willis:
“I had not known of your brother Albert’s death until I received a Geneva paper a day or so ago. Please accept my sincere sympathy. I came to know him very well when we had our summer home at Madison and soon saw how large a place he held in the esteem of all who knew him. We are all enriched by such a life.”
Cousin Alfred in England, who had taken up the pen that had dropped from his father’s hand, wrote sympathetically months afterward:
“1932 broke heavily and sadly into your family group. It seems hard for me to think of Carey and Albert not being in the flesh active and working somewhere over there in the great Republic. That idea has been constant with me for so many years that it will be hard to change it. And you that are left will ever feel that in spirit they are still with you to aid, encourage and comfort in the anxieties and difficulties of life’s battle.”
But no message was more touching than one that came from a young boy of the neighborhood who was away at school. He wrote that the tower of their chapel reminded him of Albert, so straight and upright, pointing upward to God.
On November 22nd we gathered in the home, where he had welcomed us so often, to bid farewell. The service at the church was a wonderful tribute of friendship to him from people of all ranks, several of them breaking into tears as they passed the casket. Pastor Theodore G. Erler used as his text Micah’s sublime conception of personal religion: “What doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with they God?” Micah VI, 8. He said that all of these were exemplified by Albert, who gave testimony of loyalty to him during the ten years of his pastorate. His body was interred on the bluff sloping down to Cowles Creek.
Charley was so shaken by the double loss in little more than two months, especially of the brother who had been his daily companion and confidant, that he became seriously sick and caused us deep anxiety. But a favorable turn came finally and his strength increased gradually, until he could resume his place. Blanche was stunned by the unexpected blow which, as she said years afterward, “toppled her house like a house of cards,” but remained calm and brave. Jennie remained with her until near Christmas.
The anxieties, fears and troubles of the year 1932 are difficult to realize now, however recent they are. It is a beneficent endowment of nature that enables us to rise above the rude shocks, “to plant hope even on the grave of our friends.” But a review of that year, written by one of the family, recalls the economic as well as personal hardships.
“The one word depression,” it was said, “characterizes the year. Unemployment, business failures, declining values, dull trade, have enveloped us as a people more completely than ever before. Depression has affected almost every family in the land. Salary cuts, lower wages, loss by bank failures, are common experiences, almost universal. Heroic measures have been advised and taken to check the depression, but it is problematical even now, whether they have been effective. Many men of the Socialist school, and now those of the new doctrine called Technocracy, say that our old economic system has broken down and will never be revived. The only deliverance is to begin with a new system. The unemployed are restless, of course. They have been unusually patient so far.”9
After Albert’s death it seemed that Charley wished to be free of the store, to which he had given sixty years of his life, thirty-five in close association with Albert. We all dreaded to see the store pass out of the family, but the change was inevitable soon, at best, for no one of the younger generation was there to continue the business. It was a relief, therefore, when Floyd Stineman, who had been in the store for several years and knew the details of the business, purchased it and continued it under the name of the CHAMBERLIN STORE.
Harriette, Carey’s widow, returned to Beverly after his death, but spent the following winter with Carey Judson in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her bright intelligence, matched with a strong constitution enabled her to be a constant and inspiring helper in Carey’s work, with which she identified herself completely. But deprived of his presence she began to droop rapidly. About a year after his going she suffered a stroke and sank away on September 19, 1933, just as the rising sun shed its beams on her face. Again we met the train at Painesville and stood around an open grave, while Reverend T. G. Erler conducted a brief service. Of Harriette’s relatives there came Mr. and Mrs. Marvin Burbank, Mrs. Monroe (a grand-niece) and Elizabeth Lamson Chamberlin. The rays of sunlight illuminating her face were symbolic: “The path of the righteous is as a dawning light, which shineth brighter and brighter unto the perfect day.” (Revised Version). She rests beside Carey, their graves marked with a double stone which epitomizes their lives in a single phrase, “Faithful ministers of Jesus Christ.”
These years so quickly reviewed had taken a heavy toll of our family and the account reads like an obituary report. But unfortunately the roll is not yet complete and the brighter interludes are only flashes that lighten the sombre play.
In the summer of 1934 Willis and Frankie drove to Cleveland to consult a specialist on Frankie’s case, which was causing deep uneasiness. They continued their journey to Geneva for what proved to be a very pleasant visit. On the way they stopped overnight at the old Stockham home in Perry, where Frankie spent the first years of her life. It was an experience that she had longed to have, to be under the same roof again, the scene of so many joyous days of her grandparents and their sons and daughters, and it satisfied her in that respect. They spent ten happy days with Blanche, during which Charley often ran in for a chat or with a proposal for some auto trip. They visited back and forth and had several meals together, all of which Frankie enjoyed. Especially was she fond of riding, and she was able to share in many little tours to neighboring towns and to the lake. These details are of little importance now, except as they fill out the picture of her last visit with the Geneva relatives. Early in November she had an acute attack of pain, symptom of some grave condition, and was taken to the Newark Hospital for treatment. She rallied encouragingly from this attack and was brought home in two weeks. Her strength seemed to increase by the rest in the hospital and she held her own fairly well. She was so comfortable the next summer, that Willis spent a few days at Cape Cod with Frances and Alex. But her strength was wearing out and in the winter the decline was noticeable. In the spring Frances came home for a month, which cheered her mother very much, although she did not rally her strength as usual. She lay by the window, watching the scenes below, or listened to the radio with its varied programs. Usually she sat for a while each day in a reclining chair. Her mind remained clear and was occupied with the affairs of her household. She never lost her interest in life and was wistful of restoration to health. On Sunday forenoon, July 5th, perhaps foreseeing the end, she exchanged a few quiet words with Willis, who was sitting at her bedside. They were virtually the last to pass her lips. As the sun was declining in the west the following day, July 6, 1936, she slipped peacefully away. We could not wish her back, for it was such pain and distress for her to keep the faint flame glowing, but how desolate all the world was without her, only those know who have passed through such a disaster. The funeral service was conducted by Dr. Chester J. Oxley assisted by Dr. Millard Brelsford, a former pastor. He used as text a verse that she had memorized in girlhood and had recited one day in her illness: “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?” The room in which she lay was banked with flowers, tokens of the many friendships she had formed in almost fifty years of living in Granville. Messages came from every quarter, for her friends were numerous of those who knew her gracious character.
After recording these sad events, it is a relief to turn to those of a brighter nature. An unexpected honor was conferred upon Charley in 1936, when he was invited to the commencement of the Spencerian Business College in Cleveland as the oldest alumnus. He was publicly awarded the Certificate of Merit by the president of the College. In leather silk-lined covers a scroll beautifully engrossed has the following citation:
TO CHARLES I. CHAMBERLIN, OF THE CLASS OF 1873, SPENCERIAN COLLEGE OF CLEVELAND, OHIO, HEREBY GRANTS THIS CERTIFICATE OF MERIT IN GRATEFUL ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF HIS LONG AND USEFUL CAREER AS AN AMERICAN CITIZEN; HIS LEADERSHIP IN COMMUNITY AFFAIRS; HIS SUCCESSFUL PARTICIPATION IN TRADE, FINANCE, AND MANUFACTURING; AND HIS UNSELFISH SERVICE IN THE RELIGIOUS LIFE OF HIS TIME.
AS A REPRESENTATIVE ALUMNUS OF THIS INSTITUTION, MR. CHAMBERLIN HAS BROUGHT CREDIT TO HIS ALMA MATER BY HIS HONEST DEALING WITH HIS FELLOW-MEN, HIS MODEL LIFE AND STRONG CHARACTER, CREATING UNIVERSAL RESPECT AND ADMIRATION FOR HIS ACHIEVEMENTS; HIS MODEST BEARING; AND CARVING A PERMANENT MEMORIAL IN THE HEARTS OF HIS LEGION OF FRIENDS AND ACQUAINTANCES.
TO YOU, CHARLES I. CHAMBERLIN, IN APPRECIATION OF YOUR DISTINGUISHED CAREER IN THE FIELDS OF CHRISTIAN SERVICE, CITIZENSHIP, CIVIC ACTIVITY, FINANCE, TRADE AND MANUFACTURING, AND THOSE PERSONAL QUALITIES WHICH HAVE BOUND YOUR ASSOCIATES TO YOU IN UNBREAKABLE BONDS OF FRIENDSHIP, SPENCERIAN BUSINESS COLLEGE PRESENTS THIS CERTIFICATE OF MERIT AND PLACES YOUR NAME IN ITS HALL OF FAME.
DONE IN THE CITY OF CLEVELAND, OHIO, THIS 12th DAY OF JUNE, 1936, BY RESOLUTION OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES.
(Signed) Ernest E. Merrille
Near the close of the college year 1936-37 Willis announced his intention to retire from active teaching at the close of the year. He had been a member of the faculty of Denison University for forty-six years and in that time had enjoyed the privilege of leading hundreds of young people in the study of foreign languages. In the latter years many of them were children of his former students. He had watched Denison grow to a strong and leading position among Ohio colleges. He felt that it was reasonable for him to be relieved from the strenuous duties of teaching, though he would always retain his interest in the institution. The granting of his request by the Board of Trustees was reported to him by President A. A. Shaw in the following words:
“With deep appreciation for the part you have played in the life of Denison for the past forty-six years, the Trustees at their meeting on April 16th voted to approve your request for retirement at the close of the present school year on the basis of the Denison retirement plan.”
At Commencement he received the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters (Litt.D.), awarded by the Faculty and Trustees of Denison. Professor J. L. King, in presenting him for the honor, paid high tribute to him. Willis received congratulatory messages from friends and former students, by which he was deeply touched. One which gave gratifying evidence of the appreciation of his services by the Board of Trustees came from the chairman of the Instruction Committee and read in part:
“I have known of your work more intimately for a greater number of years than the President and the faculty on account of the position I have held for so many years on the Board in connection with the Committee of Instruction.
“I can honestly say that during the thirty years I have served on the Board there has never been a word of criticism in any way against you or your work. I feel rather proud of this as you were a classmate of mine and we spent four years together in college.”
Jennie and Herbert’s visit to Ohio relatives in the summer of 1938 was a particularly happy occasion to all of us. They visited Willis and Grace first, then going on to Geneva for several weeks. Several family parties were organized and almost each day had its special enjoyment, either an excursion by auto, a picnic at the lake or similar diversion. One picnic at Township Park had an amusing, almost ludicrous conclusion. Willis, thinking to provide a special entertainment, hired a skipper to take the company for an excursion on the lake after dinner. But while we embarked from an improvised pier, the machinery of the boat became dislocated, leaving the boat to float helplessly until adjustment could be made. By that time it was dark and our anticipated ride was abridged to a half-mile voyage back to anchorage.
Herbert seemed to be in especially good spirits on this visit. He returned to many of the scenes of his youth and recalled many happy recollections of his early life. It was the last time he was with us, for he passed away in the following spring, on May 12, 1939. The sad news came by wire and was circulated to all of us here, but none of us could attend the funeral. He and Jennie had been together for fifty-four years, and lived to see several grandchildren started in college and school. Jennie spent the summer of 1939 again with Geneva relatives.
Charley has been now for more than thirty years the head of our Chamberlin family, to whom we instinctively turn for counsel and approval. He well deserves whatever distinction this honor brings to him.
The Rotary Club is the one fraternal organization to which he belongs. He was a charter member. He takes his membership most seriously and seldom misses a meeting. He has contributed a great deal to the success of the Club as president, chairman of the program committee and in other positions. THE ROTAMINDER (organ of the Club) devoted its number of November 19, 1938, to him.
He would agree, however, that his main concern outside of home is the church. His membership in the Geneva Baptist Church with which he united when he was 14 years old, covers seventy-three years. In this period none of the main lines of activity has escaped his attention and support. He was superintendent of the Bible School year after year. Later he was leader of the C.I.C. class for more than thirty years. The Senior Quarterly of October, 1932, shows a picture of this class with Charley in the front row surrounded by nearly 50 members. The Quarterly says that this class “has had an active, vigorous history of over fifty years.” He has been a member of the finance board and of many committees. He has supported local and general causes of the denomination more and more generously, as financial ability came to him. His ardent interest extended to the Ashtabula Association, which was organized in Grandfather’s shop over one hundred years ago. He was called to take active part in the state-wide work of the denomination in 1905, when he was elected to the Board of Managers of the Ohio Baptist Convention. He attended usually three of the quarterly meetings each year, although it meant travel to Columbus and two days’ time from his busy schedule. His advice on business matters was sought and he was regarded as a capable member of excellent judgment. He is a regular attendant of the annual meetings of the Convention, spending three to four days in committee work and in the public sessions. He was a member of the important committee on missions, of the committee on finance and also on the apportionment of funds to the weaker churches. He served as vice-president of the Convention and would have been elected president, if he had not declined the honor in favor of a younger man. He retired from the Board in 1937 as Trustee emeritus. He has regularly attended the meetings of the Northern Baptist Convention, the national body of the denomination, ever since its organization more than thirty years ago. He was present at critical occasions, as the convention in Cleveland in 1917, when the War was the key-note of all the business, at Washington, D.C. in 1926, at the stormy sessions in Buffalo, when the differences between the fundamentalists and progressives threatened to split the Convention, and at Denver, Colorado, a few years ago.
Although never holding a political office, Charley’s long connection with the Republican Party and ardent interest in politics has gained him a leading position in the party in this congressional district. Politicians consult him frequently in regard to matters of policy in this county and district. He was a staunch promoter of the Anti-Saloon League and all the efforts to secure the Eighteenth Amendment. Only in one notable instance has he left the ranks of the regular Republicans. That was in 1912 when many of the party left the national convention and organized one of their own, in which Theodore Roosevelt was nominated for the presidency. Charley was a member of the Convention, secretary of the Ohio delegation, and worked for the so-called “Bull Moose” candidate.
Charley’s career epitomizes the advancement and expansion of Geneva from an insignificant village to the busy town of the present time. As a member of innumerable boards and committees he has had a hand in the industrial, commercial, intellectual and religious development of the place. His interest in public affairs and his wide acquaintance with state and national leaders has made him a wise counsellor.
As an outstanding citizen he has been selected on two different occasions to give radio addresses about Geneva. He gladly responded, listing the various public improvements of the town and citing it as a good place in which to live. He may well be proud of this place, in every step of whose progress he has given a helping hand.
The old adage, spoken so many centuries ago but true today as then, is applicable to him:
“Seest thou a man diligent in his business? He shall stand
before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.”
Proverbs XXII, 29.
SAMUEL B. CHAMBERLIN BORN NOVEMBER 8th, 1824.
DANIEL B. CHAMBERLIN BORN MAY 13th, 1826
ISAAC C. CHAMBERLIN BORN FEBRUARY 1st, 1828
Sons of David and Elizabeth Chamberlin of Rothwell, Northampton Shire England.
David died in England December 21st, 1829.
Elizabeth died in Geneva, Ohio, December 19th, 1882.
LEMUEL WIARD, father of Laura W. Chamberlin, born in Berlin, Connecticut April 21st,
1788. Died in Geneva, Ohio, May 13th, 1869.
ANNA HART WIARD, mother of Laura W. Chamberlin, born in Burlington, Connecticut,
June 22, 1790. Died in Geneva, Ohio, June 16th, 1869.
ISAAC CYRUS CHAMBERLIN was born February 1st, 1828 in Rothwell, England.
LAURA WIARD was born November 28th, 1829 in Geneva, Ohio.
They were married March 4th, 1850.
Isaac C. Chamberlin and Mrs. J. E. Cushing were married June 8th, 1876.
HERVEY WALTER CHAMBERLIN Son of I.C. and J.E. Chamberlin.
Died December 1880, aged one year.
I. CHARLES I. CHAMBERLIN born in Geneva, Ohio, February 12, 1853.
SOPHIE B. CHAMBERLIN born in Forestville, New York, September 5, 1858.
They were married September 5, 1876 at Forestville, N. Y.
To this union were born three children:
LAURA A. CHAMBERLIN born in Geneva, Ohio, August 6, 1877.
ALICE M. CHAMBERLIN born in Geneva, Ohio, April 29, 1881.
MARGORIE RUTH CHAMBERLIN born in Geneva, Ohio, November 23, 1891.
II. CAREY WIARD CHAMBERLIN and
MISS HARRIETT ROGERS of Painesville, Ohio were married August 8, 1877 at
To this union were born three children:
HARRIE ROGERS CHAMBERLIN born August 7, 1879.
FRANCES ANNA CHAMBERLIN born February 22, 1887. Died December 4, 1888.
CAREY JUDSON CHAMBERLIN born February 26, 1892 at Denver, Colorado.
III. ALBERT WARNER CHAMBERLIN and
BLANCHE E. GOULD of Kingsville, Ohio were married October 11, 1883, at Kingsville, Ohio.
IV. JENNIE O. CHAMBERLIN and
HERBERT H. BOLLARD were married August 21, 1884, at Geneva, Ohio.
To this union were born two children:
DONALD CHAMBERLIN BOLLARD born September 1, 1885, at Omaha, Neb.
FRANCES LAURA BOLLARD born July 22, 1896, at Omaha, Neb.
V. WILLIS ARDEN CHAMBERLIN and
MISS FRANCES WARREN were married December 29, 1890 at Geneva, Ohio
To this union were born two children:
GRACE MILLICENT CHAMBERLIN born May 6, 1892, at Granville, Ohio
FRANCES ELLEN CHAMBERLIN born January 31, 1903, at Granville, O
Marriages of Second Generation
LAURA B. CHAMBERLIN and
DR. CHARLES H. STULL were married on October 5, 1935 at Geneva, O.
ALICE M. CHAMBERLIN and
ALBERT L. SCOTT of Newton Centre, Mass. were married June 12, 1906 at Geneva, Ohio.
To this union were born five children:
ALICE CHAMBERLIN SCOTT born July 20, 1907.
DAVID HART SCOTT born January 19, 1911
ALBERT LYON SCOTT JR. born January 20, 1913.
RICHARD CHAMBERLIN SCOTT born December 19, 1915.
ROBERT LITCHFIELD SCOTT born February 28, 1917.
HARRIE ROGERS CHAMBERLIN and
ELIZABETH LAMSON were married June 29, 1910 at Toledo, Ohio.
CAREY JUDSON CHAMBERLIN JR. and
SARAH EDEN BROWNE of Salem, Mass. were married December 1, 1917.
To this union were born four children:
HARRIE ROGERS CHAMBERLIN born June 13, 1920.
DONALD CHAMBERLIN BOLLARD and
LUCILLE BROOKS were married October 29, 1910 at Washington D.C.
To this union were born three children:
DONALD CHAMBERLIN BOLLARD JR. born December 8, 1911, Washington.
PHILIP BROOKS BOLLARD born October 21, 1917.
BRUCE BOLLARD born March 9, 1919. Died April, 1920.
FRANCES LAURA BOLLARD and
JAMES RALPH DYKES were married August 14, 1920 in Omaha, Nebr.
To this union were born three children:
JAMES RALPH DYKES JR. born June 10, 1921.
ROGER FRANCIS DYKES born September 26, 1923.
MARJORIE ANN DYKES born July 26, 1925.
FRANCIS ELLEN CHAMBERLIN and
ALEXANDER VEITCH TODD were married November 10, 1928 at Granville, O.
FRANCES ANNA CHAMBERLIN was born December 14th, 1850 in Geneva, Ohio. Died
January 16th, 1852.
CHARLES I. CHAMBERLIN was born February 12th, 1853 in Geneva, Ohio.
CAREY WIARD CHAMBERLIN was born June 19th, 1857 in Geneva, Ohio.
CLARENCE CHAMBERLIN was born October 14th, 1858 in Geneva, Ohio.
ALBERT WARNER CHAMBERLIN was born October 12th, 1862, in Geneva, Ohio.
JENNIE OLIVE CHAMBERLIN was born July 10th, 1864, in Geneva, Ohio.
WILLIS ARDEN CHAMBERLIN was born October 6th, 1868, in Geneva, Ohio.
FRANCES ANNA CHAMBERLIN died January 16, 1852.
CLARENCE CHAMBERLIN died September 13, 1861.
MRS. LAURA W. CHAMBERLIN died February 3, 1876 at Geneva, Ohio.
ISAAC CYRUS CHAMBERLIN died May 16, 1907 at Geneva, Ohio.
HARRIE ROGERS CHAMBERLIN died March 5, 1918, at Newton, Mass.
MRS. JULIA CHAMBERLIN died in Geneva, Ohio in 1921.
MRS. SOPHIE B. CHAMBERLIN died October 12, 1925 at Geneva, Ohio.
CAREY W. CHAMBERLIN died August 23, 1932, at Beverly, Mass.
MRS. HARRIETT ROGERS CHAMBERLIN died September 1933 at Beverly, Mass.
ALBERT W. CHAMBERLIN died November 20, 1932 at Geneva, Ohio.
MRS. FRANCES WARREN CHAMBERLIN died July 6, 1936 at Granville, Ohio.
NOTES CONCERNING THE RETYPING OF THIS BOOK
This book has been retyped from a carbon copy of the original manuscript. In so doing, most typographical errors have not been changed. Blatant mistypings, which were extremely rare, were corrected. However, to preserve the flavor of the original document, words that were consistently misspelled, or hyphenated in a way no longer considered standard, were left as typed. Punctuation was left intact. Minor formatting changes, such as spacing between paragraphs, were made to aid in reading. Footnotes were changed to number from 1 through 9, a deviation from the original, in which all footnotes were numbered as 1. This change was made to avoid confusion in references.
The record of events (marriages, births, deaths) at the back of the book contain several errors of spelling and dates. These were left as originally typed, in an effort to preserve the characteristics of the author’s efforts. Correct dates can be obtained at the addresses listed below, as well as further information on Chamberlin family history.
My brother and I would appreciate any and all comments, corrections, and additional information that would assist us in our family research. Of special interest would be old family letters, pictures, diaries, journals, and family Bibles. All materials will be returned intact, in their original condition.
24 November 1997
305 E. Dartmouth Road
Kansas City, Missouri 64113
Donald Chamberlin Bollard III
4107 W. 102nd Street
Overland Park, Kansas 66207
Homepage on the Internet, with Links to Family Profiles:
1 Wiard Family by Capt. George Knapp Collins for William Walcott Wiard, Syracuse, N. Y., 1912.
2 This was probably Judge Albion W. Tourgeé, who was a Federal official in the South in reconstruction days and wrote of his experiences in The Fool’s Errand and The Invisible Empire.
3 Rufus B. Munger wrote a series of historical articles for the Geneva Times in June and July, 1886, entitled: PERSONAL REMINISCENCES. In the letter of July 14, 1886, he tells of the building of the railroad:
“About 1850 the idea of a railroad from Cleveland to Erie was conceived, a company organized and work begun. I was chosen to secure the right of way through this locality. I worked about three years for the company and secured the right of way for about fourteen miles of track. At first many of the people were opposed to the railroad.¼The road was built, however, and strange to say, Geneva never had a better market for grain than in the few years that followed. Land increased in value and the town at once began to grow and it has been growing ever since, at some times more than others, of course. The railroad reached Geneva from the west late in the fall of 1851. When completed to Ashtabula, the road gave a free ride to Cleveland. Nearly every Genevaite went and it was an event long anticipated and one never to be forgotten by those who went.”
4 Delia and Anna were probably women left in charge of the home and of the younger children.
5 Willis Lowe and his sister Lucy were children of the school superintendent, Professor J. S. Lowe, and were playmates of the Chamberlin children.
6 According to the history of the Library by Miss Florence Irwin, librarian, published in the FREE-PRESS of July 8, 1938, which says: “Finally, due very largely to the efforts of C. I. Chamberlin, a gift from Mr. Carnegie of $10,000 was obtained. With this money the building was built and furnished with money from the Spencer Memorial Library Fund. This building was dedicated on June 14, 1910.”
7 The JOURNAL AND MESSENGER of December 26, 1907, remarks of the Geneva Baptist church, that it “is marching on in confidence and strength under the efficient leadership of Reverend O. H. Hall. Sunday services are well attended, and the prayer meetings are delightful. The Sunday school is flourishing with Mr. A. W. Chamberlin as superintendent, said to be ‘an ideal officer’.”
8 William Allen White in “A Puritan in Babylon”.
9 Willis’ diary for 1932.