|Birth: ||Feb. 20, 1791|
|Death: ||Mar. 14, 1849|
Per a book written by Eunice Miena Barber:
William, third son & sixth child of Moses & Abigail (Stevens) Chamberlin, was born in Newbury, Orange County, VT., 2/20/1791. The next year his parents removed to Bradford in the same county, where they lived until 1803, when they removed to Greensboro, Orleans County, VT., where they remained until 1806; then removed to Hardwick, Caledonia County, VT. It was here, at the age of 19 years, that he experienced that great change which resulted in determining his life's work.
He entertained a hope that he was, indeed, born of God & united with the Congregational church @ Hardwick, VT.
In the spring of 1811, he went with his father & brother to the northern part of NY. The first part of the summer he worked at carpentering & the latter part he was engaged in rafting on the Salmon & St. Lawrence rivers. One day, when near Quebec, their raft was wrecked, one man was drowned & the rest saved with great difficulty. After this disaster he returned to Hardwick.
In 3/1813, He went to Silver Creek, Susquehanna County, Penn., where he purchased a lot of land & spent the summer in manual labor. On the Sabbath, he was engaged in Sunday school &, with others, in conducting religious meetings. During the two following winters, he was employed in teaching school in Bridgewater of the above named county & in the intervening summer, acc'd to his journal, he was employed in some business connected with the sale of lands.
In his school he labored for the spiritual good of his pupils by the old practice of catechizing them every week. He also held a weekly meeting for the young people.
While he was at Bridgewater, the desire of becoming a minister in which he had indulged at different times since his conversion took a definite shape. Accordingly, at the close of his second winter term of school, 4/1815, he set out with his pack on his back for Wilkes-Barre, Penn., to enter the Academy there.
At Wilkes-Barre, he boarded in the family of Rev. Ard Hoyt, a member of the Susquehanna Presbytery, who received a call to the Wilkes-Barre church in 1805 & remained there until 1817. Mr. Chamberlin attended the Academy until Sept. 1816. He then engaged in teaching. (He kept no record of events from this time until 12/1817).
On 9/17/1817, he was licensed to preach & on 11/12 of the same year, he was ordained by the Susquehanna Presbytery at Harford, Susquehanna County, Penn., "To preach the gospel to the Aborigines."
He joined the Cherokee Mission in company with Rev. Art Hoyt who, with his family, sailed down the Atlantic coast to some point east of the Cherokee Nation where they landed & took their way westward to Brainerd, a mission station situated on the Chickamauga Creek in southeastern TN where their coming was anxiously awaited as work was plenty & laborers few.
Situated on the stream at this place, were a grist-mill & a saw-mill, while a little distance from the bank & at some distance from each other were two cottages for the families of the millers. The main Mission Station was built upon a hill about 1/4 of a mile from the stream. Here was a house on each side of the main Mission, one for girls & the other for boys. When the Hoyt family arrived, there were thirty-two children in each school & Miss Flora Hoyt was given charge of the girls whom she found very interesting.
Our young missionary, however, did not go by water. He was on his way by 12/1817, & took an overland route, acting as agent for the Board & Preaching here & there along the way. He, thus, traveled very slowly & did not reach his destination until 3/10/1818, where he was "most cordially received by the missionaries among whom were Kinsbury & Hall".
In the Public Assembly, on the Sabbath, 3/22/1818, he married Miss Flora, daughter of Rev. Ard & Esther (Booth) Hoyt. The ceremony was performed by his father-in-law. Mrs. Chamberlin was born at Danbury, Conn., 7/7/1798; survived him & died in 11/1886. (Their daughter wrote me, "Do you wonder what they had for their wedding dinner? I have heard my Mother say, 'I had pork & beans, baked.'"
William Chamberlin was given charge of the thirty-two Indian boys for awhile, until some one else came to attend to them. As he was strong & healthy & his whole heart was in his work, it was not long before he was on horseback riding from place to place, gathering the Indians together, preaching & teaching. It was very rough country with few roads of any kind & subject to heavy rains, but he was a good swimmer. For this attainment the Indians named him "Otter".
About 1821 or 2 the American Board concluded to have smaller stations located through the Nation & he was sent to locate one in Alabama in what was then called Will's Valley. The neighbors clubbed together & built two good sized log houses with chimneys & a good tight board roof. The lumber was taken from Brainerd over 50 miles & across the Lookout Mountain. He sent the lumber & some of his things on, then took his family & brother-in-law, a lad of 12 or 14 years of age, & the remaining things & started for his new home, which afterwards was called Wills Town. (A small stream in Northeastern Alabama still bears the name, Wills Creek). His wagon broke & but a few of their things could be taken through. Later the American Board sent Rev. Ard Hoyt & Mr. & Mrs. Ellis, sister of Mrs. Chamberlin, to Wills Town. This gave Mr. C liberty to resume his travels among the Indians.
The Presbyterians of Northern Alabama sent Mr. Chamberlin to the General Assembly which met in Phili in 1834 or 5 at which time, it is believed, he visited his aged mother in Gibson, Susquehanna Co., Penn.
In 1838, when the Indians were preparing to remove to lands west of the Mississippi he sent his wife & four of their children, Nelson, a boy of about 16 years, Abigail, Flora & William, Jr., then a baby, in a one-horse carriage, overland, to Penn. His daughters, Catharine & Annie, came North the year before & he followed later in the year 1838, having continued his work among the Cherokees as long as they remained in their old home. At this time they were the most civilized & tractable of the native tribes. They had towns, schools & a code of their own & had adopted, to a great extent, the manners & customs of the whites.
After spending the winter of 1838-39 with friends in Penn & VT, Mr. C & his wife set out with a one-horse wagon for the Indian Territory now the home of the Cherokees. But on the way they learned IT was having a civil war of its own...so they stopped.
While waiting in Carlinville, ILL., for the affairs of the Cherokees to be so far settled as to encourage further labor in their behalf, Mr. C acted as agent for the Board in the Northern part of the State until the last of 5/1840. when he went to Monticello, ILL., & obtained an honorable & highly complimentary discharge from the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. About this time he was employed by the Home Missionary Committee (Rev's T Balwin & A. T. Norton) of the Alton Presbytery. He began his labors about 6/1/1840 on a salary of $400/yr. From this time until his death his labors extended through all the counties of ILL bordering on the Miss, the Ohio & the Wabash as far north as the northern boundary of Jersey County & many time through nearly all the interior counties. Of the twenty-five churches established during this time under the Alton Presbytery, he was directly & largely instrumental in establishing 14 of them.
On Monday night, March 12th, he preached a clean, animated & practical sermon from John 14:6 - "No man cometh unto the Father but by me". It was his last sermon. On Tuesday night he was in the pulpit & led in the first prayer. After services he went home with Rev. A. T. Norton, pastor of the church, & complained of being very ill. Although getting some relief before 11 o'clock, when all retired, he was worse by midnight & called his host who summoned the family doctor. All was done for his relief that could be but to no avail. He died Wednesday, March 14th (1849), at half past 4 p.m., & was buried at Monticello, ILL. His wife arrived about 1/2 an hour after he expired.
At the time of his death 5 of his children were yet in school. his home was in Godfrey, Madison County, ILL where his widow remained for several years afterward. She then removed to Alton, ILL, & later to St. Louis. But when her children were grown up & married she broke up housekeeping & lived with them until her death in 11/1886.
Moses Chamberlin (1749 - 1832)
Abigail Stevens Chamberlin (1763 - 1840)
Flora Hoyt Chamberlin (1798 - 1886)
Amory Nelson Chamberlin (1821 - 1894)*
Annie Lydia Chamberlin Peery (1830 - 1907)*
Abbie Stevens Chamberlin Harris (1830 - 1908)*
Flora Bell Chamberlin Abbott (1831 - 1913)*
Created by: DMLeForce
Record added: Oct 21, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 43357928
|Photos may be scaled.|
Click on image for full size.