Six Months: A Covid Quest

If there is righteousness in the heart, there will be beauty in the character. If there is beauty in the character, there will be harmony in the home. If there is harmony in the home, there will be order in the nation. If there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world. So let it be!

~ a traditional Scottish wedding toast (and so appropriate for 2020)

This blog post is about my paternal 4th great grandfather, William C. CHAMBERS. I’ve written about him previously and you can read that post here. To orient you, the line of descent is through William CHAMBERS, his daughter Nancy Jane CHAMBERS, Nancy’s son Alford Allen HUBBARD, Alford’s daughter (and my much-loved, much-missed great grandmother) Edith HUBBARD DRAKE. During this search a couple of interesting links came up to two other “mystery” family lines I have on my dad’s side so I’m hoping that this search will result in one or two more blog posts in the near future.

William Chambers: A Primer

William CHAMBERS was born around 1824 in Tennessee according to many researchers. My guess is this estimated date is based on the year he got married. On 9 February 1844 in Cass County, Missouri, William married Rhoda ALLEN.

Missouri marriage record for William C. Chambers and Rhoda Allen found on Ancestry.

Above is the only image I have that I’m certain is connected to my William CHAMBERS.

On 18 March 1845 supposedly in Arkansas, their daughter (and William’s only known child) Nancy Jane CHAMBERS, was born. Sometime around 1846, William died. This is all the information I have about William. Most researchers on Ancestry have William’s parents listed as James CHAMBERS and Margaret Boyd JOHNSTON. I waver on whether or not this is the correct couple. It may be, but I’m not entirely convinced yet and haven’t found any documents that convince me one way or the other. If a grave exists for him, I don’t know where it is. Some researchers associate a will in Cooper County, Missouri with this William CHAMBERS but I’m not yet convinced the Cooper County William is the same person as my William.

2020 Has It’s Own Mind

In December, 2019 I had a plan for my 2020 genealogy research time. But in case you haven’t figured it out yet, 2020 has a mind of it’s own and it’s gonna do what it’s gonna do! On week 1 of 2020 the plan was to do one intensive research session on Rhoda ALLEN (wife of William CHAMBERS). I actually got a head start on that between Christmas and New Year’s Eve in 2019. By the first week of January I was like a hound on a trail and knew I wasn’t going to move on to the next research goal until I knew something more- not about Rhoda but about her first husband, William CHAMBERS. Quarantine helped speed up the process some and for that I’ve been thankful. And now, five and a half months later, here I am finally writing, although there still isn’t much I can bring to you that’s new. It’s been quite a search though!

I’ve searched for William ten ways from Sunday over the last five and a half months. I’ve searched for all CHAMBERS families in Cass County, Missouri in 1844; all CHAMBERS families in Arkansas in 1845; every William CHAMBERS in the US in the 1840’s…it goes on and on. After gathering all of those lists and looking through them I didn’t know much more than when I began. I was discouraged but wasn’t going to quit.

I regrouped and decided it was time to pull out the DNA. I’m not well-versed in using DNA for genealogy. There’s a steep learning curve and a lot of it just doesn’t make sense to my brain yet. But I couldn’t see any other way forward at this time. Four weeks ago everyone was still quarantined. All non-essential businesses were still closed to visitors so I couldn’t go research records in a library. I was stuck with whatever was online including my DNA.

Tenacity

I chose not to give up and I’m really glad I gave it a few more weeks. Before breaking out the DNA results, I did a quick Google search to see if I could find the origins of the CHAMBERS family in America. I read a couple of websites to become familiar with names and try to make any connections I could.

Then, I opened my Ancestry account to review the CHAMBERS names on my family tree. I found a complication. I have CHAMBERS on both sides of my family. My dad’s CHAMBERS are Scottish. My mom’s CHAMBERS are English/German. When you’re searching through names though, there is no way to tell the difference between the English CHAMBERS and the Scottish CHAMBERS. This small complication added extra time to the search.

I opened up my DNA account and searched my DNA matches for anyone with CHAMBERS ancestors. I have a total of 47 people who match my DNA and are also researching CHAMBERS ancestors. I weeded out the ones with no family trees online and the ones that were predicted to match my mom’s side. Then I began opening each of the remaining family trees and searching through them trying to find connections. Before I get into that though, let’s back up to the first step – searching online for the origins of the CHAMBERS family in America.

Step by Step

Polli’s Place has information about the beginnings of the family in America. According to this website, Alexander CHAMBERS had two sons- Reynolds and Henry. Reynolds remained in Scotland near the family home in Tweed Valley in southern Scotland but some of his sons did come to America. Reynolds’ second son, David CHAMBERS, arrived in the US from Scotland in 1743 and settled in Philadelphia. David later settled in Culpepper County, Virginia. His descendants would eventually extend to Jefferson County, Indiana. Reynolds’ first son, Samuel CHAMBERS, arrived in Philadelphia in 1765. He later settled in Kentucky and Tennessee. Reynolds’ third son, Reverend James CHAMBERS, also immigrated to the US from Scotland but I don’t know when. James lived in Maryland, Tennessee, North Carolina, Kentucky, and finally in Indiana. Henry CHAMBERS, Reynolds’ brother, had enough money for the voyage to America and came here about 1726, settling in Maryland. He later moved to Virginia and afterward settled in Kentucky and then Tennessee.

As far as I know, these 4 men are the beginnings of the CHAMBERS name in this country. I haven’t processed all the information on this website yet but there were some interesting stories. For instance, the William CHAMBERS who was born about 1750 in Culpepper County, Virginia (son of the immigrant David CHAMBERS) was said to have been captured in battle by Delaware Indians during the Revolution. The story goes that William was taken to Arkansas where he lived with the Native Americans until he became accustomed to their traditions. He was said to have married a chieftain’s daughter and became rich in land and other property. According to the website, many of William’s descendants still live in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. I’m not sure about the veracity of the story but it was interesting to note that William’s descendants remained in Arkansas and Oklahoma since my William’s daughter was born there. I do believe we will probably end up connecting to some of the Benton County, Arkansas CHAMBERS eventually. Since I don’t have many photos to share with you in this post, I will post a photo of one of the Benton County CHAMBERS to give you some idea of what one line of CHAMBERS looks like. Below is Nancy Ann CHAMBERS born in Benton County, Arkansas in 1855 and died in 1931 in Benton County, Arkansas. She was the daughter of James Monroe CHAMBERS and Sarah Jane WEBB. James Monroe CHAMBERS is also a descendant of Reynolds CHAMBERS whom you will read about later in this post.

Nancy Ann CHAMBERS, descendant of Reynolds CHAMBERS. Photo found on Ancestry.

Back to the Polli’s Place search/website: Scrolling down to the ‘Fourth Generation’ section it talks about John CHAMBERS, Jr. and Elizabeth HANKINS CHAMBERS who moved to Harrison County, Missouri (the county where Rhoda ALLEN was living before she traveled to Cass County and married William CHAMBERS. This couple had a son named William who would have been an acceptable age to marry Rhoda but there is no mention of a wife named Rhoda in his short biography. In short, there was no William CHAMBERS I could find who seemed to be “our” William.

The above website is sometimes confusing. This site has a fantastic name index and pedigree chart that will help clear things up a bit. Another website with lots of CHAMBERS stories can be found here. There are many other stories of relatives getting lost- some were found again and some were not. The stories are fascinating. Really though, the only story I wanted to hear was the one of my family. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to get past William – at least not with any information that is proven to my satisfaction. So now that you’re caught up on my web search for William, we can move on to the DNA.

As I said, I pulled out only the CHAMBERS researchers who had trees online and who were predicted to match on my dad’s side. I traced each tree back to it’s earliest know ancestor. I compared their DNA to each other and then compared their family trees to see where there were similarities with the people on the trees. The trees I could trace led back to Reynolds CHAMBERS so I think we can say Reynolds is also our ancestor and have some amount of confidence in saying it.

Reynolds Chambers, A Scotsman

Reynolds was affectionately called “Runnels” by his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Runnels was born on 2 April 1699 in Shettleston, Glasgow, Argyll, Scotland. Shettleston is a district in the east end of Glasgow. This area is important because it is the “gateway” between the Highlands and the Lowlands of Scotland. On 30 April 1725 in Shettleston, Scotland he married Nancy SHAW and together they had 4 known sons. Some accounts of Runnels’ life state he never came to America. Others state he came for a short time and then returned home to Scotland. Some accounts also say that he sent his sons to America to keep them out of the Jacobite Rebellion in 1745 against the English. If this is true, this decision likely saved their lives and ensured the continuance of this branch of the CHAMBERS line. You can learn a little more about the Jacobite Rebellion at the Visit Scotland website. Runnels died 12 August 1765 in Stirling, Scotland. Nancy, his wife, was born on 2 April 1702 in Shettleston, Scotland and died on 2 November 1773 in Shettleston, Scotland.

Miscellaneous Thoughts

My dad wanted to know what the clan tartan looked like so I did a little search. On the TartanClanCrest website you can find all kinds of products with the Clan crest, tartan, coat of arms, and battle cry. I can’t say how accurate the site is but it was fun to look at.

Clan Chambers tartan design, crest, & battle cry/motto.

The tartan design is a “Basic Clan” design and can be worn by any clan member. It’s described on Clan-Cameron as “…sixteen green squares upon a red background sett, with a bright yellow bordering, is for general use by all members of Clan Cameron.” According to the site, Clan Chambers funnels back to Clan Cameron and it is Clan Cameron’s tartan design, etc. that we are supposed to utilize. There are other tartan designs designated for our clan. If you’d like to see them, you can go to the website above and it will explain each tartan design and it’s approved usage. I think the Hunting Cameron design is a nice one. In regard to the crest, the Clan-Cameron website says the crest with five arrows united with one another by a gules ribbon, along with the motto/battle cry of “Aonaibh ri cheile” and the surrounding strap may be used by clansmen to show clan affiliation. The website offers a link to a more detailed explanation of the arrows if you’re interested. The battle cry “Aonaibh ri cheile” can be roughly translated as “Unite” or “Let us unite”. (The arrows connote the “united” message as well. I love the “united” theme!) In the past there was an associated motto “Pro Rege et Patria” which translates to “For King and Country”. Interestingly there is also a song associated with the clan. You can hear it below.

The March of the Cameron Men.

Below is the Clan Coat of Arms take from the TartanClanCrest website mentioned above. One other website I recommend if you’re interested in the Clan Cameron history is Scotland in Oils website. It gives the history, castles associated with the clan, etc.

Clan Chambers coat of arms.

Final Thoughts

Long story short, I can get back to William C. CHAMBERS and then I have to skip all the way to the Scottish ancestor, Reynolds CHAMBERS. Whoever lies between the beginning and ending of our American CHAMBERS line is anyone’s guess. Maybe one day we’ll find out more. Until then, I hope you go to some of the websites I listed above and learn more about our CHAMBERS. The next time there is a Scottish Highlands Games event near you I hope you attend that, too.

Scottish Wisdom for the Road

I want to leave you with two more Scottish wedding toasts. I couldn’t decide on just one and I wish them both for you all.

May the best you’ve ever seen be the worst you’ll ever see. May the mouse never leave your pantry with a teardrop in his eye. May you always keep healthy and hearty until you’re old enough to die. May you always be just as happy as we wish you now to be.

~traditional Scottish wedding toast

May the roof above never fall in; may we below never fall out.

~traditional Scottish wedding toast

Wishing you peace and happiness ~

Until next time,

Lisa @ Days of Our Lives

Herman Schreiber: Patriotic Son of the Lighthouse Keeper and the Photographer

I’m currently working on a big blog post but it’s taking longer than I thought it would so in the meantime I want to write a couple of posts especially for my second and fourth grandsons about their families that aren’t related to me. This post will be about Herman SCHREIBER, Jr.- my son-in-law’s paternal great grandfather and the paternal 2nd great grandfather of my youngest grandson.

As always, we start with the basics. Herman SCHREIBER, Jr. was born 5 May 1886 in Brownsville, Cameron County, Texas. On 2 August 1911 in Cameron County, Texas, Herman married Vera Annie LAMON. Together they had 6 children. Herman passed away 7 May 1971 in Brownsville, Cameron County, Texas. He is buried at Buena Vista Cemetery in Brownsville, Cameron County, Texas.

Herman’s Parents: Hermann and Margaret and Ruben.

Herman was born to Hermann SCHREIBER, Sr. and Margaret EGLY. Hermann Sr. brought Prussian-German heritage to the marriage. Margaret brought French-Irish heritage to the marriage. Possibly of interest to my son-in-law will be the fact that Hermann Sr. had a brother named August SCHREIBER. That was a meaningful coincidence for me personally. Also of interest to me was Hermann Sr.’s occupation. He was a lighthouse keeper. He was employed at Old Point Isabel Lighthouse off South Padre Island in 1884. His brother-in-law, William EGLY, was the assistant lighthouse keeper. After looking up Old Point Isabel Lighthouse online, I realized that my husband and I and our two children (who were young at the time) had actually seen the lighthouse when we visited South Padre Island years ago- many years before we ever met our son-in-law. I’m loving all these coincidences!

Lucille SCHREIBER BERRY left some much-appreciated family history stories on Ancestry. She said Hermann Sr. died from a burst appendix. This was at a time when doctors were unaware of Appendicitis. Sadly, Hermann suffered greatly before his death. About the lighthouse, Lucille related, “[The lighthouse] is very steep and grandad remembers getting to go to the top of the stairs to get his dad for eating a meal. He was a very young child and he said he scooted up and down.” 

At just 2 years of age, Herman lost his dad, Hermann SCHREIBER, Sr. This left Herman Jr’s mom, Margaret EGLY SCHREIBER, alone to raise 3 young children. That was, I’m sure, a scary position for a woman to be in in the year 1888. Although she had more rights in Texas than she would have in other states at this time, she still had very few rights so she would have been largely dependent on the men in her life. Margaret was fortunate to live in Texas in that she could legally maintain ownership of any property she had when she married Hermann. She was legally entitled to share in any wealth or property Hermann gained after the marriage. She was legally entitled to make her own last will and testament and to leave her property to anyone she wanted. If, however, the property they lived on was solely owned by Hermann at the time of his death and he had not willed it to her, she (and any unmarried daughters) would be allowed to live there as long as they wished but she couldn’t own the property herself because, as a widow, she couldn’t legally make or enter into contracts. She wouldn’t be able to vote (or serve on a jury) for another 31 years, but she could hold public office if she could convince enough males to vote for her!

Many widows in 1888 would have chosen to remarry as soon as possible. It made life easier. Margaret did not. I’m sure her French-Irish heritage probably gifted her with a certain amount of stubbornness that contributed to her delay in remarriage. (I can certainly see that French-Irish in my grandson! I love it!) When Margaret remarried 7 years later, she married Ruben Henry WALLIS. Ruben was an Englishman. (Interesting fact about Ruben: his first wife was also named Margaret and his first Margaret was also Irish!) Ruben came to Texas from New Orleans, Louisiana- as did both Hermann and Margaret. Ruben and Margaret did not have children together, however he was a widower who had a young daughter from his previous marriage. Margaret is buried in the Oddfellows Cemetery in Brownsville, Cameron County, Texas. An interesting fact about Margaret: She was a twin. At the time of her twin sister’s death in 1941, Margaret and her sister were thought to be the oldest set of living twins in Texas. Two years later in 1943, Margaret passed away. I have no photos of Hermann Sr. but I do have one photo of Margaret and two of her sisters. Sadly, I can’t tell you which one is Margaret as the photo wasn’t labeled in any way.

I was searching the internet for photos of the lighthouse from the period that Hermann was the lighthouse keeper and I found this fabulous blog post at Colorized Fotos blog. It not only includes photos of the lighthouse, it includes a beautiful colorized photo of Ruben Henry WALLIS!! I encourage you to go look at it. I learned Ruben WALLIS was a photographer in Brownsville from the 1860’s to at least 1910 (based on both the blog post and census records on Ancestry). If you’re ever out antiquing in the Brownsville area, keep an eye out for Ruben’s photos! The blog post states that Ruben was probably a lighthouse keeper. I haven’t found documentation to support that but it is a possibility. Another interesting find I made was at Lighthouse Friend’s website. They have not only a blog post with some Point Isabel lighthouse history, but also a photo of the Point Isabel lighthouse keeper’s house from 1895. In addition, they list the lighthouse keepers and show that Hermann SCHREIBER (spelled SCHRIBERS on the website) was the lighthouse keeper from 1884-1888. Margaret’s brother, William EGLY, was the assistant lighthouse keeper from 1884-1888 and the lighthouse keeper from 1895-1905. This website does not list Ruben as a lighthouse keeper but I also note there is a large gap of time from 1888-1895 where no lighthouse keeper is named so I haven’t ruled out the possibility that Ruben really was the lighthouse keeper. (There is also a Fred MEYER listed as a lighthouse keeper. MEYER is a surname connected to Margaret EGLY on her mother’s side so possibly he may be related?) One last aside: Bronsbil Estacion blog used at least one of the photos Ruben took plus a photo of Ruben himself in one of their blog posts. You can find it here– the first and second photos (the second is an enlargement of a section of the first photo) in the blog post. The photo of Ruben is the last photo in the blog post.

And Now…Herman SCHREIBER, Jr.

This is not the only photo I’ve seen of Herman but it was the first one I saw. (And notice who the photographer was!!) My immediate thought was how much my grandson resembles his 2nd great grandfather, Herman! I even did a side-by-side comparison. The resemblance is strong!

Herman was a toll bridge collector and a farmer. The best I can tell from my research, there were two toll bridges in Brownsville, Cameron County, Texas in 1930- Brownsville & Matamoros International Bridge, and the Gateway International Bridge. The Brownsville & Matamoros International Bridge opened in December of 1910. The bridge accommodated vehicles and those traveling by foot as well as river traffic. The Gateway International Bridge opened in 1926. It initially accommodated vehicle traffic but in 1999 it was closed to vehicle traffic and now only accommodates foot traffic. You can find some great photos of Gateway International Bridge being built at the Bronsbil Estacion blog. You can find part 1 of the Gateway Bridge blog post here. The one linked in the previous sentence is actually part 2 of the Gateway Bridge post. If you’re interested in Brownsville, Texas history I highly recommend the Bronsbil Estacion blog. If you’re interested in learning more about the Brownsville & Matamoros International Bridge, you can check out Nomadic Border’s blog post. As it turns out, Herman’s World War II draft registration card confirms he worked at the Gateway Bridge.

World War II draft registration card for Herman Schreiber.

As I researched further, I found a story someone posted on Ancestry that confirmed Herman did work at the Gateway Bridge and why. Here’s the whole story. The photo online had the words going right to the edge so there isn’t anything I can do to fix that- sorry.

Story of how Herman came to work on/at the Gateway Bridge.

Just in case you needed one more proof that Herman worked at/on the Gateway Bridge rather than the Brownsville & Matamoros Bridge, here’s a short piece that appeared in the 13 September 1937 edition of The Brownsville Herald newspaper:

13 September 1937, The Brownsville Herald (TX) newspaper.

When was the last time you heard the word ‘terpischorean’?? I’m glad Herman had a sense of humor. I think my grandson may have inherited it. Herman was about more than just a little good humor, though. Service to his community and government also seemed to be important to him. Important enough that in 1909 he served in the National Guard and by 1930 he was an ex-officio GOP committee member.

5 March 1930, Brownsville Herald (TX) article.

Herman and his wife, Vera Anna Lamon (who went by Annie), were lifetime residents of Brownsville, Cameron County, Texas according to his obituary. His physical description on his World War I draft registration states he was tall, had a slender build, and had blue eyes and light brown hair. Sounds a lot like my son-in-law! My grandson certainly has the genes to be tall and slender. He already has the blue eyes and I’m guessing his now light-colored hair may turn more brown as he grows up.

Herman (now Herman Sr.) and Annie had six children together- Lucille Margaret, Herman Jr., Clifton Melton, Robert Lee, Arthur Raymond, and James R.. Herman Sr (the subject of this blog post) served in the National Guard and was once appointed to guard President Taft! All five of Herman and Annie’s sons served in the military as well. Below is a very nice article in the Brownsville Herald about Herman and his five sons and their combined service to their country. I’ve tried to enlarge it enough that you might be able to read it. If it’s still too hard to read, try going to this PDF link: file:///C:/Users/willi/OneDrive/Documents/Blog/Herman_S__Schreiber_and_his_5_sons__7_June_1945__The_Brownsville_Herald__TX_%20(1).pdf

17 June 1945, Brownsville Herald (TX) article about Herman Schreiber and his sons.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed getting to know Herman. I know I have. I also hope that one day my grandson becomes a man who exhibits the steadiness and loyalty that seemed to define his 2nd great grandfather Herman.

Until next time fellow patriots,

Lisa @ Days of Our Lives

RESOURCES

https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/jsw02

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brownsville_%26_Matamoros_International_Bridge

http://bronsbilestacion.blogspot.com/

https://colorizedfotos.blogspot.com/2017/11/c1890s-lighthouse-keeper-at-point.html

https://www.lighthousefriends.com/light.asp?ID=159

http://www.nomadicborder.com/photo-essays/an-old-new-bridge-across-the-border-brownsville-matamoros-gateway-international-bridge

Ancestry.com

Newspapers.com