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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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