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Chamberlain family papers, 1764-1886
Chamberlain family.
Holdings
Library Call Number Copy Material Location
Vermont Historical Society Library  Doc 73  Manuscript  Vault-Manuscript 


Personal Author : Chamberlain family.
Title : Chamberlain family papers, 1764-1886 (bulk: 1785-1881).
Physical Description : 1 linear ft.
Summary :

The first series of the collection contains William Chamberlain's personal and business papers. Among his personal papers are letters written to him by his father, Samuel Chamberlain. There is also an undated typescript of a short autobiography written by William detailing the early years of his life. Among William Chamberlain's business papers are accounts, deeds, commissions, and inventories. The business papers also include correspondence relating to William's political offices.

The second series in the collection contains papers relating to William's children: Mellen, Ezra, Abigail, and Lydia. Mellen Chamberlain is of particular interest because of his association with Samuel F.B. Morse. The collection includes Mellen's agreement with Morse in which Mellen acquires all rights for Morse's telegraph in Africa, Asia, and Europe, excepting France and England. Also included in this series are Mellen's travel documents relating to his fateful trip through Europe, parts of North Africa and the Middle East. Among Mellen's personal papers are many letters from his father.

William Chamberlain, Jr.'s papers include correspondence from his relatives and from Dartmouth classmates. Of particular interest is a letter written in 1819 by Lawson Carter describing his stay in South Carolina and his impressions of slavery.

Ezra Chamberlain's papers include some letters written to his wife, Deborah, from friends and family, correspondence regarding Mellen Chamberlain's estate, the beginning of his own will, receipts, accounts and inventories.

The Shedd family papers consist of personal letters, business letters, accounts, inventories, deeds, and wills. The bulk of the letters are addressed to Lydia Chamberlain Shedd, written to her by family members. The two most common correspondents are her sister-in-law, Sarah Gilman Chamberlain and her daughter, Jane. There are several "crossed" letters.

Series II also contains letters written to Abigail Chamberlain by relatives, including her brothers, Mellen and William while they are attending Dartmouth College, as well as letters from her sister-in-law Sarah, her brother-in-law Josiah Shedd and from some of her nieces and nephews.

Letters belonging to Ezra Chamberlain's children are included in Series III. Within folder 15, the letters of Abigail (Abba, Abby, 1840-1916) are a letter from her brother Henry Shedd Chamberlain (1829-1856) and his business card. Letters regarding taking care of Katherine (Katy, Kitty), Mellen Chamberlain's daughter, are among the papers. There is also a folder containing papers relating to William M. Chamberlain, son of William Chamberlain, Jr.

Series III contains letters written to the children of Mellen Chamberlain, Ezra Chamberlain, and William Chamberlain, Jr. Letters regarding taking care of Katherine (Katy, Kitty), Mellen Chamberlain's daughter, are among the papers.

Series IV contains the minutes of the first proprietor's meeting of Peacham (1764); the charter of Lyndon (1838); a lot map of Hardwick (no date); a lot map of Littleton, Vt. (now Waterford, Vt.); and an assortment of newspaper clippings about Peacham, its residents, or people in some way associated with the Chamberlain family.

Biographical or historical data :

William Chamberlain was born on April 27, 1755, in Hopkinton, Massachusetts. He was the third of nine children born to Samuel (1724-1802) and Martha Mellen Chamberlain (1730-1820). In 1780, he moved to Peacham, Vermont. Here he was a surveyor, farmer, town clerk, justice of the peace, legislator, and U.S. Congressman. He was a member of the Vermont House of Representatives in 1785, 1787-96, 1805 and 1808; justice of the peace, 1786-1796; delegate to the state constitutional convention in 1791; representative to the United States Congress 1803-1805 and 1809-1811; and Lieutenant Governor of Vermont 1813-1815. He died on September 27, 1828 in Peacham, survived by his wife of 47 years, Jenny (Jane) Eastman Chamberlain (1762-1830), and seven of their children.

Mellen Chamberlain was born to William and Jenny E. Chamberlain on June 17, 1795. He grew up in Peacham, Vermont, with his six siblings. He attended Dartmouth College from 1814-1816, studying law. His homes included Castine, Maine (hometown of his wife Catherine H. Crosby); Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and New York City. Although he had studied law, Mellen Chamberlain made his living as a businessman and acted as an agent for E. & T. Fairbanks & Co. In 1838, Mellen embarked on a business trip to Europe, North Africa and the Middle East to demonstrate the newly invented telegraph. On May 14, 1839, while on this tour, Mellen drowned in the Danube River, leaving behind his wife and daughter, Katherine.

William Chamberlain, Jr. was born in Peacham, Vermont on May 24, 1797. William graduated from Dartmouth College in 1818 and taught in Moor's Charity School from 1818 to 1819. He then read law with Daniel Webster for the next year and was appointed as Professor of Latin and Greek at Dartmouth College in 1820. He married Sarah L. Gilman of Wells, Maine in July, 1823. They had three children. He died July 16, 1830, in Peacham, Vermont.

Ezra Carter Chamberlain was the youngest child of William and Jenny Chamberlain to survive to adulthood. He was born on October 17, 1799, and was named after Ezra Carter, the first principal of the Caledonia County Grammar School located in Peacham. Ezra C. Chamberlain lived in Peacham throughout his life. He worked as a farmer, landowner, businessman, and town officer. He married Deborah Shedd (1801-1876), daughter of Henry and Sarah (Bediford) Shedd, on March 22, 1827. They had five children. He died August 8, 1877.

Josiah Shedd was the son of Abel and Ruth (Haskell) Shedd. He was born in Rindge, New Hampshire, on November 1, 1781. He married Lydia Chamberlain (1790-1862), daughter of William and Jenny Chamberlain, on March 1, 1812. He was a physician in Peacham. Josiah died on September 4, 1851. They had one child, a daughter, Jane Eastman Shedd (1816-1842); she died in the first year of marriage. No children survived her.

Personal Subject : Chamberlain family.
Chamberlain, William, 1755-1828.
Chamberlain, Mellen, 1795-1839.
Chamberlain, William, Jr., 1797-1830.
Chamberlain, Ezra Carter, 1799-1877.
Chamberlain, Abigail, 1786-1861.
Chamberlain, Sarah Gilman, 1800-1848.
Morse, Samuel Finley Breese, 1791-1872.
Shedd, Josiah, 1781-1851.
Shedd, Lydia Chamberlain, 1790-1862.
Strong, Jane Chamberlain, 1792-1842.
Corporate Subject : E. & T. Fairbanks & Co.
Subject Term : Telegraph.
Geographic Term : Vermont Politics and government 19th century.
Peacham (Vt.) Archival resources.
Hardwick (Vt.) Maps, Manuscript.
Waterford (Vt.) Maps, Manuscript.
Genre/Form : Accounts.
Inventories.
Deeds.
Correspondence.
Wills.
Maps.
Minutes.
Clippings
Added Author : Bradlee, William C., 1823-1850.
Chamberlain, Sarah Gilman, 1800-1848.
Shedd, Josiah, 1781-1851.
Electronic Resource : Click here for full text of finding aid.