JOHN C CHAMBERLIN
The story, brief and imperfect though it may be, of the struggles and triumphs of a self-made man is always interesting reading. It is instructive, too, and encouraging to readers of a younger generation who may have just embarked or are on the point of embarking in life for themselves. Kansas presents many edifying examples of this kind and Brown county has furnished its quota of them. A number of the self-made men of Brown county are referred to at more or less length in these pages, and few of them have given evidence of higher excellence as citizens and as farmers or men of affairs than the man whose name is above.
John C. Chamberlin, of Washington township, Brown county, was born in Cumberland county, Pennsylvania, April 15, 1841, being a son of Isaac Chamberlin, of English descent, who was born in the same state in 1819 and died there in 1864. Isaac was a son of Jesse Chamberlin, one of three brothers who settled in Connecticut, New York and Pennsylvania, respectively. Isaac Chamberlin married Mary Myers, of German antecedents, who died about 1885. Her children were Mary, widow of William Watson, of Columbus, Ohio; John C.; Samuel, of Decatur county, Iowa; Isaac, of Marion county, Ohio; David, deceased, of Columbus, Ohio; George, of Galloway, Ohio; Sophia, who married a Mr. Gaskell and went to Indian territory.
The boyhood of John C. Chamberlin was full of the sternest realities. He had little time for recreation and his environments were such that he had few boy companions. Yet he would have had to be something different from the spirited boy he was if he was not to have extracted some sport from his unfavoring circumstances. He was "put out" by his father at twelve years of age to work for a farmer for one dollar a month and board, and when he had finished the season of nine months his father hauled home, as his wages, twelve bushels of potatoes and two barrels of flour and took the boy along and put him to school for the winter. The next summer he worked for the same man for two dollars a month and the following summer for three dollars and a half a month. In the fall of the last season he was put to work in a mill at four dollars a month and was thus employed through the succeeding winter. The following winter he worked for his board and went to school. Such intermittent attendance at school was continued until young Chamberlin was well toward twenty years of age, and constituted the extent of his opportunity for getting an education.
In August, 1862, when he was a little past twenty-one, John C. Chamberlain was carrying a hod on a brick building in course of erection in a Pennsylvania town, when the news of McClellan's disaster and the call for troops for nine months reached his ears. He dropped the hod and told the man in charge of the work that he was going to enlist. He was mustered into the One Hundred and Thirtieth Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, at Harrisburg, and went to Alexandia, Virginia, with his regiment. He had been in the service only three weeks when the battle of Antietam was fought. This engagement furnished a splendid illustration of what real war was, and the One Hundred and Thirtieth Pennsylvania was properly initiated and received its baptism of fire and blood. Two months later the battle of Fredericksburg, another heavy engagement, was fought, and by the time it was over the survivors of the One Hundred and Thirtieth were behaving like veterans. The battle of Chancellorsville was the last one fought before Mr. Chamberlin's term of enlistment expired; and, upon the expiration of that time, having seen and participated in what proved to be three of the greatest battles of the war, he retired, to give some other loyal citizen a chance to display his patriotism.
In 1865, Mr. Chamberlin took up his residence in Franklin county, Ohio. For a time he was employed at day labor, but he spent the latter years of his residence in the Buckeye state as a farmer. He went to Kansas in 1881, and bought a quarter-section of land northwest from Purcell. His prosperity brought about by his industry and superior business judgment, has enabled him to add to his holdings two hundred and eighty acres of farm land, besides much improved property in the city of Horton, Kansas. The successful raising of grain and fruit have produced this beneficial result for Mr. Chamberlin, but it has not been achieved without unremitting toil and attention to details.
Mr. Chamberlin was married to Miss Eliza Postal, of Franklin county, Ohio, who died in 1882, having borne him the following named children: Eva, wife of Wayne Jacobs, of Oskaloosa, Iowa; Hayes, a young farmer of Washington township; and Nellie, who is a music student at Hiawatha, Kansas. His second wife was Ophelia, daughter of the late George Pierce, of Everest, Brown county, Kansas. Their marriage was celebrated in August, 1883. The children of this union are John P., Kitty, Ray G. and George.
In political belief Mr. Chamberlin is an uncompromising Republican, with firm faith in the future of his country under the broad policy of expansion as enunciated by President McKinley, and sees nothing in prevailing conditions to alarm the most timid.