JOEL R. CHAMBERS Gravestone Photo
The Chanute Daily Tribune, April 18, 1916
REV. CHAMBERS DEAD
FUNERAL IN U. B, CHURCH TOMORROW AFTERNOON.
LEADER IN SOUTHEAST
KANSAS HALF CENTURY
MANY YEARS PRESIDING ELDER
AND CONFERENCE SECRETARY.
Earlton Elected Him Its First
MayorWhen It Became a City-
He Fought in
General Thomas's Army in Atlanta and Nashville Campaigns.
Rev. J. R. Chambers, a pioneer who played a prominent part in the
affairs of the United Brethren church in Southeastern Kansas for nearly half a
century, died at 5:25 o'clock yesterday afternoon at his home, 425 West Second
The funeral services will be held at 2 o'clock tomorrow afternoon
in the First United Brethren church, which Rev. Chambers helped dedicate last
September. They will be conducted by Rev. L. M. Vezle of Dennis, Kas., a
former presiding elder of the Neosho conference, with which Rev. Chambers was
affiliated. The two were life-long associates in the ministry. Rev.
I. B. Prather, the local pastor, will assist in the services.
In Kansas Since 1868.
Rev. Chambers had suffered for thirty years from eczema. He
was a sturdy physique, but broke down last December. The first two months
of this year he was in a hospital in Kansas City, returning therefrom in March.
He had sold his property in Earlton and moved to Chanute. He was 73 years
old, having been born in Carroll county, Tennessee, February 4, 1843. His
parents moved the following year to Hancock county, Indiana, where he was
reared. He lived there until 1868, when he came to Kansas, settling first
in Linn county where he lived about two years.
Earlton's First Mayor.
Forty-six years ago this month he came to this part of the state,
locating in Pleasant Valley, Wilson county southwest of Chanute, April 8, 1870.
He lived two weeks in a tent until he had constructed a shanty 12x14 feet on his
claim, and this housed his family until he was able to erect a better dwelling.
He lived on this farm twenty-one years, then moved to Earlton , where he had
made his home until recently. He was the first mayor of Earlton when that
place was incorporated as a city a few years ago.
Rev. Chambers taught school during the winter months for five years
after settling in the county and at about the same time he began his ministry,
preaching at first in the school house where he taught to congregations composed
largely of his pupils and their parents.
Prominent in Ministry.
Extending the sphere of his activities, he preached to the people
of nearby communities and continued in this way until he had covered most of the
territory in Neosho, Wilson, Anderson, Allen, Woodson, and Montgomery counties.
He was ordained August 18, 1878, by Bishop M. Wright and had filled
pulpits all over Southeastern Kansas. He was active and influential,
serving about ten years as presiding elder of the Neosho conference after having
been its secretary for twenty years. He represented the conference as a
delegate in the general conferences at Fostoria, O., York, PA., Dayton, O., and
Frederick City, MO.
Members of His Family
After fighting for the Union in the Civil war, Mr. Chambers
returned to Indiana, where he married November 13, 1866, Hattie C. Howland, who
survives him. They were parents of four children - three sons and one
daughter. Ralph R. Chambers, one of the sons, still makes his home with
his parents. Dr. Harry L. Chambers, eldest son, is a practicing physician
in Lawrence. Oliver W. Chambers, the other son, lives in California.
He was here recently to visit his parents, leaving for the West, the first of
last week. The daughter is Mrs. J. W. Starr of Edmunds, Okla.
A Civil War Soldier.
Mr. Chamber's Civil war service was in Company A of the
Eighty-Ninth Illinios Volunteer Infantry. This was with General Thomas's
army that took part in the series of fierce engagements that made up the Atlanta
and Nashville campaigns where the Confederate forces contested every inch of
ground on the battlefields of Resaca, Peach Tree Creek, New Hope Church, Rocky
Face Ridge, Altoona, Kenesaw, Jonesboro, Franklin and Nashville. Mr.
Chambers was slightly wounded at Pickett's Mill in May, 1864, but remained with
his regiment and was mustered out a Cairo, Ill., July 26, 1865.
Of Pioneer American Stock.
He came from a pioneer American family, his paternal grandfather
being a soldier in the Revolutionary war. Two of Rev. Chamber's uncles took part
in the war of 1812 against Great Britain and another member of the family, Gen.
Thomas J. Chambers, rendered conspicuous service in the war for the independence
of Texas. Chambers county, Texas, being named for him in recognition of
Mr. Chambers cast his first vote for Abraham Lincoln for president
in 1864, and had been a life-long Republican frequently making effective
adresses on behalf of the party whose political ideas he considered correct.
Mrs. Chambers Better.
He was interested in the Earlton bank, not disposing of this stock
when he sold his other property in Earlton.
He was a former pastor of the United Brethren church here, and took
part in the dedication, not only of the handsome new building completed last
year, but also in consecrating the congregation's first house of worship in the
city thirty years ago, being prsiding elder of the Neosho conference then.
Mrs. Chambers who was seriously ill for a time last winter, is much
better. It was thought for a time she had little chance for recovery, and worry
over her condition doubtless had much to do with causing Rev. Chamber's decline.