JOEL R. CHAMBERS                Gravestone Photo

The Chanute Daily Tribune, April 18, 1916





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 street.

  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 this service.

  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.