1910 census Westfield NJ showing James and Sarah Chambers
Sunday, May 12, 2013
The Chambers family of NB, NS, NJ, MA
There is another family that may have moved to
Nova Scotia from because they too, were
Loyalists. Not much information has been uncovered concerning this family and
how they came to be in Westchester,
NY Nova Scotia.
There are other possibilities. This family, the Chambers, may have come from MA
when the lands were opening up as free grants in Canada. At least one family by this
name went to .
Still another possibility is that they came directly from Hants County, NS Scotland or Yorkshire,
again, when the free land grants were available. So far nothing evidentiary has
come to light. It has also been suggested that this name was Chalmers,
originally, eventually becoming Chambers through a variety of misspellings and
My grandmother was born Alvina Chambers in
New Brunswick. Her father was lost at sea
when she was 7 years old. Her Chambers grandparents had already moved or were
soon to move to Her grandfather, James Chambers, was a
ship builder and was following the industry as it grew bigger and stronger in
the Bath ME. USA.
The age of iron ships was booming and the building of wooden ships in
was dwindling rapidly. The economy in Dorchester NB Dorchester
was obviously affected by this. Thus began a time when many young people left
for the Boston States, as it seemed to be called when you moved to New England. This must have been a horrible time for my
gt. grandmother, Rebecca Cole Chambers. She also had a son, Percy, who was a
year and 4 mos. old when his father was lost at sea. My grandmother told the
story that the insurance man was at the house when someone came from the docks
to tell Alexander that the Arabella
was ready to set sail and the tide was right. He had to leave in a hurry saying
he would sign the insurance papers when he got back. My gt. grandmother and
children stood on the hill and watched his ship sail over the horizon, never
knowing they would never see it or any of the people on board again. Because
the insurance papers had not been signed, Rebecca and her small children were
left with no means of income.
We don’t know how she managed as my grandmother was too young to be aware of ‘grown-up’ things, but it would seem that Rebecca probably received help from her family. She wasn’t alone in this crisis as her older sister, Lucinda, who had married William E. Buck, also lost her husband on that voyage. Life wasn’t done with hurling abuse at Rebecca, however. In April 1889, her 2 ½ year old son died of Scarlet Fever. At some point, Rebecca and Alvina went to
to live with the Chambers family. We
aren’t certain how long they stayed there as Rebecca appears in the 1891
Canadian census as a housekeeper for a family in Bath ME
Sometime in the 1890’s Rebecca moved to Sackville, NB.
to live with her sister, Mame. From
there it was a quick step to the developing town of East Boston MA Winthrop, where my grandmother married and
raised a family.
What we know of the Chambers is, at best, incomplete. As always I would love input from anyone who may have more information on this family. Please tell me of any flaws or inaccuracies that might be found.
What has become a work in progress, to be verified, changed, edited, deleted begins with a man named Robert Chambers. He was probably alive between 1750 and 1820. There is an entry in the Grantbook Database for a Robert Chambers (Vol. A, page 139 Grant #92) showing the original province of registration was Nova Scotia, registration date 1784/10/15 and New Brunswick registration date 1784/12/27, for 200 acres. The location was in Meductic, Sunbury Co. and the comment says Delancy’s 1st Battalion. There is no way to determine if this is the Robert who married Margaret or a totally different Robert. The Robert known as ‘the Old Soldier’ was married to a woman named Margaret, nee unknown. It seems apparent they had a son named Samuel (1783-1873), who was married to Sarah Jane McBurnie. Records show they had children all born in NS:
*Robert (c. 1805-bef.1871)
James (1807-?) b. in
, NS Wallace Bridge
Robert (1805-1871) m. Catherine whose last name I have seen written three different ways. There is Millard, Millar and Miller to choose from. The difficulty was that I found families listed using all three spellings, all in the same time frame and all in roughly the same location. Since the early census reports usually only report head of household and not any names of children, I haven’t been able to sort out which family name should be hers.
Robert and Catherine had children:
Edward (1826-1918) m. 1852 Eliza Leggett (1826-1884) – 9 children
**James. C. (1830-1913) m. 1852 Sarah McPherson (1831-1913)
– 8 children
Robert (c. 1845-1891) m. 1870 Bridget Delahunt (1854-1891) -6 children
**James, C. (1830-1913) m. 1852 Sarah McPherson (1831-1913)
James and Sarah settled in
NB, sometime after 1855, as their first son,
Alexander, was b. in 1855 in . James (age 20) and his
brother Edward (22) show up in the 1850 census for Wallace,
NS They were living in the Dwyer household as mariners. This must have been a
boarding house as there were several people living there not related to the
Dwyers. James and Sarah had gone to Bath ME. Dorchester so that James could work as a ship’s
James and Sarah had children:
***Alexander (1855-1887 lost at sea) m. 1878 Rebecca Ellen Cole (1854-1944)
- 2 children
Emma Jane (1860-?) m. 1883 Edwin Hicks (1857-?) – 2 children
Nancy Lavinia (1863-?) m. 1882 Beverly Thomas Vincent (?-?) – 6 children
William (1865- c. 1930) m. Elizabeth Blasland (?-?) 8 children
Ella May (1874-1946) m1. c. 1891 Percy George Turner – 2 children
m2. 1904 Walter Tavenor (1873 in NS –1957 in
Ella May Chambers Turner Tavenor and Rebecca Cole Chambers in Winthrop MA
As already mentioned, Alexander was lost at sea. Rebecca and her daughter, Alvina, eventually made their way to
MA, by way of Bath
ME and . Rebecca
became a domestic to Dr. Lull. He was a physician who had a practice in East
Boston MA Boston and possibly one in Winthrop. He owned property in Winthrop when the town
was just beginning to develop. Rebecca cleaned his offices and homes and
through him, she was able to purchase a home. Eventually she bought another
home with a large lot of land with a barn on it. This is the home my mother was
born in. The value of the piece of property today stands in the $900K to $1M.
If she only knew!!
A five year gap, between the births of children usually says there was another child. If so, this child has not been found. Emma Jane is the next in line and she married Edwin Hicks. They moved to
NY and it is reported that Emma died in . Brooklyn, NY
Nancy Lavinia is known by Lavinia and rarely by
Nancy. She married
Beverly Thomas Vincent and they moved to They had 4
daughters and 2 sons. St.
William married Elizabeth, who was from
Their first child was born in Bath ME. Bath
in 1894 and the rest were born in NJ.
They lived in where William was working in
the ship building industry, as a carpenter. Jersey City,
George left NB with the rest of his family and went to
After that, very little verified information can be found. It is believed he
lived in Bath ME. Winthrop for a while, then Boston. It is thought he
was married but no marriage records for him have been found.
Ella May (1874-1946) m. Percy George Turner about 1891. They had one daughter in CT and another in ME. At some point after the second daughter was born, Ella May learned that her husband was a bigamist. He was already married and had another family. As the family story goes, she was traumatized by all this, spent some time in
Winthrop, but never told her two daughters
about the problems she faced. We then
believe she went to NJ where her brother Will was living in the late 1890’s. We
also believe that her parents, James and Sarah moved to NJ about the same time.
She married again in 1904 and had a son. They lived in . Westfield NJ
John and James both died young. John was about 3 mos. old and James was about a year and a half old. The brothers were buried in
In Jul 1913 James went to
Jersey City to visit his son Will. It’s
believed he got off the train at the wrong station and he attempted to cross
the tracks, became confused and was hit by a train. His funeral service was Jul 15 1913. The
Westfield Leader reported the death of Sarah on Aug 27 1913, saying she had
been ill for 2 years. It also stated that she was 82 years old, a native of Nova Scotia and that she
had been the mother of 13 children. So far only 8 children have been identified.
Since James and Sarah were married in 1852 and the first recorded child was
born in 1855, it’s possible that 2 children could have been born in that 3 year
gap. The names of these 5 children may never be known.