Chamberlin Family - The First Six Generations

The Chamberlin Family traces itself to the immigrant ancestor, Thomas Chamberlain who arrived in New England about 1644. He was born about 1615, probably in Essex County, England. He and his wife, Mary, arrived with two children, Anna and Thomas, and had two more children, Samuel and Mary, born in Woburn, Middlesex, Massachusetts.

Thomas was made a Freeman by the General Court in Woburn on May 29, 1644, where he lived for the following eleven years. With two partners, James Parker and Isaac Learned, on February 28, 1651/52 he paid 1110 pounds for 1500 acres of land lying on both sides of the Concord River in what is now Billerica. It is not believed that he ever lived on this land,

but in 1655 he and his wife and four children were baptized at the new church in Chelmsford. In the records of Chelmsford it can be seen that Thomas Chamberlain bought and sold a considerable amount of property, indicating that he was a man of affairs, and had a better education than the average immigrant to New England. His first wife died about 1669 in Chelmsford and he was remarried to Mary Jones Poulter Parker, a twice widowed neighbor in 1674. She died in 1692, and he died before 1700, when his son called himself Thomas Chamberlain, Senior.

This Thomas Chamberlain was born in England about 1639, agreeing with his baptismal record in Chelmsford in 1655 which called him about 17 years. He married Sarah Proctor, the daughter of Robert Proctor and Jane Hildreth Proctor, in Chelmsford on August 10, 1666. They had eight children, Thomas, Mary, Dorothy, Samuel, John, Jane, Elizabeth and an unidentified baby in Chelmsford. Like his father, Thomas can be traced in the Middlesex Deeds books.

Thomas was born on May 30, 1667 in Chelmsford, married Elizabeth Heald on January 9, 1690, and they had six children (John, Joseph, Aaron, Moses, Gershom and Sarah) before her untimely death on June 13, 1699 in Groton. As a widower with five small children, he wasted little time in remarrying Abigail Nutting on August 16, 1699. It must have been a sad year for the family. The family lost one child in March, the mother in June, and the baby in October. The poor stepmother must have had a hard time of it. She had seven children (Elizabeth, Abigail, Thomas, Mary, Jane, Dorothy and Sarah) in the next nine years before her husband died on May 11, 1709 (the last child was born posthumously).

Thomas was a wheelwright and miller, and lived in Chelmsford until 1698, when he moved to Groton. His farm was near Wattle's Pond on the road to Hollis, New Hampshire. He bought an adjoining farm in 1702, on the other side of Badcook Hill Brooke. His house was one of the 17 garrison houses of the town listed in 1711.

Thomas was murdered on June 14, 1709 and identified as Thomas Chamberlain, Miller. The circumstances of the crime are not known, or whether his murderer was known or was punished.

Our descent is through the fourth child Moses, who was born on July 3, 1695 in Chelmsford. He had a twin brother Aaron. The elder two brothers, John and Joseph and Moses selected their uncle John Heald of Concord to be their guardian, while Aaron selected Richard Stevens. Moses married as a first wife, Mary Clapp on September 22, 1720 in Dedham. She died on July 27, 1725, one week after the birth and death of her second daughter, Submit. Her first child, Mary survived her. Moses married Deborah Onion, the following year on September 8, 1726. She was the daughter of Benjamin Onion and Deborah Woodcock Onion, born in Dedham on January 13, 1692, and living until February 17, 1778. They had three children, Sarah, Benjamin and Moses.

Moses was one of the first ten members of the Church at Walpole which was formed in July of 1730. He died on October 13, 1766, leaving his wife, his daughter Mary Partridge, his daughter Sarah Chamberlin, and his son Moses Chamberlin.

We are descended from this youngest child, Moses, who was born on July 30, 1735 in Walpole, Norfolk, Massachusetts. He married Sarah Partridge on May 18, 1758 in Walpole, and they had seven children, Moses, Sarah, Elisha, Thankful, John, Anna and Deborah. Sarah died two months after this last baby was born.

Moses married Deborah Twitchell on July 1, 1773, and had two more children with her, Isaac and Moses.

Moses Chamberlain was a farmer in Walpole. He served as a private in Captain Seth Bullard's company, Colonel John Smith's regiment at the Lexington Alarm, on April 19, 1775. (The Charge of the Light Brigade, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow gives a vivid description of this historic event). He died on April 4, 1777 in Walpole, one month before the birth of his last child, leaving his wife and seven surviving children.

Elisha, the eldest surviving child was only fourteen when his father died. He married Susannah Brown, the daughter of Ebenezer Brown and Elizabeth Jameson Brown of Newton, Middlesex, Massachusetts, in Newton on May 6, 1784. They had seven children, Elizabeth Brown, Thankful, Susan, John, William, Charlotte and Elisha. Elizabeth Brown, our ancestor, was given a second name in 1786 since she was named for her grandmother, Elizabeth Jameson Brown, who died in the same year. Middle names were first used in this country at the end of the eighteenth century in situations like this.

Elisha lived in Fitchburg, Worcester, Massachusetts for most of his life. He died in Swanzey, Cheshire, New Hampshire in 1840. It is not known where or when Susannah died.

Elizabeth Brown Chamberlin married Ephraim Wetherbee on September 17, 1804 in Fitchburg. They had six children, Charles Thomas, Elizabeth R., Henry W., Susan B., Ephraim Dexter, and John Chamberlin. Elizabeth Brown Chamberlin Wetherbee, called Eliza Wetherbee died in West Swanzey, Cheshire, New Hampshire on April 18, 1862.

The Brown family goes back four generations to the immigrant ancestor, Thomas Brown who settled in Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts. Thomas Brown and his wife, Martha Eaton Brown had a son Ebenezer Brown, born June 15, 1665 in Cambridge, Ebenezer and his wife, Mary had six children, Thomas, Ebenezer, Mary, Thomas, Hepzibah, and Mehetabel. We are descendants of the second Thomas who was born August 19, 1698.

On October 9, 1722, Thomas married Abigail Cheney, the daughter of Joseph and Rebecca Robbins Cheney, who was born June 30, 1705 in Cambridge. Rebecca Robbins father, Nathaniel Robbins is buried in The Old Burying Ground in Cambridge, located between the Unitarian Church and Christ Church on Garden Street.
There is a footstone for Nathaniel and one for his second wife, Hannah who is buried next to him. His daughter, Rebeckah, who was married to Joseph Cheney is also buried close by in the same cemetery.

Thomas Brown and his wife, Abigail Cheney Brown had two sons, Thomas, born December 20, 1724 and Ebenezer, born on September 23, 1726. Ebenezer married Elizabeth Jameson on June 19, 1754 in Newton, Middlesex, Massachusetts. The Browns' daughter, Susannah married Elisha Chamberlin.

For ancestral chart and links to tombstone pictures, see Wetherby chapter

Map of the area around Chelmsford, Billerica and Woburn