Chamberlain Family Papers
Dates: 1813-1930
Accession Number: 990302A
Donor: Vigo County Historical Society
Description: Six file folders in a document case


Moody Chamberlain, an early settler in Vigo County, was born November 3, 1791 and married Betsey Johnson Dole Chamberlain (born 1795); both were natives of New Hampshire and certified teachers. In 1820, the Chamberlains migrated to Terre Haute where they first lived in a log cabin. Moody Chamberlain was a qualified carpenter, who had helped build the Middlesex and other canals in New England. In Vigo County, he served as Associate Judge of the Circuit Court for two terms (1825, 1832), he was appointed paymaster of the 30th Regiment Indiana Militia (1831), and eventually formed a partnership with A. L. Chase in a sawmill business near Mill Run Creek.

In 1843, Moody Chamberlain had a house built for his family on east Maple Avenue near Glenn. He and his wife had eight children: Horace, Jane Colley, Joseph, Sarah, Harriet, Moody, Elizabeth Dole, and Edwin. Moody Chamberlain died September 28, 1862 and his wife, Betsey, died August 14, 1868; both are buried in Chamberlain Cemetery, Lost Creek Township, Vigo County, Indiana.

Augustus L. Chamberlain (brother of Moody Chamberlain) was born in Merrimac, New Hampshire on May 4, 1804. He was a teacher in New Hampshire, but eventually became a carpenter and builder. In 1833, August Chamberlain moved to Terre Haute and was a partner with his brother Moody in building construction. August built several buildings for Chauncey Rose (such as, the Terre Haute House, 1836-37 and buildings for the Terre Haute and Indianapolis Railroad) and worked solely for Rose in his later years. He was a member of the City Council for several years. A. L. Chamberlain died July 29, 1869 and is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, Terre Haute, IN.

Content and Scope of the Collection

This collection contains original papers of the Moody Chamberlain family for the years 1813-1858, including teachers' certificates, letters of recommendation, list of property, certificates of appointment as Associate Judge, and appointment as paymaster in the Indiana Militia. There are two original photographs (circa 1864) of Moody and Betsey Johnson Dole Chamberlain and a letter from brother Augustus Chamberlain. The

last folder includes a biographical article on Moody Chamberlain which appeared in the Terre Haute Star, January 13, 1930.

This collection was originally donated to the Vigo County Historical Society by Mary Coltrin, granddaughter of Moody Chamberlain.

Document Case





Folder 1

Handwritten certificate qualifying Moody Chamberlain to teach - St. Albans Academy

March 24, 1813





Handwritten certificate qualifying Betsey Dole to teach - Amhurst

Jan. 15, 1814





Letter of recommendation for Moody Chamberlain as carpenter - Boston

May 4, 1820




Folder 2

Letter to Moody Chamberlain, Terre Haute, from his brother Augustus Chamberlain - St. Albans

Jan. 6, 1828





Two certificates appointing Moody Chamberlain Associate Judge of the Circuit Court, Vigo County

1825; 1832




Folder 3

Appointment of Moody Chamberlain as Paymaster, 30th Regiment Indiana Militia

December 10, 1831





List of property purchased by M. Chamberlain - Partnership, Terre Haute

December 1, 1832





Letter to Judge Chamberlain from C. Rose, Terre Haute

March 6, 1838




Folder 4

Handwritten certificate qualifying Miss Elizabeth D. Chamberlain to teach

Oct. 18, 1853





Handwritten certificate qualifying Elizabeth D. Chamberlain to teach - School Commissioner's Office, Charleston, Coles County, Illinois

June 20, 1857




Folder 4

Handwritten teacher's license for Miss Elizabeth D. Chamberlain as a District School Teacher in Nevins Township, Vigo County

April 22, 1858




Folder 5

Photographs of Moody Chamberlain and Betsey Johnson Dole Chamberlain by Nicoloy's Gallery of Art, 99 Main St.,
Terre Haute, Indiana

ca. 1864




Folder 6

Obituary: August L. Chamberlain

July 1869





"Judge Moody Chamberlain Among Pioneer Vigo Residents Who Aided Growth of City," Terre Haute Star

Jan.13, 1930