Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Part IV: My Research on Arthur Guy CHAMBERLIN

Previous post in this series:
Part III: My Research on Arthur Guy CHAMBERLIN
Following post in this series:
Part V: My Research on Arthur Guy CHAMBERLIN

After looking at the marriage records at the St. Clair County Courthouse to find out more about Arthur and his family, I moved on to the death records to see if I could find out more. Here is what was known about Arthur and his family to this point:
  • Arthur was born 08 Feb 1923 in Michigan to Martin W. CHAMBERLIN and Gertrude DEVERS
  • Arthur married Christine Elizabeth CHATTERSON 19 Apr 1941 in Marine City, St. Clair, Michigan
  • Arthur was an 18-year-old butcher and resided in Marine City at the time of his marriage
  • Christine and Arthur had four children: 
    • Alma Pauline CHAMBERLIN 
      • born 17 Feb 1942 in Marine City, St. Clair, Michigan
      • married Edmund J. YOUNG 30 Apr 1960 in Port Huron, St. Clair, Michigan
      • died 25 Sep 1996 in Port Huron, St. Clair, Michigan
    • Christine "Betty" CHAMBERLIN
      • born abt 1943-1944 in Macomb County, Michigan
      • married Ford Eugene FRENCH 30 Mar 1963 in Port Huron, St. Clair, Michigan
      • moved to California between 1979 and 1989
    • Tommy CHAMBERLIN
      • died as a teenager in an accident, c. 1960s
      • my uncle
  • Arthur left Christine when my uncle was a young child in the late 1940s or early 1950s
  • Christine remarried to George E. MASON 21 Apr 1952 or 21 Apr 1954 (conflicting dates in George and Christine's obits)
  • Arthur died 03 Nov 1984 in East Point, Macomb, Michigan
  • Arthur was buried at White Chapel Cemetery in Troy, Oakland, Michigan
  • Arthur's paternal grandparents were E.F. CHAMBERLAIN and Alice M. SWARTOUT
  • Arthur's maternal grandparents were T. DEVERS and Jennie PELTIER
  • Arthur's parents married 7 Sep 1908 in Port Huron, St. Clair, Michigan
  • Arthur's father, Martin W. CHAMBERLAIN, was born abt 1882-1883 in Marine City, St. Clair, Michigan
  • Arthur's mother, Gertrude DEVERS, was born abt 1886-1887 in Marine City, St. Clair, Michigan
  • Arthur's father was a cooper at the time of his marriage
  • Both of Arthur's parents resided in Marine City at the time of their marriage
The first death record I decided to find was the one for Arthur and Christine's son, Tommy CHAMBERLIN. His death record confirmed the family story that he died in an accident as a teenager. See my transcription below:
Decedent: Thomas G. Chamberlin
Date of death: 12 Oct 1962
Place of death: Port Huron
DOB: 16 Jan 1947
Birthplace: St. Clair, Mich.
Sex: M
Race: W
Marital Status: Single
Cause of death: Fractured skull and internal injuries, Accident, Arthur B. Smith, Coroner
Age: 15
Occupation: Student
Father: Arthur Chamberlin
Mother: Christine Chatterson
Informant: Mrs. George Mason of Pt. Huron, Mich.
Now that I had an exact death date, I could go back to the library and look for an obituary or an article about the accident. The death record did not give any details about the accident.

I decided to next see if Martin or Gertrude had a death record. I did not find one for Gertrude, but I did find one for Martin in 1942, just one year after his son, Arthur, was married. This is where things started to get interesting.
Decedent: Martin William Chamberlin
Date of death: 10 Apr 1942
Place of death: Marine City
Sex: M
Race: W
Marital status: Divorced
Cause of death: Apoplexy
Age: 59 y, 5 m, 6 d
Birthplace: Michigan
Occupation: Retired
Father: Felix Chamberlin
Father's birthplace: Michigan
Mother: Gertrude Devers
Mother's birthplace: Michigan
Martin was divorced? Hmmm....wonder what happened there. Did Arthur have a rough childhood? That may explain why he left his own wife and children with very little contact afterward. If Gertrude remarried, that may be why I couldn't find her death record. In any event, we now know that Martin's full name was Martin William CHAMBERLIN. His age gives a birth date of 4 Nov 1882, which would be consistent with his age at the time of his marriage. His father's name is now listed as Felix CHAMBERLIN. It appears that Felix may be his middle name, as he was listed as E.F. CHAMBERLAIN on Martin's marriage record. His mother appears to be listed incorrectly. We know that Gertrude was actually his ex-wife and not his mother. According to his marriage record to Gertrude, his mother was Alice M. SWARTOUT.

I then decided to look for death records of Martin's parents and found them for both his father (1936) and his mother (1914).
Decedent: Edward F. Chamberlain
Date of death: 6 Jun 1936
Place of death: Marine City
Sex: M
Race: W
Marital Status: Widower
Spouse: Alice Swartout
Cause of death: Edema of lungs, myocarditis, old age
Age: 82 y
Birthplace: Michigan
Occupation: Retired steamboat captain
Father: Felix Delisle
Father's birthplace: [blank]
Mother: Not given
Mother's birthplace: Not given

Decedent: Alice Chamberlain
Date of death: 20 Oct 1914
Place of death: Marine City
Sex: F
Race: W
Marital Status: Married
Age: 54 y, 9 m, ---
Cause of death: Tumor
Birthplace: Mich.
Occupation: Housewife
Father: Martin Swartout
Mother: Lydia Webster
Martin's father's first name appears to be Edward, and his full name appears to be Edward Felix CHAMBERLAIN. He died 6 Jun 1936 in Marine City, St. Clair, Michigan, at 82 years old. This assumes a birth date of  1853-1854. His birthplace is listed as Michigan, and his occupation as retired steamboat captain. Oddly, his father is listed as Felix DELISLE. This seemed strange since his surname was CHAMBERLAIN. Was he adopted? Did he legally change his name? Was he illegitimate? Too bad his mother wasn't listed. This only added to the mystery.

Martin's mother, Alice M. SWARTOUT, died 20 Oct 1914 in Marine City, St. Clair, Michigan, at age 54y, 9m. This presumes a birth date of 20 Jan 1860, and her birthplace is listed as Michigan. Her parents were Martin SWARTOUT and Lydia WEBSTER. It appears that Martin William CHAMBERLAIN may have been named after his maternal grandfather.

At this point, I returned to the marriage records to see if I could find one for Gertrude (Devers) CHAMBERLIN, since according to Martin's death record, they were divorced by 1942. Sure enough, I found one in 1941 transcribed below:

Groom: Sear Christian
Age: 53
Race: W
Residence: Detroit
Birthplace: Belgium
Occupation: Bottler
Father: Julius Christian
Mother: Julia ---
Times previously married: no

Bride: Gertrude Chamberlain
Maiden Name: Devers
Age: 53
Race: W
Residence: Marine City
Birthplace: Michigan
Occupation: ---
Father: Thomas Devers
Mother: Jennie Peltier
Times previously married: one

Date of license: 18 Oct 1941
Date of marriage: 25 Oct 1941
Place of marriage: Port Huron
Officiant: D.S. Large, Minister
Witnesses: Harold & Beatrice Walton, both of Marine City
Gertrude married a 53-year-old Belgian bottler from Detroit named Sear CHRISTIAN on 25 Oct 1941 in Port Huron, St. Clair, Michigan. This was just 6 months after her son, Arthur, married Christine in April 1941. Gertrude was age 53, which would put her birth date around 1887-1888 (just a year or so off from her approximate birth date figured from her age at her first marriage to Martin). Her residence is given as Marine City, and now we have a first name for her father, Thomas. Her marriage record to Martin only listed him as T. DEVERS.

By this time, I was pooped out and resolved to return to the library the following day to do a little follow-up on Tommy's obituary, as well as several others in my family tree. Stay tuned for more info about Arthur and his family. The saga continues....

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