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Found At Last: Emeline Chambers

September 5, 2009

When I was a child, my maternal grandmother Ella Pack Whitaker told me she wanted to name me Euphemia Allyfair after my great-great grandmother Euphemia Allyfair Chambers Christian.  I will always be grateful to my mother that she named me Cheryl instead.  Can you imagine the teasing in school? Not to mention learning to spell it!

Now I’m sure “Feemie,” or Allyfair as she was sometimes called, was a good woman, a good wife, and mother.  At least that is the information that has been handed down. And the name Fair was given to at least one of her great-granddaughters, my mother to be precise. So I guess Mom didn’t want me burdened with a “mountain” name, as by this time she was a military wife and was expanding her Appalachian roots.

Euphemia Allyfair Chambers mother was Emeline Chambers and we don’t really know who her father was.  I’m sure there were rumors at the time, but those rumors died along with those who knew.

At any rate, Allyfair named a daughter Emeline, after her mother so there must have been a measure of good feelings. Emeline Chambers married Chapman Elswick 21 Feb 1863 in Tazewell County and had another family. I knew that one of them had the distinctive name of Buenavista Elswick.

I had often wondered about Emeline, who she was, what did she looked like, and what was her story.  Why hadn’t she married Allyfair’s father? What was the reaction of her mother having a child out of wedlock?

Late last week I decided to explore the digital collection of the Library of Virginia at http://www.VirginiaMemory.com, specifically the collection of Tazewell County photographs. For those of you with Tazewell County roots this is a treasure trove. On a whim I decided to put in Elswick to see what popped up. Lo and behold there were all kinds of photos of Buenavista Elswick and his family.  Among the bunch was a photo of his parents.  So I now know what Emeline Chambers Elswick looked like. Her daughter Allyfair looked like her too. Don’t you agree? They both sure had a stern countenance.

Emeline Chambers Elswick and Chapman Elswick of Tazewell County, VA circa 1895

Emeline Chambers Elswick and Chapman Elswick of Tazewell County, VA circa 1895

Euphemia Allyfair Chambers Christian and Thomas C. Christian of Tazewell County circa 1910

Euphemia Allyfair Chambers Christian and Thomas C. Christian of Tazewell County circa 1910

Emeline Chambers, daughter of Thomas Chambers of Russell Co. VA and Nancy Christian Chambers, was born about 1831 in Russell Co. VA and died in 1898 in Tazewell Co. VA.

Euphemia Allyfair was born circa 1851 and her death date isn’t certain. She married Thomas Christian Christian on 20th March 1865 and they had a large family, 2 boys and 7 girls.

Front: Thomas C. Christian (father) Thomas Delbert Christian  Euphemia Allyfair Chambers Christian (she has a goiter on her neck) Virginia America (Mexie) Christian, Emmeline, George, Lillie Belle (my great grandmother), Mary, Oklahoma (Oakley), either Oceana (Ocie) or Tillie

Front: Thomas C. Christian (father) Thomas Delbert Christian Euphemia Allyfair Chambers Christian (she has a goiter on her neck) Virginia America (Mexie) Christian, Emmeline, George, Lillie Belle (my great grandmother), Mary, Oklahoma (Oakley), either Oceana (Ocie) or Tillie

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15 Comments leave one →
  1. September 24, 2009 8:32 pm

    My grandmother wanted my parents to name me Gertrude, but I am glad they chose Claudia.

    • September 25, 2009 2:51 pm

      Now, Claudia, the nickname for Gertrude, Trudy isn’t as bad as Feemie for Euphemia. On the other hand Mia would be kinda cute. But the reality is that some teacher, somewhere along the line, would insist on using your given name, not a nickname. Then the teasing would begin, unless there was someone else who had a name worse than yours. So we can be grateful to our parents for giving us ordinary names. I’m glad you found my blog.

  2. Beth Richardson permalink
    October 3, 2009 4:35 am

    I have discovered the Cluverius and Seawell connection. My daughter has just completed a film on Maria Seawell Edwards for Gloucester High School and was looking for relatives.. How are you connected?

    Thank you,

    • October 5, 2009 2:49 pm

      Hi, Beth,

      My husband’s third great-grandmother was Courtney Seawell of Gloucester Co. who married Thomas Cluverius. Her parents were John Seawell and Fanny Hobday. So she is a cousin to Maria Seawell.

      Thomas and Courtney had at least four children, Beverly W., Washington Lafayette, William, and Mary. Thomas died before 1840 and Courtney is shown as head of the household in the 1840 Census for Gloucester Co. Beverly later moved to King William County and then to King and Queen. His son, Thomas Judson Cluverius, was hung for the murder of his cousin, resulting in one of the most famous murder trials of the late 19th century. My husband’s Cluverius relatives wouldn’t talk about their family history, so anything past the first Thomas Cluverius isn’t known. But this isn’t a common name and all the Cluverius in Gloucester Co. can be traced back to Rev. John Cluverius in the 1600’s and supposedly to the famous cartographer Philip Cluverius. I haven’t had the chance to look at the land records, wills, and probate to take the line past Thomas Cluverius.

      This is more than you probably wanted to know, but I will also reply to your personal as well.

      Thanks for finding me!
      Cheryl

  3. John W. McClintock, Jr. permalink
    October 19, 2009 2:03 pm

    I can give you some information on who is reported to be the father of Allyfair Chambers if you receive this e-mail. E-mail me back– Emeline Chambers married Chapman Elswick, having had three chikldren beorehand– Emeline and Chapman were my great-grandmother and great-grand father– J. W.

    • George Thomas Chambers permalink
      May 21, 2016 1:55 pm

      John: I have been totally confused over Emeline’s story! Evidently, it was a scandal back then, today, not so much! Are you familiar with Red Tom Chambers, son of Emeline! Elswick would have been his step-father, am I right? My Dad & I visited Grace Chambers at Raven VA, daughter of Red Tom! Grace had a portrait of Red Tom, after hearing of him most of my life, I got to see him, he has come down in Chambers lore as a somewhat mystical figure! I am the only one in my family that has attempted any genealogy about the Chambers! My Granddad Hugh is buried at Rose Hill Cemetery Ashland KY, he was a character, as are all of the Chambers I have known! If I hear from you, give me your lineage from Emeline! I have recently come in contact with Robert McCoy at Matewan WV, he is my 3rd cousin, that I knew nothing about! I recently took the Ancestry DNA test, I am 40% Irish, 35% British Isles, 15% Scandinavian, 10% Italian/Spanish/Greek! My Dad said his Grandmother, Emmazella Wingo, was 1/4 Mingo Indian, it didn’t show up in my DNA!

  4. March 5, 2010 7:08 pm

    Thank you for sharing this with me! Great detective work…and a successful search.

  5. May 30, 2010 7:39 am

    You have done it again. Incredible read!

    • August 27, 2010 2:58 am

      Thank you, Nancy.  I do enjoy family history and writing, but just haven’t disciplined myself to the blogosphere.  However, I have just done a posting addressing that situation. If you like my blog, please share it with others.  Getting comments motivates me! Cheers, Cheryl

  6. May 31, 2010 6:24 pm

    If only more people could hear this.

    • August 27, 2010 2:57 am

      Thank you, Dominic.  I do enjoy family history and writing, but just haven’t disciplined myself to the blogosphere.  However, I have just done a posting addressing that situation.If you like my blog, please share it with others.  Getting comments motivates me!Cheers,Cheryl

  7. Aquascabcully permalink
    June 1, 2010 1:19 am

    Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
    I’ve been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

    Thumbs up, and keep it going!

    Cheers
    Christian,Diet Guide!

    • August 27, 2010 2:55 am

      Thank you, Christian.  I do enjoy family history and writing, but just haven’t disciplined myself to the blogosphere.  However, I have just done a posting addressing that situation.Cheers,Cheryl

  8. December 1, 2010 4:55 pm

    of course we need to know our family history so that we can share it to our kids ;:”

  9. George Thomas Chambers permalink
    May 21, 2016 1:36 pm

    I am a Chambers, descended from Rees, Emeline’s brother! My Dad, James Corbett Chambers, told me about Emeline, although he didn’t have the story exactly right! He told about Rees, coming home after the Civil War, finding another member of his family, who was known as Red Tom Chambers! I assumed Emmazella was the mother of Red Tom! Not so, I have just recently determined that Emeline was Rees’ sister! The ‘bio’ I have says that Allyfair was Red Tom’s daughter by his 1st wife Sallie Ward! That would mean that Emeline was Allyfair’s grandmother! Here is my Chambers lineage: Thomas Chambers / Rees Chambers / Hugh Chambers / Corbett Chambers! My Dad was born in Matewan WV 1894 to Mary Ann Keesee!

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