W. E. CHAMBERS is one of the wide-awake and enterprising young business
men of Murphysboro, now engaged in general merchandising. He comes from a
southern family. His father, C. C. Chambers, was a native of Virginia, and
when a young man emigrated to Tennessee, where he met and married Martha
Draughon, a native of Robinson County, that state, and a daughter of John
Draughon. Mr. Chambers then turned his attention to farming, which he
continued for many years. He is still living in Tennessee, at the advanced
age of ninety, and with one exception he is the oldest man in the county. He
formerly owned over four hundred acres of land. He served as one of the
County Commissioners and is an honored and respected citizen. Mrs. Chambers
passed away in 1878, leaving five children, all of whom yet survive.
Our subject was born in Robinson County, Tenn., January 22, 1849, was reared on his father's farm, and in the common schools acquired his education. He continued under the parental roof until 1869, when he began clerking in a store near his home. The following year he went to Springfield, Tenn., where he was a clerk in a dry-goods store until January 22, 1871, when he went to Carbondale, Ill., and soon afterward came to Murphysboro. Here he embarked in the wholesale liquor business with D. T. Garrett, continuing operations along that line for five years, when, during the panic of 1876, they were forced to close out their business. With characteristic energy, however, Mr. Chambers opened a grocery store in the Fox Building, on Main Street, and to that trade devoted his energies until 1882, when he built the store which he now occupies, and formed a partnership with John M. Reeder, since deceased. Subsequently S. W. Gill purchased the interest of Mr. Reeder, and the firm of Chambers & Gill did business until September, 1891, when our subject purchased his partner's interest. He is one of the oldest merchants in years of continuous trade in Murphysboro. He also has some real-estate interests in this city.
Mr. Chambers was united in marriage in 1874, with Miss Mary, daughter of H. H. Fox, whose sketch appears elsewhere in this work, and who is a native of Somerset Township. Their union has been blessed with a daughter and a son, Nannie D. and Walter H.
In his political views Mr. Chambers is a Democrat. He served as Jailer of Murphysboro from 1880 to 1882, and was a member of the first School Board of the city, which position he filled for four years. During this time the new west side school house and the high school building were erected. The cause of education has ever found in him a warm friend and he has done much for its advancement. For two years he was Alderman of the Second Ward, and his influence was ever given for the promotion of those enterprises which were calculated to prove of public benefit. During that time the electric lights and water works were established and the sewerage system laid. Public-spirited and progressive, he is a citizen whom Murphysboro could ill afford to lose.
Extracted 01 Aug 2020 by Norma Hass from 1894 Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry, and Monroe Counties, Illinois, pages 695-696.
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