Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Little Family History Great x4 Grandfather Solomon Chamberlin

Ever since I moved to Buffalo, NY almost 5 years ago I have gotten the Family History bug, mostly because shortly after moving here I discovered I was a descendant of Solomon Chamberlin (sometimes spelled Chamberlain) and Nathan Harris, Father of Martin Harris. Solomon Chamberlin has been mentioned by Church history historians for years and I didn't know who he was, I just discovered his name by reading the book "The Martin Harris Story, with biographies of Emer Harris and Dennison Lott Harris ". Knowing that I was a descendant of Emer Harris, Martin's older brother I read this book and discovered in the book that Emer married a girl by the name of Polly Chamberlin, Solomon Chamberlins daughter. Polly was Emer's first polygamists wife and they had one child a daughter named Rebecca Harris who made it across the plains safely with her grandfather Solomon, and her father Emer, her mother Polly died at winter quarters.

Solomon Chamberlains life after and before gaining his testimony of the truth of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was fascinating to me. My husband served his mission here in Western NY and served 6 months in Lyons, NY which is where the home of my great x 4 Grandfather Solomon lived. And that is when I learned that his home still stands today. It is located one mile NE of the village of Lyons at the three way junction of CR244 (Pilgrimport Road), CR 245 (Lock Berlin Road). and Bishop Rd. His home is a 1 1/2 story frame home (it was once a tavern). My brother Kyle and I had the opportunity to visit his home this past month. Here we are in front of the home that still stands in Lyons NY with the old Erie Canal across the street.

Here is a picture of his home with the old Erie canal across the street.

And here I am with my 4 children in front of the home.

In Solomon Chamberlins history he writes "About the time that Joseph Smith found the gold record, I began to feel that the time was drawing near, that the Lord would in some shape or other, bring forth his church. I made some inquiry through the country where I traveled if there was any strange work of God, such as had not been on the earth since the days of Christ. I could hear of none. I was living about 20 miles east of where the gold record was found, on the Erie Canal. I had occasion to go on a visit into Upper Canada. I took boat for Lockport, when the boat came to Palmyra, I felt as if some genie or good spirit told me to leave the boat. This was a few miles from where the record was found. After leaving the boat, the spirit manifested to me, to travel a south course. I did so for about 3 miles. I had not as yet heard of the Gold Bible (so called) [Book of Mormon] nor any of the [Joseph] Smith family. I was a stranger in that part of the country, a town where I never before had set my foot, and knew no one in the town."

Solomon was told of the Gold Bible and made his way to Joseph Smith's home and in his history he writes: "I soon made my way across lots, to Father Smith's and found Hyrum walking the floor. As I entered the door, I said, "Peace be to this house." He looked at me as one astonished, and said, "I hope it will be peace." I then said, "Is there anyone here that believes in visions or revelations?" He said, "Yes, we are a visionary house." I said, "Then I will give you one of my pamphlets, which was visionary, and of my own experience." They then called the people together, which consisted of five or six men who were out at the door. Father Smith was one and some of the Whitmer's. They then sat down and read my pamphlet. Hyrum read first, but was so affected he could not read it. He then gave it to a man, which I learned was Christian Whitmer, he finished reading it. I then opened my mouth and began to preach to them, in the words that the angel had made known to me in the vision, that all churches and denominations on the earth had become corrupt, and no church of God on the earth, but that he would shortly raise up a church that would never be confounded nor brought down and be like unto the Apostolic Church. They wondered greatly who had been telling me these things, for said they we have the same things wrote [written] down in our house, taken from the Gold record, that you are preaching to us. I said, "The Lord told me these things a number of years ago." I then said, "If you are a visionary house, I wish you would make known some of your discoveries, for I think I can bear them." They then made known to me that they had obtained a gold record, and just finished translating it here. Now, the Lord revealed to me by the gift and power of the Holy Ghost that this was the work I had been looking for.
Here I stayed 2 days and they instructed me, in the manuscripts of the Book of Mormon. After I had been here two days, I went with Hyrum and some others to Palmyra printing office where they began to print the Book of Mormon, and as soon as they had printed 64 pages, I took them with their leave and pursued my journey to Canada, and I preached all that I knew concerning Mormonism, to all both high and low, rich and poor, and thus you see this was the first that ever printed Mormonism was preached to this generation."

Solomon had a vision or a dream many years before this and he wrote a pamphlet and had it published and Brigham Young University found a copy.

Solomon Chamberlain of Lyons, New York, was accompanied to the print shop by Hyrum Smith, who handed him 64 pages from the new volume  and as he stated took them into Canada to preach the gospel. This is when he came across Brigham Young and his brother Phineas and may have been the first missionary to come across Brigham Young. Brighams brothers Phineas and Joseph both visited Solomon at his home, the one pictured above, on their trips along the Erie Canal. After the church was organized, Solomon was one of the many that was baptized by Joseph Smith in Seneca Lake. Anyway, his history is fascinating and I loved learning all of the details.


Janice said...

This is incredibly cool.

Peter said...

I too am a descendant of Solomon Chamberlain or "Old Buckskin" as he was known in the pioneer party of 1847. I am extremely proud of this heritage. I am related through his daughter, Sarah Louisa (Redd). Thanks for sharing the pictures of the homestead!

Pete Roberts (Everett, WA)

gb308 said...

Hi There!
I enjoyed reading what you wrote. I am doing some research into Solomon Chamberlain because of something I read in a book I'm reading ("Brigham Young: The New York Years"). In this book, it states this:
"Many of Brigham's closest associates in later life, we discovered, were old friends whom he [Brigham Young] first me in New York State. Perhaps the most noted of these was his close confidant Heber C. Kimball, who also came from Vermont parentage. And there was Solomon Chamberlain with whom Brigham later crossed the plains."
Do have any information regarding their friendship prior to them joining the church? Thanks so much for any help you can give me!

West Family said...

I do not know your name but I thought I would post more information here, I have more and have been meaning to post to my blog but life has been busy with moves and new babies. :) here is more from Solomon's autobiography after he had gotten the first 64 pages of the BOM and took them into Canada: "I did not see anyone in traveling for 7 or 800 miles, that had ever heard of the Gold Bible (so called). I exhorted all people to prepare for the great work of God that was now about to come forth, and it would never be brought down nor confounded. As soon as the book was printed, I took 8 or 10 of them and traveled for 8 days, and sold one in that time. About this time I thought if I could see the Reformed Methodists I could convince them of the truth of the Book of Mormon. I accordingly went to one of their conferences, where I met about 40 of their preachers and labored with them for two days to convince them of the truth of the Book of Mormon, and they utterly rejected me and the Book of Mormon. One of their greatest preachers so called, by the name of Buckly, (if a mistake not) abused me very bad, and ordered me off from their premises. He was soon taken crazy, and died a miserable death. At this conference was Brigham and his brother Phineas Young." so this is where Brigham comes into play, Phineas was good friends with Solomon from what I gather. I tend to gather any and all information regarding Solomon that I can, something I recently read it said this "That acquaintanceship was undoubtedly associated with the mutual bond that the parties had previously shared within the Reformed Methodist faith" so they shared this bond... I hope this helps, there is more that I can send you if you wish, just let me know. Let me know what you uncover if you uncover more will you? Thanks, Jan

West Family said...

Regarding Brigham and Phineas after Buckly ordered him off their premises, he said this about Brigham and Phineas"They did not oppose me but used me well."
Also, the following is regarding "The Young Family’s Introduction to Mormonism"
"The following August, Joseph Young, who had been preaching for the Reformed Methodists in Canada, came to see Phinehas and requested that he return with him to his field of labor. They left for Kingston, Upper Canada, on about August 20. Their route took them through the township of Lyons, Wayne County, New York, where they paused to visit with “an old acquaintance by the name of Solomon Chamberlin.” That acquaintanceship was undoubtedly associated with the mutual bond that the parties had previously shared within the Reformed Methodist faith. However, the Young brothers were surprised by Solomon’s unexpected declarations.[42] Phinehas recounted:
We had no sooner got seated than he began to preach Mormonism to us. He told us there was a Church organized, and ten or more were baptized, and every body must believe the Book of Mormon or be lost.
I told him to hold on, when he had talked about two hours setting forth the wonders of Mormonism—that it was not good to give a colt a bushel of oats at a time. I knew that my brother had but little idea of what he was talking, and I wanted he should have time to reflect; but it made little difference to him, he still talked of Mormonism.[43]
How much of an immediate impact this Book of Mormon discussion had on Joseph Young is difficult to measure. However, Joseph later recalled, “It was at this place I first had sight of the Book of Mormon. It was shown to us by Solomon Chamberlain. Nothing could have been more acceptable to my famishing soul. I hailed it as my Spiritual Jubilee, a deliverance from a long night of darkness and bondage.”[44]
Solomon had also given Phinehas some substantive matter to ponder. Phinehas observed, “This was the first I had heard of the necessity of another church, or of the importance of rebaptism; but after hearing the old gentleman’s arguments on the importance of the power of the holy priesthood, and the necessity of its restoration, in order that the power of the gospel might be made manifest, I began to enquire seriously into the matter, and soon became convinced that such an order of things was necessary for the salvation of the world.”[45]
I hope all this helps... let me know by posting here that you got these messages.

Anonymous said...

This is my childhood home and my father still lives here. If you have any questions, I find this very interesting as I have always felt a presence in this home.

West Family said...

Do you know when your home was built and do you know who it was built by? I keep thinking that Solomon built it, but don't have anything to support that as of yet.