History of  Gallatin County, Part 26


In our issue of August 31, we had a short story of one of our former citizens that we find to be incorrect in many details, it being evident that by some means, the history of a Dr. Chamberlain and that of Dr. A. B. Chambers became confused, so to rectify these mistakes, we take great pleasure in making the necessary corrections.

Dr. Absalom B. Chambers was born in Shelby County, Kentucky, August 20, 1820, being the son of Lemuel and Nancy Chambers of that county.  He was largely self-educated, his father having lost most of his property by going security for supposed friends.  He was graduated in one of the medical schools of Louisville and located at Napoleon, this county, to begin the practice of medicine, later locating in Warsaw.  To Dr. Chambers and his wife were born the following children:  Horatio Turpin, longtime druggist of Warsaw: Nannie, who married E. E. Abbett, now of Louisville; Mary B., deceased; and James W., who now lives near Jackson, Mississippi.

He married about 1850 Anna Cornelia Turpin, daughter of  Horatio Turpin and his wife Mary A. Turpin of Beech Park, but probably known to the younger generation as the Turpin place on Warsaw and Sparta Pike, now belonging to Frank Wilson.

At the beginning of the war between the states, he was a member of the lower house of the legislature, taking an active part in the proceedings of those stirring times, being one of the leaders in advocating that Kentucky side with her sister southern states, but he was unable to accomplish this, as most of the legislatures, while sympathizing with the seceding states, refused to disrupt the union of the States.

When John C. Breckenridge resigned as Senator from Kentucky to enter the Confederate army it was Dr. Chambers who put in nomination a man in sympathy with the south as his successor, he being on of the fourteen who voted for this candidate; but Garrett Davis, a unionist, of Bourbon County received the most votes and was elected to succeed the gallant Breckinridge.

Dr. Chambers, on account of his outspoken position relative to the war, became marked man, and was arrested and put in prison at Louisville and later in Camp Chase.

While in prison at Louisville he contracted some trouble with his eyes and the authorities allowed him to be taken to the St. Joseph hospital for treatment, he giving his promise not to attempt to escape.  While there it was learned that Gen. [Stephen] Burbridge had decided to have him shot as an example.

Florian Cox, who marie3d his niece, Emma Mountjoy, came to Dr. Chambers and told him of the proposed shooting and advised him to escape while it was possible to do so.  Dr. Chambers said, "Florian, I have give my word of honor not to attempt to escape."

Mr. Cox said, "Doctor, if you do not, you are to be shot." The reply was, "If they shoot me, that is their business, but it is my business to keep my word and I will not attempt to escape."  The report proved to be correct about the order for his execution, but by the intercession of a friend who had influence with Pres. Lincoln, his life was saved.

Dr. Chambers did not join the Confederate army for the reason that he and his relatives were put under heavy bond upon his release from prison, and he decided that he would go to Canada and stay till the war should end, which he did.

After the war he took an active interest in re-organizing the Democratic party and only missed going to congress by one vote, being beaten in convention by Judge Dorman of Owen county.

Dr. Chambers practiced his profession in Gallatin county till his death, which occurred at the place now owned by Wm. Craig on the Warsaw and Sparta Pike,  in 1872, and was loved and respected by all of the people.


September 14, 1929, from the Gallatin County News