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Thomas McCutcheon Chambers: Pioneer, Mill Owner, Pierce County Commissioner, and Statesman.

1795  -  1876

Thomas McCutcheon Chambers, his wife Latitia Delzell and two grown sons, David and Andrew, emigrated to the Oregon Territory in 1845.  They brought with them nine wagons, 70 head of cattle and eighteen head of horses and settled the prairie southeast of Olympia which bears their name.  Thomas and Latitia relocated to Steilacoom at the mouth of what is now known as Chambers Creek.  There he built with the help of Frederick Meyer, a lumber and flour mill.  His older children, David and Andrew, stayed on Chambers Prairie with their families and eventually owned 3000 acres of land.

Latita Delzell Chambers died around 1852.  In 1853 at Steilacoom, Thomas wed Agnetta Larson (1830/34 - ), a native of Norway.  Agnetta Larson was linked to Andrew Byrd, the builder of the dam that created Steilacoom Lake and supplied water power for Byrd's mills and slaughter house near Byrd Road, now known as Steilacoom Boulevard.  Thomas died in 1876.  Agnetta Larson Chambers married Frederick Meyer in 1881.

Research Information Sources:
Oregon Historical Society
Pioneers of 1845
"CHAMBERS, Thomas McCutcheon (1795-1876): m1. 1816 DELZELL, Latitia; m2. c1853 LARSON, Agnetta; emigrated with nine wagons, 70 head of cattle and eighteen head of horses; settled prairie southeast of Olympia which bears his name; later located near Steilacoom at the mouth of what is now known as Chambers Creek; here he built a lumber and flour mill."
Information taken from the following website: http://www.oregonpioneers.com/1845.htm
Pioneer Report
"Thomas Chambers, father of David and A. J. Chambers, who gave me information which greatly increased my interest in the Sound country."
by Arthur Denny
Information taken from the following website: http://members.home.net/nigelh/firefly/info/pioneerws.html
"CHAMBERS, Andrew Jackson (1825-1908): m'd BUCKNER, Rebecca
CHAMBERS, David Jefferson (1820-1896): m'd 1845 HARRISON, Elizabeth "
Information taken from the following website: http://www.oregonpioneers.com/1845.htm
Tacoma Public Library
"On Dec. 22, 1852, the Territorial Legislature of Oregon created the County of Pierce out of Thurston County. The Legislature also passed laws appointing the first county officers and locating the county seat at Steilacoom. The first Board of County Commissioners consisted of Thomas Chambers, William P. Dougherty and Alexander Smith. John Bradley was appointed sheriff and John M. Chapman, probate clerk.
The law locating the county seat contained the following language:
"Pierce County is not the largest in the state, but it is one of the most important; it has about 217 miles of salt-water shore line, with bays and inlets and several important islands. It has a greater variety of elevations than any other county in the United States, reaching from the tide level of Puget Sound to the summit of Tacoma-Rainier, which mountain wholly within the boundary of the county, thus giving a panorama of scenic unequaled anywhere, and a climate ranging from a mild and salubrious temperate zone quality in the valley to the most rigorous, up on the mountain side. The mountains and foothills are full of coal and precious metals. The rivers, fed by the glaciers of Mount Tacoma, possess almost immeasurable water power."
(History of Pierce County, page 86) "
Information taken from the following website: http://www.co.pierce.wa.us/abtus/profile.htm
Chambers Places

"Chambers Creek(T.20N;R.2E) Chambers Creek flows from Lake Steilacoom to Puget Sound. Thomas M. Chambers built the first saw mill on the creek in 1852 and had a home on the south side of the creek near its mouth. Some maps call the upper course of the creek to its confluence with Leach Creek Steilacoom Creek. The Inskip chart of 1846 calls the creek the Chudley River. It was also known as Byrd Creek for the Byrd Mill which was once located where the creek leaves Lake Steilacoom. Joseph Thomas Heath, who lived at the present site of Western State Hospital called the creek the Steilacoom River in his journal in the 1840s while other writers have called the creek Heath Creek for Mr. Heath. (Heath, p. 65).

Chambers Mill Monument

A picture of Chamber's Creek that was somewhat behind where the Chambers Mill Monument sits.

                                                      Chambers Creek September 2004                                                         Photographs courtesy of Stan R. Lee

Chambers Bay (S 30T 20NR 2E) - The portion of Puget Sound at the outlet of Chambers Creek has been recorded as Chambers Bay on some maps. Heath Bay, named for Joseph Thomas Heath, is the same location. The bay has also been named Steilacoom Bay or Waterway and Fisgardita Cove
Chambers (S 27 T 18NR2E) - Chambers is a location two and one half miles south of Roy in eastern Pierce County. It was named for the school which was on land owned by Thomas L. Chambers. The school was later consolidated into the McKenna School District. (Martinson, p. 59).
Chambers Lake (T.18N;R.1W) - Originally one lake this lake is now divided into two segments by a 500-ft. ditch, covering less than a square mile a half mile east of Olympia in north central Thurston County. The segments are 49.1-acre Little Chambers Lake; and 72.5-acre Chambers Lake, or Russell Lake. It was named for Andrew and David Chambers who claimed land on Chambers Prairie in 1845. The combined lake is shown on some older maps as Lake Chambers. A post office was established at Chambers Lake on December 19, 1917 and became East Olympia on July 1, 1933. (Ramsey, Thurston County, p. 103).
Chambers Lake (S 27 T 18N R2E) - Thomas and Esther Chambers had an eighty acre homestead near a lake north and east of the town of Roy. The Chambers family were early settlers on Chambers Prairie south in Thurston County and on Chambers Creek in Pierce County. This Chambers Lake is now on the Fort Lewis Military Reservation.
Chambers Prairie (Ts.17,18N;R.1W) - Chambers Prairie covers several square miles four miles south of Olympia in central Thurston County. Settled since the early 1840s it was named for Andrew and David Chambers, who claimed land in 1845, and eventually owned 3,000 acres there and on a small prairie to the southeast. Before 1845, the name in use was Eaton's Prairie for Charles H. Eaton, who took a squatter's claim near Pattison Lake. The Indian name was El-cu-men. "
Information taken from the following website: http://www.tpl.lib.wa.us/cgi-win/placcgi2.exe/form
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Last Updated 11 September 2007