For a considerable period Zephaniah Chambers was actively, honorably and successfully connected with the farming
interests of Marion county, his home being on section it, Liberty township, and in his death the community lost
a representative agriculturist. He was born in Indiana in 1844, a son of James and Cassie Chambers, who were married
in that state and there reared a large family of children to good and useful lives. In the early '40s the family
came to Marion county, Iowa, driving across the country with ox teams, and on reaching their destination the father
preempted a claim in Liberty township. It was entirely destitute of improvements, nor had a furrow been turned
or a stick laid upon the place. He resolutely undertook the task of developing the farm and in the course of years
his labors were abundantly rewarded with good harvests. He also carried on stock raising with success and became
recognized as one of the leading and enterprising agriculturists of the county. He died February 11, 1882, at the
age of seventy two years and his wife passed away December 31, 1879, at the age of seventy five years. Their remains
were laid to rest in Liberty cemetery. They were pioneers in the broadest and best sense of the term, aiding largely
in the development and upbuilding of the county and promoting its progress in every possible way,
Zephaniah Chambers was but an infant when brought by his parents to Marion county and here he was reared amid the
scenes and environment of pioneer life, sharing with the family in all of the hardships and privations which are
features incidental to the establishment of a frontier home. He acquired a meager education in one of the oldtime
log schools but in the school of experience learned many valuable lessons.
On the 15th of February, 1866, Mr. Chambers was united in marriage to Miss Temperance Bonnett, a daughter of William
H. and Mahala (Spaur) Bonnett. Her father was born October 13, 1822, and departed this life April 5, 1884, while
his wife, who was born April I7, 1824, died during the Civil war. They were married September 28, 1847, and in
their family were five children, Lucy, Temperance, Marion, Isador and Matilda Jane. The first named is now deceased.
The family were pioneer settlers of Marion county and the father manifested a helpful interest in public affairs
of general importance. His life was devoted to general farming and stock raising and through close attention to
business he was able to provide a good living for his family. His political support was given the democratic party.
Following their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Chambers began their domestic life upon a farm in Liberty township and as
the years passed on seven children were added to the household: James William. who married Anna Smith and is now
deceased; Stella, the wife of William Way; Austin, who married Allie Johnson and is deceased; Wesley, who married
Esta Carmin; John, who married Lizzie Coster; one who died unnamed; and Frank, also deceased.
Mr. Chambers always devoted his life to the work of tilling the soil and raising stock and the result of his labors
was seen in well cultivated fields, from which he annually gathered good harvests. At the time of the Civil war,
however, he put aside all business and personal considerations and responded to the country's call for aid, enlisting
as a member of Company A, Thirty third Iowa Infantry, with which he went to the front, taking part in a number
of hotly contested engagements. After his return home he resumed farming and was thus busily engaged to the time
of his death, which occurred December 7, 1895. He is still survived by his wife, a most estimable lady. She practically
reared her younger brothers and sisters after her mother's death and has been most devoted in the care of her own
household. She is highly esteemed wherever known and most of all where she is best known.
History of Marion County, Iowa
And its People
John W. Wright, Supervising Editor
W. A. Young, Associate
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Marion County, IA
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