CHAMBERS, (Colonel) GEORGE MAXWELL, pioneer merchant and stock-dealer of Morgan County, Ill., was born in Maryland in 1800, and in childhood was taken by his parents to Kentucky, where he resided until 1837. His father, Rowland Ross Chambers, died in Kentucky. In 1828 Colonel Chambers married Eleanor E. Irwin, who was born in Fayette County, Ky., in 1808. In 1837 he moved to Illinois, locating at Jacksonville, where for about twelve years he engaged in general merchandising. During this period he purchased considerable farming land, which is now within the city limits of Jacksonville. In 1846 he erected a large brick residence on the south side of State Street, between Diamond and Westminster Streets, a structure that was considered a mansion in the early days. It is still standing, one of the landmarks of Morgan County.
Colonel Chambers held a commission as Colonel in the State Militia in the early '40s. Upon the outbreak of the Mexican War, he enlisted with the first troops sent out from Illinois, and was assigned to the Commissary Department. In politics he was originally a Whig; but when, in 1856, the majority of the adherents of that party cast their fortunes with the new Republican organization, he became a Democrat, and was loyal to that party during the remainder of his life. His death occurred in August, 1891, and his wife preceded him in 1888.
Colonel Chambers and his wife became the parents of the following children: Catherine L., deceased, wife of Dr. G. R. Henry, of Burlington, Iowa; Rowland Ross, of Jacksonville; Nancy M., deceased, wife of George W. Moore, of Morgan County; John Irwin, of Jacksonville; Anna E., wife of J. N. Taylor, of Omaha, Neb.; George M., deceased; Leonard W., of Jacksonville; and Mrs. Ella Bradish, of Springfield, Ill. Colonel Chambers was recognized as one of the strong and rugged men of Morgan County, and his life made an indelible impress upon the progress of the community. He was public-spirited and unselfish, and never hesitated to do what he could for the advancement of the general welfare.