#52Ancestors Minnie Ett Lamb (3rd Great Aunt)
As we explore the many bachelor uncles and bachelorette aunts scattered about the family tree, a few called out to me. While a devotion to teaching and a desire for advancement of education which was uncommon for women appeared to be the driving force for a 1st cousin 4x removed (as identified by Ancestry) Martha Laing…a deeper devotion seems to travel the branches of the family tree leading to my 3rd great aunt, Minnie Ett Lamb (1861-1941).
Minnie Ett Lamb was born to Francis Hudson Lamb and Sylvia Chamberlin on May 16, 1861 in Glenville, Minnesota. However, to understand what her life was like as a child may help us to understand her heart, love and devotion to her mother, Sylvia who also had a challenging childhood. Sylvia Chamberlin was born to Hiram Chamberlin and Susan Wilson. Within one year of her birth in October 1836, her mother had died and her father remarried. It has been told through family stories that her uncle Reuben Chamberlin and his wife, Priscilla had no children of their own and so they took Sylvia in to be raised as their own daughter. U.S. General Land Office Records show that Reuben purchased 172 acres of land in Noble County, Indiana on August 5, 1837 through an Act of Congress on April 24, 1820 entitled “An Act making further provision for the sale of Public Lands”. This means that Sylvia left her family in Ohio to become a part of The Westward Expansion.
In 1850, census records show Sylvia Chamberlin (age 14) living with Reuben and Priscilla Chamberlin (both age 50) along with Olive Chamberlin (age 31) and Almon Chamberlin (age 21). It is not stated or known what the relation of Olive and Almon. While we do not know how they met, Sylvia Chamberlin met and married Francis Hudson Lamb. They were married on January 1, 1853 in a tavern in Kendallville, Nobel County, Indiana along with six other couples by a traveling minister. There are no marriage records since the land and territories were young in America’s history. In 1857, Minnesota Territorial Census shows Harrison Lamb (age 30) and Sylvia Lamb (age25) with daughters; Arvilla and Luella (recorded as Julia). By 1860, the family is again recorded into the Minnesota Territory which had just become the 32nd state of the Union in 1858. Francis Hudson Lamb was a traveling blacksmith and together he and Sylvia had three young daughters; Arvilla, Luella and Eva. Minnie Ett Lamb was born into the family on May 16, 1861 in Glenville, Freeborn County, Minnesota. And so it was that the family had its challenges even before Minnie was born.
The Census Record for the Freeborn County, Minnesota was recorded again on June 1, 1865. Family #54 was Francis H Lamb along with his wife, Sylvia and four daughters; Arvilla, Luella, Adelle, and Minne. Ironically, the Assessor for the Township of Shell Rock, Minnesota was, in fact, Francis H. Lamb. While we do not know why, we do know that the family had moved to Story County, Iowa and Francis Hudson Lamb died October 16, 1865. He is buried in Peoria Cemetery in Maxwell. It is likely that his parents are also buried in the cemetery as well. (Zeno Lamb and Martha Hutson)
Minnie’s mother was now left alone with four daughters under the age of 10. And so Sylvia made her return to Ohio in a covered wagon alone with the girls. With her flaming red hair, she evaded attach or capture by Native Americans who, as it has been told treated her kindly as they had never seen a woman with red hair. The 1870 Ohio Census finds Minnie Lamb (age 9) with her mother, Sylvia and sisters in Bedford Township near other family members. Occupation for Minnie (age 9), Adelle (age 11), and Luella (age 13) is listed as “Seating chairs”. Moving toward the 1880 Ohio Census, Minnie (age 19) (Occupation: “Seating chairs”) is with her mother, Sylvia and one sister Ada (age 21) who was a teacher. Future census records continue to show Minnie living with her mother until Sylvia’s death in 1926. Minnie continued to live in the home Sylvia had made for the girls at 51 Columbus St. in Bedford, Ohio and she continued to work as a clerk in a dry good/variety store as listed in the 1920 census to her death at the age of 78 on September 30, 1941.
It appears she was very close and devoted to her mother, Sylvia as well as her sisters. At some point in the 1920’s, Minnie and Sylvia took a trip back to Minnesota and Indiana to visit old friends, her “parents” graves and Hudson’s grave in Iowa. She kept a journal and noted how much it had all changed and how “growd up” the grass was that she could not find her parent’s graves, but was certain she had walked over them. It was a trip to cherish and share memories with her youngest daughter, Minnie Ett Lamb. As for her sisters, we are certain they were all close. Incredibly, Minnie and her sister, Eva Adelle Lamb (m. Christian J. Milz) died within hours of each other.
For every bachelor/bachelorette in the family tree, there are hidden stories that shape who they are and the choices they made. Sometimes, life has a way of shaping the choices. Minnie Ett Lamb is much admired as I took time to learn more about what her world may have been like as she made her journey from childhood to womanhood, from a frontier child to the age of urban expansion in Bedford Towship just outside of Cleveland, Ohio in the early 1900’s and from Civil War to The Great Depression and World Wars. She is much admired as she was laid to rest beside her mother, Sylvia at Bedford Cemetery in Bedford, Ohio. The youngest daughter continues to be at her side.