Larkspur Historical Society

Ranch William “Will” Chamberlain Circa ~ 1881

William “Will” Chamberlain Ranch

Will Chamberlain, a pioneer resident of Douglas County, was born in Kankakee, Illinois, in 1862. Will was eleven years old (1873) when his parents moved their family west and settled in Douglas County, Colorado. In 1881 Will’s father, Ellis, purchased just over 150 acres on Upper Lake Gulch Road, about three miles east of Larkspur in Township 9S, Range 66W, Section 19. Not much else is known about Mr. Ellis Chamberlain.

In December 1887, Will proved up his homestead claim, and in 1890, Will bought land on the same road and in the same section as his father. During ownership of his lands, which grew to over 300 acres, Will made many improvements: a barn was built, which burned down in 1890 and was rebuilt, a house was built, and fencing was installed. Approximately twelve years after the initial purchase, Will rented the property out.

Will married Amelia Beck Houston on September 6, 1899, at his parent’s home. It was an evening wedding attended by the couple’s closest friends and family including: I. J. Noe, Mr. and Mrs. Briscoe, Holcomb and Whitney, the Chas. Smith’s and others. The parlor of the Chamberlain home was said to be decorated with clematis. Some of the gifts included: silver cake stand and pickle jar, table linen, a clock, dining room curtains and two turkeys. The new bride and groom were then off to Rapid City to spend a month with friends

Will ran for county commissioner in 1901. He worked in Castle Rock for the former mercantile company known as Holcomb and Whitney. The company’s named changed, in 1919, to the Douglas County Mercantile Company. It was also 1919 when Will sold his ranch. The ad that ran in the paper called the Record Journal is below.

Forty years had passed since Will and Amelia married and moved to Castle Rock. Will retired from his profession at Douglas County Mercantile Company in 1939. His obituary appeared in the Record Journal in 1945 and reported “He leaves to mourn his passing, his wife, Amelia, several nephews and nieces, other relatives and a great host of friends.”

Written on this photo was “Friends of I.J. Noe. Will and Mrs. Chamberlain (Amelia). The photographer was H. V. Rothberger on Arapahoe Street in Denver, Colorado.

Thanks to the Colorado Historic Newspaper Collection, the Local History Collection of the P.S. Miller Library, BLM land patent records and the Ida May Noe History Collection