From The Democrat, July 13, 1905.
From The Democrat, July 13, 1905
Obituary of Ex-Slave..
Died at Age of 107 years. “Uncle” Jake Chamberlain, An Old Time Negro.
Jake CHAMBERLAIN, a typical old-time Southern negro, died Monday at his humble cabin which stands about one and a half miles southeast of McKinney. He was, without a doubt, at the time of his death, the oldest living resident of Collin County. He claimed to have been born July 10, 1798, just 107 years ago today.
His venerable appearance, gray locks and bent form before death bore out this claim of over a century’s existence. Indeed, some of the county’s oldest citizens among them Manse and Hy WILMETH, D. L. McKINNEY and Jesse SHAIN, are positive that he reached the century mark. He was an old negro, familiarly known as “Uncle” Jake, - in their earliest boyhood days. Though bent by the weight of so many years, his memory, up to the time of his death, was remarkably clear, his eyesight very good and all his physical faculties were retained to a surprising degree. He was born in slavery on Holston river, in Granger County, Tennessee, three miles below the Horse Shoe Bend. He was taken by his master, Jeremiah CHAMBERLAIN, to Lexington, Mo., and sold to Joseph FISHER. The latter brought him to Texas, where the slave’s ownership passed to Joe DIXON, who later sold him to Elder J. B. WILMETH, father to Manse and Hy WILMETH, of near McKinney, for the sum of $400.
He is the father of numerous children. He married his last wife, who survives him, in the early fifties (1850s); both belonged to Elder J. B. WILMETH, whose son, Elder J. R. WILMETH, now of Mills county Texas, officiated.
For seventy-five years Uncle Jake was a Baptist preacher, doing local ministerial work among the members of his race. He never had but one severe spell of illness and that after being brought to Texas. Dr. SMITH, father of H. Q. and C. W. SMITH, the druggists, attended him.
Uncle Jake married five times, two of his wives died and two were separated from him in the course of events incident to slavery times. Uncle Jake owned a little piece of land of about 30 acres, upon which he lived. On passing his home at any time, he could nearly always be seen at the wood pile at work......
Uncle Jake’s old black face never failed to beam a welcome, more cordial and eloquent than words could convey, to any white friend or stranger who happened to pause at his humble cabin door for a word of cheer to its occupant, who possessed the distinction of having lived in all three of the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries.