Who was J. B. Chambers?
JAMES B. CHAMBERS
James B. Chambers was born on December 19, 1854 on a farm near West Alexander, PA. He was the son of James B. Chambers. He attended local schools, including the West Alexander Academy, and spent a year of study at Iron City College near Pittsburgh.
In the fall of 1872, he moved with his parents to a farm on National Road in Elm Grove, now a section of Wheeling, WV. A portion of that farm, once called Chambers Memorial Farm, is now the site of the J. B. Chambers YMCA.
In 1876 J. B. Chambers married Belle Whitman. They moved back to West Alexander in 1881, where J. B. Chambers lived the rest of his life. He continued to manage the Chambers farm and also was associated with the Dearling Implement Company of Cleveland, as a sales representative. In 1893, J. B. founded the Elm Grove Mining Company and managed it until the Paisley coal interests purchased it in 1915. He then led in the organization of the First National Bank of West Alexander (which later became the Citizen’s National Bank) and played a prominent role in the formation of the First National Bank and Trust Company of Elm Grove. Later, Chambers formed the People’s National Bank of West Alexander. At the time of his death, he was president of the First National Bank and Trust and Vice President of the People’s National Bank.
J. B. Chambers’ first wife died in 1915. In 1920 he married Maude Armstrong, who survived him. He was also survived by a daughter, Mrs. Hazel G. McGill, of Claysville, PA. J.B. Chambers was a life-long member of the West Alexander Presbyterian Church, where he served as trustee for 20 years.
J. B. Chambers died at home on May 6, 1933. According to his obituary, his philanthropies were known throughout western Pennsylvania. Shortly before his death, he created the J. B. Chambers Memorial Foundation to carry on his life’s work. His will left substantial amounts to the Association, much of which was designated for support of his wife and daughter during their lifetimes before transferring to the Association.
Wheeling Register, May 7, 1933
Wheeling Register, May 8, 1933