Real Estate News for North Pinellas County

Archive for July 19th, 2009

Chamberlins were part of Palm Harbor history

Grave of Franklin and Ella Chamberlin

Grave of Franklin and Ella Chamberlin

Back in March I wrote about the cemetery at Curlew Methodist Church in Palm Harbor, one of the oldest cemeteries in Pinellas County. You can read that earlier post here.

Not long afterwards, I got a nice note from Michael Chamberlin of California, who said he had enjoyed the article because his great-grandparents, James F. and Ella Chamberlin, were buried in that cemetery. I filed that information away, thinking I would go back up to the cemetery and see if I could find James’ and Ella’s headstones.

It took a little while, but over the Fourth of July weekend we stopped by the cemetery and walked around a bit.

We thought we would be there for a while — there are quite a few graves in that old cemetery. As luck would have it, the very first headstone we saw — the closest one to the church buildings to the left of the main driveway — said “Chamberlin.”

We were pretty sure we had found the right stone, although some of the information was a bit different from that provided by Michael Chamberlin. He had identified his great-grandfather as “James F.”, but the stone identified him as “Franklin.” Michael said his great-grandmother died in 1926, but the stone had the year of death as 1929.

I took a picture of the gravestone and sent it, along with a note, to Michael Chamberlin. he confirmed that his great-grandfather’s middle name was Franklin, and he confirmed the 1926 year of death for Ella Chamberlin.

In his earlier note, Michael said that his great-grandparents were originally from Beloit, Wis., and that they had moved to Florida and bought a 20-acre citrus grove on Curlew Road in 1910. He said their son, George L. Chamberlin, followed his parents to Pinellas County. He became very active in Republican politics here, and during the Calvin Coolidge administration was named postmaster of Palm Harbor.

It’s interesting how one story leads to another. I believe the old Palm Harbor post office was located in the Sutherland Building in old Downtown Palm Harbor, a building which now houses Peggy O’Neill’s restaurant, which I’ve written about previously.¬† The post office boxes are still in the restaurant, I’m pretty sure. Maybe I’ll try to dig up a story about the Post Office, and maybe a bit more about George Chamberlin.

It’s fun writing about the history of this part of Florida. If you have any interesting old stories about Pinellas County that you’d like to share, I’d love to hear them.

Special thanks to Michael Chamberlin for providing the information about his family members.