The Herald Bulletin

Overnight Update


June 29, 2013

Kevin Smith, who do you think you are?


The Pember family (for whom Pemberville was name) can trace its ancestry to Thomas Pember of County Hereford in England and to his wife, Agnes Way, whose parents came to North America in 1630 on the William and Mary. The Pembers originally settled in Connecticut, then moved to Poultney, Vt.

Ethan Pember was named for Ethan Allen, the leader of Vermont’s Green Mountain boys during the Revolutionary War. His father and uncles served with the Vermont Militia and the family may have been distantly related to Allen. His great-grandfather, John Pember was rumored to be one of the men who bankrolled the arming of New England troops during the American Revolution. (The rumor has never been proved.) After the Revolution, the Pember family migrated to New York and then settled in Wood County, Ohio.

Both of Leona’s grandfathers served in the Civil War. Her grandfather, William Isbell, was a soldier in the 144th Ohio Infantry. His regiment did three months’ guard service at Wilmington, Del. and Washington, D. C. Her mother’s father, John Chamberlain, enlisted in the 100th Ohio Infantry in September, 1862. The regiment served in Kentucky and eastern Tennesse and then was moved to the Atlanta campaign in spring 1864, but John Chamberlain did not survive that long. He developed smallpox, died March 31, 1864 and is buried in Cave Hill National Cemetery in Louisville, Ky. His wife, Catherine Smith Chamberlain, was left with three small children to support. She applied for a pension and received government support of $8 a month. (By 1912, her widow’s pension payment had been raised to $12.)

Both of Kevin Smith’s parents, Carl Smith and Hazel Althouse, came to Indiana in the 1930s and married in 1939 in Delaware County. Kevin’s father, Carl Thurman Smith, was a Circuit Court judge in Madison County for 23 years.

Beth Oljace works in the Indiana Room at the Anderson Public Library. She can be reached at

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