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CHAMBERLAIN, SELAH

CHAMBERLAIN, SELAH (4 May 1812-27 Dec. 1890), a railroad developer involved in the iron industry and banking, was born in Brattleboro, Vt., to Selah and Abigail (Burnett) Chamberlain. He moved to Boston at 21 where he obtained business training as an apprentice in a grocery store. In 1835, Chamberlain formed his own company and was contracted to complete construction on an extension of the Erie & Pennsylvania Canal. He received larger contracts for the Wabash & Erie Canal, and in the 1840s supervised improvements on the St. Lawrence River. In 1847, he returned to Vermont and contracted to build segments of the country's emerging railroad system. He was largely responsible for the construction of the Rutland & Burlington Railroad to Boston, and the Lake Champlain Railroad. In 1849, Chamberlain moved to Cleveland to take advantage of Midwest railroad expansion. In Cleveland, Chamberlain also cofounded the private banking house of Chamberlain, Gorham, & Perkins, which in 1880 merged into Merchants Natl. Bank. Related to his railroading, in 1850 he was a founder of the Cleveland Iron Mining Co. (later to become CLEVELAND-CLIFFS, INC.). Chamberlain's railroad interests included the entire contract to construct the Cleveland & Pittsburgh Railroad (1849), railroad building in Iowa and Wisconsin, and being a major stockholder in several railroads. He was an incorporator of the Cleveland, Lorain, & Wheeling Railroad Co. and helped form the Cleveland Transportation Co. and for many years was its president. Chamberlain married Arabella Cochran in 1844 and had 2 children: James and William. They were one of the first families to own a mansion on "Prosperity Row" on Euclid Ave. Chamberlain was buried in LAKEVIEW CEMETERY.