Chambers, Thomas Jefferson (1840–1929)

By: Aragorn Storm Miller

Type: Biography

Published: April 30, 2008

Updated: July 28, 2020

Thomas Jefferson Chambers, newspaper printer, editor, and proprietor, as well as state representative and county official, was born in Virginia on March 22, 1840, the son of Landon Gore and Mary Green (Allan) Chambers. His uncle—also named Thomas Jefferson Chambers and the namesake of Chambers County—was an early Texas pioneer who participated in the Texas Revolution. Chambers himself immigrated to Texas in the 1850s, settling in Liberty County. He married Mittie Smith in 1858; this couple had five children. He established himself as a printer and engaged in the newspaper business. Chambers edited the Liberty Gazette from 1858 until 1861 when the paper suspended operations at the outbreak of the Civil War. By 1860 Chambers had prospered, boasting $1,000 in personal and real estate property. On March 17, 1862 Chambers enlisted as a private in the Confederate Army at Liberty, Texas. He was assigned to Capt. Edward Bradford Pickett's Company, Third Regiment, Carter’s Brigade, Texas Mounted Volunteers of the Twenty-fifth Texas Cavalry Regiment on May 3, 1862. He was captured at the battle of Arkansas Post on January 11, 1863 and was sent to Camp Butler, Illinois. By September 1863 Chambers was back with his regiment as part of the Army of Tennessee. He took part in the battle of Chickamauga where he was captured again in September 1863. Chambers was sent to a military prison in Louisville, Kentucky before being moved to Camp Douglas in Illinois on October 2, 1863. On May 4, 1865 he was sent to New Orleans and was exchanged there on May 23, 1865.

Following the war Chambers returned to Liberty County where he resumed printing and editing the Gazette. In 1869 he left this paper and began editing the Liberty Observer, a role in which he continued through 1871. Chambers prospered during this period, increasing his estate to $1,500 in property, winning election as representative as a Democrat for Liberty County to the Twelfth Texas Legislature, and serving as county postmaster. His brother, William Morton Chambers also of Liberty County, was the Republican gubernatorial candidate in 1876. Thomas Chambers's first wife died early in the 1870s, and he remarried to Francis or Fannie Nolan in the mid-1870s; this couple had seven children. In 1887 Chambers returned to the newspaper business to become editor and publisher of the Liberty Vindicator, a publication dedicated to Southern rights and empowerment. In 1921 he turned over editing duties for the paper to a son. Chambers died on May 24, 1929, in Liberty and was buried there at Old City Cemetery. Chambers was a trustee of Liberty County Methodist Episcopal Church.

John M. Brockman, "Railroads, Radicals, and the Militia Bill," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 83 (October 1979). Liberty County, Texas, Cemeteries, Part 2 (Decorah, Iowa: Anundsen, 1978). Miriam Partlow, Liberty, Liberty County, and the Atascosito District (Austin: Pemberton Press, 1974).

  • Journalism
  • Newspapers
  • Editors and Reporters

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Aragorn Storm Miller, “Chambers, Thomas Jefferson,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 01, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

April 30, 2008
July 28, 2020