William Lea Chambers

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Portrait of William Lea Chambers, by Harris & Ewing.
Martin Augustine Knapp, William Lea Chambers and George Wallace William Hanger in 1913

William Lea Chambers (4 March 1852 – 26 August 1933) was a United States federal judge.


He was born on March 4, 1852 in Columbus, Georgia.

He was appointed Chief Justice of Samoa c.1897, where the English, Germans and Americans were sharing political influence under a tripartite agreement. He was soon forced to adjudicate between rival local claimants to the kingship of Samoa, ruling on a legal technicality in favour of Chief Tanu. A civil war ensued, which had to put down by British naval intervention, severely worsening relations between England and Germany, who had favoured the other claimant. Chambers was eventually pressured into resigning his post c.1900.[1]

In March 1913, he was appointed Commissioner of the United States Board of Mediation and Conciliation.[2][3]

He died in 1933 and was buried in Monocacy Cemetery, Beallsville, Maryland. He had married Laura Ligon Clopton and had several children.

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  1. ^ The Samoan Tangle: A Study in Anglo-German-American Relations 1878–1900. 
  2. ^ "Chambers Denies No-Strike Promise. Says Brotherhoods Accept Mediation, but Are Not Committed to Arbitration. Union's Agreement Only Pledges Full Consideration of Any Proposal President May Make" (PDF). New York Times. November 17, 1917. Retrieved 2009-08-03. Judge William L. Chambers, Commissioner of the United States Board of Mediation and Conciliation, came to New York from Washington last night to confer today with the National Conference Committee of the Railways as to the attitude of the roads toward the proposed demands of the four railway... 
  3. ^ "Senate Confirms Appointment of Chambers and Hanger as Mediators". New York Times. July 20, 1913. Retrieved 2009-08-03. President Wilson found to-day that Louis F. Post, Assistant Secretary of Labor, who was appointed a member of the Board of Mediation and Conciliation for the settlement of disputes between railroads and their employes, was ineligible for the place, as his appointment to the Labor Department had not been confirmed by the Senate. 

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