Rebecca Chamberlain

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Rebecca Chamberlain (unknown)

Also Known As: "Addington or Shelley"
Birthdate: (67)
Birthplace: England
Death: September 26, 1692 (63-71)
Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts
Place of Burial: Billerica, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States
Immediate Family:

Wife of William Chamberlain, of Woburn & Billerica
Mother of Timothy Chamberlain; William Chamberlain, II; John Chamberlain; Sarah Shed; Jacob Chamberlain, of Newton and 8 others

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Rebecca Chamberlain

Rebecca (Addington) Chamberlain (1625 - 1692), possibly the sister or half-sister of Isaac Addington (married Ann Leverett) of Billerica, Massachusetts, was born about 1625 in England; she died at about the age of 67 on 26 September 1692 in prison at Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts; she is buried at Old South Burying Ground, Billerica, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. Though there are no extant court records regarding her arrest, most historians believe that she was in prison for suspicion of witchcraft. Rebecca Addington married William Chamberlain (1619 - 1706) on 4 January 1646 in Roxbury, Massachusetts; they had 13 children.

Marriage and Children

Married William Chamberlain on 4 January 1646 Roxbury, Middlesex County, Massachusetts

  1. Timothy Chamberlain (born 13 August 1649 Woburn, Middlesex County, Massachusetts). Savage erroneously states that Timothy was born in Concord. He probably died young as no further record of him has been found.
  2. Isaac Chamberlain (1 October 1650 Woburn, Middlesex County, Massachusetts - 20 July 1681 Billerica, Middlesex County, Massachusetts). Savage erroneously states that Isaac was born in Concord. Isaac served in King Philips War; he was assigned to Sgt. Ralph Hills' garrison along with his father's family, on 8 Oct 1675 (History of Billerica, MA, p. 110). Probably unmarried.
  3. William Chamberlain (9 April 1652 Woburn, Middlesex County, Massachusetts - 20 January 1734 Lexington), married Deliverance Forbush (Fergerson/Ferguson) on 20 December 1698 Watertown, Massachusetts
  4. John Chamberlain (22 January 1654 Woburn, Middlesex County, Massachusetts - 1 April 1712 Billerica, Middlesex County, Massachusetts), married (1) Deborah Jacquith 6 December 1681 Billerica, (2) Unknown, about 1706
  5. Sarah Chamberlain (20 May 1655 Billerica, Middlesex County, Massachusetts - 17 January 1735/36 Billerica), married John Shed 9 January 1676/77 Billerica
  6. Jacob Chamberlain (18 January 1657 Billerica, Middlesex County, Massachusetts - 11 April 1712 Newton, Massachusetts), married Experience French about 1690, perhaps Medford, Massachusetts
  7. Thomas Chamberlain (20 February 1658/9 Billerica, Middlesex County, Massachusetts - October 1724 Newton, Massachusetts), married Elizabeth Hammond 18 April 1682, Cambridge, Massachusetts
  8. Edmund Chamberlain (15 July 1660 Billerica, Middlesex County, Massachusetts - after 28 July 1740 Billerica), married (1) Mrs. Mercy (Unknown) Abbott (a widow) 26 Augbust 1690 Billerica, (2) Abigail Unknown about 1700
  9. Rebecca Chamberlain (25 February 1662/3 Billerica, Middlesex County, Massachusetts - before 17 August 1733), married (1) Thomas Stearns 20 June 1688 Watertown, Massachusetts (2) George Farley 14 July 1699 Billerica.
  10. Abraham Chamberlain (6 January 1664/5 Billerica, Middlesex County, Massachusetts - before 17 May 1734), married Married Elizabeth Curtis 9 March 1691/2 Newton, Massachusetts; (2) Mary Randa 24 February 1697/8, Watertown, Massachusetts.
  11. Ann Chamberlain (3 March 1665/6 Billerica, Middlesex County, Massachusetts - after 12 December 1726) On 12 December 1726, the town of Billerica paid Clement Chamberlain £8:03 for “keeping” her and Dr. Howe 12shillings for “doctering” her. This record infers that in her old age she had became a town charge.
  12. Clement Chamberlain (30 May 1669 Billerica, Middlesex County, Massachusetts - circa October 1738) married Mary Unknown about 1691, probably Billerica.
  13. Daniel Chamberlain (27 September 1671 Billerica, Middlesex County, Massachusetts - after 22 November 1725) married Mary Unknown about 1694, probably Billerica.


In 1692, the witchcraft delusion spread from Salem Village to Andover, Haverhill, Reading, Lexington, Chelmsford, Billerica and other towns. In 1816, John Farmer, the pioneer antiquary of New England, in his article on the "Early History of Billerica " said of Rebecca Chamberlain that she was probably "a victum of the infatuation which prevailed at that time." An examination of every paper in the Middlesex County Court Files from 1670 to 1700 has revealed many witchcraft cases but nothing relating to Rebecca Chamberlain. The town records of Billerica state that she "died in ye prison at Cambridge. "


From Witchcraft in Billerica:


"Although there is no testimony to such, it is the belief and speculation of many that John Durrant and Rebecca Chamberlain were also victims of the Salem witch hunts. In the History of Middlesex County (Boston, 1885), Samuel Adams Drake writes “Rebecca, the wife of William Chamberlain and John Durrant, both of Billerica, died in prison in Cambridge where they were incarcerated for witchcraft.” Rev. Henry Hazen, in the History of Billerica (1883), states that Rebecca Chamberlain “died in prison at Cambridge, 1692, Sept. 26, possibly charged with witchcraft.” 


  • William Chamberlain and his Descendants by George Walter Chamberlain M. S. page 103
  • Find A Grave Memorial# 17329765
  • Ancestors of EastMill
  • Historic Homes and Institutions and Genealogical and Personal ..., Volume 1. edited by Ellery Bicknell Crane. Page 320. "Chamberlain.". "He [William Chamberlain] married Rebecca , who died September 26, 1692, in the prison at Cambridge, where she was held on the preposterous charge of witchcraft. The children of William and Rebecca Chamberlain were: Timothy, born at Concord, Massachusetts, August 13, 1649-50; Isaac, born at Concord, October 1, 1650, died July 20, 16S1; John, died March 3, 1652; Sarah, born at Billerica, May 20, 1655-56, married John Shedd; Jacob, born January 18, 1657-58, see forward. And these also at Billerica: Thomas, born February 20, 1659; Edmund, born July 15, 1660, married Mary Abbott; Rebecca, born February 25, 1662, married Thomas Stearns; Abraham, born January 6, 1664; Ann, born March 3, 1665-66; Clement, born May 30, 1669, Daniel, born September 27, 1671; Isaac, born January 20, 1681."
  • The History of Peter Parker and Sarah Ruggles of Roxbury, Mass. and Their ...  By John William Linzee. Page 541. "William Chamberlain was b. 13 Aug. 1649 Woburn*, Mass.; sister or half sister of Isaac Addington?; d. 26 Sept. (16)92 Billerica*, as Rebecca wife of Will(ia)m Chamberlain Sr., in the prison at Cambridge. (William Chamberlain of Billerica, by George Walter Chamberlain)."
  • New England Marriages Prior to 1700  By Clarence Almon Torrey, Elizabeth Petty Bentley. Page 142. "Chamberlain, William. (?1604, ?1621-1706, ae 85, & 2/wf? Rebecca [Shelley?]; (-1692?); b 1655?; b 1649?; Concord / Billerica."
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Rebecca Chamberlain's Timeline

August 13, 1649
Age 24
Woburn, Middlesex County, Massachusetts
October 1, 1650
Age 25
Woburn, Middlesex County, Massachusetts
April 9, 1652
Age 27
Woburn, Middlesex County, Massachusetts
January 22, 1654
Age 29
Billerica, Middlesex County, Massachusetts Bay Colony, (Present USA)
May 20, 1656
Age 31
Billerica, Middlesex County, Massachusetts Bay Colony
January 18, 1657
Age 32
Billerica, Middlesex County, Massachusetts
February 20, 1658
Age 33
Billerica, Middlesex County, Massachusetts
July 15, 1660
Age 35
Billerica, MA