DANIEL HENRY CHAMBERLAIN was born in West Brookfield, Massachusetts. He graduated from Yale University and entered Harvard Law School but left after one year, going on to teach school. During the Civil War, he served with the Fifth Massachusetts Regiment—a cavalry regiment of Black volunteers, rising in rank from Second Lieutenant to Captain. After the Civil War he moved to South Carolina, where he was a cotton planter and practiced law in Columbia. He was a member of the South Carolina Constitutional Convention of 1868 and served as Attorney General of the state from 1868 to 1872. After taking office as governor, he implemented a number of reforms, including a reduction of public expenditures and curbing of the power of several state boards. He was the apparent winner of a second term by several thousand votes and was inaugurated one month later. However, Democrats challenged the election results and established a rival government with Wade Hampton as their chief executive. Both men claimed gubernatorial authority at the time that the Compromise of 1877 ended Reconstruction and President Rutherford B. Hayes withdrew federal troops, leaving Chamberlain powerless and forcing him to leave office. He went on to practice law in New York and became a professor of Constitutional Law at Cornell University in 1883. He retired fourteen years later and ultimately settled in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 4. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.
The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 12. New York: James T. White & Company.