from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A man who carries the chain used in surveying land; a chainman.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
When acting as chain-bearer in 1785, while Washington was surveying a tract of land, William fell and broke his knee-pan, “which put a stop to my surveying; and with much difficulty I was able to get him to Abington, being obliged to get a sled to carry him on, as he could neither walk, stand or ride.”
"He?" laughed the chain-bearer, while he crouched beside her, drawing himself into the smallest space possible.
At fifteen shillings per month, he engaged himself to this party as assistant chain-bearer, little thinking that the day was to come when he should clank the king's chains in a dungeon, even as now he trailed them
At the same time the principal chain-bearer, a man whose life had been passed in his present occupation, was brought into the consultation, as follows.
"No, sir, never;" answered David, the old chain-bearer already mentioned;
There we were, and had been for many hours, in the bosom of the forest, with trees in thousands ranged around us; trees had risen on our march, as horizon extends beyond horizon on the ocean, and this chain-bearer fancied it might be in the power of one who often passed through these dark and untenanted mazes, to recognise any single member of those countless oaks, and beeches, and pines!
"Monsieur de M-- (D'Azimart's second) informed me, when I waited on him, that your antagonist was one of the most celebrated pistol shots in Paris, and that a lady with whom he had been long in love, made the death of the chain-bearer the price of her favours.