*NOTE: John Chandler was not an Edmund Chandler descendant.
Hixson, TN, June 4, 2010 – Four hundred years ago, nine-year-old John Chandler boarded the pinnace Hercules, smallest of the three-ship fleet that left Cowes, England, on April 1, 1610. Lord Delaware, recently named Governor of Virginia, was aboard the flagship De-La-Warr which led the small fleet westward, toward the shores of Virginia.
Fifteen days into the voyage, a major storm separated the Hercules from the other two ships. However, the Hercules continued westward and eventually caught up with Lord Delaware, who had anchored off the coast of Port Comfort the morning of June 6.
On Sunday, June 10, 1610, Lord Delaware’s fleet sailed up the James River and dropped anchor at Jamestowne. Perhaps the most excited among this group of adventurers was the young boy, John Chandler. After months of cramped living, he stepped off the Hercules onto Virginia’s soil. Thus he became—at nine years old—the youngest known immigrant to the colony prior to 1610.
No records have been uncovered which tells who his parents were, with whom he traveled to America, or why he came. It can only be surmised he arrived alone, with no known protector. He survived the constant Indian attacks and massacres, along with the deadly plagues and diseases that beset many of those earliest settlers. In fact, he grew to manhood, prospered, married, and sired at least two known sons (John, Jr. and Robert) from whom a majority of the 400 plus members of the Chandler Family Association descend.
He was among the first of Virginia’s – and Hampton’s – leading citizens, serving in what was then the militia, sitting as an early justice in the House of Burgesses, and tending to the land. Prior to his death about 1658, John Chandler owned nearly 3800 acres, a section of which included docking facilities along the Hampton Roads waterfront. Portions of Elizabeth City, North Hampton, and Newport News now sit on land he once owned.
On September 17-18, 2010, Chandler Family Association members will gather in Hampton, Virginia, to celebrate the 400th anniversary year of their ancestor’s arrival. Special “members only” tours are planned, with stops in both Hampton and Jamestowne. Descendants will have a chance to walk the land where their immigrant ancestor John Chandler once trod.
Attendees will also receive an update on the Chandler DNA Project, which scientifically proves an unbroken genetic link back to the immigrant John Chandler. Also on the schedule for this year’s meeting is the introduction of the new CFA database, which has been in the development stage for more than four years and contains more than 80,000 records of Chandler individuals from around the world.
Anyone interested in Chandler genealogy is invited to attend. The Friday meeting begins at 8:00 a.m. September 17, 2010, at the Hampton Convention Center, Hampton, Virginia. There is a $15.00 fee for attendees who are not members of the CFA; however, this includes a one-year CFA membership and subscription to its award-winning newsletter.
More information about the annual meeting and the Chandler Family Association is at www.thecfa.org. Interested persons without computer access may contact Helen Chandler, CFA Secretary-Treasurer, at 901-355-5614 for information about membership, the annual meeting, accomodations and costs, or pre-registration for the special “members only” tours.