An update on Abel Chandler, son of Ichabod Chandler.

For those of you that have been with us for a while, you might remember all of the struggles that we had sorting out the Abel Chandlers of the Minot/Poland area of Maine.  Here’s a brief recap.  Somehow, the information for four Abel Chandlers got merged into two people. Abel is not a very common name and to have had four Abel Chandlers in one locale was remarkable.  When we began our research we were not even aware that that there were two Abel Chandlers, both with sons named Abel, Jr. in the Minot, Maine area.

They were Abel Chandler, son of Ichabod and Olive (Fish) Chandler and his son, Abel, Jr. both born in Maine and Abel Chandler, son of John and Sarah (Weston) Chandler and his son, Abel, Jr. both born in Duxbury, Massachusetts, but moved to Maine.

This time we are revisiting Abel Chandler son of Ichabod Chandler and Olive Fish and his family.

Here is his lineage starting with Abel:

Abel> Jonathan Chandler+Rebecca Packard> Capt. John Chandler+Bethiah Rickard>Edmund Chandler+Elizabeth Alden>Joseph Chandler+Mercy>Edmund, the immigrant.

We knew little about him beyond a few bits of information and the letter from Abel to his brother.  Abel appears to have started out a Congregationalist, then Baptist, then Universalist and then Spiritualist.  His spiritual quest led him through the different religious movements of the times. He and his brother did not see eye to eye on religion. Our editor, Barb, plans to do a story on Abel as a minister in the future.

Sadly, he lost his wives and probably all of his children during his life time, although it appears that he was survived by grandchildren.

He moved frequently and trying to keep track of him was like tracking a jumping flea. He probably held the records for the most moves made by a Chandler – Minot, Foxcroft, Garland, Hebron and East Prospect all in Maine and various places in Illinois and Missouri. Then he was on the road for probably 20 years before finally ending up in Iowa, sadly called insane in the 1880 US census, but was he?  Read on and form your own opinion. These are only the places where he lived that we know about. In an attempt to make it easier to follow, events in his life are listed chronologically.

Adding to the difficulty is that Garland vital records prior to 1888 were destroyed as were Minot, Maine records from the mid 1820s for several decades thereafter.

From research, it turns out that Abel may have been married three times, possibly four.  With his first wife, Abigail they had Abel, Jr., Louise or Louisa, Abigail W., Harriet, Whitney, Alvin and Charles?  With his second wife they had Frances and Mary A. It is unclear about son Charles. Son of first wife or second wife? Or two Charles, one with his first wife and one with his second wife? They did have another Louisa, who lived one day, even though the first Louisa was still living.


Abel was born on November 29, 1796 in Poland, Maine


Abel marries Abigail Harlow in Turner, Maine on April 2, 1818. Contrary to popular belief, Abel did not marry Elizabeth Davis.  Abel Chandler, Jr., son of the other Abel married Elizabeth.


Abel and probably wife, Abigail, are recorded in the 1820 US census for Foxcroft, Penobscot County, Maine.  Foxcroft later became part of Piscataquis County, Maine.  His parents and siblings also resided in Foxcroft.


Children Abel, Jr., Louise (AKA Louisa, Lou), Harriet and Whitney were baptized.


He appeared again, this time with wife and children, in the 1830 US census for Parkman, Somerset County, (now Piscataquis County) Maine. In 1838 Piscataquis County was carved out of Somerset and Penobscot County so he probably lived in what is now the western section of Piscataquis County.

In the 1830 US censuses, only the head of the household’s name was given.  There was Abel, presumably wife, Abigail, Abel, Jr., Whitney? Alvin (who from later records was found to have been born in 1829), and an unknown son perhaps named Charles, Louise, and either Abigail W. or Harriet. The other Abel Chandler also had a daughter named Abigail, but she was buried in Androscoggin County.


Abigail, wife of Abel, died August 23, 1835 and is buried in Turner, Androscoggin County, Maine, according to Turner, Maine vital records. Also, about 1835-36, Abel became a licensed minister with the Universalist church.  While he may have been a licensed minister, he did probably not earn his living by preaching at that time, although he may have many years later.  According to the Evangelical Magazine and Gospel Advocate Vol. 8, Abel was fellowshipped by the Maine Convention of the Universalist Church.

It appears that there was a yet another Abel Chandler, not descended from Edmund Chandler, but William and Annis Chandler, who lived in New York. It appears that he was a deacon in the Universalist church and was involved in church politics.  He was born in Connecticut in 1797.  Now, while we have the Maine Abels straightened out, this Abel, in addition to being a Universalist, also moved a lot and to the same states as Rev. Abel Chandler. He also had a son named Abel E. Chandler. More confusion!


Abel probably remarried c. 1837, but we don’t who she was as we have not found a record of this marriage, nor of her death presumably before the 1850 US census.  There was a son named Charles born in Maine in 1838 according to the 1850 US census. According to Turner vital records, Abigail was the mother of a Charles, but if she died in 1835 she could not have been the mother of this Charles unless her death date or the

census date was in error.  It is possible that there was another Charles born in the 1820s who died and this is a second Charles with Abel’s second wife. However, if he was only two years old in the 1840 census why wasn’t he living with his parents? There was also Abel’s grandson, named Charles B. Chandler who was born in December of 1840.

The 1840 US census for Hebron, Oxford County, Maine shows head of household, Abel, presumably his second wife and presumably daughters Louise and Frances (“Francense”).  However, there is no Charles and no Alvin, who both later show up in the 1850 US census.  Abigail W., Harriet, and Whitney do not appear in this census, nor in any other records that could find. Most likely these three died very young.


Another daughter named Louisa A. was born on August  29, 1841 and died that same day according to Hebron, Oxford County Maine records. It appears that there were two Louisas from two different wives as the first Louise (Louisa) was still living

Abel was out and about traveling on January 6, 1841 in Turner, Maine as he is recorded in Jonathan Phillips’ journal as stopping by.

According to the 1850 US census, there was presumably a daughter, Mary A. born in 1846 in Maine.  Names were listed in the 1850 censuses, but relationships were not mentioned until the 1860 census.

Somewhere between 1846, after the birth of his last child and most likely the death of his second wife and 1850, he moved to Jersey, Jersey, Illinois. He was one of the ministers responsible for bringing the Universalist church to Pike County, Illinois, according to the “History of Pike County, Illinois.”  He lived in various places in Illinois.


Abel, with family but sans wife, was enumerated in the 1850 US census in Jersey, Jersey County, Illinois.  With him are Lou (Louise), Charles, Alvin, Francense and Mary A. Presumably they are all his children. We see probably Alvin again in the 1860 census back in Maine and possibly Charles in Missouri in the 1880 census, but nothing more of the other children after the 1850 census. The Jersey Historical Society has Abel as age 30 and his wife as Zoa, although the census form shows what appears to age 50 for Abel and that it seems that there was Lou not Zoa listed. Lou was much younger than Xoa. Probably whoever saw that got Abel, Jr. and Abel, Jr.’s wife, Xoa, mixed up with his father and sister.

During this same time frame from the late 1840s to the late 1850s, the other Abel Chandler appears as a special land agent for the US government selling land in Illinois. We know that he is the other Abel as his profession was listed as land agent in the 1860 US census for Clinton, Iowa.

In 1851 an Abel Chandler who made the final payment on land purchased land in Franklin County, Illinois, although it is not certain which Abel it was.


Abel and family are enumerated in the 1855 Illinois State Census, Concord Morgan County.  Abel is listed along with two boys perhaps Charles and maybe Alvin with the wrong age. There is also a woman listed between ages 40 and 60. Was she a third wife? A housekeeper? Was this the correct Abel?


Now we pick up the trail of Abel again with his letter to his brother, most likely Sylvanus. He and Sylvanus had very different views on religion.  On December 31, 1857, Abel wrote that he was well but hadn’t kept house for over two years and that he probably wouldn’t again.  He was having success with his sermons on Spiritualism so was probably on the road.  The letter was written from Lincoln County, Missouri Abel, and asks him to write to him in Bluff dale, Green County, Illinois.

Of all of these children, we can only find the first Louise (Lou), Abel, Jr., Alvin, and maybe Charles who survived to adulthood.  And of these surviving children, we could only find Abel, Jr. and maybe Charles who had children.  By the time Abel Chandler died, it appeared that he may have survived all of his children.


It appears that despite not planning on keeping house again, he may have been the Abel Chandler who married Mrs. Phebey Matney. The marriage license was issued November 29, 1860 in Schuyler, Illinois.  Barb found the marriage in Illinois Marriage Records, the official online records for Illinois. Matney was probably transcribed incorrectly as “Motney.”

The marriage of “Able” Chandler and Mrs. Phebe Matney on November 29, 1860, was also announced in “The Schuyler Citizen” December 5, 1860.  Phebe, Phebey or Phoebe, appeared to have been married previously to Elisha Matney of Kingston, Delaware, Ohio.  She was born in Virginia c. 1812 according to the 1850 US census for Kingston, Delaware, Ohio. Her maiden name was Berry. She also appeared in the 1860 census which was taken several months prior to her marriage.  She was living with her brother-in-law, Nathan Matney.  Her birth year was given as 1808.

The mystery is that Macon County, Missouri also has a transcribed marriage record for Abel Chandler and Pheby Matney February 1, 1846! The marriage was solemnized by John Lamb, Justice of the Peace.

This seems to be a transcription error as it boggles the mind to think that there could be two Abel Chandlers married to two Phoebe Matneys.  In 1850 Abel was recorded in the Illinois census with no wife listed so it seems that the 1849 date was a mistake. Further research may unravel this mystery.

Furthering that mystery along was a Phebey Chandler, born in 1812, who was born in Tennessee, who was enumerated in the 1860 US census in Concord, Morgan County, Illinois. A daughter born in Missouri was listed, but there were no others in the household. She couldn’t have been the Phoebe Matney of Delaware, Ohio and if Phoebe did not marry Abel until November of that year, does she fit into this picture or is she just a red herring?

Now hot on the trail of wives, I did find two more marriages one in1865 one in 1867 in Kansas to an Abel Chandler.  That’s a lot of wives for one Abel – three in 7 years.

It turns out that at least one and probably both of the Kansas brides, married the other Connecticut born, New York raised, William and Annis descendant, Abel Chandler, who had been enumerated in the 1860 US census in Iowa.

There still needs to be more work on Abel and Phoebe to establish for certain that it was Rev. Abel who married Phoebe and to explain the huge discrepancy in dates.  The dates still don’t match up if she married the other Abel.

So we think that the last official sighting of Abel that we found was in December of 1860, when he presumably married, until the 1880 census.  As he wrote that he was having success as a Spiritualist minister, most likely he was on the road during this time preaching.


The 1880 US census for Milford, Story County, Iowa shows “Able” Chandler, preacher, living with Jacob Horst and his wife along with several other people of widely diverse ages.  This was very likely the Milford County Home where he was listed as living earlier that same year. Sadly, he was listed as insane.  He may have suffered from old age dementia, a stroke, or he may have gone off the deep end perhaps from the losses in his life, or his beliefs may have caused his relatives to deem him crazy. They had very traditional beliefs compared to Abel.

Unless we get more facts, you will just have to form your own opinion. In those days insane covered a wide swath of ailments which could include old age dementia.  He was not listed on the 1885 Iowa census, so most likely he died sometime between 1880 and 1885.  We have not found where he was buried.  He may have been buried in Knoll Cemetery in Iowa as that is where paupers and residents of the home were buried or he may have been buried in where his brother, Sylvanus, was buried as there is a Chandler gravestone with an illegible first name.

Whether or not you agree with his religious beliefs, he seemed like a very kind and gentle soul.  In those days the Universalist church along with many other churches backed social justice causes such as abolition of slavery and equal rights for women so he probably believed in social justice as well.

While some mysteries have been solved, Abel, Jr. did survive probably until sometime in the 1840s and had children, including the previously mysterious Charles B. Chandler, more have arisen.

What happened to the rest of his children?  What is the story on the other Charles or Charleses?  Did he really go crazy?  What’s the whole story on Phebey Matney? Was he estranged from his brother, Sylvanus and his family?  Where was he buried?

If you like solving mysteries, take a crack at Abel’s. As usual, if there are omissions or mistakes, and with him it is very easy to make mistakes, let us know.


1820 US Maine census Foxcroft, Penobscot County, Maine

One male, Abel Chandler

One female, probably Abigail, his wife

1830 US census for Parkman, Somerset County, Maine

One male 30 but under 40 years of age  (Abel)

Two males 5 but under 10  (Abel, Jr.Whitney?)

Two males under 5 years of age: Alvin ?

One female 30 but under 40 years of age: Abigail

Two females under 10 years of age:  Louise and either Abigail W. or Harriet

Interestingly, the next name on the census was Seth Chandler , 20 but under 30 years of age, one female 20 but under 30 years of age and one female under 5 years of age.  Who was this Seth?  Was he Abel’s cousin Seth Chandler, who married Caroline Gurney? This Seth Chandler was the son of  Ichabod’s brother, John. However, our records showed that he died in 1825, so was that a mistake or was he another Seth Chandler?

1840 US census in Hebron, Oxford County, Maine

One male under 50 (Abel)

One female under 40.  We don’t know who she is because according to Turner, Androscoggin County records Abigail died Aug. 21, 1835. It appears that he remarried, but we don’t know to whom. This is the last record that we have of his second wife.  She probably died between 1846 and 1850 when Abel moved to Illinois.

One female under 20   Probably Louise

One female under 5 Probably Frances

We are missing Abel, Jr., Alvin, Abigail W., Whitney, Harriet, Alvin, and  an unknown son.  Abel, Jr. had married and was living in Lowell in 1840 and Alvin shows up again in the 1850 census with Abel and family in  Illinois, but no more is heard of the rest.  They could have been living with relatives, but most likely  they died. However, we do find Abel, Jr. in Lowell, Massachusetts where he married Xoa Swift.

1850 US census for Jersey, Jersey, Illinois

Abel Chandler                born 1800, Maine

Lou Chandler,                born 1822, Maine.  (Louise)

“Francence” Chandler    born 1840, Maine

Charles Chandler,           born 1838, Maine

Mary A. Chandler,          born 1846, Maine

Alvin,                              born 1829, Maine

1855 Illinois State Census, Morgan County

2 males  15-20  Charles? Perhaps Alvin recorded with the wrong age or?

1 male 50-60  Abel Chandler

1 female 40-60  A third wife?  A housekeeper? Daughter Louise recorded with the wrong age?

Born to Abel and “Aligah” (Abigail) from Maine records were:

Abel Chandler born Jan. 13, 1821 in Dover-Foxcroft, Piscataquis, Maine.  Abel, Jr. was a mystery until more records became available.  He married Mrs. Xoa (Zoa) Swift in Lowell, Massachusetts in

Abigail W. Chandler born Feb. 3, 1822, in Dover-Foxcroft, Piscataquis, Maine

Nothing further is known about her.

Louisa Chandler born Feb. 27, 1823 in Dover-Foxcroft, Piscataquis, Maine.

She was most likely the female under 20 in the 1840 US census for Hebron, Oxford County Maine and the 1850 US census for Illinois as “Lou.”  Nothing further is known about her. She may have been disabled because it appeared that he had a housekeeper in the 1850 census and if she were able-bodied she probably would have gotten that job.

Harriet and Whitney Chandler or perhaps just one person named Harriet Whitney Chandler.  Nothing further is known about her and/or them. See notes below:

Alvin born c. 1829 from census records

Note: From Sue Athol

“We’ve had some discussions on this list about Abel Chandler and whether he had children. I corresponded with Pastor Ken Dale of the Congregational Church in Foxcroft, Maine, several years ago. The records from his church showed baptisms in 1824 of children of Abel Chandler:
Abel, Harriott Whitney and Abigail.

Notes from Barb Chandler:

I read over the notes a professional genealogist made about Ichabod’s line. She wrote that from the church in Turner, ME Abel went to the First Baptist. He was ’embodied,’ perhaps confirmed, at a church in Garland, Me Feb 10, 1823. She lists the children of Abel as; Abel, Harriett, Whitney, and Abigail, and lists their baptismal dates.

Journal of Jonathan Phillips of Turner, Maine (1841)

1841 January 6 Wednesday wind north cloudy carried Bethiah House home paid her 37½ cts for * her work Abel Chandler here Jesse Drew here I exchanged horses with him he o give his note for twenty five Dollars to paid in one year with interest the first time he comes down from Canton it being dark to-night when we traded & he in urry having to go to Canton to-night the horse I have of him is the old Lewis Drew mare


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