by Barb Chandler


Are you an ancestor of Abraham Lincoln? Perhaps these clues may help you decide.

This letter by Mary Alice Chandler Kelly(1878-1969), daughter of James S.(1836-1908) and Lucetta Miller Chandler(1836-1928), had been circulating in my family for years;

“My grandmother, Nancy Hanks Miller(1794-1873), was a cousin of Abraham Lincoln’s mother. Both had the name of Nancy Hanks. Grandfather Billie Miller and Nancy Hanks were married in Kentucky. The came with the Lincolns to Illinois. From there they came to Iowa settling a few miles from New London and Mt. Pleasant. They had 13 children and raised two others. Mother(Luicetta) was born after the family came to Iowa, June 25 1836. She was the first white girl born in Pleasant Grove Township.

Grandmother played a vital part in Lincoln’s life by weaving material and making his clothes, not by machine but by hand; also nursing him through typhoid fever.”

While I was researching another one of James Chandler’s children; Nancy Chandler Chadwick(1860-1937). I found more information about a Chandler/Lincoln connection in this addition to her obituary;

In making application for membership in the Journal’s Three-Quarter Century club last summer, Mrs. Chadwick gave this information on the blank where space was provided for any specially interesting facts about the life of the applicant: My grandmother and Abraham Lincoln’s mother were cousins both named Nancy Hanks. My grandmother’s name was Nancy Hanks Miller. Abe Lincoln was employed to teach the district school in the Miller neighborhood. Naturally he went to live at the home of my grandmother. While there he fenced my grandfather’s land. He also split rails for jeans to make his pants and my grandmother wove the goods and made the pants. My mother’s older sister had a dress bought of Lincoln when he peddled goods. He drove a horse and wagon at that time.” Source: Washington Evening Journal dated 25 January 1937

I wanted to find some verifiable information connecting the Chandler family to Abraham Lincoln, and hit pay dirt when I found this letter penned by William Miller, husband of Nancy Hanks Miller;

William Miller to Abraham Lincoln, Wednesday, May 11, 1864 (Promotion for Elisha Wright)
From William Miller to Abraham Lincoln [With Endorsement by Lincoln]1, May 11, 1864

New London
Henry County Iowa
11th May, 1864

My dear Sir

You may not reccollect an old man now tottering on the verge of the grave — then living in Macon County Illinois who wore the name of William Miller and married your Cousin Nancy Hanks

With the keenest remembrances of old times I will never forget Your visits to my humble home which you will reccollect although plain was free as the air to yourself. Providence has far exceeded your expectations and mine in placing you in the great White House. Whilst age has made me feeble When in Illinois, I was so well acquainted with you that I could venture to talk to you about everything and I hope your elevation to place has not changed your native kindness

You will perhaps reccollect Aunt Nancy’s Sister, Celia Hanks, she You will reccollect married John. D. Wright who afterwards came to Des Moisnes Iowa– John was our County Surveyor was a member of the Legislature and of the State Convention which formed Our Constitution and was withal a very honest clever man

Poor Celia died about twenty years ago when her twin Children, Elisha and Electa were one month old– I took them children and raised them. Elisha had a very good Education and clerked in a Store until the war broke out and then he volunteered to go to the war to help Cousin Abe (as we all call you) preserve the Country Elisha is a good sensible honest trust worthy boy, and has been in many hard fights. And is a good Soldier I want him to get promotion after so much fighting and suffering He is worthy of a place in the Regular Army as Lieutenant and will in such position never disgrace his Kinsman who can easily give him the appointment he so richly deserves He is a private in Company K. 19th Iowa Infantry

I need not add more which will tire You, I am now upwards of seventy and have to get a friend to write for me as I dictate as I am feeble.

I feel anxious before I die to do something for my dear relative Elisha and feel sure that you will do this for me.

Aunt Nancy is feeble like myself. She joins in my love

to you that God will bless you

in this great time of


I am your Cousin


William Miller

[ Endorsed by Lincoln:]

William Miller — Bill Miller

[Note 1 Miller was married to Nancy Hanks, a daughter of Lincoln’s great uncle William Hanks. Her brother was Lincoln’s cousin and Indiana companion, John Hanks. Elisha Wright, in whose behalf Miller writes, did not receive a commission in the U. S. Army, but he was considered for the position as secretary for the Montana Territory. See Lincoln, Memorandum on Montana Patronage, [June 1864].]

Source: Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Transcribed and Annotated by the Lincoln Studies Center, Knox College. Galesburg, Illinois.

The Chandler/Lincoln connection comes through James S. Chandler’s marriage to Lucetta Miller.

James S. and Lucetta Miller Chandler

James S. and Lucetta Miller Chandler


James S Chandler’s lineage is ; Edmund Chandler >Joseph Chandler >Edmund Chandler > Capt. John Chandler > Jonathan Chandler > Ichabod Chandler > Elihu Chandler > James S Chandler

Are you a distant cousin many times removed to Lincoln? If you have researched this line I would love to hear the stories you have found.


by Barb Chandler


Siskiyou County(red dot)

Freeman Chandler Jr.(1828-1900), son of Freeman(1801-?) and Esther Austin Chandler(1797-?), owned a large sheep ranch on Willow Creek in Siskiyou County California. Freeman raised and ran sheep on the Willow Creek mountain area, Chandler Glade being one of his camps. Evidence remains of a ditch he started to convert water down the hill to their ranch.

To see a  map of Chandler Glade click this link:,n,chandler%20glade,fid,258196.cfm

Source: Biography of Freeman Chandler, Jr. found on a family tree at Ancestry.c0m


by Barb Chandler

Did one of our ancestors try to stake a claim in Chandler, named for Judge George Chandler who was a Congressman and commissioner of the Washington Land Office.


Chandler Oklahoma(red dot).

During the time of the Chandler land run Levi Jason Chandler(1838-1901), son of Sylavanus(1799-1882) and Sarah Harlow Chandler(1803-1880), was relocating from Iowa to Oklahoma. In the 1880 census he was living in Troy, Iowa, and in 1900 census he lived in the town of Miami Oklahoma.

levi jason chandler

Levi Jason Chandler

Perhaps Levi was one of the riders that this newspaper article describes:


Gutherie, O.T., Septembe 29-”Couriers who have arrived here this afternoon gave the following particulars and horrible details which attended the opening of the government town site of Chandler in the Sac and Fox reservation, which was opened to settlement on week ago:

The town site was opened to settlement at 12 o’clock yesterday, and the scene which followed the volley of musketry which announced the opening of the town site was amazing.

A mass of 3,000 excited men and women, intent upon securing a lot, had gathered about the boundary of the town. Some were on horses or broncos and others on foot, stripped of all superfluous clothing, each carrying a sharpened stick with the name and notice of the lot taken thereon, all strung to the highest pitch of excitement.

At 12:00 o’clock sharp the signal was given and with a mighty yell from 3,000 throats, and admid the cracking of whips and volleys of oaths, shouts, and curses, a conglomerate mass of men and women, on horseback and foot, rushed like manics for the town lots. The clambered up the steep cliff.


The line was one mile long on each side and half-mile long on each end. The rush was toward lot 38 which was reserved for a courthouse.

As the angles of the advancing lines met many riders were unhorsed and hurled pell mell into the road. Many persons are reported killed and others as having received severe injuries. Miss Daisy, a representative of the Guthrie News, was thrown from her horse at the beginning of the race and striking her head on a rock was killed. The excited and merciless crowd had no time to attend the dying and rode over the body of the unfortunate woman, until it was recognized by a friend who took it out of the surging mass of humanity.

As there were three or four times as many people as there were lots the result could be easily foretold. There are from three to six claimants for a great many of the good lots tonight. On every hand can be heard curses. It will take considerable time to adjust these differences. An Indian killed a white man over a quarrel in one of the tents were liquor was being sold.” Source: Wednesday September 30, 1891, Daily Inter Ocean(Chicago, Ill.), VolumneXX, Issue 190, page 1.

Whether Levi Chandler was part of this or not is a matter of speculation. The land rush is a page from our history that describes what people went through to settle our country.


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