All articles in this edition of the Courier by Carol May
Finally, we are back with our Revolutionary War series after a very busy, busy year. Our Edmund Chandler Family Association is now a chapter of the Chandler Family Association. The CFA has over 700 members and is worldwide and not Chandlers are all related. Find out more about the merger in this issue.
It was also very busy year for me personally as my brother and I took a trip to the Czech Republic and Austria to see where my grandmother’s family came from. Family tree in hand we visited a lot of villages. You can read about researching ancestors across the pond versus US research in this issue.
Other big news, is that our member, Billie’s, 153 page book will be coming out soon. She is adding the pictures and maps now. Her book will include Joseph, Edmund, the immigrant’s son, and his land, the mystery Chandlers, mystery no longer, Capt. John, Nathaniel, Mercy and some of their descendants, and also Benjamin Chandler. By meticulous research she has been able to correct many long-held mistaken beliefs and incorrect research as well as add to the knowledge about these people. We will keep you posted when the book comes out.
In case some of you missed them, Barb, our editor posted several stories in the last several months on the Civil War and other topics. Member, Susan, and Barb, researched Elbridge Gerry Chandler and his Civil War service. Especially fun was Barb’s story on the Chandler Band, still in existence today and is still playing. If you scroll back through the Courier you can read the stories and see the video clip on the Chandler Band.
Our big research topic this issue is Peleg Chandler, chairman of the Committee of Safety for New Gloucester, Maine during the Revolution, and the owner of Bell Tavern. Also, related stories about Bell Tavern, a lively story taken from his son’s diary chronicling his journey from Bell Tavern to Massachusetts, and the settling of New Gloucester and the block house. If you have Maine ancestors they most likely stayed in Bell Tavern and also find out about what taverns, an essential part of the community, were like.
All this and more! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
*CFA AND EDMUND CHANDLER FAMILY NEWS Including membership news, DNA news and a CFA sponsored trip to England for 2016
*PELEG CHANDLER AND TIMELINE He was also a church warden. Find out what that was. Hint, he had a pole.
*BELL TAVERN The story of Bell tavern and what taverns were like way back then.
* NEW GLOUCESTER AND THE BLOCKHOUSE Find out about block houses and frontier existence.
*PELEG CHANDLER, JR.’S JOURNEY TAKEN FROM HIS DIARY FROM MAINE TO MASS IN 1790
*BIG CHANGES AT ANCESTRY. COM
*SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY Join and get free home online access to Worldwide records and Heritage Quest, plus more
*RESEARCHING IS RESEARCHING, BUT WITH TWIST: RESEARCHING IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC
*UPDATES AND CORRECTIONS More on the wives of the Zebedees and the wives of Rev. Abel Chandler.
CFA AND EDMUND CHANDLER CHAPTER NEWS
We will be maintaining our ECFA web site until spring of 2015 as it is paid up until then. After that our Members Only Library, other information and databases will be preserved for the members to access in a new format at the CFA site.
Our formerly ECFA members and now Edmund Chandler chapter members of the CFA, are now getting the award winning CFA newsletter by e-mail although a snail mail paper copy can be requested. We will still have the Courier and the Yahoo Chandler lineage site which are free. Our group originally sprang out of the Chandler lineage site and you can still use it as a searchable resource, although you will find that many of our early posts show that we did a lot of floundering as we looked for answers.
If you wish to join the CFA and the Edmund Chandler chapter you can go to www.edmundchandler.com and click the link about membership or go to the Chandler Family Association web site www. chandlerfamilyassociation.org One year membership is $20 and you don’t have to prove your lineage.
With the contribution that the ECFA made, a large mailing was sent out to Chandler men in England for DNA testing and we are getting sign ups as a result. Dick, our EC chapter member and CFA VP, as well as Errol Chandler our CFA VP from England are working hard on this project.
No matches for the Edmund Chandler family yet, but we are hoping. To read more about DNA testing, including a map where many American Chandler families originated from in England, refer to a previous issue of the CFA newsletter.
TRIP TO ENGLAND FROM THE US AND A TRIP FROM THE UK TO THE US
A trip to England is in the planning stages by the CFA for 2016 which will be guided by Englishman Errol Chandler. Several American Chandler families have been traced to English villages and the plan is to visit those sites and other sites of general tourist interest. We still don’t know where Edmund came from. A brochure about the trip will be sent out when the itinerary is worked out. Also, if there is enough interest, a guided trip for UK Chandlers to the US is in discussion. Check with the CFA for more info.
LINEAGE: EDMUND, THE IMMIGRANT>JOSEPH>JOSEPH>PHILIP
Peleg Chandler was the patriarch of the New Gloucester, Maine branch of the Edmund Chandler family, arriving there prior to 1763. His descendants distinguished themselves in business, the law and architecture as well as other fields. Much has been written about his descendants. Indeed, the amount of shelf space dedicated to his descendants in the Fogler Library can be measured in yards, but not much was known about Peleg. Some of Peleg’s notable descendants include: archictect, Theophilus Chandler and economic historian, Alfred Dupont Chandler, who we have written about previously. Also businessmen, Solomon Hewett Chandler Sr. and Jr. and lawyers like Peleg, Jr. Peleg W. and Charles P. Chandler to name a few of them.
Especially confusing was Peleg’s Revolutionary War service. We had to find the primary evidence that he was a member and later chairman of the Committee of Safety for New Gloucester and not just rely on anecdotal evidence and old books. The Committee of Safety provided the civilian leadership of the local militia, spied on the British, acquired munitions and suppressed Tory or Tory benefitting activities.
After a long search, we queried T.S. Blake, author of the book “New Gloucester” (available from Amazon and also as an e-book) and curator for the New Gloucester Historical Society. Blake searched the old handwritten New Gloucester records and there, dated March 19, 1776, the records show Peleg being appointed to the Committee of Safety.
Peleg’s s first cousin, Ebenezer Mason, son of Jonas Mason and Mary Chandler, also served on the New Gloucester Committee of Safety. In Duxbury, Peleg’s brother, Perez, served on the Committee of Correspondence, the precursor to the Committee of Safety. Perez was profiled in the Winter/Spring 2014 issue of the Courier.
The city of New Gloucester lists Peleg as a Revolutionary War patriot and his name appears on the town monument dedicated to those who served. His descendant Cleaveland Angier Chandler (Horace P.>Peleg W. >Peleg >Joseph>Joseph>Edmund, the immigrant) claimed Peleg as his Revolutionary War ancestor for the Massachusetts Society Sons of the American Revolution in 1897 for serving on the Committee of Safety for New Gloucester, Maine from 1778-1784.
Anecdotally, Mary Chandler Lowell in her book “Chandler-Parsons…,” states that Peleg served on the committee for many years. Also, from the book “Representative Men and Old Families of Southeastern Massachusetts”, Peleg is listed as the chairman of the Committee of Safety, but did not provide documentation. No one has applied for DAR membership as his descendant, but will be able to do so now that primary proof has been found.
PELEG CHANDLER TIMELINE
1735, April 27 Peleg was born in Duxbury. Mary Chandler Lowell speculated in her book, “Chandler-Parsons…”, that Peleg was named after a friend and neighbor of his father, Peleg Wadsworth. The name Peleg comes from the Old Testament and means when the earth was divided, referring to an event at the time. Some scholars also believe the name has something to do with the sea. The Biblical Peleg was the son of Eber. Peleg is a popular last name in Israel.
Mary Chandler Lowell also wrote that Peleg “early on manifested very strong mechanical tastes.” He was handy as he created chairs, the church door and other objects. He was a blacksmith from a long line of blacksmiths as was his father, Philip, his grandfather Joseph and his great grandfather, also named Joseph.
Prior to 1762. Peleg moved from Duxbury to North Yarmouth, Maine. According to Mary Chandler Lowell, Peleg moved to Maine to help his grandfather, but that does not seem likely as Peleg was only 9-years-old when his grandfather, Joseph, died in 1744.
Peleg’s grandfather led the first wave of Chandlers to move to Maine when he moved there in 1729. He was soon followed by his wife and children, with the exception of Peleg’s’ father, Philip, who remained in Duxbury with his family. “It was probably Philip’s intent to move to North Yarmouth as well as he owned land there. Philip must have changed his mind as he bought his father’s homestead farm in Duxbury in 1735 and remained in Duxbury,” according, Lora Altine Underhill in her book, “The Genealogy of Edward Small…”.
Family lore has it that Peleg came with relatives to Maine. His sister, Elizabeth (Betsey), moved to Turner, Maine in 1850 after marrying Ezekiel Bradford. She and Peleg were the only children of Philip to move to Maine. Did Peleg come with them or later on possibly with other relatives? We don’t know.
It does seem logical that Peleg would move to Maine at some point to help as both his father and his grandfather’s heirs had land and business in Maine.
1762, December 9 Peleg marries Sarah Winslow in North Yarmouth, Maine. This is the first record that we have of him in Maine. He and Sarah would have 11 children, eight surviving until adulthood. Sarah became known for her cheerful countenance. He put his wood working skills to use when he carved chairs for his bride using only a knife.
1763 Peleg and his bride leave North Yarmouth for New Gloucester, a distance of 15 miles. They made the journey by ox-cart, “the first wheeled vehicle that had ever been used to perform that journey.” He built a small first house and would later build a large house for his family which would later be also Bell Tavern.
While Peleg was not amongst the first settlers of New Gloucester, he would play a key role in the formation of the town. That was the first year that meetings regarding New Gloucester were held in New Gloucester and not in Gloucester, Massachusetts which is where most of the settlers came from and from where the grant was obtained. The proprietors voted to build a school house the next year which was one of the requirements of the grant.
1764 Peleg’s father dies in Duxbury. Philip willed that his land in Duxbury and North Yarmouth be divided amongst his six sons.
1765 Establishing a church was the last remaining key item that remained to be fulfilled in order for New Gloucester’s land grant requirements to be considered officially met. In 1765 the “grant conditions were fulfilled by hiring an Orthodox Congregational minister, Rev. Samuel Foxcroft of Boston, a Harvard College graduate.”
This was an historic moment of which Peleg and his wife, Sarah, played a key part as they were two of the five members who founded the church. It now meant that every legal requirement was met and that land could now be conveyed without worry. New Gloucester had fought off a claim earlier on in the courts that could have ruined the community if the claimants had prevailed, but now they could not be “warned off” by possible future claimants, lose what they had built, or be forced to pay twice for their farms.
It was such a joyous occasion for the town, that the proprietors approved the very large outlay of “26 pounds and thirteen shillings and four pence” for the celebration. Parson Smith, of Portland, Maine, also assisted in the “jolly ordination” and he wrote that “we lost sight of decorum.” If the attending ministers “lost sight of decorum” we can only assume that the eight male members of the church, which included Peleg Chandler, also “lost sight of decorum.” With 26 pounds and change to celebrate, it must have been a real party!
1771, January 1 A proprietors’ meeting was held where Peleg Chandler was voted to be a part of the committee to build a meeting-house (church). Half of the job was bid off by Peleg for 2 pounds 19 shillings and when no one bid on the other half, Peleg bid 3 pounds 1 pence for the other half of the job.
It was voted by the committee that Peleg would receive the money for the sale of the pews. Many members of the community bought pews and Peleg kept pew #34 and also pew #36 which was in the gallery. Like the block house, the church was also multipurpose as gun powder was stored in the closet under the pulpit. It was distributed to the parishioners on Sundays as needed for defense.
While the church was useable, it was not finished because not all those who pledged to pay did so and after several years could no longer afford a full-time minister. There were Baptists and Shakers in the community now who were disinclined to support a Congregationalist church. The proprietors did not press the issue. In 1802 the proprietors voted to relinquish title and it became the property of the First Parish to be used for town meetings and the grounds around it for a training field, pound, stocks, and whipping post.
Peleg, according to a poem, written over a century later, was the church warden. Church wardens were chosen for their exemplary character. They kept the peace within the church, watched over the congregants’ behavior, and punished those who did not attend church without a valid excuse. In the Massachusetts Bay Colony if the church warden caught someone being truant, without a valid excuse, the truant was pilloried and the truant’s ear was nailed to the wood.
Peleg and his fellow church warden did wield poles to wallop those who fell asleep during church services. Whether or not, Peleg nailed ears to wood, we don’t know, but there were stocks and a whipping post nearby. Peleg’s son, Peleg, Jr., was accosted by a church warden for traveling on Sunday in near Hingham, Massachusetts, but talked his way out of it by saying he was going to stop at a nearby inn, which was technically true as he stopped long enough for a mug of cider and continued on his way to stay with his uncle Perez Chandler. Peleg, Jr. was barely 17 when he undertook this trip to teach in Halifax, Mass. to earn enough money to continue his education in law. Perhaps that and being the son of a church warden made him savvy enough to avoid spending the Sunday in the stocks.
From the poem by Jabez H. Woodman A.M., the New Gloucester schoolmaster, on the occasion of the New Gloucester Centennial in 1884:
“Josiah Smith and Peleg Chandler
Were wardens then appointed,
To flourish poles on the Sabbath Day
And thus keep things well jointed.”
1773 Peleg builds his large house which would later become Bell Tavern. It was located on a hill at the four corners.
1774, February 8 The Proprietary elected a committee to petition the General Court of Massachusetts for the incorporation of New Gloucester into a town. The Court agreed and New Gloucester became a town. A warrant was issued to Peleg Chandler, by Col. William Allen, for him to call a meeting of the freeholders and others who were qualified to vote. On Sept. 7, 1774, the first board of town officers was chosen.
1775 Upon hearing about the Battle at Lexington, which was fought on April 19, 1775, a town meeting was called in New Gloucester and it was voted to have 20 men ready at the shortest notice to support the colonists against the British. Like Duxbury and many towns in New England, New Gloucester was resoundingly patriot.
1776 Peleg establishes Bell Tavern in his house. The sign outside read:
“Bell Tavern. Peleg Chandler. 1776. Entertainment for man and beast”
“Success to the Friends of Liberty”
There is only one reference to the phrase ”Success to the Friends of Liberty” so that may require further research.
1776, March 19 A town meeting was held and Peleg Chandler was appointed to the Committee of Safety. He was also voted to be the pound keeper. Pound keepers in those days kept stray livestock until their owners could reclaim them and usually pay a fine.
He later became the chairman of the Committee of Safety, serving until the end of the Revolutionary War. The Committee of Safety, which succeeded the Committee of Correspondence when war broke out, provided recruitment and the civilian leadership of the local militia. They organized spying on the British, acquired munitions and gun powder. They put pressure on the local civilians to buy American and support the war effort. As Peleg was also the owner of Bell Tavern, the militia probably met there.
1776, May 21 The town voted “That if the Honorable Congress should, for the safety of the Colonies, declare them independent of Great Britain they will solemnly engage, with their lives and their fortunes, to support the Congress in the measure”. Two infantry companies were organized with Captains Isaac Parsons and William Harris commanding them.
1784 Several sources say that Peleg was appointed to the General Court of Massachusetts, but we have not found proof. More research needs to be done.
1790, November 30 Peleg, Jr. leaves Bell Tavern to travel to Halifax, Massachusetts where he will teach school in order to earn money to go to college. (Read about his journey in C. Talbot Rogers story taken from Peleg, Jr.’s diary in this issue)
1797 Peleg builds an ell onto the already large Bell Tavern for his son, Peleg, Jr. Peleg Jr.’s mother disapproves of her son practicing law, so he instead provides much needed assistance with his father’s busy, tavern, smithy and large farm. After his parents were gone, Peleg, Jr. did practice law to much success.
1819, August 24 Peleg Chandler died and was buried in the Lower New Gloucester Cemetery. His wife, Sarah, died in 1823. Bell Tavern was sold when he died in 1819.
The collection contains the personal and business papers of several generations of the Chandler family of New Gloucester, Maine. It centers primarily on materials of Peleg, Philip, Solomon Hewett (both elder and younger), Charles Parsons, Charles Peleg, and Andrew Campbell Chandler, as well as business records of Bearce & Chandler, a grocery business of Dexter Bearce and Solomon Chandler.
This is probably the most well-known book about the Chandlers of New Gloucester, including Peleg, her ancestor. She collected information from vital records, old letters and family recollections. Unfortunately, there are some inaccuracies although as brilliant as she was (she was both a doctor and a lawyer), she was occasionally at the mercy of the inaccurate recollections of others. She also lived at a time when most business was conducted by mail or in person.
History of New Gloucester including Peleg Chandler and Bell’s Tavern
New Gloucester Revolutionary War monument with list of names including Peleg Chandler
New Gloucester – Thomas P. Blake – Google Books This outstanding book is filled with historical pictures, stories and information about the founding and early days of New Gloucester. If you have any ancestors that came from New Gloucester, not only Chandlers, take a look at this book. Available from Amazon books. It was written in 2009.
This gazatteer was written in 1886 by George G. Varney who wrote many short histories of Maine towns.
Source of the poem.
Taverns and inns played an integral part of early New England towns and Bell Tavern, opened in 1776, was classic example. Taverns were not lowly places on the edge of town away from respectable folks, but were located prominently in the center of town and often, as in the case of Bell Tavern, across from the church. Taverns were considered essential, proper meeting places for social discourse, business and governance and licenses to operate a tavern were issued by the town.
Taverns were where the town folks met after church and work to exchange news, engage in gossip, hold lively debates, pick up mail, make business deals, and conduct town business. The taverns gave congregants a chance to warm up after church because the churches were unheated. Many a lively political debate must have taken place with locals and travelers during the Revolutionary years with most, if not all, the locals railing against the British. Business, both official and unofficial, was a carried on in taverns, militias met and patriots held meetings in secret. The First Continental Congress met in a tavern. Bell tavern supplied lodging for jurors and witnesses for the Court.
Taverns also served as recruitment depots and deployment for militias which is probably one of the reasons why Peleg was chosen as the Chairman of the Committee of Safety for New Gloucester. Free ale was one of the inducements for showing up for militia drills.
If your ancestors were from Maine, most likely they stayed or at least stopped at Bell Tavern as it was strategically located on the crossroads of the coastal road and the road going inland to what would become Poland, Minot, Lewiston, Auburn and Turner, Maine amongst other interior cities.
As many people in those days were illiterate, taverns had signs with pictures on them so people could identify them. Bell Tavern had a picture of a bell and the words:
Peleg Chandler. 1776. Entertainment for man and beast”
“Success to the Friends of Liberty”
Many have speculated about how Bell Tavern got its name. The origin of the names of many taverns is unknown. During the Revolution some taverns had signs which reflected the owner’s political sympathy. Some speculated that the bell signified that the tavern was open for business. As Peleg was known for having the “voice of a Stentor”who could call men in from the fields so it probably did not stand for a dinner bell. Others speculated that it stood for the call for young men to fight for liberty. It did not stand for the actual Liberty Bell as that bell probably did not ring on July 4, 1776 because at that time the steeple was in very poor condition. The first documented reference to it as the “Liberty Bell” appeared in an abolitionist poem written in 1839.
However, the church bells in Boston rang so much over repeals of taxes, and objections to the British before 1776, that people complained. The church bells continued ringing probably throughout the colonies during the Revolution and beyond over important events. So perhaps the bell in Peleg’s sign did stand for recruiting of men for the fight or the church bells that rung for liberty.
News from papers, pamphlets, broadsheets and letters would come to Bell tavern and taverns like it from towns like far-off Boston, Philadelphia and Duxbury. Those who were able to read, would read the news aloud to those who could not. During the Revolutionary era things were happening so fast that people were desperate to read or hear about what was happening because it directly affected them. The taverns were also the first post offices as mail was put on a table and was considered public news for everyone to read before it was picked up or carried on.
The tavern owner’s wife and daughters, even very young ones, worked in the tavern, but all other women were only allowed to buy liquor and then leave. Later on large taverns had a separate area for women. No “tarrying” by women was allowed. Everyone drank in those days, even children, as water was often unsafe to drink. Hard cider made from apples was ubiquitous.
Originally only “fit” men were given licenses to operate taverns, although eventually three quarters of the taverns were run by women, mostly widows, so they would have a source of income so they would not become a burden on the town.
“Fit” men were upstanding citizens considered capable of running a tavern. To be a considered a successful “fit” man, he was expected to be married and supporting a well-behaved household where all obeyed him. The reasoning was if a man could not run his household he could not run a tavern. Badly behaved children, wives and even servants were a reflection on that ability. Men could be punished for the transgressions of members of his household. Very patriarchal!
Unmarried men were not considered “fit” and were more or less considered like big children. Peleg certainly filled the requirement of being a “fit” man as he was one of the founders of the local church and all of his children were dutiful and became very successful in their own right.
Tavern owners were expected to keep order in the tavern, like they did in their households, and not allow patrons to become drunk and disorderly. The town leaders determined what could be served and limited the hours when a tavern could be open. For example, they were expected to shut fairly early on Saturday evening presumably to make sure that the patrons would be awake and sober and in church the next day. Peleg, as church warden, would round up those who were missing from church without a valid excuse, and being hung over was not a valid excuse, and put them in the stocks. If the hung-over individual did make it into church but fell asleep, he would give him a wallop with his pole. In fact anyone who fell asleep for any reason could be walloped.
Of course alcohol being what it is and the loosening of the church and its requirements, drunkenness became such a big problem that it prompted the temperance movement, with Maine figuring prominently. The dilemma became how to continue with taverns, where all local politicians and townspeople gathered, but at the same time eliminate drunkenness and the evils that were associated with it? In modern times, one of the solutions has come full circle, with again the tavern keepers being held responsible, or partially so, for keeping its patrons from becoming wildly drunk.
Taverns also supplied entertainment. Dancing was popular during the Revolution. Cards, gambling and other diversions were also popular, probably more so as the church’s influence began to wane.
Fast food and colonial and Revolutionary times don’t seem to belong in the same sentence, but Americans desire for a quick meal was as strong then as it is today. Fast food is not a modern invention. An English visitor way back then complained about how we (Americans) rushed through our meals in order to get back to work in the fields and farms. Maybe the difference was that here, unlike England in those days, the inhabitants mostly owned their fields and farms.
Taverns had to supply food that could be eaten quickly or on the go in a stage coach. Colonial era fast foods such as johnny cakes, biscuits and hasty pudding were American inventions. Also, popular was potted meat or fish. The meat was boiled then pounded with fat and spices and put into an earthen jar and sealed with hot fat or butter. Sandwiches could be made quickly for stage travelers to take with them by spreading the potted meat on bread for sandwiches. Mincemeat pies were popular both here and in England as they were also handy for travelers to take with them. The poorer folks ate the whole mince meat pie including the crust, while the wealthy ate the filling. “Slow food” like baked beans and Indian pudding were also popular. Slow to cook, but quick and convenient to prepare or re-heat.
The need for speed also changed weights and measures for food. In England ingredients were weighed, here tavern owners relied on spoons and cups as they were faster.
The quality of the food and accommodations varied widely. Some taverns offered big meals with eggs, steak, sausages, fish, bread and more for breakfast, lunches were more modest, dinner could be another big spread, but others offered little choice and what was available was terrible. Peleg Chandler, Jr. had to scrounge for himself while staying in one ill-run tavern on his journey to Massachusetts. (See accompanying story)
After Peleg Chandler died in 1819, Bell Tavern was sold. With the arrival of the railroad, the need for taverns for travelers declined as trains did not need to rest like horses and oxen. Over the years Bell Tavern served as a dance hall, store, post office and home. The ell that Peleg had built for his son, Peleg, Jr., was moved to 5 Cobb’s Bridge Road. In 1978, Bell Tavern was moved several hundred feet down the hill to 410 Intervale Rd. where it stands today as a beautifully kept house.
NEW GLOUCESTER, MAINE AND THE BLOCK HOUSE
Block houses were essential for settling the then frontiers of Maine, New Hampshire and other New England states. The settling of New Gloucester was probably very similar to the settling of many New England frontier towns.
The first settlers were given a grant from the parent town of Gloucester, Massachusetts, hence the name New Gloucester, in 1735. There were conditions that they had to meet in order to get full ownership.
It was rough going for the townspeople as not only they had to endure all of the hardships of creating a settlement they were driven out, as were most of the colonists in Maine, during the French and Indian War. Their log houses and sawmill were destroyed. After five years most of the New Gloucester settlers returned.
For defense, they built a block house which was completed in 1754. It had large second story windows that swung inward on hinges so that the inhabitants could fire their guns if under attack. The block house was 50’x50’ and the stockade was 110’ on each side made up of a palisade of 10-12’ logs topped with sharpened points. For several years the 12 families who inhabited the settlement lived within the fortress with only the men and their large dogs venturing out during the day.
The New Gloucester block house was fortified with two swivel guns, 25 pounds of powder and 75 pounds of lead and for several years soldiers were garrisoned there to defend it. The block house served as the settlers’ home, fort and church until the French were driven out of Canada in 1760 and they could rebuild their log homes and begin building a church about a decade later which Peleg was heavily involved. The block house, no longer needed, was sold in 1787 for seven bushels of corn and was used for the very mundane purpose of housing hogs.
History and list of books about early New Gloucester, Maine
By C. TALBOT ROGERS
T HIS is the story of a “Journey to
Hallifax”-a journey which covers
but a relatively few miles, and
only a few days in the early life of a
young man from Maine; a young man
of courage and ambition, who in spite of
disappointment and frustration achieved
better than average success in his chosen
profession, and whose son in turn went
even further to become nationally known
in that same profession.
The journey began from the steps of
the old Bell Tavern, in the then-busy
and thriving town of New Gloucester.
The date was Monday, November 30,
A.D. 1790, at one of the clock; and in a
handwritten, carefully sewn booklet,
well preserved, the story of that trip is
easily and simply told. This booklet, now
in the files of the Historical Society of
New Gloucester, is done in the characteristic
penmanship of the day, with the
old-fashioned “s” in the middle of words,
and the front and back covers embellished
with well-formed flourishes. The
front cover states simply: “Peleg Chandler’s
Journal from New Gloucester to
Hallifax,” while on the back cover the
writer identifies himself as follows:
“Peleg Chandler Jr is my name. New
Gloucester is my Native Place. Written
at Hallifax the 12th day of February,
It was not an extremely hazardous
trip, even in that day. The threat from
hostile Indians had passed ; possible bounty
was not worth the risk to highwaymen ;
and surely young Chandler was safe from
those present-day threats to life, limb,
and property, drivers who pass on the
right, cut in from the left, and weave
from lane to lane, driving on a mixture
of gasoline and alcohol-from whom
may the good Lord preserve us all! Even
so, it was by no means a pleasure jaunt,
and few of us would willingly attempt it
today under the same conditions and circumstances.
For a boy barely beginning
his seventeenth year, it was a major undertaking.
Before starting with him on this journey,
let us look for a moment at the background
of this lad. His father, Peleg
Chandler, Sr., born in 1735, had married
Sarah Winslow of North Yarmouth,
in 1762; and the journey which that
young couple undertook deserves mention.
According to the story, their wedding
trip from North Yarmouth to New
Gloucester was made in an oxcart, the
first two-wheeled vehicle that had ever
been over the road. Since the wedding
was on December 9, it is surmised that
it must have been a very open winter indeed,
unless the trip was postponed until
later in the spring; and at any time at all
it must have been a rough bumpy journey
over a road nothing at all like Interstate
95, or even old-fashioned U. S. I.
Peleg Chandler, Sr., is described as
an “honest citizen, a blacksmith by trade,
and a good one”; and evidently his skills
were not limited to the smithy. One of
the founders of the “Orthodox” First
Parish Church, he served as Town Warden;
during the Revolution he was one
of a committee to fix prices, for many
years he was a member of the Committee
of Safety, and in I 784 he was Representative
to the General Court of Massachusetts.
About I 7 73 he built the Bell Tavern,
46 Old-Time New England
which today houses the United States
Post Office, and here as host to jurors and
witnesses in a busy shire town he was well
known throughout the county, and indeed
through all of Massachusetts, since
many of the family, including his father,
Philip, had remained in and around Duxbury,
where the first Chandler had settled.
In that same year, I 773, young Peleg,
Jr., was born; so that when in 1790 he
began this journey to Halifax he had
passed his seventeenth birthday by a scant
three months. Of course, at seventeen
many a lad had left home for college ; but
Peleg, Jr., was not going forth as a student.
He was, at that tender age, about
to become a schoolmaster, to help earn
his way through college.
Halifax is a long, long way from Cumberland
County, Maine–even today in a
modern car over modern highways-and
one wonders why the people of Nova
Scotia had to come all the way to New
Gloucester to find a schoolmaster. Of
course, by ship from Portland to Halifax
would be an easy trip, but it proved by
no means as simple as that. Somehow, as
the journey progressed, he seemed to be
heading always in the wrong directionuntil
finally it developed that there was
-and still is-another Halifax, in Massachusetts,
some thirty miles or so south
However, let the lad speak for himself.
Let us start with page one of his journal.
November the 80th A.D. 1790 Monday at
one of the clock set out to go to Hallifax to
keeping school. Went as far as Moses Haskell
that night. In the morning Moses and myself
set out together. We rode as far as Elwells and
stopped and drank a mug of cider. We then put
on as far as Hammons in Stout Water [Stroudwater?]
and then stopped and bated our horses;
then put on for Bradbury’s Tavern in Pepperlsburough
[now Saco], and got there about dark.
Put up our horses and called for our suppers;
and in about half an hour had it. We drank six
dishes apiece and eat as much toast as we could.
Then went to playing checkers with the landlord,
beat him 5 or 6 times and then went to
This was his first night on the road,
after staying in the home of his friend
Haskell, and so far the journey had not
been arduous. In fact the next day was
not too bad.
In the morning we got up, paid our reckoning
as quick as possible and set out. We arrived
at Sauce Bridge a little after sunrise and after
long debate with the tollman went over. We
rode till about one of the clock . . . stopped and
bated our horses and roasted our turkey and eat
it with the help of a mug of cyder and after
suitable refreshment we set out again. Rode
very fast all the afternoon and about dark arrive
at Capt. Shannons in Dover near the
bridge, put up our horses and called for supper
and had it brought to us, consisting of chocolate
and biscuit toast. We drank 8 cups apiece
and as much toast as possible and after suitable
time to settle it, we retired into a warm bed
where we prostrated our languid limbs till the
Service in the tavern was not so good
next morning; certainly not up to modern
standards set by Howard Johnson or
Holiday Inn motel chains.
In the morning about an half an hour betwixt
break of day and sunrise got up, went
into the kitchen, and sat down over an handful1
of coals. We sat awhile but nobody appeared;
then to fly round and make as much noise as
possible. By and by along comes a negro as
black as the D—l and made up a fire big
enough to roast an ox. We sat down awhile but
no landlord appeared. We asked the negro
whether the landlord laid abed till noon commonly.
He went and called him and we got
away as quick as possible (it being cold enough
to freeze one). We rode till about z of the
clock in the afternoon which brought us to
Capt. Sanborns in Hampton. Stopped and bated
our horses and set out again about sunset. We
got to the Newberry ferry but could not get
over till about dark.
And now it was that I had to part with my
friend Haskell. Nobody can tell what I felt
when I had to leave him at his uncles and seek
Peleg Chandler 47
for a tavern, not knowing where to find one,
and being almost froze standing so long at the
ferry awaiting for the D—d ferry man, he being
soon as possible, it being Saturday morning
and I having about 80 miles to go before I got
But I got off on the old mare and drove on
for dear life. I had gone about a mile when I
beheld a sight which excited a great deal of
joy to think that I had got home for that night.
Went in and got the old mare taken care of.
But how do you think that I felt to see it look
likely to storm before morning . . . and being
so near to Haskell and was not agoing to stay
Very understandably the seventeenyear-
old lad was beginning to feel the
pangs of homesickness, and no wonder.
But as the night wore on, things got
About seven of the clock I thought I would
go to bed not having any stomach to eat any
supper so I drank half mug of cyder and went
to bed. About midnight the storm came on and
sure such a storm I never saw. It snowed,
rained, hailed all together as hard as ever it
did in the world. But that ain’t the worse of it.
I like to frozed to death for the want of bedclothes.
I got up and put on my clothes but it
could not keep me warm. About dav or a little
before up I got and down I goes and sat down
where the fire should be. Bv and bv thev began
to get up and glad was I, but could not get out
doors the wind blew so hard. About 9 of the
clock I called for some breakfast and soon had
it but could not eat any of it, hardly, feeling
so like the Old Boy.
Perhaps it was not food that he needed,
so much as the sight of a familiar face, or
a friend, for
At ten o’clock I thought I would go and see
Haskell, it being so stormy that I could not
ride, so I went and dined with him at his uncle?.
After dinner I wished him good by and left
him in a good harbour, and set out, it being
about z of the clock. I needed but a little more
sail to go as fast as the wind would convey me.
However, I rode about ten miles which brought
me to Ipswige, went in to the ale house and got
some ale and then drove on about a mile and
put up just over the bridge.
About 12 of the clock at night it cleared
away pleasant and calm which caused me sweet
repose. In the morning I arose and set out as
Duxborough was the town now known
as Duxbury, not many miles from Plymouth,
where Edmond, the first of the
Chandler family in this country, had settled
in the 1630’s. The old family home
was now his immediate destination, but
with 80 miles to go, young Peleg had at
least one more night on the road. And
so, leaving “Ipswige,”
I put on as fast as I could and about z of the
clock arrived at a tavern about IO miles out of
Boston. There I bated myself and horse and
then set out for Boston where I arrived about
q of the clock. .
Went to see Greene and he avowed that I
should stop with him all night and play checkers,
so I consented. We walked all over town
together. About dark we went to his lodgings,
he ordered a fire built in one of the chambers
and it was done, so we went to playing checkers.
We had not played so long before along
comes Sam with his bottle of wine, so we drank
wine and played checkers till about 3 of the
clock in the morning. I told them it was almost
meeting time and I wished to go to bed.
We slept till about sunrise at which time I
got up and told them I must be going. They
swore I should not stir till I had drunk half
pint of wine so I drank it and left them, got
my horse and set out, it being Sunday morning.
The old saying, “the better the day,
the better the deed,” was never accepted
by our Puritan ancestors; and our hero
was soon in trouble with the law.
Rode as far as Arnolds in Brantry and called
and got mug of cyder. I then put on and met a
Warden agoing home from the forenoon meeting.
He t>d me I must not ride there Sunday.
I told him I would put up at the tavern just
ahead. So I did put, long enough to drink a
mug of cyder and then put on and rode along
till I came to Hingham meeting house.
Meeting was just done as I got by the meeting
house. The people being acold ran as fast
as they could and so overtook me. The Warden
told me it was against the law to travel Sunday
there. I told him I would put up at Cathmores,
so he let me go and I did put up long
48 Old-Time New England
enough to drink some cyder and then put on
again and about sunset arrive at Uncle Perez’s.
This was not by any means young
Chandler’s only journey from New
Gloucester. He must have gone over the
same roads again when in 1792 he entered
Rhode Island College, now Brown
University, as a member of the sophomore
Uncle Perez must have lived in Duxbury,
the ancestral home of the Chandler
family. Our hero was now among friends,
the worse of the journey over.
Monday I went to Kingstown [Kingston]
and stayed till about 9 of the clock. Tuesday
then to Duxborough again and Wednesday
went to Halifax.
Called to Watermans to inquire for the
Committee and the house was chock full people
and there I found the committee. We went in
to a chamber and agreed with me, which was
the 9th day of December.
So I went to Gideon Soule’s and kept school
in his house one week till the Schoolhouse was
fixed, then to Thad Torrv and boarded there
one week. January the 12th went to Ephraim
Tinkham’s where I am now this day, which is
the 12th day of February.
And so the journey to Halifax was
safely completed, after six nights on the
road. Today we could leave Bell Tavern
at one of the clock and be in Duxbury
in time for supper; an easy trip, over modern
turnpikes and expressways. No need
to be starting at dawn or before or to put
up with drowsy landlords who sleep till
noon,.nor need we fear the wardens, if
it happens to be the Sabbath when we
make our journey.
After graduation from college he returned
home, anxious to study law, but
his mother’s wishes, and his father’s need
for help with the farm-blacksmith shoptavern
enterprises caused him to put aside
his ambitions. Peleg, Jr., never gave up,
however; and the time came when he
was at last free to take up his chosen profession
first in New Gloucester then in
Bangor. Of these later years his son, Peleg
Whitman Chandler, has written:
Coming upon the stage at so late a day (after
the birth of to children, and well into his forties)
he could not of course expect to take the
highest position. But he was a man of marked
ability, of great wit and humor, fairly read in
the law, and an advocate of more than average
success. In t 8 I 9, before the separation of Maine
from Massachusetts, he was appointed a Judge
of the Court of Sessions. holding the office for
several years after Maine became a State and
until his removal to Bangor. He continued in
the profession until his death in 1848, at the
age of 74.
Ancestry.com has eliminated several of their programs, but will continue with autosomal DNA testing. NONE OF THIS AFFECTS OUR CHANDLER DNA PROJECT AS OUR PROJECT IS WITH THE FTDNA AND OUR CHANDLER PROJECT IS UNDER OUR CONTROL.
Gen Forum, which probably many of you have used, became READ ONLY September. That means you will no longer be able to post or answer questions on the Gen Forum boards such as the Chandler board. Family Trees stored there will also be READ ONLY. Sad to lose the Gen Forum Chandler board, but Rootsweb is still alive and kicking so it is business as usual for their boards and family trees.
Of course we are always here for your Chandler questions.
Ancestry and other genealogy sites were hacked in the early summer, but were back and working after being off for a few days. One nifty site that I found to check if a site is down or the problem is at your end is: Is It Down Right Now? Website Down or Not?
This past year, new episodes of “Who Do You Think You Are?” on TLC and “Finding your Roots” on PBS were aired. If you missed them, you might be able to catch them in re-runs. As they are popular shows they should be back with new episodes in 2015. PBS’ “Genealogy Roadshow”, which features ordinary folks, will be coming back. Check the PBS site to see if they’re still accepting submissions if you are interested.
For Revolutionary War buffs, the AMC series “Turn” has been renewed for 2015. This show was inspired by the true story of the first Patriot spy ring known as the Culper Ring. It is set mostly in New York.
Here is the official site and current schedule:
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY
If you live in other parts of the Country, you probably are thinking what could the SCGS have possibly anything to do with me?
If you join you will get free access on your home computer, wherever you are located, to Heritage Quest and World Vital Records. They also have webinars where you can watch lectures and demonstrations by experts from your home computers.
If you are in the LA area, you can visit their library and access Ancestry.com, Fold3 beginning in January, and other resources through their library computers. You can also order Family History microfilm from the LDS.
I attended the Southern California Genealogical Society’s annual Jamboree in June. It is held at the Marriott Hotel in Burbank next to the airport and is the second largest genealogy conference in the country. In addition to the commercial booths (Ancestry, NEHGS, RootsMagic, FTDNA, etc.) many genealogical societies also have booths such as the Jamestown Society, DAR, Mayflower Society, Civil War groups and many more. World renowned experts gave lectures on a variety of topics.
It was free to visit the booths and go to the Genealogical Roundtables on Friday morning. The big prize at the raffle was a trip to the Mormon library in Salt Lake.
I did my part by bringing flyers for the Chandler Family Association, which now includes us, for the freebie literature table. I only brought 20 flyers as I thought how many Chandlers can there be? All of the flyers were gone before noon the next day! Next year I will bring more flyers.
RESEARCHING IN THE US AND CZECH REPUBLIC
Eventually, you may want to jump the pond and research ancestors there. Hopefully, we will be able to do that for Edmund Chandler one day.
My brother and I were finally able to make a long-held family dream come true to visit the Czech Republic where my grandmother and her family came from. My first trip abroad! No Chandlers involved, but here is a comparison of US vs. Czech research and of course this was also going to be a genealogy trip.
I had a place to begin my research as I had family documents—marriage and birth and couple of town “citizenship” documents. “Citizenship” for lack of a better word, meant that the town had to take of the citizen if he or she became indigent.
As in New England it was not easy to become a “citizen” of a town that you were not born in. In early New England newcomers could be “warned out” even if they had money so in case they ever became indigent the new town would not have to take care of them.
Historical research began at home online just as I would for US research. I studied history, old maps and new maps. Was I thrilled to find my ggg-grandfather listed in a directory as the forester for an estate!
I was even able to find my grandmother’s house on a satellite map with a street view for this small Czech village as Czech online maps show house numbers. Empress Maria Theresa decreed that houses should have numbers in the 1700s and those same numbers are used today unless a house burned down and was replaced.
Right on the christening certificates, etc. were the parents and grandparent names, addresses and occupations.
A genealogist’s dream, except the documents were in Czech, German or Latin or a combination! Czech is not an easy language as the nouns can change endings as well as the verbs. Also some letters are interchangeable. My brother and I only knew a few Czech words, mostly foods, and the words – dobre pes – good dog!
Just like with US research, I encountered bad handwriting, bad spelling and antique words which slowed down the online dictionary translation. Also, like the US, town, district, area names and boundaries, and countries changed over the years. Many of the names switched back and forth from German to Czech.
I did as much as I could with the records that I had, but then it became time to hire a professional Czech genealogist in order to research archival records. I have not attempted researching Czech records online yet as they are not indexed, even though they can be looked up by region, town and year. Fortunately, most Czech records were not destroyed during the war. It cost me $190 to have one part of my Czech family researched and it was money well spent as I made a list of the ancestral towns and we visited most of them. So much for the idea of one ancestral village! Dobre pes!
Our founder, James, sent this handy link explaining some of the meanings behind gravestone symbols.
WHY WAS MY ANCESTOR BORN IN MORE THAN ONE PLACE?
We know that is impossible, but why do I find multiple birth places for my ancestor?
In New England traveling ministers would record the baptisms they performed as they traveled from town to town. Towns would then take the entire list, not just the ones that were from their town, and include them in their vital records. That’s how one of my ancestors came to be “born” in three different towns in two different states.
Sometimes, when people migrated, their children could be recorded in two different states, or the state they migrated to even though the children were born in the old state. In the case of Jonathan and Rebecca (Packard) Chandler’s family, the grandchildren, or at least some of them, were born in Duxbury, but their births were recorded much later on in Maine. Delayed recording of vital records by ministers and towns also contributed to mistakes because of faulty memories.
The censuses are another source of birth place mistakes. The enumerator could have been asking anyone in the household or a neighbor the questions and they often were mistaken, but those mistakes often hold clues. One man had his birth place listed in three different states on three different censuses across the country. One was correct, but he had resided in all of those states.
UPDATES AND CORRECTIONS
The mystery of the wives of the Zebedee Chandlers and wives of Rev. Abel Chandler is very gradually, being solved, but as some mysteries are being solved new mysteries arise. The saga of the wives could make either a soap opera or a mystery — “In Search of the Wives.”
With the Zebedees it seems that Betsey Briggs is no longer a mystery, but now Mrs. Mary J. Wheeler is. Did Mary marry Zebedee #3 or Zebedee #2?
With Rev. Abel Chandler the mystery is did he marry, divorce, and then remarry Phebe Matney?
Or are there mistakes in the records?
THE ZEBEDEE CHANDLERS
Our last update on the Zebedees of Plympton, Mass and environs was in the July 2010 issue of the Courier. As a refresher there was the original Zebedee and his son and grandson all named Zebedee. Since the last update pictures have been posted on Find A Grave of Lakenham Cemetery, Carver, Plymouth County Massachusetts where Zebedee #3 and two of his wives are buried.
Here is the timeline for the marriages of Zebedee #3 and maybe #2:
July 1, 1804 marriage intentions were filed (from Plympton vital records) for Zebedee #3 and Ruth Cole. She died on August 27, 1834 and is buried in Lakenham Cemetery.
Sept.12, 1838 a Zebedee Chandler marries Bathsheba J. Burt (AKA Bert) from Carver from Massachusetts vital records. She probably married Zebedee #3 as she was between 40 and 50 on the 1840 census and Zebedee #3 was between 50 and 60 and Zebedee #2 was between 70 and 80. We haven’t been able to find a gravestone for her.
April 4, 1841 a Zebedee Chandler marries Mrs. Mary J. Wheeler from Middleborough vital records. Did she marry Zebedee #2 or #3. We don’t know. If she married Zebedee #3 she only lasted a few months. Also, we have not found a gravestone for her.
Sept. 17, 1841 Zebedee Chandler #3 marries Betsey H. Briggs of Freetown, Bristol County, Mass from Massachusetts Vital Records. No marriage intentions were filed. Betsey is buried in Lakenham cemetery as is their daughter, Abby Marie Chandler. Betsey’s gravestone reads: “In memory of Betsey H. Chandler wife of Zebedee Chandler who died May 12, 1845 in 35th Year.” Zebedee died in 1849 and is also buried in Lakenham cemetery.
Vital Records of Plympton, Massachusetts to the year 1850, Deaths, p. 457
Chandler, Zebedee, widr, farmer, b. P. [dup. h. Zeruiah (d. Benjamin Cushman and Zeruiah), s. Lt. Zebedee and Repentance (second w.), dropsy, Jan. 23, 1844, a. 79y 9m 1d in P. [Jan. 24, C.R. Jan. 23, G.R.1]
REV. ABEL CHANDLER
It appears now that it was Abel Chandler, Jr. who was enumerated in the 1850 census for Jersey, Jersey Co. Illinois and not his father, Rev. Abel. Our editor, Barb, figured that out as the age was difficult to read. Enumerated with Abel, Jr. were wife Xoa (AKA Zoa), their children, and most likely brother, Alvin Chandler. We don’t know what happened to the young children enumerated in the 1840 US census for Hebron, Maine with Rev. Abel. Rev. Abel also moved to Illinois but could not be found in the 1850 US census.
Abel, Jr. probably died prior to the 1860 US census, because only Alvin, Xoa and her son Charles B. Chandler were enumerated in the 1860 US census and not in Ohio, but back in Maine. One daughter probably died young and the other daughter, although I couldn’t find her in the 1860 census, survived and was found in later censuses.
An Abel Chandler in a household of four was enumerated in the 1855 Illinois state census in Morgan County, Illinois. This was probably either Rev. Abel or his son Abel, Jr.
Rev. Abel married Phebe Matney in Howard County, Missouri in 1846 as he was in Howard County writing a letter to probably his brother Elihu Chandler on Dec. 31, 1857. He wrote that “I have not been keeping house again for over two years, neither do I know as I ever shall. About this, I do not mean to worry, for all that, would not add to my happiness or any one else.” He wrote that he was enjoying success with his circuit riding preaching and would continue with it.
There was a Phebe Chandler enumerated with presumably her daughter, in the 1860 US census in Morgan, Illinois. Assuming that this was the same Phebe, she is obviously not dead and neither is Rev. Abel as he shows up again in the 1880 US census.
So what happened to Phebe Matney?
It is possible that they divorced. Divorce, surprisingly, became very popular in Illinois during that time. Many of Abraham Lincoln’s legal cases during that time were divorces. With Rev. Abel being constantly on the move, maybe that was too much for Phebe.
However, that was apparently not the end for Rev. Abel and Phebe as there is another marriage record for Abel Chandler and Phebe(y) Matney(Motney) that occurred later in that same year (1860) after the census was taken. This was 12 years after their marriage was recorded in Missouri. Did they remarry? Was this a clerical mistake? We don’t know. According to Schuyler County, Illinois records, an Abel Chandler and Mrs. Phebey Matney obtained a license in Schuyler County Illinois on November 1860. Their marriage was announced in “The Schuyler Citizen.”
If they did re-marry what happened to her? As always with Rev. Abel Chandler there is always another mystery.
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”