Chandlers are first recorded in Lancashire, England, where they were seated from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066. While our genealogy has yet to be definitely connected to these Chandlers, we do know that our direct ancestor, John Chandler, was born in England in 1599.
John Chandler arrived in the New World as a young boy of nine years old aboard The Hercules, a supply ship sent by Lord Delaware to the Jamestowne Colony in April of 1609. How he came to be on the ship is unknown, but it is likely he was an apprentice to someone on board. John Chandler is the first Chandler to be documented in the United States.
In 1624/25, John Chandler appears again amidst the List of the Living and the Dead in Virginia. He is reported as living in Elizabeth City (now Hampton, Virginia), and a servant to Ensign Thomas Willoughby.
By 1632, John was a land owner. Because he settled in the colonies before 1616, he qualified for rights as an Ancient Planter. By 1636, John owned over one-thousand acres in Elizabeth City. His marriage to the widow Elizabeth Lupo also added to his possessions, as she inherited resources and property from her late husband, Albiano Lupo. In 1640, records indicate that John purchased another plantation; "1217 acres in Warwick County and 216 acres in Eliz. City County, commonly called Newport Newes".
At some point, John sold Newport Newes but kept his land holdings in Elizabeth City. He served as a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses from 1645 - 1648. For many years he was a Justice of the County Court, and his presence is noted in several documents.
John and Elizabeth had at least two children, sons John and Robert. Records indicate that Robert was a successful planter and landowner in Virginia. He owned a considerable amount of property in York County in Chiskiak Parish, which today lies between Yorktown and Williamsburg.
Sometime around 1660, Robert purchased two tracts of land in New Kent County, Virginia, just north west of York County. His plantation, named Durging, was bequeathed to his wife and later to his son, Robert. At the time of his death, he had apparently sold his land in York as his will mentions only the New Kent property. Documents indicate that Robert's sons were all not of age at the time of his death.
His son, Robert, from whom my husband descends, later lived at Durging Plantation with his wife, Elizabeth Palmer, and their six children. Little is known about Robert other than that he owned 160 acres in New Kent in 1704. In their adulthood, his sons moved westward to the Virginia Frontier, beginning the expansion of Chandlers into the South.
Robert and Elizabeth's first born son, Joell, married Priscilla Mimms. Together with his brothers Timothy and Robert, Joell relocated to Tuckahoe Creek in Henrico County, Virginia, near Richmond. In 1727 he moved south of the James River in Goochland, which is now Powhatan County. Joel acquired a great deal of land here and apparently was a very successful farmer, growing corn, apples, and peaches.
The Chandlers resided in Henrico and Goochland Counties at least through three more generations. Joel's grandson, David, served in the Continental Army during the Revolution and fought in the Guilford Courthouse battle against Cornwallis. In the beginning part of the nineteenth century, David A. Chandler, born in Virginia, relocated his family to Surry County, North Carolina.
Following the military tradition, David served as a Confederate soldier during the Civil War. He was promoted to a full Lieutentant and earned a Distinguished Service Award. He and his wife, Celia Gordon, are buried in Stokes County, North Carolina, along Pilot Mountain. Nearby are the remnants of the Chandler family homestead.
It is worth noting that the primary source document linking Robert Chandler as the son of John is lacking. Because of this, descendents of Robert are not eligible for membership in the Jamestowne Society.
The Chandler Family Association is dedicated to preserving the history of the Chandlers in America. They also have an extensive DNA project.