CHANDLER, WILLIAM, lawyer, office holder, and judge; b. 17 Sept. 1804, probably in Amherst, N.S., son of Charles Henry Chandler and Elizabeth Rice; m. 28 Jan. 1834 Ruth Roach Smith, and they had nine children; d. 22 Aug. 1856 in Richibucto, N. B.
The seventh of eight children, William Chandler was the product of the influential Church of England–loyalist community that dominated so much of the political and judicial life of early 19th-century Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Through family marriages he was related to many of the prominent families, including those headed by his uncles Joshua Upham* and Amos Botsford*. His grandfather, Joshua Chandler, had been a member of the Connecticut legislature before he immigrated to Nova Scotia in 1783. His father was sheriff of Cumberland County and was succeeded in that office by William’s brother, Joshua. A first cousin, James Watson Chandler*, was judge of probate in Charlotte County and a member of the New Brunswick legislature. Edward Barron Chandler*, William’s elder brother, became probate judge for Westmorland County, a member of the assembly and of the legislative and executive councils, and eventually lieutenant governor of New Brunswick. William’s wife was the daughter of a loyalist doctor much respected in the Chignecto area.
William was educated in the Amherst public school system. The legal profession had attracted many of his family, and so William, following in the footsteps of his brother Edward Barron, articled with his cousin William Botsford* at Westcock, N.B. In the fall of 1828 he was admitted to the New Brunswick bar as an attorney and early in 1831 as a barrister. He chose to set up his office in Liverpool (Richibucto), the shire-town of the newly created jurisdiction of Kent County along the east coast of New Brunswick. Liverpool was an ideal place to start a new practice: in 1831 there were only two other attorneys in the county.
It was not long before Chandler’s legal capabilities were recognized locally. Most of his practice was devoted to land transactions, boundary disputes, and civil infractions. He also assumed an active role in county administration. In 1829 he was appointed county treasurer; two years later he became both a commissioner for taking affidavits to be read in the Supreme Court and a judge of probate for the county of Kent. By 1840 William’s generation of Chandlers held important local judicial offices in three New Brunswick counties.
Chandler never entered provincial or municipal politics. He seems to have been happy to serve his county as a lawyer and legal administrator, and to be involved in extensive land dealings. Shortly before his death he arranged a complicated purchase involving 624 acres in the parishes of Dundas and Moncton for £156. However, payment, as his widow discovered, was never made, and it was not until 1865 that the transaction was concluded in the courts to the satisfaction of the original seller.
On 22 Aug. 1856 Chandler died after a week’s illness. His obituary in the Saint John Morning News reported that the cause of his death was “erysipelas, and gastric fever and prostration of the nervous system,” or what would be known today as typhoid fever. Although he was a probate judge, Chandler died intestate, leaving an estate valued at £11,000.
Anglican Church of Canada, Diocese of Fredericton Arch., Richibucto Parish, N.B., reg. of baptisms, 1815–1955 (mfm. at PANB). Fort Beauséjour National Hist. Park (Au Lac, N.B.), Westmorland County, N.B., reg. of marriages, 1790–1835 (mfm. at PANB). Kent County Registry of Deeds (Richibucto), Index to record books A–Y (1827–80); books B–G, especially book B, no.77 (mfm. at PANB). N.B. Museum, Ralph Hewson, “Chandler family” (typescript). PANB, “N.B. political biog.” (J. C. and H. B. Graves); RG 18, RS150, A1–2. St Mark’s (Anglican) Church (Westmorland), Reg. of marriages, 1823–1917 (photocopies at Mount Allison Univ. Arch., Sackville, N.B.). Morning News (Saint John, N.B.), 25 Aug. 1856. Royal Gazette (Fredericton), 12 Feb. 1834. N.B. almanac, 1830; 1831; 1834; 1854: 27. J. H. Stark, The loyalists of Massachusetts and the other side of the American revolution (Boston, 1910). E. L. Gallagher, History of old Kingston and Rexton ([Hampton, N.B., 1948?]). Lawrence, Judges of N.B. (Stockton and Raymond). G. E. Rogers, “The career of Edward Barron Chandler; a study in New Brunswick politics, 1827–1854”