In the spring of 1832 a steamboat came up the Illinois river from St. Louis, bound for Fort Clark (now Peoria), and tied up at Beardstown, deterred from proceeding farther up stream by reports of Indian troubles; Black Hawk and his band of hostile Sacs and Foxes having invaded the state at Rock Island, and were said to be moving toward the upper Illinois river. Beardstown was just then a very lively place. As it was a border village on the northern frontier of the settlements, Governor Reynolds had selected it as the place of rendezvous for the volunteers he had called for to repel advance of the Indians. The patriots responding to his call were then coming in rapidly, and soon a force of nearly two thousand had collected there, a few afoot, but the greater number on horseback, each with a blanket or two, a rifle, powder horn and bullet pouch. A small number of them were armed with only hunting knives and tomahawks, but it so happened that Francis Arenz, the principal merchant there, had a lot of old Prussian muskets, made originally for the South American trade, which, with all other available supplies he had, were purchased by the Governor for his army.
Among the passengers aboard the boat mentioned was Dr. Chas. Chandler, with his wife and young daughter, who, as an advance of a small Rhode Island colony, had come to Illinois with the intention of locating at Fort Clark. Unable to reach his intended destination, the Doctor concluded to explore the country he was in, and acquaint himself with its general features and resources. he met many of the settlers from both sides of the river who were attracted to Beardstown by the gathering of the soldiers, or came with produce for sale or trade, from whom he learned much concerning the soil, climate, and productions of that locality, and of the vacant lands and the laws regulating their entry. With the volunteers in camp from different parts of the state he mingled freely, plying them, Yankee-like, with all sorts of questions to gain information; and by his pleasant, social conversation and good sense, was soon on the best of terms with them.
While talking one day with Col. Enoch C. March, the Quartermaster General, and a group of "the boys," Mr. David Epler, a prosperous farmer living east of the present town of Arenzville, drove into Beardstown with a wagon loaded with grain drawn by a pair of large fine horses. Col. March at once proposed to "press" that team into the service of the army which was much in need of draft horses for the baggage wagons. Mr. Epler straightway gave Col. March to understand he was not the sort of a man to permit much "pressing" of his property; and told him he could have the horses if he paid him a reasonable price for them, otherwise not to touch them; if he did it would be at his peril. Col. March wanted the team badly, and after parleying awhile they agreed that the Colonel should choose an arbitrator, Mr. Epler chose another, and the two select a third, the price the three agreed upon would be paid for the horses. Col. March chose Dr. Chandler, and Mr. Epler chose Bob Crawford who then owned the (present) Jake Ward farm three miles east of Virginia, and the two chose Capt. Allen F. Lindsey of Morgan County. In the west money was very scarce and horses low in price, while in the eastern states the reverse was the case. Dr. Chandler, guided by eastern prices thought the team worth $550; the other two, in as much as the state was to pay the bill, finally coincided with him, much to Col. March's disappointment, as he had to pay Mr. Epler fully $150 more than then western market price for the best horses.
The immediate surroundings of Beardstown at that time, and at that season, with but little in sight besides sand encircled by sloughs, was by no means prepossessing to a stranger just from the rocky hills of New England. But Dr. Chandler looked farther. he rode out east into the prairie as far as Sylvan Grove, the home of Archibald Job; and to Jacksonville, then up the Sangamon Bottom to Panther creek where it breaks through the bluffs to join the Sangamon river. The natural beauty of that spot at the foot of the picturesque range of bluffs, and the marvelous productiveness and future possibilities of the splendid valley in which it was situated so favorably impressed him that he decided to settle there and make it his home.
Between Beardstown and old Salem there were a few settlers scattered far apart along the edge of the Sangamon bottom next the bluffs, and others were almost daily coming in looking for places whereon to squat that combined the three essentials of pioneer life, timber, water and good land. Dr. Chandler "laid his claim" on 160 acres, described in the surveys as the E½ of the SW qr. and the W½ of the SE qr. of Sec. 31, 7. 19, R. 9; and proceeded at once to build a log cabin of roomy dimensions about in the center of it, on the mainly traveled road which followed closely the lower margin of the bluffs. Before he could finish his cabin, and get settled with any degree of comfort, his professional services, required by settlers far and near, demanded his entire time and attention. But he was fortunate in securing reliable hired help to care for his family in his absence, to make his clearing and fences and put in a garden crop of buckwheat, that gave his premises a home-like appearance. In those days money was extremely scarce in Illinois, especially in the frontier settlements. The gold and silver coin brought into the state by immigrants quickly found its way into the land offices, and a system of barter supplied its place in all ordinary business transactions. for some time Dr. Chandler received very little pay for his professional services apart from such products of the country as his patrons could spare; but that supplied provisions and horse feed amply sufficient to enable him to hospitably entertain those who traveled that way.
He had been on his claim but a short time when a stranger named English came there with his intention, he said,, of entering land and settling there. The Doctor fed him and is horse, exerting himself to his utmost to accommodate and assist him; telling him all he knew about the country and its prospects in order to aid him to select a suitable location. English looked around awhile, but could find no land that pleased him as well as the Doctor's claim did. Thereupon Dr. Chandler very generously offered to let him enter one of his eighty acre tracts, or half of the claim. that did not seem to entirely satisfy English, who, however, said he would go to Springfield next day and enter it, if he saw that he could do no better. On a map he carried were marked several tracts of land, from which he said he might make another selection. After dinner he left to go and pass the night with another settler near by. He was scarcely out of sight when a friend of the Doctor's hurriedly rode up to his cabin and told him that English had declared it his intention to go next day to the land office, at Springfield, and enter not only the eighty acres the Doctor had offered him, but his entire quarter section, and that he had plenty money for that purpose. The Doctor, much surprised, did not relish the idea of being ousted from his home in such a summary manner, but did not have money enough in specie to pay the government for the land at the fixed price of two dollars per acre.
However, no time could be lost. None of his neighbors, so far as he knew, had the amount of "land office money" (gold and silver) that he could borrow, and he would not have time to go to Beardstown and try to get it there. In that quandary he saddled his horse and rode away. No one he called on had any money until he came to the cabin of his friend, Wm. McCaulley, who happened to have the amount he needed, and when told by the Doctor in what exigency English had placed him, cheerfully let him have it. It was long after the sun had set when he got to his home. His two horses were very tired from constant traveling; but after a late supper he was again in the saddle, and taking his course by the stars, started through the woods to Springfield. Compelled to travel slowly, he was yet about ten miles from his destination at sunrise next morning. Three or four miles farther on he was overtaken by two young men mounted on spirited horses, who were also on their way to Springfield. Noticing the jaded condition of the Doctor's horse, and his rider's evident desire to hasten on, they inquired the occasion of it. he told them who he was, and the predicament he was in; that he was trying to circumvent a "land shark", and thereby save his home and claim. One of the young men immediately dismounting, gave his horse to the Doctor, telling him to ride it to town as fast as he pleased to go, and when there to leave it at a certain livery stable he named; and in the meantime, as he was himself in no hurry, he would follow slowly with the Doctor's tired horse, and they would "swop back" at their leisure.
Dr. Chandler gladly accepted the young stranger's generous offer, and arrived at the land office before it was before it was opened for the day's business, on the 2d day of June, 1832. He beat English there about two hours, having the title to all his land secured before that worthy made his appearance. A few days later, on receiving a remittence from the east, he repaid the money borrowed of McCaulley, and going back to Springfield entered, on June the 14th the forty acres adjoining his west eighty acres on the south. Having acquired perfect title to the land, he concluded to have it surveyed and its metes and bounds accurately established. Making enquiries for a surveyor to do the work, he learned that a young man residing farther up the Sangamon bottom, at a place called Salem, had the reputation of a competent surveyor, and was in every respect thoroughly reliable. He sent for him by the first opportunity presented, and on his arrival at Panther Creek Dr. Chandler was surprised and much gratified to find that he was the same young fellow who had so kindly furnished him a fresh horse in his run to beat English to the land office. His name was Abraham Lincoln. From the date of that incident on through life the "immortal Emancipator" never had a truer friend than Dr. Chandler.
Dr. Chandler was fifth in order of birth of a family of ten children, five sons and five daughters. He was born in Woodstock, Windham county, Connecticut, on July 2nd, 1806, and there received his preparatory education at the local schools, completing it at the Academy in Dudkey, Massachusetts, over the state line not far from his home. During the vacation that followed his last term at Dudley he commenced the study of medicine with Dr. Theodore Romeyne Beck an eminent author on Medical Jurisprudence. The next winter, then nineteen years of age, he taught a school near Woodstock. As he was a minor, his father, it seems, extracted from him his earnings while teaching - as he had a legal right to do. Bringing the money to him in a bowl, all in silver coin, he said,, "Here, father, is what I have earned since last fall. Take it, but I now want the balance of my time, so that I may work my way through the medical college." It was granted to him, and he continued teaching, giving to his medical studies all his leisure time and vacation intervals. the last school he taught was at King's Bridge, then a suburban village, now within the limits of New York City. In the fall of 1826 he was entered as a student in the medical college at Pittsfield, Massachusetts; and such was the diligence with which he had pursued his studies, he passed the requisite examination and graduated, receiving his diploma in June, 1827.
His next move was to open an office and commence the practice of his profession in the town where he was born, meeting with as fair success as a new beginner might expect where he was so well known. Two years later, encouraged to believe he could take care, not only of himself but of another one too, he was untied in marriage, on the 18th day of May, 1829, to the sweetheart of his school days, Miss Mary Carroll Rickard, of Thompson, Connecticut, who also was born in Woodstock, on Jan. 6th, 1811. never content with the slow conservative policy of letting well enough alone, Dr. Chandler, with his Yankee progressive spirit, always wanted to do better. Awhile after his marriage he concluded there were better prospects for the practice of medicine over in Rhode Island, where his wife's kinfolks lived; so, he moved there and located at Scituate, not far from the city of Providence. He was prosperous there, and built a handsome two-story frame house with all essential conveniences, establishing himself apparently for life. But he had not long enjoyed the comforts of his new home when he, and several of his associates and relatives, became very much interested in the accounts they received from Illinois - of its beauty and wonderful productive soil, and the many opportunities it offered to persons of limited means for success in all branches of business or industry.
Discussing the matter for some time after obtaining all information they could, a small number of them decided to go with their families and settle as a colony on the Illinois river in the vicinity of Fort Clark. With that view they began their preparations to emigrate in the spring of 1832. Dr. Chandler's wife at first refused to go and leave her fine new house, and only consented to part with it upon the Doctor's promise to build her one exactly like it in Illinois just as soon as he was financially able to do so. When the time approached upon which they had agreed to set out for the far west, appalled by the magnitude of the undertaking, the dangers on the way, and reputed unhealthiness of the great prairie state, the colonists with a few exceptions, decided to remain at home. But Dr. Chandler, having sold his home and closed up his business, and eager to get to the new country where his spirit of enterprise and energy would be unhampered, took his departure, with his wife and little daughter, accompanied by about half a dozen of the would-be colonists, who, however, went with him no farther than St. Louis. Learning there of the Black Hawk uprising, which threatened to involve all central and northern Illinois in a protracted Indian war, they left the Doctor and returned to the east.
By the time Black Hawk and his wretched lot of Indians had been driven out of the state, in July 1832, Dr. Chandler and wife were feeling very much at home, also pleased with the country and their surroundings. They wrote to their friends and relatives in the east how they were situated, describing the region they were in, its people and productions, candidly admitting it was not altogether a paradise, but in many points of view possessed, for the man of enterprise and industry, far greater advantages than any presented by Connecticut or Rhode Island. Their accounts of the Sangamon county, however, failed to induce the members of the original colony to carry out their former design of migrating westward. But in December, 1823, they were joined by the Doctor's brother, Marcus Chandler, with his wife and son, Knowlton A., and Henry L. Ingalls and family, Mrs. Ingalls being a cousin of Mrs. Marcus Chandler. About the same time, in the spring of 1834, Mr. Hicks and family, Squire Bonny and family with a young nephew, George Bonny, arrived at the Panther creek settlement from the state of New York, with them also came Dwight Marcy, wife and six children, from Connecticut, Mr. Marcy being the sister of Dr. Chandler.
In those days the Sangamon bottom, from the bluffs to the timber along the river, was covered with a dense growth of native prairie grass from six to eight feet high, interspersed with clumps of wild rose bushes, blackberry briers, and thickets of crabapples and persimmons. the lower parts of it were subject to annual overflow by the river, and during the summer and fall it was all infested with swarms of ravenous mosquitoes and green headed flies that made life a burden to both man and beast. Added to those unpleasant features, the bottom, reeking with malaria, was reputed very unhealthy and prolific of ague and other forms of fever. It was also open to the prevailing objections to all prairie land, the difficulty of "breaking the sod" and putting it in cultivation, and the general belief that the soil was poor, and prairies unfit for anything but grazing stock in the spring after the old grass had been burned off. For those reasons incoming settlers for a long time shunned the bottom, and laid their claims in the timber on higher ground.
Thus it was that the Panther Creek settlement increased so slowly as to contain but ten or twelve families a dozen years after Dr. Chandler first settled there. It is difficult to conjecture why a man of Dr. Chandler's superior natural and acquired abilities, and force of character, should select for a home a pot in the brush near a muddy creek in an obscure malarial wilderness, instead of locating in Jacksonville, Springfield, or some other one of the rapidly growing towns of central Illinois, where his achievements and influence could have been commensurate with his robust intellect. But having fixed his home in that forlorn domain of the ague and insect pests - actuated by the motive attributed by Aesop to the fox that had lost its tail in a trap; or by that sentiment of humanity that impels misery to love company - he offered flattering inducements and otherwise exerted himself, to increase the population of his settlement. His cabin stood about where the Congregational church in Chandlerville is now situated. In 1834, he built a blacksmith shop on the road near by, and the next year had a small framed and weather-boarded house put up on the site of Mr. Pilcher's present store building. In that little house he brought a stock of goods, adding merchandising to his practice of medicine, farming, and trading..
In 1835, Mr. Henry Ingalls commenced school teaching at her residence, a cabin south of Dr. Chandler's place. Among her first pupils were Mary J. Chandler, now Mrs. Shaw, Nancy Leeper, who became the wife of Sylvester Paddock, Louis Bonny, Knowlton A. Chandler, Mary Wing, and Jeptha Plaster. Some of the children had to walk more than two miles to get to that school. About that time Mrs. ingalls, Mrs. Marcus Chandler and Robert A. Leeper organized at the Ingalls cabin a Sabbath school which was for a long time well maintained. Mr. leeper, a very pious Methodist, came to that neighborhood from Kentucky, in 1830, and bought from A. S. West and Wm. Morgan a saw and grist mill on Panther Creek up in the hills which they had built there two years before. Panther Creek was always a stream of varying regimen, dry or nearly so, for half the year, and again a raging torrent high above and beyond its banks, sweeping everything before it. Mr. Leeper operated the mill for several seasons when it was finally washed away. he had not owned it long when Richard McDonald built another mill on the same creek half a mile further up; and then Henry L. Ingalls built still another mill half a mile below it. They too, in course of tie, were carried away by freshets leaving nothing to mark their sites but a few foundation stones.
By 1836, the population of Illinois was rapidly increasing, and the settlers were generally in prosperous condition. Not content, however, with the slow but substantial development of the country, the people were impatient for faster progress and better times. Responding to their demand the legislature authorized construction of a grand system of internal improvements to cost several millions of dollars, to be paid for by sale of state bonds. That folly instigated a spirit of wild speculation and extravagance among all classes. All over the settled portion of the state a mania for laying out new towns, beginning in 1833, became epidemic by 1836, the sale of town lots being regarded as a sure means of getting rich quickly. Dr. Hall laid out his town, Virginia, in 1836, and the next spring John Dutch laid out the town of Lancaster on an elaborate scale, at the "Half-way House" - half way between Beardstown and Springfield - now known as the Walker house, three miles west of Ashland. Dr. Chandler would not doubt have staked out a town at his place about that time but for his characteristic caution. Princeton, another town of Morgan county, had been platted in 1833, and in that year Thos. Wynn laid out a town named Richmond, on a slough five miles above Dr. Chandler's place. The Doctor shrewdly concluded to wait and see what progress Princeton and Richmond made before going into the town making business himself.
But, in 1836, having caught the prevailing rage for improvement, he fulfilled the promise he made to his wife at Scituate in 1832, building a fine two-store house, the exact counterpart of the one Mrs. Chandler was so reluctant to leave there; which, as shown in the accompanying cut, is still standing in fair condition. throughout the year 1836 the Doctor was very active in aiding the movement for organizing a new country in the northern part of Morgan, which culminated in the creation of Cass county, by the legislature on the 3d of March, 1837. Closely following that event came a calamity that greatly dampened popular rejoicing in the new county, and exultation of the people of the state generally over their brilliant prospects of soon having improved means of transportation, and thereby material addition to their wealth. It was the sudden and unexpected suspension of specie payment by the banks, resulting in a financial panic that reacted disastrously on every enterprise and industry in the country. Foreseeing that result, Dr. Chandler again displayed his innate shrewdness by selling his stock of goods to Mr. C. J. Newberry, and investing the proceeds in more land. On the 29th of June, 1837, a postoffice named Panther Creek was established, of which C. J. Newberry was appointed Post Master.
Marcus Chandler was a carpenter, but on coming to Illinois in 1833, entered a piece of land in the bottom two miles above the Doctor's place, on which he built a cabin and made a clearing. A brother and sister followed him to the settlement in 1837. The brother, Thomas K. Chandler, following his example, entered eighty acres of and three miles farther up the bottom in what was in later years known as the Dick settlement. For four or five years he labored to put the land in cultivation, but having been educated for a teacher and minister, he became disgusted with his undertaking and moved to Mississippi. There for several years he successfully conducted a young ladies' seminary. A short time before the civil war he moved to Texas and engaged in raising cattle and cotton; and died there in 1868. The sister, Miss Emily Chandler, was installed as a member of the Doctor's family. She had been educated for a missionary, but in 1839 was married to Dr. John Allen, of Petersburg, where she resided for many years. After Dr. Allen's death she removed, with one son and four daughters, to Jacksonville. There she died after having seen two of her daughters consigned to the grave. One of her two surviving daughters became the wife of the noted physician and surgeon of Jacksonville, Dr. W. H. H. King.
In politics Dr. Chandler was a whig as long as that party existed, then a republican; but at no time an active politician, as can well be inferred from the fact that he never held, or was a candidate for, a political office. Still he must have been unusually interested in the "coonskin campaign" of 1840, to name his son, born that year, Harrison Tyler Chandler, after Genl. Wm. Henry Harrison and John Tyler, the successful whig candidates for president and vice-president. But his rejoicing over the great whig victory in November was turned the next month to heart-rending grief by the death of his wife on the 28th of December (1840). Held in the highest estimation by all who knew her, Mrs. Chandler's death was mourned by the entire community, to whom she had endeared herself by her amiable disposition, her exemplary piety, benevolence and charity, and her kind sympathetic ministration to those in sickness and distress. Her funeral sermon was preached by Prof. J. B. turner, then recently admitted to the ministry. Only a short time before that sad event, in 1840, Dr. Chandler's sister, Mrs. Dwight Marcy, also died. Mrs. Chandler was survived by five children, namely: Mary Jane (Mrs. John Shaw), Emily Webster (Mrs. Genl. Lippincott), Maria Louisa (Mrs. David Frackelton), Charles Emmett and Harrison Tyler.
Mr. Newberry who bought the stock of goods of Dr. Chandler in 1837 tried merchandising only a short time, and sold out to Mr. Chase, and he sold his store in 1841 to Dr. Chandler and his brother, Marcus. With Elisha Alcott as their chief clerk and salesman, they did quite an extensive business for the next nine years. In connection with their regular trade they bought and shipped, by way of Beardstown, grain and other products of the country, and each winter engaged in pork packing, buying for that purpose as many as 3000 hogs during the season. In 1849 their establishment was destroyed by fire, entailing serious loss; but the buildings were immediately replaced and the business continued on a larger scale. In 1850 they sold out to Wm. Way and retired. From that time until his death in 1859, Marcus worked at the carpenter's trade. his wife having died he married Miss Sarah Perrin who was his first wife's sister. She survived him, with nine children. Knowlton H. Chandler, the oldest son of Marcus, associate and warm friend of Dr. Lippincott, was a Democrat. At the inception of the civil war Dr. Lippincott commenced to raise a company of volunteers for the Union service; but deterred then from going to the front himself turned it over to Knowlton, who was elected Captain of the company subsequently designated as "Co. K." of the 19th regiment of Illinois Infantry. Knowlton was killed at the head of his company at the battle of Stone river in Tennessee, and his body was brought back and buried in the cemetery at Chandlerville.
On the 10th of September, 1841, Dr. Chandler was again married. His second wife was Miss Clarissa Child, a native of Connecticut and sister of Mrs. Henry L. Ingalls; also a cousin of the two wives of Marcus Chandler. With the education and culture she had received at her home in the east, nature bestowed upon her in high degree all the finer womanly qualities that constituted her an ornament to society, a model Christian, wife and mother. She died in Chandlerville on the 13th day of March, 1878, survived by her husband and two sons, John T. and Linus C.; a daughter, Alice Child, having, at twelve years of age, preceded her to the grave several years before, in 1854. Not to be further bothered with schools in his residence, Dr. chandler in 1838 had a small frame house, twelve feet square, built a short distance farther east, and fitted up with seats and a rude desk or two, specially for a schoolhouse; for which it was used until found too small for the increasing number of children in the settlement, when the new Congregational church was substituted for school purposes. On completion of Dr. Chandler's new house, a Presbyterian church was organized there on the 16th of October, 1836, by Professors turner, Sturtevant and Baldwin, of Jacksonville, with five members, Mr. and Mrs. Sewell, Mr. Hicks, Mrs. Lavina Ingalls and Mrs. Marcus Chandler, the two latter, however, were members of the Congregational church before they came to Illinois. Religious services were held in the dining room of the Doctor's house once or twice each month. It was a room twenty feet square, with doors opening into other rooms, and a large porch on the south side, altogether sufficient to accommodate the large congregation of worshipers who always attended. On those occasions, Dr. Chandler, though himself not then a church member, would send his carriage to Springfield or Jacksonville for preachers and good singers, whom he hospitably entertained, until ready to return, sometimes several days. As time passed the Methodists of the settlement feeling they were strong enough to maintain an organization of their own, held their meetings at Squire Bonny's residence; but yet Dr. Chandler entertained their preachers, chief of whom was Peter Cartwright.
In 1841, a church building, costing $700 - more than half of which was contributed by Dr. Chandler - was commenced on a lot donated by him; and he donated all the lots on which churches and schoolhouses were built there up to the time of his death. The new edifice, completed in 1842, was dedicated as a Congregational church; and then Dr. Chandler was formally admitted as a member of it, and elected a deacon, a position he held for thirty years.
Under the administration of President Polk, the Doctor was appointed Post Master of the Panther Creek Post office in Sept. 13th, 1847, and the next year, 1848, he carried out his long intended design of laying out a town there, where there was already a cluster of fifteen or twenty houses. He employed J. W. Sweney, the county surveyor, to survey and define the lots and streets, and then filed the plat of the village of Chandlerville in the County Recorder's office at Beardstown on April 29, 1848. He had that in contemplation in 1846 when the settlement needing a wagon maker, and he wrote to Levi McKee, an artisan in that line, then in Hancock County, Ill., whom he had known in the east, offering to give him lots for residence and shop fronting on Main street if he would come and located in the village. Mr. McKee accepted the offer, and the Doctor gave him lots on the main wagon road northeast of his old cabin; but on making the plat two years later the main street was located farther west, where it is now. Mr. McKee then complained to the Doctor that he had not complied with his agreement of placing him on Main street. It not being convenient to comply with his promise, the Doctor proposed to vacate the lots between the McKee premises and main street, converting them into a park or public square, which was done to the entire satisfaction of all parties. And thus the town got its park.
The town, comprising as first projected scarcely forty acres, was enlarged by subsequent additions to the area of a square mile. By efforts of Dr. Lippincott the name of the Postoffice was changed in 1851 from Panther Creek to Chandlerville. Illinois had then seen the dawn of a new era, that of railroads and telegraphs. In 1853 the legislature enacted a charter for the Illinois River Railroad, beginning at Pekin, in Tazewell county, to run down the eastern side of the river to Alton as its ultimate terminus. The right of way was secured from Pekin to Bath, then the county seat of Mason county, the sum of $100,000 was subscribed, and considerable of the construction work done between the two points named when the enterprise was suspended for want of funds to further prosecute it. Dr. Chandler then became interested in it, and succeeded in getting several Jacksonville men of capital also interested in it. By his influence then the route of the proposed road was diverted from its original course to Beardstown and down the river valley, to a line directly south from Bath, through Chandlerville and Virginia to Jacksonville. In 1857 he was very instrumental in effecting a reorganization of the company with his friends, R. S. Thomas elected President, and Dr. M. H. L. Schooley Secretary, the name of the road changed to the Peoria, Pekin and Jacksonville, and saw its final completion in 1868. And after all that exertion for the road, and his subscription of many hundreds of dollars to its capital stock - every cent of which he lost, as did all the other Cass county subscribes - with the characteristic diffidence he would except of no official position in its management.
The genealogy of the Chandler family extends back in English history to the advent of William the Conqueror in the eleventh century. The first ancestors of Dr. Chandler in America, William Chandler and wife Agnes, came over from England, not in the Mayflower in 1620, but seventeen years later, arriving at Roxbury, Massachusetts, in 1637. Their oldest son, John, was one of the founders of Woodstock, Connecticut, and died there April 15, 1703. Dr. Chandler's father, Capt. John Chandler, of the sixth generation of Chandlers in America, and wife Hulda Howard, were parents of ten children in the following order, all born in Woodstock:
Pricilla, born Aug. 11, 1797, died unmarried, May 5th, 1842.
Lois Child, born May 8th, 1799, married Dwight Marcey, died May 5th, 1840.
Sophia, born May 18th, 1802, married Benjamin Webster, died May 12, 1858.
John, born August 23d, 1804, died in 1881.
Charles, born July 2d, 1806, died April 18th, 1879.
Marcus, born June 25th, 1808, died March 3d, 1859.
Marcia, twin sister of Marcus, died unmarried, April 28th, 1823.
Emily, born March 7th, 1811, married Dr. John Allen, died in March, 1877.
Thomas K., born Feb. 1st, 1813, died in Texas in 1868.
David Howard, born Nov. 16th, 1819, died _______.
The first born son, John, lived and died at Fredonia, N.Y.
His eldest daughter was the second wife of Dr. David Prince, of Jacksonville, Ill.
Dr. Charles Chandler was a highly creditable representative of the sturdy stock from which he was descended. He was a strong man physically, intellectually and professionally. In stature six feet tall, a Daniel Webster in figure, robust, and well-proportioned, with dark auburn hair and hazel colored eyes, high broad forehead, and features expressive of his benign, unselfish nature. Animated by an indomitable spirit of progress and enterprise, he was remarkably active, energetic and industrious. Devoting himself for many years with zeal and efficiency to every professional duty in his sphere, he yet found time to plan, promote and prosecute various industries. His energy and power of endurance were marvelous; his labors being limited only by the limits of his fortitude. When called to relieve suffering or save endangered life he stopped neither for storms, mud or over-flowed streams, nor for excessive heat of summer or cold of winter. No fanatic was ever more a slave to the service of his religion than was Dr. Chandler to the duties of his profession. He never halted to enquire about the ability or honesty of those in sickness and distress who required his assistance, but went to their aid with his knowledge, skill, and all the strength of his active mind at any, and all hours of the night or day. On horseback he rode day after day, often from fifty to eighty miles, and sometimes a hundred miles within twenty-four hours, always, in the sickly seasons, having relays of fresh horses at certain points awaiting him.
He visited the sick in a radius of fifty or sixty miles from his home, traveling on dim trails through woods and across trackless prairies, frequently without food from morning to night, then sharing with the settler his plain fare of venison and corn bread or hominy; and later catching snatches of sleep in the saddle on his return, or slept soundly rolled up in a blanket on a few deer skins laid on the cabin floor. To the superstitious it seemed that some occult power shielded him from the many dangers he was subjected to, when riding at night over inundated bottoms, crossing raging unbridged streams, and continuous exposure to all extremes of weather.
He was not in Illinois during "the winter of the deep snow;" but often related his recollection of the memorable "cold day," Monday, dec. 20th, 1836. the preceding day, Sunday, was warm, with showers of rain converting the snow that had fallen a few days before into slush and mud. Monday morning was still warm and misty, the little snow remaining rapidly disappearing in pools and rills of water. About noon the Doctor, on horseback, was up the bottom road about eight miles from his place, on his return from a professional round of calls,, when the sudden change of temperature began. A gentle wind had been blowing from the south, when a black cloud suddenly appeared in the northwest attended instantly by a piercing cold gale from that direction. In twenty minutes the puddles of water and mud in the road were frozen solid, and in an hour the temperature fell from 60 degrees above to 20 degrees below zero. It has often been told that the mud froze so quickly many pigs, sheep and chickens had their feet caught in it and were held fast until frozen to death. Not having prepared himself with Arctic clothing, the Doctor suffered severely from cold. In the eight miles he had to travel to reach his home he was compelled to stop at wayside farms four times to warm in order to escape freezing. When at last he arrived at home he was so chilled and benumbed that he was speechless and helpless, requiring assistance to dismount and get to the fire. The cold was so intense that many birds and small animals, and even some horses and cattle, in poor condition, perished.
When Dr. Chandler built his cabin in Panther Creek, his nearest professional competitors were Dr. Rew at Beardstown and Dr. Elder below Princeton. The miasmatic, germ-breeding exhalations from the prairie marshes and river bottom swamps were so profuse and malignant as to overtax the human organs of elimination, thus rendering the new country very unhealthy. Then too, many of the pioneer settlers were without the ordinary comforts of life, and without means, knowledge, or hygienic aids, to combat the prolific causes of diseases. Added to their privations in that respect, the then sterotyped treatment of malarial disorders by exclusion of fresh air and cold drinks, ementics, purgation, blistering, bleeding and drenching the hapless victims with vile, nauseating decoctions, rendered it scarcely possible for the fittest to survive. The coming of Dr. Chandler in that sparse community in that era, with his broad, enlightened views, sound judgement, and untiring activity seemed specially providential. With the most modern methods of Allopathic practice, he introduced several salutary reforms in the prevailing barbarous modes of treatment, such as discarding indiscriminate blood-letting, exhausting emetics, and other pernicious relics of primeval ignorance.
Dr. Chandler was a very able, clear-headed physician, who would have been accorded a position in the front ranks of the medical profession anywhere. Well grounded in book lore and theoretical knowledge, his quickness and clearness of perception, and fine judgement in the analysis of symptoms rendered him almost infallible in diagnosis. Then, his treatment, based partly upon precedents and experience, but mostly upon the dictates of strong common sense, though not invariably successful, was always believed to be evidently the best that could be done under the circumstances. He was deservedly a very popular physician, not only because of his superior ability, but also because of his kind sympathetic nature, his exalted humanity, and genuine Christian spirit. In the sick room he was an inspiration of hope and encouragement, while his manipulation of the sick was as gentle as the touch of a mother. He expected, of course, to be paid for his services, but could not conceal the fact that in his laborious attentions to the sick and suffering, money was only a secondary consideration.
As there is a limit to the endurance of all created things, not even the iron frame and constitution of Dr. Chandler could always withstand the ceaseless physical labor and mental strain of the strenuous life he led. In 1849 while asleep on his return home from a hard travel, he was thrown from the sulky in which he was riding and sustained serious injuries. An attack of pneumonia followed, from which he recovered very slowly. After that an occasional "sharp stitch" in the cardiac region with certain associated symptoms, caused him to imagine that he was afflicted with some kind of heart disease. But many years later a sudden muscular movement of the chest, attended by an acute pain at the point where the "stitch" was located, resulted at once in its permanent removal. He then knew that his "heart disease" was merely a pleural adhesion which just then was broken apart. However, from the date of the sulky accident and sickness he never regained his former vigor. Compelled to abandon the active practice of medicine he turned his attention to other pursuits, as farming, trading, buying and selling; and finally built a substantial business house on Main street, and there engaged in the retail drug and hardware trade. the welfare of his family was the central object of all his efforts, and the care and education of his children his chief pride, to which he gave much thought and lavish expenditure of means. He had an aversion to public life, and no aspirations whatever for fame or notoriety. His natural gifts and superior attainments, under different conditions, and in a broader field for their exercise, would have accomplished greater results, and gained for him much higher distinction than he attained in Cass county. But he was content to expend the utmost exertions of his life for the good of others in the obscurity of a frontier settlement remote from the best opportunities for social progress and personal advancement.
The doctor was not a public speaker, but with clear, full voice he had fine command of language, and a smooth convincing way of talking that generally carried his point in any argument or trade. His conversation was always entertaining, instructive, and never marred by slang or vulgarity. In all his dealings and business or professional transactions his word or promise could be relied on with implicit confidence. From every point of view his integrity of character was complete. His personal habits were most exemplary, with exception of the mild vice of tobacco smoking, and a guarded, limited se of alcoholic stimulants, which latter indulgence was in his case justified; if at all excusable under any circumstances.
Constantly occupied as he was for years with his extensive practice and multifarious personal interest he never neglected the higher obligations of citizenship incumbent upon him. As the patriarch of the community he founded he was the vital force of its welfare and prosperity, and with parental vigilance watched over its health and morals. Always an enthusiastic friend to the cause of education, he generously contributed to the support of its schools and churches; and gave freely of his means for opening roads, building bridges, and other public improvements. Deserving persons requiring his held could always depend upon getting it. By the free use of his means many worthy settlers were enabled to secure, from the government, titles to their farms, and thereby save them from the clutches of rapacious speculators. Hopeful and sanguine himself he encouraged the desponding with his example and advice. His home in early days was a free tavern for all respectable strangers and wayfarers; and the victims of misfortune, the poor and friendless found in him a benefactor. He assisted young men to overcome the obstacles of poverty and establish themselves in productive industries. Young Schooley, Rogers, Hand, and some others, he took into his home under his personal care, gave them board and lodgings, free use of his books and instructions, furnished them horses to "ride" with him, and made of them respectable physicians and useful citizens.
During all his forty-seven years of arduous mental and physical labor in Illinois, his home life was that of quiet domestic enjoyment, free from the vexations of petty ambition, envy, or sordid avarice. he was a sincere but not ostentatious Christian; and - be it said to his credit - was never a member of any secret society. With noble courage he devoted himself to what he believed to be right regardless of public opinion, and with no thought of self-exaltation. But, above the great usefulness of his busy life - more admirable than his strong intellect, or his marvelous energy, untiring industry and broad philanthropy, was the basis of all, his pure character, his kind, humane nature, and sterling manhood.
Dr. Chandler never reached during his life, the period for retiring from active work. He had earned sufficient to place him far beyond the necessity for further exertion, but his liberal family expenses, numerous benefactions, and some unprofitable investments, absorbed much of it, and left him possessed at last of only a moderate estate. Not from compulsion, however, but from force of habit, he could not be idle, and, so, remained in the harness to the end. On the evening of April 17th, 1879, having, as usual, been busy from early morning, he retired to bed at his accustomed hour, in cheerful mood and apparently vigorous health. He was always an early riser but on the next morning not appearing when breakfast was ready, a messenger was sent up to his room to awaken him, who immediately returned reporting that he was dead. It was evident from the placid expression on his face, his position of quiet repose, and not the least derangement of the bed and bed clothing, that his life had ceased during sleep without pain or struggle. At his death dr. Chandler had attained the age of 72 years, 9 months and 15 days.
The funeral ceremonies at his burial were conducted by his venerable friend of many years, Rev. Albert Hale, assisted by the local Congregational minister. Through a driving rain an immense number of people followed the corpse to the grave, there to pay the last tribute of respect and affection to him whom they revered as a true friend, a public benefactor, and an eminently good, and great man.