Edmund Chandler and Elizabeth Alden
by Carol May, Research Director, Chapter13
Was Edmund Chandler married to Elizabeth Alden? The answer is yes, but it was not the immigrant Edmund who married her. It was his grandson, also named Edmund, who married Elizabeth Alden. Edmund, the immigrant, was married twice that we know about, but his wives’ names are unknown.
Edmund, the grandson, was the son of Joseph and Marcye, also spelled Mercy. We know that he was married to Elizabeth Alden because on July 2, 1711, Edmund Chandler and Elizabeth his wife along with others signed a deed relating to property that belonged to her father, Jonathan Alden. (Plymouth County Deeds, Book 16: 197 as related in “The Genealogy of Edward Small” – see sources below).
Edmund died without a Will. It is believed that he died after May 20 1715 and before October 8, 1717. On the May 20, 1715 date, his property was mentioned in regard to a highway (Duxbury Town Rec. 108 as related in “Mayflower Families through Five Generations, the John Alden Family” as listed below). On the October 8, 1717 date, a deed was acknowledged by all of the grantors except Edmund Chandler (Plymouth Co. LR 16:197).
His widow, Elizabeth, was ordered by the Judge of Probate for the County of Plymouth to do an inventory of the estate on February 5 1721/22. (Plymouth County Probate, Book 4: 299, 356, 357 as related in “The Genealogy of Edward Small”)
Edmund’s assets were disposed of with no mention of heirs (See “The Genealogy of Edward Small”), nor was a guardian appointed for minor children. John, Nathaniel, Zebedee and Mercy have long been speculated as being Edmund and Elizabeth’s children, although with the possible exception of John, documentation has not been found.
Both Edmond’s widow, Elizabeth, and a grandson named John Chandler were named in the Will of Edmund’s father, Joseph, made on April 21 1721 and proved on January 1 1721/22.
Joseph left his grandson, John, tools and property, so he wasn’t a child, or a guardian would have been named to manage the assets. Joseph’s Will didn’t say who his grandson’s father was. Could his father have been Edmund? Or John who lost his hand? Or an unknown son of Joseph? This is a question that neither the great Mayflower researcher, George Ernest Bowman, nor Lora Altine Woodbury Underhill, the author of “Small”, were able to solve.
Joseph gave “unto my Daughter in Law Elisabeth Chandler four pounds to be Paid by my Executor in one year after my Decease & y House and fire wood as long as she Remains a Widdow.” (Plymouth County Probate, Book 4: 309-311 as related in “The Genealogy of Edward Small”).
Elizabeth then married Pelatiah West and apparently they had no children together. Elizabeth died, without probate, before Pelatiah. When Pelatiah died he left his assets to his relatives. (See “Mayflower Families through Five Generations, the John Alden Family” – see sources below).
The Mayflower Society recognizes the possibility of John being Edmund and Elizabeth’s child, although they believe that if he was their child he died young. However, by using their logic, if he did die young he would had to have died in a narrow time frame between 1721 when Joseph made his Will and 1724 when it appears that Elizabeth began selling Edmund’s property.
However, the “Alden Kindred”, which is devoted to John Alden and his descendants, does list John as the child of Edmund and Elizabeth on their website (see sources, below), but do not show him as having married or having descendants.
Neither lineage society recognizes Capt. John Chandler, aka John 2nd and John, Jr., (1696-1764), as Edmund and Elizabeth’s child due to lack of documentation. Nor does either lineage society recognize Nathaniel, Zebedee, and Mercy as being their children, again, because of lack of documentation i.e. no guardianship for minor children, no division of Edmund’s property by the probate court, nor quitclaim deeds from other heirs to sell his property. Although, apparently the lineage societies did reverse their earlier opinion that Edmund and Elizabeth did have surviving children. This subject has been the topic of debate for many years.
Still, whether or not Capt. John was Edmund’s son, it does not preclude him from being Joseph’s grandson, John. Nor does it preclude one or more of Nathaniel, Zebedee, and Mercy, from being John’s sibling(s).
We are looking for clues and documentation as to how these people were related. If anyone has any documentation, leads, or clues, such as old letters or just a passing reference in an old document about them, we would like to know.
“The Genealogy of Edward Small of New England and the Allied Families with Tracings of English Ancestry” by Lora Altine Woodbury Underhill (Cambridge, Mass. 1910). This is considered the most complete, meticulously documented genealogy of the Early Chandlers. Original sources are listed. Chapter 13, The Chandler Family, is 68 pages long and covers Edmund, the immigrant, and several generations of his descendants. Discoveries have been made since it was first written.
“Mayflower Families through Five Generations, The John Alden Family”, Vol. 16, Part II pages 119-122. Published by the General Society of Mayflower Descendants of 1620 Plymouth.
Alden Kindred of America, Inc.– a website dedicated to John Alden and his descendants. They have an extensive genealogy posted on their website.