Thompson Chandler, born 20 February 1811, and Margaret Smith, born 1809, married 4 August 1831 in Giles County, Virginia. Documented knowledge of them (other than a record of Thompson’s birth in a family Bible) begins with the marriage.
Of the several cousins who have researched, collaborated and published their research on the family of Thompson and Margaret Chandler, two are descendants of Thompson’s son Ransom Kiles Chandler, another descends from Thompson’s son Sylvestor Eugustus Paris Chandler, and the fourth descends from Thompson’s son Preston Snidow Chandler. Three of the four are the male Chandlers who comprise Group 11 in the Chandler DNA Project. Hubert Thomas “Tom” Chandler, one of the Group 11 matches, has prepared a unique family tree of this family’s male Chandler line (click to view).
In May 2010 the DNA test results of Nelwyn Gene Chandler became available, showing a 35/37 match with Tom. Gene’s earliest known ancestor is Thomas P Chandler who was born about the same time and place as Thompson. A possible explanation is that Thomas and Thompson were half-brothers, sons of an otherwise unknown William Chandler who appeared briefly in Monroe County, and two different mothers. A genetic distance of two between Chandler DNA Project participants five generations down (six in the case of Thomas’ descendants) is plausible, but does not prove this theory. Thompson Chandler’s descendants accept that this explanation is one of a number of possibilities that future discoveries may clarify. Thomas Chandler’s descendants place greater weight on the theory, considering it to be a probability. If the theory is correct, this William Chandler may be the man who witnessed the marriage bond and accompanying note which appears below. Future researchers should note that William witnessed the earlier, handwritten document using his full name, but witnessed the later bond signing as Will Chandler. Searches should therefore include both possible names.
Gene’s earliest known ancestor, Thomas P. Chandler, was born circa 1811-1812 in Monroe County, Virginia (now West Virginia), and is thought to be the illegitimate son of Frances Ballard, daughter of Thomas Ballard. Thomas may have grown up in Grandfather Ballard’s household.
Thomas married Lucy Workman circa 1831 in most likely Logan County, West Virginia; however, marriage records in Logan County are non-existent before 1853. His second marriage was to Nancy Godbey on 10 November 1857 in Logan County. On this marriage record, Thomas himself states he was born in Monroe County and that his mother was “Franky” Ballard. The 1850 Boone County, Virginia, census shows Frances living in her son’s household. Thomas appears last on the 1860 Boone County, Virginia, census. By the time of the 1870 census, his second wife is married to Crispin Isaac Stone.
As exemplified by the marriage bond above, the Ballard and Thompson families were very close, intermarrying and naming children after each other. The proven link between these two families and a William Chandler, and the arrival of a child named Thompson Chandler at about the same time, suggests that there may have been a Chandler/Thompson marriage link. Further investigation is clearly required: the Ballards came from Orange County, Virginia, and the Thompsons may have come from that area. The earlier history of Genetic Family 11 may be found somewhere on that ancestral trail.
Reverting to Thompson Chandler, he and his family stayed in the general area of Giles County, where he and Margaret married, for many years, sometimes living in Giles County and sometimes just across the Giles County border in Monroe County. This same county border would become part of the state border when West Virginia became a state in 1863. Thompson owned no land during this time and apparently was an itinerant farm laborer.
Thompson was living in Monroe County at the time of the 1860 census. About 1868, following the turbulence of the Civil War, Thompson and Margaret moved to Kanawha County where sons William T. and Ransom Kiles had settled following their discharge from service with Company D, 30th SS Battalion, Virginia Regiment, CSA, in 1863. They settled a few miles west of Charleston near the Elk River.
Thompson died 28 December 1877 and is buried in the Chandler Cemetery, Big Fork, Frame, West Virginia. After his death, Margaret moved to Summers County, West Virginia, to live with her daughter Lucinda Chandler Mann. Margaret died 9 December 1882.
Family lore has it that neither Thompson nor Margaret would talk about their childhood. They had five sons and six daughters, and there are many living descendants of these children.
Ransom Kiles Chandler, son of Thompson and Margaret Chandler, recorded the birth dates of the family in a Bible; the entries are quoted below. Information inset in italics is added from other sources. A detail from the Bible is shown at right below.
As often occurs with uncommon forenames, there were variations in spelling. The Bible record transcription above shows the spelling that was most often used by the family or in official records, which differs slightly from the original Bible record.
Nancy Emeline Chandler married James A. Adkins, and they had nine children. For some reason, they sent the oldest three of their male children – Henderson Adkins, William Wiser Adkins, and Archbishop Adkins – to be raised by grandparents Thompson and Margaret. Although never adopted by their grandparents, apparently two of the boys, Henderson and Archbishop, assumed the surname Chandler. William Wiser always used the Adkins name. Both Henderson (d 1929) and Archbishop (d 1919) married, but the names of Archbishop’s children are unknown. Henderson is found in the 1880, 1900, and 1910 census as Henderson Chandler. He had at least 6 male children, all listed in census documents as Chandler. This little story is included here as an example of a genealogical twist that can mystify researchers: Any male-line descendants of Henderson and Archbishop will carry Adkins DNA, not Chandler DNA, even though those families have used the Chandler surname for many years.
Descendants of Thompson’s son Miles Henderson Chandler (if any) are not known. William Thompson Chandler left descendants through a single male line, but the location of a living descendant is not known. If a living male cousin can be found, an attempt will be made to obtain a DNA sample for comparison. As more Chandler men participate in the Chandler DNA Project, matches may be made that will take this family further into the past.
1Records entered in Family Bible by Ransom Chandler.
3Vogt, John, and William Kethley, Jr. Giles County Marriages 1806-1850 (Athens, GA : Iberian Pub. Co., c1985). Thompson Chandler and Margaret Smith 25 Jul 1831 (bond date); bondsman Joel Sartain, minister Elijah Beller – 4 Aug 1831 (marriage date).
4It is documented that Lucy Workman, daughter of Abraham Workman, certainly was Thomas Chandler’s first wife using Kith and Kin of Boone County, West Virginia, Volume III. Text: Lucy Chandler d. 22 Dec 1856, age 45y11m5d, Abraham & Mary Workman, b. Little Cole (sic), reported by Thomas Chandler, husband. (Note: Little Coal River is a river in present-day Boone County, WV.)
5U.S. Census documents identified his location while in VA and identified him as a farm laborer. Land and Tax records in these locations during this period show no land holdings.
6Canterbury, Marie Bowen (Mingie), Grandmother’s Letter; a family genealogy; an open letter to my precious grandchildren Kristen, Kevin, Jay, and Timmy. (Privately published Baltimore: Gateway Press, Arlington, VA), Vol 1 (1 of 3), Chap. 11, p. 93, Chap. 11, p. 93.
7“American Civil War Soldiers,” available online at ancestry.com. Specific info on their military records is located in the note section of their listings in the GEDCOM of Thomas Hubert (Tom) Chandler. Email Tom at for more information.
8Canterbury, Marie Bowen (Mingie), Grandmother’s Letter; a family genealogy; an open letter to my precious grandchildren Kristen, Kevin, Jay, and Timmy. (Privately published Baltimore: Gateway Press, Arlington, VA), Vol. l, Chap. 11, p. 92.
10Sources for individuals other than those identified in the Bible: Personal communications from Wilma Gardman to Eleanor Lee (Gay) Chandler, Hubert Thomas Chandler, Marie Bowen Canterbury and other descendants of Thompson Chandler. Jarrett Taylor Chandler Jr. contributed much information about descendants of Thompson Chandler’s son Preston Snidow Chandler and also about other descendant’s of Thompson.
11Canterbury, Marie Bowen (Mingie), Grandmother’s Letter; a family genealogy; an open letter to my precious grandchildren Kristen, Kevin, Jay, and Timmy. (Privately published Baltimore: Gateway Press, Arlington, VA), Vol. l, Chap. 11, p. 93.