Earliest known ancestor of Group 4
Thomas Chandler, b bef 1725 probably VA USA, d 1795 Dinwiddie Co VA USA

CFA descendants of Group 4

Group 4 of the Chandler DNA Project has five members. Three were early DNA Project participants and have virtually identical DNA. Robert of Dinwiddie County, Virginia, is a descendant of Thomas’ son William. Albert Benjamin (Ben) of Versailles, Kentucky, and Bill Jaynes Chandler, also Kentucky born, descend from Thomas’ son Thomas.footnote 1 (In this account, these two Thomases are referred to as Thomas the Elder and Thomas the Younger.) Robert and Ben are exact matches in the 37-marker test, and Bill differs from them by just one step. Over the course of centuries, we may expect one or two steps of difference to crop up in a group of this size through random mutation. In particular, the match of Robert and Ben, which links two men whose most recent common ancestor was evidently born not much short of 300 years ago, points to the integrity of this line. The newest members of Group 4 are Larry Douglas Chandler of Kentucky and his son, Jeffrey Douglas Chandler, proven descendants of Manson Hardaway Chandler, a probable grandson of Thomas the Elder.

Thomas the Elder (the Patriarch)

The origins of Thomas the Elder, who probably lived his entire life in Virginia, have not been determined precisely. Early CFA efforts, since revised, linked him to a William who died in Amelia County in the 1740s. That presumed link was supported only by the presence of Thomas the Elder in the same county at or near the same time. As to their descendants, nothing links them. Furthermore, the DNA evidence now available from descendants of that William (Group 2) suggests that any kinship is essentially impossible.

There was another Chandler in Virginia who may have been related to Thomas, a Martin Chandler who in 1722 acquired from William Yarborough 200 acres of land in the Reedy Creek area of King William County that is now in Caroline. Little is known of him; very few records of that time now exist where he resided. The following is known:

  • He was old enough to buy land in 1722.
  • Yarborough and other members of his family began to move to Amelia County in the early 1740s.
  • Thomas Chandler, young or in early middle age, bought his first Amelia County land in 1747, that tract lying about five miles west of the Yarboroughs’ extensive holdings; but the 1748 tithables and tobacco planters lists place him in the same exact area as the Yarboroughs.
  • In 1748, Caroline County court orders (which do exist) include the acknowledgment by “Thomas Chandler” of his deed to Matthew Petross, who lived in the locale where Martin’s land had lain; this Thomas cannot be identified as some other Caroline County Thomas.
  • Thomas the Elder named a son Martin, as did Thomas the Younger.

These three are the only Martin Chandlers known to have been in Virginia before 1800.footnote 2

The foregoing makes it plausible that Thomas the Elder was Martin’s son (or possibly heir as grandson, nephew, or even brother?), that he followed the Yarboroughs to Amelia where he acquired land and in the next year sold the land in Caroline that earlier had been Martin’s. In the end, the best that can be said is that all that is known about Martin and Thomas, sketchy though it is in the case of the former, supports this hypothesis.

In 1752 Thomas and his wife Catherine (parents not known) sold the tract they had bought in 1747. In 1755, he patented 400 acres close by in Prince Edward County (taken from Amelia). They sold this land in 1760. Thomas was granted another 400 acres to the west in Halifax County, in soon-to-be Pittsylvania County; the survey of it in his name was done in 1754. In 1767, Pittsylvania’s tithables list showed Thomas as a resident of Dinwiddie County, where he and Catherine were also living when in 1768 they sold the Pittsylvania tract. Why they moved to Dinwiddie is not known. Obviously already an enterprising fellow, Thomas, with the acquisition of at least 500 to 600 acres of land along White Oak Creek and a half dozen slaves, settled down in Dinwiddie as a planter. He died in 1795 and Catherine followed in 1799 or 1800. In the substantial but patchy records of their lives, nothing, beyond his probable link to Martin, establishes their lineage or indicates to whom, other than their sons, they were related.footnote 3

The sons of Thomas and Catherine Chandler were Thomas, William, Martin, John, and Britain; no daughters are known. They all probably were married in the 1770s. Thomas, with two sons by 1775, may have been the oldest. As with the parents, the lack of surviving records in Dinwiddie County from before 1833 – wills, marriages and deeds included – limits knowledge of them. The county’s tax records survive and are the source of much that is known about this family.

William and Britain remained in Dinwiddie County, as John also may have done, while Martin moved to Amelia. Thomas stayed not far away until in old age he went westward.

The Five Sons of Thomas the Elder

William, with some 900 acres of land on White Oak Creek, appears to have been the son who walked the most closely in his father’s footsteps. Married to Mildred, he died in 1828. The line of descent of present-day Robert of Dinwiddie County, beginning with William and Mildred, is Boswell > Bolling > Ira Boswell > Crawley > Crawley Jr. The land on which Robert and his family and his mother Doris reside was purchased by Bolling (1806-1884) in 1861. His remains and those of Ira Boswell are there in the family cemetery.footnote 4

Britain (Brittain)
The research of Bill Jaynes Chandler indicated that Britain remained in Dinwiddie County, Virginia, and died in 1806, when he was last listed in Dinwiddie County tax records, or 1807, when the county tax records listed his estate. Follow this link to read the stories of some of Britain’s descendants.

John dropped off the Dinwiddie County, Virginia, tax lists in the early 1800s. Nothing further is known of John or his descendants.


Bill Jaynes Chandler traced descendants of Martin who left Virginia for Logan County, Kentucky (following Martin’s wife’s people). They had a notable presence there, leaving their name on the village Chandlers Chapel (they founded the Methodist Church there). The name endures as the community’s name and on the elementary school. The local high school also carried the name until it closed in the 1960s. The large community cemetery is Chandlers Chapel Cemetery.

The map pin northeast of Russellville, Kentucky, indicates the location of the community named Chandlers Chapel. Click on the image to view this map at mapquest.com.

Bill said, “I went to the Sunday service at the church . . . and talked to older members who remember the Chandlers, but, according to them, and my research there, none remain. I hoped, of course, to identify a male descendant (for a Y chromosome DNA test), but was unable to do so. Nor could anyone there point to anyone who might know of such.”

Thomas the Younger
Thomas the Younger, from whom Ben and Bill descend, is not identified in any available document as the son of Thomas the Elder. The tax records that note the passing of land from the estate of Thomas the Elder to his other sons make no mention of him. Yet, substantial evidence of the convergence of the two Thomases and their descendants supports the conclusion that they were father and son. Now, more tellingly, the near-exact DNA match among Robert, descendant of William, and Ben and Bill, descendants of Thomas the Younger, would seem to have dispelled the slight uneasiness that otherwise was bound to linger from the weakness in the documentary record. Much of the research on the descendants of Thomas the Elder has concentrated on the family of Thomas the Younger. Follow this link to read the story of Thomas the Younger and his descendants.

*This history of Genetic Chandler Family Group 4 is largely based on “Thomas Chandler (? – 1795) of Virginia – His Probable Origins and Some of His Descendants” by Bill Jaynes Chandler, published in the Spring 2007 Chandler Family Association Newsletter. Bill Jaynes Chandler, a CFA member, is Emeritus Professor of History at Texas A&M University-Kingsville and the author of three books of Brazilian and Italian (Sicilian) history. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Florida in Latin American history and taught at the State University of New York at Albany before moving to Texas A&M-Kingsville. Additional contributions to the Group 4 story were made by Joseph M. Joyner, Jr., deceased; Anne Meredith; and Larry Douglas Chandler.

1 The documentary research that linked these three Chandlers is set forth for the most part in Annamae Barber Chandler, comp., “Blue Book,” pp. 3-36. That work is a cooperative effort that contains some factual errors and questionable assumptions.

2 William Yarborough to Martin Chandler deed, acknowledged by the latter on 21 Feb. 1722, King William County Records, Book 2, pp. 89-90, 93 (available on microfilm at the courthouse and the Library of Virginia); George Bagley to Thomas Chandler, 18 Mar. 1747, Deed Book 3, p. 14; Josias Randle’s list…1748, Amelia County Tithables Lists, Library of Virginia; Chandler to Pettross, Caroline County Order Book, 1747-1754, p. 81.

3 Thomas and Catherine to Adam Jones, 27 Sept. 1752, Amelia County Deed Book 4, p. 490; Virginia Land Office Patent Book No. 31, p. 663; Thomas Chandler to Abraham West, 8 Dec. 1760, Prince Edward County Deed Book 2, p. 685; Halifax County Entry Record Book, p. 210; Thomas and Catherine to Beverley Shelton, Pittsylvania County Deed Book 1, p. 86. Thomas and Catherine are known in Dinwiddie County solely from land and personal property tax records, because its deed record before 1833 no longer exists, nor much of any other records, either. Its uncommonly informative tax records show that Thomas upon his death left 500 acres of land.

4 William’s line has been developed principally by two of his descendants, Joseph M. Joyner, Jr., deceased, and Anne Meredith; see the “Blue Book,” pp. 6-11. Bill Jaynes Chandler has verified to his satisfaction the overall accuracy of the research on this line.