John Chandler, Sr.

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John Chandler, Sr.

Birthdate: (58)
Birthplace: St. Margarets, London, Westminster, England
Death: circa 1658 (49-65)
Elizabeth City County, now, Hampton, Virginia
Immediate Family:

Son of Richard Chandler and Dorothy Chandler
Husband of Elizabeth Lupo / Chandler
Father of Robert Chandler, Sr.; John Chandler, II and Mary Chandler
Brother of Magdalene Chandler; Thomas Chandler; Arthur Chandler; George Chandler; William Chandler and 1 other

Occupation: planter/judge/House of Burgesses
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About John Chandler, Sr.

From The Chandler Family Association:

The Chandler Family Association

John Chandler of Virginia

1600 - 1658

NOTE: This is a biographical sketch. Many more details are to be found in the March and October 1993, February 1998 and February 2000 issues of the Chandler Family Association Newsletter in articles by Joseph Chandler Burton, Jr., and in five articles by Joseph Barron Chandler, Jr. in Tidewater Virginia Families, issues of Aug/Sept 2000, May/June 2001, and May/June, Aug/Sept and Nov/Dec 2002, and sources cited therein.

JOHN CHANDLER (1600-c.1658), first of the name found in surviving Virginia records, initially set foot in Jamestown on Sunday morning, June 10, 1610. Given the fact that he was only 9 years old and the fact 75% or more of the colonists who came to Virginia during the Virginia Company years (1606-1624) either did not survive or returned to England, John’s survival and prosperity makes up one of the great stories of the early years of Anglo-American colonization.

On February 28, 1609, Thomas West, Lord Delaware, was named Governor of the English Colony in Virginia1. Recent reports of the dismal condition of the small Jamestown settlement there accelerated Delaware’s plan to go to Virginia to take personal charge of the colony. In early March 1609, he departed London for Virginia.

Until 1752, the New Year began March 25. So it was the year 1610 (although only a couple of weeks later) when Delaware, aboard the flagship De-la-Warr rendezvoused with the Blessing of Plymouth and the Hercules2 of Rye at the Port of Cowes on the Isle of Wight. From there, the fleet set their sails westward on April 1, 1610.

Even though Delaware had restricted the passengers - no women or children allowed - nine-year-old John Chandler was aboard the Hercules. No records have been found to document any relative of John Chandler among the three ships in Delaware’s fleet, nor to any of the other passengers in the fleet or any of the survivors in the colony at that time. However, given Delaware’s passenger restrictions, it seems likely that little John was in some way closely connected to someone deemed essential to Delaware’s enterprise.

After 12 days under good sail, the fleet reached the Azores Islands. The next morning a gale pushed the ships to Graciosa Island where they anchored but on the 15th high winds separated the Hercules from her sister ships. Having lost sight of Hercules for several hours,3 Delaware ordered the De-la-Warr and Blessing to proceed toward Virginia. Unknown to them, the Hercules was behind them, just beyond the horizon.

On June 6, 1610, the two lead ships dropped anchor at Point Comfort and went ashore.4

Hercules came over the horizon in the early forenoon and joined the two lead ships. On Sunday, June 10, 1610, the fleet arrived in Jamestown.5 After months of cramped living, John Chandler stepped off the Hercules onto Virginia’s soil. Thus he became - at nine years old - the youngest known immigrant to arrive that early in the colony.6

Records of the time period between 1610 and 1622/23 do not mention John Chandler. It is not until the "List of the Living and Dead in Virginia"7 8 was compiled in February 1623/24 that John Chandler is mentioned again. He was recorded at that time as a single man living in Elizabeth City County.

Elizabeth City was first settled about 1610 when Lord Delaware moved the newcomers into two small forts - Ft. Henry and Ft. Charles - near Kecoughtan and Point Comfort. Delaware’s plan was to isolate new arrivals while they adjusted to the heat of the Virginia Coast. Today this area is the city of Hampton, Virginia.

The next mention of John Chandler appears in the census of February 1624/25, where he is listed as a “servant” to Thomas Willoughby. The word “servant,” as used here, denotes what we know today as an employee rather than indentured in the practice of the period.

Muster of the inhabitants of Virginia at Elizabeth Cittie.

Ensign Thomas Willoughby, his muster:


John Chaundler ages 24 in the Hercules 16099

Thomas _______ aged 20 in the Greate Hopewell 1623

Robert Bennett aged 24 in the Jacob 1624

Nicholas Davis aged 13 in the Mariegould 1616

Provision: Corne, 16 barrels; fish 200 ct; houses, 3; pallizado, 1.

ARMES: Pieces, 4; pistolle, 1; swords, 3; Armors and Coates, 4; powder, 5 lb; lead, l50 lb.

Thomas Willoughby's household appears to have been a sort of military encampment consisting of five men who had full arms and suits of armor. Willoughby, the nephew of a heavy investor in The Virginia Company, had arrived in Jamestown a few weeks after John Chandler. It is surmised that he and John became friends since they were the same age. Willoughby was only 10 years old when he arrived in Virginia.

The muster record documents John Chandler's age as 24 in February 1624/25. It indicates his arrival in Virginia on the ship Hercules occurred in 1609. This date is in error or perhaps arose from the precise nature of the question being asked of the colonists. Research shows that the Hercules did not arrive in Jamestown until the year 1610 as the third ship in Delaware’s fleet.

A “Charter of Orders" in 1618/19 authorized land grants to those surviving early settlers who had arrived in Virginia before Governor Gates’ departure to return to England in 1616. It has been widely assumed that John Chandler was one of those survivors, and he has been designated and accepted as an “Ancient Planter."10 But there is no proof of this and, in fact, he was not one of the signers of a 1624 letter that says it contains the names of all the “Ancient Planters now living in Virginia.”

Another Ancient Planter was Lieut. Albiano Lupo,11 a member of The Virginia Company who came to Virginia in 1610 and settled in Elizabeth City. He died shortly before October 20, 1626 - the date his will (now lost) was offered for probate.12 His widow, Elizabeth, was just 29 years old. Their daughter, Temperance, was only six.

Not long thereafter, John Chandler married the widow Elizabeth Lupo.13 Her late husband’s considerable estate, consisting of goods, servants and land, was most likely left to her in fee simple, which meant she owned it outright, without restrictions.14 She also had 50 acres of land, patented in her own name on September 10, 1624. Thus the land of both Albiano and Elizabeth Lupo came into the Chandler family, where some of it remained until at least 1806, into the 7th generation of descendants.15 John and Elizabeth’s first son, John, Jr., was born about 1627/28.16 A second son, Robert, was born about 1629/30.17

By 1632 John Chandler was farming land that he owned or leased.18 During this period, John's fortunes advanced considerably. On July 6, 1636, he patented one thousand acres in the general vicinity of Back River in Elizabeth City County.19 He received 950 acres for transporting, at his expense, 19 persons into the colony (the grant does not say this). The other 50 acres came through a grant for "the personal adventure of my now wife Elizabeth."20 Since Elizabeth was granted 50 acres in 1624 (presumably for her initial passage to Virginia being paid by herself or her family), the additional 50 acres was most likely for her having paid her way back to Virginia after visiting England. Of course, she could have merely purchased a headright in Virginia in her own name - perhaps between the death of her first husband and her marriage to John Chandler. That’s all speculation, but her independence and her standing as a woman doing business in her own name is noteworthy for the time. Located west of Harris Creek21 and easterly toward Point Comfort Creek, John’s 1000 acres was a prime location for incoming settlers.

Between 1632 and 1639, John bought Newport News from John and Daniel Gookin, Jr.22 A large portion of this land included a cattle plantation called Marie’s Mount.23 The bulk of the tract lay in the long, narrow County of Warwick, which fronted the James River. Tobacco wharves and warehouses lined the river’s deep-water docks. The Newport News acreage along the Hampton Roads waterfront also included fresh water springs where ships navigating the James filled their water casks.24 25 John later sold the Marie’s Mount portion of the land to Capt. Benedict Stafford, perhaps in the 1650s when his sons were forming their families.

By 1645, John Chandler had become a prominent man in the small colony, with several thousand acres of land in his possession. Large portions of the cities of Hampton and Newport News are parts of land once owned by John Chandler.26

He was elected twice to the House of Burgesses.27 During his first term - 1645/46 - he played a role in three major tax law reforms:28 (1) wealthier citizens were required to pay more property taxes; (2) the poll tax on those 16 and older was eliminated; and (3) frivolous lawsuits were barred.

Beginning in 1646 and until at least February 1657/8, John served as a County Court Justice,29 the rough equivalent of both a county judge and county commissioner today, exercising both legislative and judicial powers. As such, he traveled with the Elizabeth City County Court to outlying areas of the county - Accomac across the Bay and Norfolk across Hampton Roads. The last surviving record of John Chandler is dated February 12, 1657/58 when he was listed as present in a court proceeding30 in Lower Norfolk. His date and place of death are not known; neither is the place of his burial. It seems likely that he and Elizabeth lie in unmarked graves of the third St. John’s Church in Hampton or perhaps on the 350-acre Chandler-Lupo tract, where a tentative homestead has been located.31

He may have left a will; if so, it is now lost along with all of the early estate records of Elizabeth City County. There is no full record of his children, but the John Chandler who was born about 1627/8 and some of whose descendants lived on at least some of the Chandler-Lupo land until 1806 was surely his oldest son.32 Robert Chandler who died in 1669 in New Kent County is most likely another son.

John is the only documented Chandler immigrant to Virginia before 1620. Several Chandlers did arrive in Virginia between 1620 and 1630. However, there is no documented proof they were related to the first John Chandler who stepped off the Hercules onto Virginia’s soil in 1610.

First Generation

John Chandler

  • Baptized September 7, 1600, St. Margaret, Westminster, London, England33
  • Sailed aboard the Hercules of Rye, the third and smallest ship in Lord Delaware’s fleet on voyage to Virginia
  • Arrived in Jamestown, Virginia on June 10, 1610
  • Included in the "List of the Living and Dead in Virginia" of February 1623/24 and in the census of February 1624/25
  • Designated as an Ancient Planter
  • Married c1626/7 Elizabeth, the widow of Lieut. Albiano Lupo. She was born c1597; arrived in Virginia 1616
  • First son - John, Jr. - born c1627/8
  • Second son - Robert - born c1629/30
  • July 6, 1636, patented a grant for 1000 acres at Harris Creek, in Elizabeth City County (now Hampton), Virginia
  • By 1640 owned Marie’s Mount, the former Gookin land at Newport News, Virginia
  • Elected to the House of Burgesses in 1644 and 1646
  • Elizabeth City County Court Justice from 1646 until at least February 1657/8
  • Last mentioned in surviving records as present in a court proceeding on February 12, 1657/58
  • Probably died not long thereafter in Elizabeth City County, Virginia
  • Issue:

o John Chandler, born c1627/8

o Robert Chandler, born c1629/30

Additional information about many branches and families can be found in some of the publications of The Chandler Family Association. Visit the Publications page for ordering information.

1 Barbour, Philip. The Three Worlds of Captain John Smith, p. 292; Brown, Alexander. Genesis of the United States, 1897, pp. 375-384

2 Chandler, Joseph Barron Jr. John Chandler, 1610 Immigrant and his Descendants, Tidewater Virginia Families (hereinafter designated TVF), Vol. 9, #2, 2000, p. 75

3 Ibid.

4 Ibid. Letter of Report, written by Lord De La Warr. Information found by Joseph Barron Chandler, Jr.; reported in The Chandler Family Association Newsletter, June 2004

5 The Chandler Family Association Newsletter (hereinafter designated CFA Newsletter or Newsletter), June 2004

6 Chandler, Joseph Barron Jr., John Chandler, 1610 Immigrant and his Descendants, Tidewater Virginia Families, Vol. 9, #2, 2000. p. 71; Adventures of Purse & Person, pp. 7-71

7 The original list is in the Public Record Office in London, England.

8 Coldham, Peter. Complete List of Emigrants 1607 - 1660, p. 44

9 Meyer, Virginia M. and Dorman, John Frederick, Adventures of Purse and Person. In many later sources and other books, the name is sometimes noted as “Joan” Chaundler in error.

10 Nugent, Nell Marion. Cavaliers and Pioneers, Vol. 1, p. xxvii-iii

11 Nugent. Cavaliers and Pioneers, p.156

12 CFA Newsletter, June 2004

13 Chandler, Joseph Barron Jr. “John Chandler, 1610 Immigrant and his Descendants,” TVF, Vol., #5, p. 85.

14 Chandler, Annamae. The CFA Newsletter, June 2004, but the will is lost and what it actually said is unknown.

15 Chandler, Joseph Barron Jr., “John Chandler, 1610 Immigrant and Some of His Descendants, Part IV,” TVF, Vols. 11, #2 and #3, 2002 (see entire articles).

16 England and its American colonies did not adopt the reformed Gregorian calendar until 1752. Thus, the first day of year was March 25 (i.e. March 24, 1626 followed by March 25, 1627). Allowing a minimum of nine months from Albiano’s will probate in October 1626 would mean John II could not have been born before mid-1627.

17 Chandler, Joseph Barron Jr. “John Chandler, 1610 Immigrant and his Descendants,” TVF, Vol. 10, #1, 2001. p. 10

18 Ibid, p. 16

19 Virginia Genealogies and Biographies, 1500s-1900s, CD, p. 269,

20 Nugent. Cavaliers and Pioneers, Vol. I, p. 44.

21 Ibid.

22 Gookin, William Frederick. Daniel Gookin, 1512-1687, pp. 63-64

23 Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography, Vol. I, Burgesses and Other Prominent Persons, pp. 207, 244

24 W. T. Stauffer, “Old Farms Out of Which the City of Newport News Was Erected,” William and Mary Quarterly, 2nd Series, Vol. 15 (1935), p. 790

25 Chandler, Annamae. Memorial Handbook, 2004 Reunion. Currently, Newport News Shipbuilding Company owns part of the land.

26 CFA Genealogist Joseph Barron Chandler, Jr. estimates his maximum land holdings at about 3750 acres.

27 Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography, Vol. I, Burgesses and Other Prominent Persons, p. 207

28 Chandler, Joseph Barron Jr. John Chandler, 1610 Immigrant and his Descendants, TVF, Vol. 9, #2, 2000, p. 77

29 Chandler, Annamae. CFA Newsletter, June 2004

30 Lower Norfolk County, Book D, 1656-66, p. 85

31 Chandler, Joseph Barron Jr., John Chandler, 1610 Immigrant and Some of His Descendants, Part IV, TVF, Vols. 11, #2, 2002 (see entire article). In a triangular spot now named Robinson Park in the city of Hampton, in a vicinity referred to as the Chandler homeplace in 1749, lunch on the grounds was held during the 2004 CFA Annual Meeting.

32 Chandler, Joseph Barron Jr., "John Chandler, 1610 Immigrant and Some of His Descendants, Part IV," TVF, Vol. 11, #2 and #3, 2002 (see entire article).

From unknown Geni source:

John Chandler was born in London, England in 1599/1600; he was baptized in St. Margaret's Church. It is believed that he left England to come to the United States in June 1609/1610 aboard the Hercules . The 1624/5 muster says he was a servant to Willoughby (the meaning of servant in this day and time could have been apprentice or employee) He lived in Jamestown, Virginia amongst Captain John Smith, Pocahontas and her husband John Rolfe.

In 1622, Indians led by Opechancanough attacked the settlers. They killed over 300 men, woman, and children. John survived the massacre. In about 1627, John married widow Elizabeth Lupo; it is uncertain whether this was his first or second marriage. Elizabeth was born in about 1596. She first married Lt. Albiano Lupo and had at least one daughter. Elizabeth arrived in America on the George in 1616, six years after Albiano.

Elizabeth was an " Ancient Planters". The term is applied to the people who arrived in Virginia before 1616, stayed for at least three years, paid their passage over to Virginia and survived the Massacre of 1622. If they met the above requirements, then they received the first land patents in the New World.

John in his adult life was a planter justice and went on to be a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses (equivalent to the House of Representatives of Colonial Days). John had two known children, Robert and John II. John died sometime between 1658 and 1660 in Elizabeth City, VA. John's and Elizabeths's son, John II's, male line eventually died off and the land sold off.

John Chandler landed in Jamestown in 1610. He is said to have been a 9 yr old survivor of the Starvation time in Jamestown! However various records have varying dates as to the landing of the Hercules at Jamestown. 1609/1610/1611...take your pick. Of what we are certain, he was aboard the Hercules, he was listed as a single gentleman, and he made it to Jamestown within the three years listed. He did for certain survive the Indian Raids, as he was on the list of 1200 in 1620, and was on the 1623/24 list of the living and the dead, of which those 1200 were reduced to 60.

note the following excerpted from Source:

History of the United States of America, by Henry William Elson, The MacMillan Company, New York, 1904. Chapter IV pp. 60-73

Transcribed by Kathy Leigh

""Lord de La Warr, or Delaware, was appointed governor of Virginia under the charter of 1609. He embarked with nine ships and five hundred men and women for Virginia; but encountering a terrible storm off the Bermuda Islands, he was delayed at those islands for many months --and woe to Virginia in consequence! The "Starving Time" came. The Indians were now hostile and no food could be obtained from them. Men with blanched faces wandered about actually dying for food. The death rate was frightful. Of the five hundred left by Smith the fall before only sixty remained alive in the spring of 1610. These now decided to abandon Virginia and embark in the four little pinnaces that were left them, hoping to reach dear old England. Early in June they gathered together their meager possessions, and with the funeral roll of drums left their cabins behind. Sadly, yet joyfully, they floated down the river to its mouth, when lo! far off in the horizon they beheld a moving speck --and another and another! They waited --and up the bay swept the ships of Lord Delaware! They all now returned to Jamestown, and the colony of Virginia was born again. How slender the thread on which hung the infant life of the firstborn of the United States! ""

((Being that the ships the Prosperous, the Hercules, and the Starr were said to be part of this fleet, then this would mean that John was among those who were the rescuers of the Starvation Time survivors in Jamestown.))

""Delaware soon had the colony on its feet, but the next year he returned to England and sent Sir Thomas Dale to govern in his stead. Dale was a man of much ability and strength of character, and as Fiske aptly puts it, "Under his masterful guidance Virginia came out from the valley of the shadow of death." ""

((awww, but also it is said to be Sir thomas Dale that led the three ships to Jamestown...which would then mean that John Chandler did arrive in 1611......)) states the following:

In 1606, James I of England wanted to start a colony in North America. With the help of other men, he created a joint-stock company. This company was the Virginia Company of London. Acting as the president of the company, James I gave the men three orders. He wanted them to find gold, find a route to the South Seas, and find the Lost Colony of Roanoke.

To encourage people to travel with the Virginia Company of London, they began to advertise. The Virginia Company of London tried to tell people about the wealth that they could find in North America.

In December of 1606, three ships left England to sail to North America. Over 150 men and boys started the journey in England. Admiral Christopher Newport was in charge of the three ship; the Susan Constant, Godspeed, and the Discovery. In May of 1607, 101 men and 4 boys landed on a semi-island in North America. They built their colony on the edge of a river. They named this river, the James River, after the King of England. The Native Americans called this river the Powhatan's River or Powhatan's Flu.

The location of Jamestown was picked because the colonists felt that it was easy to defend. Because the island was far up the James River, they felt that it would be out of sight from the Spanish. The semi-island was protected on three sides by the river and marshes. This made it difficult for others to reach Jamestown.

This location was a swamp. Swamps are not healthy locations. Getting fresh water is a major problem in a swamp. Swamps attract mosquitos. These mosquitos often carry many types of diseases. This location that John Smith said was "heaven" actually was a terrible place for a colony.

At first, the climate was great and the Native Americans were friendly. Then, summer came. Blistering heat, swarms of insects, unhealthy water, starvation, and Native American attacks caused the colonists of the Virginia Company to begin to fail.

Most of the colonists were "gentlemen". "Gentlemen" were men who did not work or labor in England. They were rich men who always had otheres do their work. These men were not used to having to work hard. They did not know how to farm or hunt.

John Smith, a leader of the colony of Jamestown, was injured in a gunpowder explosion in 1609. He was shipped back to England for medical attention. While he was gone, a cold winter hit. This winter was so bad that they called it the "Starving Time". The colonists of Jamestown had to eat whatever was available; mice, rats, cats, and dogs.

When John Smith returned on May 24, 1610, he came upon 60 colonists. The rest of the colonists had died during the winter. The "Starving Time" had killed nearly 90% of the colony.

The colonists decided that this was the end of Jamestwon. They packed what they could on the ships, and headed down the river. Jamestown was abandoned.

The ships had traveled 10 miles down the James River when they met a boat. This boat was filled with supplies for Jamestown. The colonists headed back to Jamestown.

The colony of Jamestown was not making any money. They had not found any gold to make money for the Virginia Company of London. The colonists needed to find something that would make them money.

In 1612, John Rolfe began growing tobacco. Two years later, tobacco from North America was introduced to the people of England. The first shipment of Virginia tobacco was sold in London during the year of 1612. Although King James I did not like tobacco, this product began to make the Virginia Company of London lots of money.

During this time, Pocahontas was captured and held captive by the colonists. Pocahontas was the daughter of Chief Powhatan. (Pocahontas' Native American name was Matoaka. Pocahontas is a nickname which means "Frisky," "Mischievous", or "Playful One".) While Pocahontas was kept by the colonists, she was taught their religion. Pocahontas changed her name to "Rebecca" in an attempt to become more like the white colonists. She married John Rolfe in April of 1614. This marriage brought peace between the colonists and the Native Americans.

By 1619, Jamestown had exported 750 tons of tobacco. Tobacco was the American colonies' chief export. Jamestown was becoming a wealthy town. During this time, Jamestown imported two different products that allowed them to continue to be successful. They brought women and slaves into their colonies. The women allowed the colonists to begin families in the new world. The slaves from Africa allowed the colony of Jamestown to produce more tobacco and make more money.

Tobacco was one of the main factors that allowed Jamestown to succeed and become the first permanent English colony in North America.

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John Chandler, Sr.'s Timeline

September 1599
Greater London, England, United Kingdom
September 7, 1600
London, Westminster, England
Age 25
Hampton, Virginia
Age 26
Hampton, Virginia
Age 57
Hampton, Virginia