THOMAS J. CHANDLER. Earnest in his advocacy of the question of fruit-growing in his locality, active in the promotion of the new industry and prominent as a leader in the transformation form the old agricultural regime to the new horticultural one, is Thomas J. Chandler, the subject of this biographical article. The third of a century he has passed in Texas have been years of close application to the domain of agriculture, save the comparatively brief period of his connection with the pome and peach industry of Montague county.
Mr. Chandler settled in Kaufman county, Texas, in 1873, from Calloway county, Kentucky. In this latter county his birth occurred May 12, 1841, more than a score of years subsequent to the advent of the family to that locality. Its founder was James Chandler, grandfather of our subject, an emigrant from Prince Edward county, Virginia, where Edwin P. Chandler, father of Thomas J., was born December 10, 1810. About 1820 James Chandler shifted his interests from Virginia to Kentucky and carried on primitive, though successful, farming until his death. He was the father of nine children.
Edwin P. Chandler grew up on the farm, but became a merchant in early life and carried on a business at Shiloh, Kentucky, for thirty-five years. In 1874, in company with several children, he moved to Morgan county, Missouri, and, two years later, with five sons, came on to Texas and settled in Rockwall county, where his death took place in March, 1878. His first wife was a Kentucky lady, Nancy Barnett,who died March 16, 1856, as was also his second, nee Emily Harrison, who passed away, in 1880. His surviving issue were children of his first wife and were: James M., captain of Company D, Seventh Kentucky Infantry, was killed in the Confederate army; Virginia, wife of W. A. Carr, died in Montague county, Texas; William M., who died in Rockwall county leaving a family; Thomas Jefferson, our subject; Linn B., Hugh G. and Jesse B., farmers of Montague county; Frank, who died in February, 1878; and George W., a leading merchant of Bowie.
As an adjunct to his father’s farm and store Thomas J. Chandler grew to manhood, acquiring a smattering of an education. In 1861 he enlisted in the southern army and served under Cheatham and Polk, Army of the Tennessee. He was in the battles of Shiloh, Corinth Vicksburg, Jackson, Port Hudson and Baton Rouge and was with the service in Mississippi when the war ended. He was a private soldier and in all the engagements and skirmishes he passed through during those four years he came out unharmed and uninjured by the fatal bullet.
At twenty-four years of age he began civil life as a farmer and continued it in Callaway county, Kentucky, with some degree of success until his departure from Texas in the early seventies. His advent to Montague county was marked by his purchase of one hundred and sixty acres of land one mile from Fruitland and ninety acres of it is planted to fruit. In 1903 his fruit brought him more money than his farm cost him and his constant orchard- enlargement will keep him in the lead as a fruit man in his county. He is a member of the County Fruit Growers’ Association and his advice and suggestions are accepted as authority on matters pertaining to this department of horticulture.
April 1, 1869, Mr. Chandler married Carrie S. Williams, a daughter of Curtis Ivie, a Virginian who first moved to Wabash county, Illinois, and thence to Callaway county, Kentucky. Mrs. Chandler was born in 1847, and is the mother of: Edwin C., Robert E., Daisy and Albert S., the youngest, who is yet a member of the family at home.
Mr. Chandler is now past the age of active participation in politics, if he had the inclination to do so, but he is a Democrat on party questions and is a member of the Primitive Baptist church.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, pp. 20-21.