Travels with Jeremy & Rexanna in the Maritimes

John Adams

At left, John Adams from the collection of Famous Clip Art.

The story of John and Rufus Chandler, former students of President John Adams, is fascinating too.

According to McCullough's "John Adams," John Adams signed a contract on August 21, 1756 with a young Worcester attorney, James Putnam, "to study "under his inspection" for two years." "He changed lodgings, moving in with lawyer Putnam...." "Putnam's fee was $100, when Adams could "find it convenient."" James Putnam was a Loyalist who settled in St. John at the close of the war, and became a judge of the supreme court of New Brunswick.

John Adams continued his service as a schoolmaster in Worcester. He taught at two-room schoolhouse built in 1752 by James Putnam and John Chandler among others from 1755 until 1758. (James Putnam was the brother-in-law of John Chandler.)

In John Adams by David McCullough, David McCullough describes John Adams as a teacher.

...Yet for the day-to-day routine of the classroom, he thought himself poorly suited and dreamed of more glorious pursuits, almost anything other than what he was doing.  One student remembered Master Adams spending most of the day at his desk absorbed in his own thoughts or busily writing--sermons presumably.  But Adams did like the children and hugely enjoyed observing them:
I sometimes. in my sprightly moments, consider myself, in my great chair at school, as some dictator at the head of a commonwealth.  In this little state I can discover all the great geniuses, all the surprising actions and revolutions of the great world in miniature.  I have several renowned generals but three feet high, and several deep-projecting politicians in petticoats.  I have others catching and dissecting flies, accumulating remarkable pebbles, cockleshells, etc., with as ardent curiosity as any virtuoso in the Royal Society....At one table sits Mr. Insipid foppling and fluttering, spinning his whirligig, or playing with his fingers as gaily and wittily as an Frenchified coxcomb brandishes his cane and rattles his snuff box.  At another sits the polemical divine, plodding and wrangling in his mind about Adam's fall in which we sinned, all as his primer has it.

Dr. Paine began the practice of medicine in Worcester in 1771. That year John Adams
revisited Worcester. His diary is available on-line, as a transcription and as images. In his own hand, you can see where he wrote:

See: John Adams diary 17, 16 April - 14 June 1771 [electronic edition]. Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive. Massachusetts Historical Society.

Also see: The biography of Dr. William Paine at Worcester Loyalist,,
one of the best biographies of Dr. William Paine.


    There is a portrait of John Chandler, the father of John Chandler, Esq.,  at the Online Exhibitions at the American Antiquarian Society at

    "Chandler was a firm Loyalist whose politics by 1774 did not blend easily with the patriotic beliefs of many of his Worcester neighbors: they nicknamed him "Tory John." In 1774 he left his wife and children behind and fled to Boston, seeking the safety of the British garrison. A year later he followed the English troops to Halifax, Nova Scotia where he remained until departing for London.(1) "

    At left, John Chandler sailed to Saint John, and was shipwrecked, on a ship, not unlike the Jeanie Johnston shown in front of a cruise ship in Saint John harbour.

    "...To save himself from a very ignominious death [John Chandler] fled to Boston in November, 1774, leaving a beloved wife and sixteen children to the mercy of the rebels. Four sons at the risk of their lives soon afterwards escaped to Boston, while his eldest son [John] was confined to his house, and his second son [Clark) was imprisoned in the common gaol at Worcester."  See:

    "With [the] memorials [to John Chandler] are many certificates and affidavits to John Chandler's loyalty, including one...from Joshua Upham, who was an eye-witness of the scene in 1774 when about 5,000 people assembled in Worcester to prevent the sitting of the Court of Common Pleas, and to sto the administration of His Majesty's Government. John Chandler and a few other loyalists were led in triumph through the mob and compelled to submit to the insolence and humiliating terms of violent and distracted men. Chandler was of one of the first families in Massachusetts and possessed of a very large landed estate."  See:".

  • Descendants of William CHANDLER

    On the Web page, the following is written of the descendants of John and Mary Chandler.

    "The death of Mrs. Chandler raised a new set of questions. All rights of the family in the real property ceased with that event. This was partially rectified by special legislation, through which the children remaining at home were put in possession of a part of the property, the details concerning which are given further on.The social prestige of the family, which is alluded to in some of the notees which have been quoted, was doubtless due in part to the wealth accumulated during successive generations of peaceful prosperity,. Stripped of that wealth, the posterity of the refugee no longer held claim for social position on that ground. Yet it cannot be said that Chandler's descendants have, for that reason, failed in their hold upon the esteem of their fellow citizens. The daughter whose letter has called forth this investigation married Aaron Bancroft, a clergyman, who became a recog-nized leader in the Unitarian denomination, and was president of the American Unitanian Association from 1825-1836. He wrote a life of Washington which has gone through several editions and has been quite recently republished. In the next generation, George Bancroft the historian is to be found, who filled many public offices with great distinction, but whose name is better known through his literary work as the author of the "history of the United States." Two of the granddaughters of the refugee were married to men, both of whom were members of Congress and governors of Massachusetts, one being in addition a United States Senator. The male descendants of the next gener-ation furnish the names of several who achieved distinction in public life, and others who acquired renown in the army and in the navy. The fourth generation from the refugee has contributed to the public life of the country, but most of this generation are still too young to have made their mark. The fifth is represented in this world, but its history is as yet unwritten. It is indeed true that the voice of the sixth generation has been heard by a privileged few."

    The story of Rufus Chandler, John Chandler's son and a firm Loyalist too, may be found at  "...In his will he left all his portraits and sketches of himself and his wife to his kinsman, James Putnam. (Erskine, 346.) James Putnam was his father-in-law. Rufus Chandler & Eleanor Putnam were married on Nov. 18, 1770.

    John Adams' diary is available on-line, as a transcription and as images. In John Adams' own hand, you can see where he wrote in his diary:

    "This Day, Mr. Putnams eldest Daughter Eleanor, brought to the World her first Daughter, being married to Rufus Chandler, Son of Coll. John."

    See: John Adams diary 17, 16 April - 14 June 1771 [electronic edition]. Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive. Massachusetts Historical Society.

    The fate of John Chandler's [cousin (Changed to cousin from brother by the author of this Web page on April 16, 2008.)], Col. Joshua Chandler, was particularly tragic.

    "CoI. Chandler (as above stated) had a large property at New Haven, which he was forced to leave. He sailed for England to see about a remuneration for his loss. Commissions were appointed to adjust the claims of the Loyalists. He returned to Annapolis, and on that fatal March of 1787, he, with his daughter Elizabeth and son William Chandler, took all their books, papers and evidence of their colonial property, and sailed across the Bay for Saint John, New Brunswick, to meet the Commissioners, to prove their titles and their losses and to get their claims allowed. But the vessel, in a violent snow storm, missing the harbor, was driven on the rocks at Musquash Point, within about nine miles of St. John. William, hoping to secure the vessel, fastened a rope around his body and jumped overboard to swim to the land, but he was immediately crushed between the vessel and rocks and was drowned. This was the 9th of March, 1787. CoI. Chandler, his daughter Elizabeth and others finally got ashore. But they were miles from any dwelling and the weather was severe. It is said that he urged his daughter to leave him and make her way to some house, but she refused to leave her father. He then climbed a high point of the rocks for a look-out, from which being so benumbed with cold, he fell and soon died. The others, his daughter and Mrs. Grant, after wandering about in the woods, perished on the 11th of March, 1787. Their bodies were found and carried to St. John, and buried in the old burying ground, at the head of King Street.... Years later their remains were carefully deposited in the lot of Amos Botsford, Esq., in the 'Rural Cemetery,' the beautiful Woodside grounds, at St. John." (From History of Sackville New Brunswick by W.C. Milner, 1934)..."

    The British Government allowed the surviving children of Col. Chandler, Sarah, Mary, Thomas, Samuel and Charles, each £ 1,000 sterling. "...Sarah married William Botsford, father of the late .Judge William Botsford, and grandfather of Senator Botsford; Mary married Col. Joshua Upham, afterwards Chief Justice of New Brunswick. Thomas Chandler, M P P, a lawyer of eminence, died at Pictou...."

    Loyalist Burial Grounds

    At left, Saint John's Loyalist Burial Grounds is shown.

    "The Saint John Rural Cemetery was incorporated in 1848. In 1899 the name was changed to Fernhill Cemetery...." Amos Botsford was born in Saint John on September 5, 1804. "...Described as a person of “discretion and intelligence”, in 1852 Lieutenant-Governor Sir Edmund Head appoints Botsford to represent New Brunswick in Reciprocity Treaty discussions taking place in Washington (D.C.)."

    The March 13, 1787 edition of the Royal Gazette (i.75/4) provided further details about the tragic fate of the Chandlers:

    "On Friday evening last between 7 and 8 o'clock a very heavy snow storm, drove on shore the Schooner Patty commanded by Capt. [?Edward] Dalzell at the split rock, the eastern entrance of Musquash-cove, the violence of the storm so great that she instantly shove to pieces.

    Mr. William Chandler perished in his attempt to reach the shore, Mr. Joshua Chandler, Miss Elizabeth Chandler and Mrs. Grant, (widow and relict of Major Grant late of the New-York volunteers), also perished...[several] were exceedingly injured by the frost; among the worst are Mr. Nash, merchant from Digby, Mr. Grant (Son of the said Mrs. Grant), Major [Thomas] Milledge and Cpt. Beasley...Mr. Lovett and other[s]...amounting to seventeen in all...are in a fair way of recovery.

    ...after getting on shore they had to climb up a precipice of uncommon height, and then to wade through the snow (4 feet deep on the level), until they reached a wood which sheltered they...kept themselves in motion all night....The next morning the whole set out, wet to the skin [from a sudden rain], to seek their way to some house, in which attempt Col. Chandler and the said two ladies first perished, and the rest after wading about 10 miles...reached Mr. Egberts at night....One of the ladies got within two miles of the house, before she gave out and expired...had they shaped their course toward...Musquash, the whole might have been saved, as the distance is but two miles."

    (Joshua Chandler was the father of William Elizabeth, and Mrs. Grant, and father-in-law of Joshua Upham and Amos Botsford.)

    According to the March 20, 1787 edition of the Royal Gazette (i.76/3), their bodies were brought to Saint John a little over a week later:

    "St. John....On Saturday last were brought to town, the bodies of Col. Chandler, Mrs. Grant, and Miss Elizabeth Chandler...and on Sunday they were decently interred in the burying ground of this city....Col. Chandler is said to have come to his death by falling down a precipice of about 150 feet...."

    The articles were reprinted in Fit to Print by B. J. (Barry John) Grant, published in Fredericton by Fiddlehead Poetry Book & Goose Lane Editions Ltd. in 1787.

    Judge and Mrs. Botsford would become the grandmother and step-grandfather of Ellen Murray. Her story is told on the Web site at

    "The Memoir of LeBaron Botsford, M.D.," the son of William Botsford, by Frances Elizabeth Murray is now available on-line. (Saint John, N.B. : J. & A. McMillan, 1892.)

    The first session of the Supreme Court in the County Court House was opened by Judge Botsford on January 12, 1830.

    If our lives are a tapestry, there is a thread that connects Sarah Botsford and I.

    The genesis of this Web site's Legal Page was an event that took place on Millidge Ave. Second Street, the location of the home of Thomas Millidge, figures prominently in the tale, as does First Street. Thomas E. Millidge built and owned One and Three First street. Woodward Ave., also in Millidgeville, figures prominently in the tale.

    As an aside, William Chandler, the great-great-grandfather of John Chandler, had other descendants with a connection to the current presidency. His other son, Thomas, married Hannah Brewer. Hannah Brewer is the first cousin, 9x removed, of President George W. Bush. A descendant of Hannah Brewer is MARY BAKER EDDY (1821-1910), founder of Christian Science.

    "John Adams says in his diary, "The Chandlers exercised great influence in the County of Worcester until they took the side of the government in the Revolution, and lost their position. They were well bred, agreeable people, and I visited them as often as my school, and my studies in the lawyer's office would admit.""

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