A Hero's Journey: Jane Smith Chandler

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Widow, Mother, Pioneer

In 1687, George and Jane Chandler along with their seven (7!) children, left their home in Wiltshire England to build a new life in the wilds of America. Their voyage was long and arduous; the seas were rough and sickness and disease were rampant. Despite his ambition for a new and better life, George Chandler died en route and was buried at sea. 

Jane and her children came ashore with next to nothing. They survived their first year by living in a cave along the Delaware River and making friends with the Indians. Eventually, Jane and her children took up land, formed a settlement and multiplied. 

"In time they spread throughout the land ... the majority continuing in the farming industry in which they had been reared. The descendants of George and Jane Chandler now number upwards of three thousand worthy and useful citizens …”

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Origins of the surname Chandler

"Most people born with the surname Chandler in modern times are descended, in the male line, from men in England who worked as a chandler, making and selling candles.

Until about 1350, surnames were only used by the wealthy, and were usually inherited by only the eldest son, along with the family property. The poor - most people at that time - had no need for a surname because they had no land to inherit. It was during the years 1350 to 1450 that the use of hereditary surnames became common throughout the English population. This naming - often by trade (e.g. Baker, Smith, Chandler), sometimes by location (e.g. Hill, Marsh, or the name of a town or village), occasionally by appearance (e.g. Long, Small) - would have happened village by village throughout England. Consequently, most of the people acquiring the surname Chandler in this way would not have been related to each other - they would only have been occupied in the same trade."

Candles - of vital importance in an age without electricity - were made either of wax (for churches) or tallow (for general use). Tallow is obtained from suet (the solid fat of animals such as sheep and cows), and is also used in making soap and lubricants. The Tallow Chandlers, like many other tradesmen, formed a guild in London in or around 1300 for educational, promotional and charitable purposes. The Tallow Chandlers also dealt in vinegar, salt, sauces and oils. Later, the term 'chandler' was used for corn chandlers, and for ships' chandlers who sold most of the fittings and supplies for boats, as well as the candles. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the term 'chandler' was often used simply to mean a grocer.

Wiltshire, England

Wiltshire County, England is characterized by its high downland and wide valleys. Salisbury Plain is noted for being the location of the Stonehenge and Avebury stone circles and other ancient landmarks.