Overview: Ship's captain and whaleman in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and farmer in Bucksport, Maine. Account book/diary includes ledger accounts for crewmembers on various voyages, accounts for labor, supplies, and merchandise, pasted-in bills for taxes, clothes, coal, boots, and other commodities, and a journal of Chandler's farming activities (consisting of performed labor, sold items and livestock, weather accounts, new purchases, and notation of personal visits and trips).

John Chandler Accounts

1 volume
Call no.: MS 287
Special Collections & University Archives
UMass Amherst Libraries
154 Hicks Way | Amherst, Mass. 01003-9275 | scua@library.umass.edu | 413-545-2780

Background on John Chandler

John Chandler was born in Massachusetts in 1836. By 1860, he was working as a whaleman and, with his brother George (a housepainter), was boarding in the house of Nathan Dunham, a seaman. During the 1860s, Chandler became a ship's captain, undertaking voyages to Barbados and St. Vincent in 1867 and 1868. Sometime in the 1860s or 1870s he married a woman named Ruth and they moved to Orrington, Maine. Then, in 1874, John and Ruth Chandler executed an agreement (copied into the account book near the back) to take care of Nathaniel and Nancy Rider of Bucksport, Maine, in return for the deeding of land in Bucksport to the Chandlers. Captain Chandler settled into agricultural life in Bucksport for the next forty years.

Contents of Collection

The organization of the account book/diary is haphazard. The first entry is a record of hauling loads of hay in 1896. The next twenty pages contain ledger accounts for crewmembers on voyages to Barbados and other places in 1867-1868 and 1876-1877. Following are 10 pages of various accounts for labor, supplies and merchandise, headed "Bucksport" and dating from 1878 to 1882. These accounts are followed by about thirty pages of pasted in bills for taxes, clothes, coal, boots and other commodities, dating from 1853 to 1866, all in the town of Provincetown, Massachusetts. Concluding are approximately 75 pages of a farm journal covering Chandler's activities from 1899 to 1914. Included in this last part are notations about livestock, selling apples, work performed and general mention of the elder Chandler's comings and goings. The wide range of Chandler's economic activities -- he sold apples, cream, and livestock; performed labor or carted goods for his neighbors; and he leased parts of his farm -- are documented on a regular basis, as well as personal items such as travels and visits, weather, and new purchases.

Administrative information


The collection is open for research.




Acquired from Charles Apfelbaum, 1987.

Processing Information

Processed by Ken Fones-Wolf, 1989.


Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Copyright and Use (More informationConnect to publication information)

Cite as: John Chandler Accounts (MS 287). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.

Search terms


  • Bucksport (Me.)--Economic conditions--Sources.
  • Bucksport (Me.)--Social life and customs--Sources.
  • Farmers--Maine--Bucksport--History--Sources.
  • Merchant mariners--Massachusetts--History--19th century--Sources.
  • Provincetown (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century--Sources.
  • Ship captains--Massachusetts--History--Sources.
  • Voyages and travels--History--19th century--Sources.


  • Chandler, John, b. 1836.

Genre terms

  • Account books.