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 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
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
The collection is open for research.
Cite as: John Chandler Accounts (MS 287). Special Collections and University Archives, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Acquired from Charles Apfelbaum, 1987.
Processed by Ken Fones-Wolf, 1989.
- Bucksport (Me.)--Economic conditions
- Bucksport (Me.)--Social life and customs
- Merchant mariners--Massachusetts--History--19th century
- Provincetown (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
- Ship captains--Massachusetts--History
- Voyages and travels--History--19th century
- Chandler, John, 1836-
Types of material
- Account books