Rash's Surname Index

Notes for Benjamin CHANDLEE

Born in 1685, Benjamin Chandlee was the eighth child of Joanna and William Chandlee, Jr. (d. 1723) a miller in Kilmore townland, in the united parishes of Carbury, in Carbury barony, in western County Kildare. Benjamin's grandfather was the Englishborn William Chandlee, Sr. (1591-1694), who came to Ireland with Oliver Cromwell about 1649, supervised the English Army's stores in Trim, County Meath, was "convinced of ye blessed thruth" preached by William Edmundson, the first Irish Friend (Quaker), and lived the remainder of his 103 years near Edenberry town, in King's County, just across the border from Kilmore in County Kildare. By 1700 there were still at least 450 to 500 Quaker families in Ireland, but the devestation brought by the recent Williamite War (1688-1691), plus migration to Dublin and Philadelphia, had already eroded rural communities of Friends in Kildare, King's, and other Leinster counties. In 1702 the ascension of Queen Anne (d. 1714) brought Irish Quakers a last period of severe persecution - much relaxed by 1724, when Robert Parke's family left nearby County Carlow - but as a younger son, with few prospects for inheritance, Benjamin Chandlee's solitary emigration was probably occasioned primarily by economic concerns and personal ambition. In any case, on November 28, 1702, Benjamin Chandlee, aged about 17, secured from the Edenberry Monthly Meeting a removal certificate, recommending "him to friends care where his lost may fall we knowing him to be an innocent youth and of good conversation." Judging from his 1705 letter, written two years after his emigration, Chandlee probably embarked from Dublin aboard a ship bound for Maryland and then traveled by land, sloop, and ferry to Philadelphia. In 1703 Penn's capital was only three years older than Chandlee himself and contained merely five thousand inhabitants; however by 1720 it's population would double and both its trade and the prosperity of its hinterland would surpass those of Boston and New York. Perhaps 10 percent of Pennsylvania's early Quaker settlers were Irish-born, but upon or shortly after his arrival, Chandlee was apprenticed to a Friend from Devonshire, England: Abel Cottey (1655-1711), a clockmaker who had emigrated in 1682 and settled in Philadelphia when the town was founded. The long pendulum clock was only invented in England in 1676, and Cottey was probably the first to apply that knowledge in Pennsylvania. William Penn himself was one of Cottey's customers, and by 1703 Chandlee's master had acheived considerable prosperity, owning a house and lot on Second Street, as well as other town property, and purchasing in that year the first parcels of what would eventually be a thousand-acre estate in the "Nottingham Lots," on the disputed border between Chester County, Pennsylvania and Cecil County, Maryland. In 1704 or early 1705, one of Chandlee's younger brothers, Jonathan, expressed interest in emigrating, and Chandlee sent the following letter to his elder brother, Ephraim (1676-1710) in Dublin, to answer Jonathan's inquiries. Although Chandlee's letter is silent about the conditions of his apprenticship, the letter provides considerable information about the processes of early Irish emigration - for example, about routes, shipboard provisions, and artisanal tools and supplies for use or for marketing abroad; paranthetically it all suggests the remarkable prominence of potatoes in Southern Irish diet, as early as the late 1600s and even among comfortable Protestants. Perhaps most important, Chandlee's letter illustrates early colony America's occupational and social fluidity, as he ranges over economic and legal issues of concern to prospective farmers and land speculators, merchants, and craftsmen alike.

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