Centennial History of Mason County
By Joseph Cochrane
Springfield, Ill., 1876

 

CHARLES CHANDLER
Page 208

     Though not a resident of Mason County, Dr. Chandler has been engaged in the practice of his profession within her limits for forty-four years, and has had a pioneer experience vouchsafed to but few. Though the doctor is now past seventy years of age, (his “three score years and ten” anniversary occurring two days before the centennial of our country,) he is yet a most healthful, hale and vigorous personage. The robust frame, fine physical organization and great activity of mind and body, furnishes a most beautiful case where dame Nature bestows a certificate of good conduct and fidelity to her laws on their possessor.
     Dr. Charles Chandler is a son of John and Hulda (Howard) Chandler, and was born at Woodstock, Conn., July 2, 1806. He married Mary C Rickard, who dies at Chandlerville, Illinois, December 28, 1840, a daughter of Peter Rickard, of Thompson, Connecticut.
     He is a graduate of the Medical College of Castleton, Vermont, with the degree of M.D. In 1829 he located at Scituate, Rhode Island. He started for the great west in 1832. On his arrival at Beardstown he found the Black Hawk was raging farther to the northwest, and not caring to take his wife and daughter into those surroundings, then a feature of western life and the Indian frontier, and being pleased with the rich lands along the Sangamon river, he invested two hundred dollars in on hundred and sixty acres, where the town of Chandlerville now stands, on the Cass County side of that stream. He laid out the town in 1848. The late President Lincoln was his surveyor. The very many incidents related to the writer, at various times, by Dr. Chandler, would fill a volume, and our very brief space forbids their rehearsal. His home, a cabin, was the resting place of the frontier traveler, the resort of the hunter, and the source of relief sought by the sick or the wounded pioneer resident. The doctor’s practice extended over a territory now included in the limits of eight counties. He had frequent calls to Havana in 1832-’33-’34-’36, etc., and as settlers occupied the territory from there south to the Sangamon, he was the indispensable and welcome visitor to the home cabin of the pioneer, relieving their suffering and doing them good, and often without remuneration or hoped of reward. The present Hon. L. W. Ross, of Lewistown, stopped at the doctor’s cabin on his way to school at Jacksonville. General Hardin and Lockwood on their way from Springfield, to attend the courts farther north and west made his cabin their hotel. Hardin often made the Doctor’s home his headquarters in hunting expeditions along the Sangamon and Illinois rivers.
     In his extensive travel and his practice, the present facilities were not dreamed of. There were not only no railroads, but no roads. The route was made by the points of the compass, over the broad expanse of prairie and forest grove to the settler’s cabin, alarming in his passage the herd of deer or pack of wolves. So scattered as ninety miles a day travel has been made, taking fresh horses as necessity required. His remarkable health and endurance did not fail him, and to-day he is, as said in the beginning, a model of health and vigor possessed by but few younger men. During these early days an intimate acquaintance existed between him and Mr. Lincoln. It began in the following incident:
     At an early date, and soon after his residence where Chandlerville now is, the Doctor was hastening to the Springfield land office, by the shortest route, and on his fastest horse, and at that horse’s best speed, for the purpose of entering a piece of land that another party had started to enter the same morning, by a longer route, a slower horse and more moderate speed; also, a less vigorous rider. Dr. Chandler had proceeded to within some miles of Springfield, when he overtook three men on horseback, who enquired of him the cause of his extreme haste. He explained the case to the strangers, when one of them, a tall, dark – complexioned man, proposed to take the Doctor’s tired horse and ride it slowly to Springfield, and give him his fresh animal, on which to hurry on to the land office. His caution prevented him from taking a stranger’s horse into his possession on this frontier at that time, and he pushed on with his own jaded animal, without even asking the names or residence of those who offered so disinterestedly to assist him. He reached the land office, entered his land, looked about the streets for his would-be friends, but of no avail. He could not find them or their horses. He returned home, and the next day he desired the services of a surveyor to run out his lands, and was informed that a young man named A. Lincoln, at Salem or Salisbury, was a good surveyor; he sent a messenger for him. The surveyor returned with the messenger, and imagine Mr. Chandler’s surprise to find him the stranger who has so kindly offered him his horse the day before. From that time on they were friends, each enjoying the other’s successes in life with a personal interest, and on the inauguration of Mr. Lincoln in the Presidential chair, no man in the union enjoyed his elevation to that position more than Mr. Chandler. He visited Washington on that occasion, and was the guest of the new made President, his early frontier friend.

Contributed by: Mandy Reiley

 

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