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The hardships of an only son

Phebe Abbott (1733-1812) and Nathan Chandler (1730-1786)

Generation Five Family 289

PHEBE ABBOTT [John4, John3, John2, George1], b. 14 Apr 1733 daughter of John and Phebe (Fiske) Abbot; d. 26 Jul 1812; m. 18 Apr 1754, her third cousin, NATHAN CHANDLER [Nathan Chandler4, John Chandler3, Hannah Abbott Chandler2, George1], b. 19 Feb 1729/30 son of Nathan and Phebe (Holt) Chandler; Nathan d. 30 Apr 1786.

Phebe and Nathan married at Andover on 18 April 1754 and raised their family of seven daughters and two sons there. Nathan was a farmer in West Parish of Andover on part of the property that had been owned by his grandfather John Chandler. One of the sons, Ezra, "died coming out of ye army," in 1778.

In his will, Nathan left beloved wife Phebe his clock. She also has use of the northwest room of the home as long as she remains his widow. The will also notes that Nathan’s mother is still living, and she is apparently living with the family, as wife Phebe will have full use of the kitchen after the decease of his mother. Phebe will have the full use of the kitchen as long as she does not interfere with Nathan’s son using the kitchen. Phebe also is to have use of the well and a spot for a garden. Nathan also provides a lengthy list of provisions for her continued support to be provided by the executor. Only and well-beloved son Nathan receives all the lands and buildings. Daughter Phebe wife of Benjamin Ames receives five shillings and one-sixth of the household goods. Daughters Lucy the wife of Zebadiah Chandler and Mary wife of William Ballard receive similar bequests. In addition to the same bequest as her sisters, daughter Elizabeth has continued use of the house as long as she is unmarried. Daughters Priscilla and Rhoda receive twenty-five pounds, thirteen shillings, and four pence when they reach age 21. To beloved daughter Chloe he leaves ten shillings and “considering the difficulties she labours under not likely to be capable of taking care of herself I commit the care of her to my son Nathan.” He also orders that his daughters Priscilla and Rhoda be raised in his house until they are of age. Nathan also specifies that son Nathan is to carry out all the bequests of the will “as I think I have given him the wherewith out of my estate to do it.” Son Nathan Chandler declined to be executor writing to Judge Benjamin Greenleaf 3 July 1786 that “I utterly refuse” this responsibility. However, Judge Greenleaf responded to Nathan in a letter 6 November 1786 ordering him to assume the administration of the estate which Nathan then did carry out.

I can only imagine the younger Nathan’s situation. He was just 30 years old, newly married, and just had his first child. As the only son in the family, he had responsibility for his widowed mother and grandmother, a disabled sister, and two sisters still under age. Nathan’s grandmother died in 1803 at age 97 and his mother died in 1812 at age 79. His sister Elizabeth did not marry and died in 1848. It is not clear how well Nathan looked after his disabled sister Chloe as she died at the almshouse in 1821 at age 50.

Phebe and Nathan Chandler had nine children whose births are recorded at Andover. Of the six children who married, five married other George Abbott descendants.

1. PHEBE CHANDLER, b. 18 Oct 1754; d. at Andover, 19 Jun 1798; m. 30 Apr 1772, BENJAMIN AMES (Benjamin Ames4, Hannah Stevens Ames3, Elizabeth Abbott Stevens2, George1), b. at Andover, 9 Nov 1749 son of Benjamin and Hephzibah (Chandler) Ames; Benjamin d. 23 Nov 1813.

2. NATHAN CHANDLER, b. 16 Jun 1756; d. at Andover, 27 Jun 1837; m. 27 Nov 1782, LUCY BALLARD (Lydia Chandler Ballard4, John Chandler3, Hannah Abbott Chandler2, George1), b. at Andover 4 Apr 1760 daughter of Hezekiah and Lydia (Chandler) Ballard; Lucy d. 29 Jun 1827.

3. LUCE CHANDLER, b. 26 Jun 1758; d. at Andover, 6 Oct 1841; m. 16 Aug 1774, ZEBADIAH CHANDLER (Zebadiah Chandler5, Joshua Chandler4, John Chandler3, Hannah Abbott Chandler2, George1), b. at Andover, 11 Nov 1752 son of Zebadiah and Deborah (Blanchard) Chandler; Zebadiah d. 5 Feb 1835.

4. EZRA CHANDLER, b. 20 Jun 1761; d. 10 Sep 1778. Ezra “died coming out of ye army.”

5. ELIZABETH CHANDLER, b. 15 May 1763; d. at Andover, 22 Sep 1848. Elizabeth did not marry.

6. MARY CHANDLER, b. 18 May 1766; d. at Peterborough, 12 Sep 1819; m. 11 Nov 1783, WILLIAM BALLARD, b. at Andover, Jun 1764 son of William and Hannah (How) Ballard; William d. about 1807. Mary m. 2nd, DANIEL ABBOTT but not sure what Abbott family he belongs to.

7. PRISCILLA CHANDLER, b. 30 Jun 1768; d. at Andover, 19 Feb 1831; m. 26 May 1789, DAVID ABBOTT (Jonathan4, David3, Benjamin2, George1), b. at Andover, 11 Mar 1764 son of Jonathan and Mary (Chandler) Abbott; David d. 1 Jun 1823.

8. CHLOE CHANDLER, b. 30 Jun 1771; d. at Andover 24 Aug 1821. Chloe did not marry. She died at the almshouse.

9. RHODA CHANDLER, b. 2 Mar 1774; d. at Andover, 19 Mar 1853; m. at Andover, 26 Nov 1793, BENJAMIN ABBOTT (Jonathan4, David3, Benjamin2, George1), b. at Andover, 7 Jun 1770 son of Jonathan and Mary (Chandler) Abbott; Benjamin d. at Andover, 20 Oct 1835. “Benjamin, Oct. 20, 1835, a. 65 y.”


Chandler, George. 1883. The Descendants of William and Annis Chandler who Settled in Roxbury, Mass., 1637. Worcester: Press of C. Hamilton.

Essex County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1638-1881 Online database. Probate of Nathan Chandler, 6 Jul 1786, case number 4963.

Massachusetts Vital Records Project.

Group sheet for Nathan Chandler and Phebe Abbott:


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