John S. Chandler Ledger

1 volume
Call no.: MS 287
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A mariner and whaleman originally from Provincetown, Massachusetts, John S. Chandler (1836-1916) relocated to Bucksport, Maine, in the 1870s to provide care for his aging in-laws.

Chandler's account book and diary includes records of 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 notes on labor performed, items and livestock sold, weather accounts, new purchases, and notation of personal visits and trips.

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Background on John S. Chandler

Born in Provincetown, Mass., on Mar. 9, 1836, John Smalley Chandler went to sea in his early teens and was working as a whaleman by 1860. He and his brother George, a housepainter, boarded in the house of the seaman, Nathan Dunham. After marrying Ruth Hunks Rider in December 1861, he relocated to Orrington, Maine.

During the 1860s, Chandler became a ship's captain, undertaking voyages to Barbados and St. Vincent in 1867 and 1868, however in 1874, he moved to Bucksport, Maine, and entered into an agreement to provide care for his wife's aging parents, Nathaniel and Nancy Rider, in exchange for deeds to the family land. Although he did not abandon the sea, Chandler ran a farm for many years. He died in Bucksport on Mar. 23, 1916, with Ruth following two years later.

Scope of collection

Haphazard in organization, the Chandler ledger documents a life at sea in the latter nineteenth century, leavened with hints of life ashore. The first entry in the ledger is a record of hauling loads of hay in 1896, while the next twenty pages contain accounts for crewmembers on voyages to Barbados and other places in 1867-1868 and 1876-1877. Following this are 10 pages containing accounts for labor, supplies and merchandise, headed "Bucksport" and dating from 1878 to 1882, and then thirty pages of pasted-in bills for taxes, clothes, coal, boots and other commodities, dating from 1853 to 1866, all from Provincetown, Mass. The last 75 pages of the book are a farm journal covering Chandler's work in Bucksport from 1899 to 1914, with 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 information )

Cite as: John S. Chandler Ledger (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.
  • Chandler, John, b. 1836.
  • 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 S. [main entry]

Genres and formats

  • Account books.

Link to similar SCUA collections