REV. GEORGE CHANDLER ( b. 1790 - d. 1860)
Reverend George Chandler was born on April 29th, 1790 in New Haven, CT. He was the eighth child (out of nine) of John Chandler (b. 31 Oct 1749) and Sarah Whittlesey (daughter of Samuel Whittlesey, b. 10 July 1713, in Wallingford, New Haven Co., CT, and Susannah Newton, b. Jan 1716). He was originally bound out to a shoemaker, but did not like mechanical pursuits, ran away, and took up the study of the ministry. He eventually was named the first pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Kensington, on February 6th, 1815, soon after the church's establishment and the receiving of its initial charter. There is a substantial number of people that claim the Rev. Chandler married Catherine Rice, the daughter of John Philip Rice (or Johan Philip Reiss) and Elizabeth Hill (Huel), however others claim that Catherine Rice married William Cramp, the famed shipbuilder. It may be that both of these are true, perhaps there being two Catherine Rices. John Rice, Catherine's father, was one of the original founding fathers of the church and the church secretary for a number of years. Catherine's mother, Elizabeth Hill, was most likely from the Hill fisherman family who were early residents of Kensington in the 18th Century. Many of the early church meetings for the First Presbyterian Kensington, before the church was erected, were held at the home of "John and Elizabeth Rice" or at the Chandler's home. I have found that a Catherine (Rice) Chandler, the Reverend's wife, was first entered into the roll of members of the church on September 17th, 1819, thus there it is confusing exactly who this "other" (if indeed it is other) Catherine Rice is. Was she Catherine Cramp? Not Rice?
The Rev. George Chandler lived on Richmond Street, which was previously called Queen Street. In the 1820 Federal Census he was enumerated next to Jacob Cramp, a member of the famous Cramp shipbuilding family, of which William Cramp came from and was an important person in the church's history. From 1840 to 1847, Chandler was listed at Queen near Palmer. In 1848 it was Queen below Palmer. By 1850 numbers were given to the street and he was listed as living at 160 Queen, below Palmer, then in 1855 through to 1857, he was listed as 184 Queen, below Palmer, but by 1859, either due to his moving, but more probably, due to a change in the addressing system, the address was listed as 428 Richmond Street. Not only the name of the street changed from Queen to Richmond, but also the numbering system also changed as the city began uniforming its streets and addresses due to the consolidation of Philadelphia County into the City of Philadelphia, in 1854. The Rev. Chandler's son, W. George Chandler, working as a clerk, was also listed in the in 1859 directory. This address, 428 Richmond, was the last address for the Rev. George Chandler.
Because Rev. George Chandler was pastor of the church for so long, about 45 years, the church was often called "Chandler's Church". The Rev. Chandler served from 1815 to 1860. He was very instrumental in building the congregation, the Sunday School, as well as the new building. It was here in this building on May 22nd, 1859, at the dedication of the building, where Chandler gave one of his "final powerful sermons." After this date he seldom preached. His last presence in the church was the first Sunday in January of 1860, when he attended the morning service and the afternoon Sunday School, after which he went home and became ill. On February 14th, 1860, he died. He left a wife and six children. His wife Catherine died 16 years later, in 1876. One of his daughters, S. Almira Chandler, married James M. Vance at First Presbyterian Church on March 11th, 1845. Vance was a partner with the son of Jacob Peters, Sr, another stainglass window honoree, in a hardware business on Market Street, in Center City.
The Rev. Chandler's grandson described his grandfather's funeral as such: "the day of his [Chandler's] burial and the services are never to be forgotten and were attended by Protestant and Catholic clergy from all parts of the city; and all denominations of Protestant clergy. The entire populace of the [Kensington] district was in attendance and it was with difficulty that the services could be drawn to a close in time to get to, and return from the cemetery before dark." His mortal remains were laid to rest in Laurel Hill Cemetery. There was a marble monument erected, but as the famous Dr. Brainerd said, "Rev. Chandler's monument is the church which was built by his efforts"
A historian of the church, John Matlack, the son of Timothy C. Matlack, another stainglass honoree, had this to say about the Rev. George Chandler:
"[He was ]..a faithful man, a pure Christian, an earnest and powerful preacher, a devoted pastor, the father of this church, the apostle of this community, a patriarch among the people he loved, and wept over as such, and laid in his grave amidst the praises and benedictions of all who knew him."
The admiration for the Rev. Chandler was so great that a local public school was named in his honor, as well as a literary society and a mission that were attached to the church. That mission eventually evolved into the Beacon Presbyterian Church.
+ Sarah WHITTLESEY b: 31 Oct 1749 (Father: - Samuel WHITTLESEY b: 10 Jul 1713 in Wallingford, New Haven Co., Connecticut, United States; Mother: Susannah NEWTON b: 14 Jan 1716)
1. - Sarah CHANDLER
2. - John CHANDLER
3. - Susannah CHANDLER
4. - William CHANDLER
5. - Mary CHANDLER
6. - Charles Henry CHANDLER
7. - Samuel CHANDLER
8. - Rev. George CHANDLER (eighth childr of John & Sarah), married
+ Catherine Rice,
1. S. Almira Chandler, March 11th, 1845
+James M. Vance
2. W. George Chandler
9. - Elizabeth CHANDLER
[The Rev. Chandler may have had at least four other children]