CHANDLER, EDMUND LEAVENS, merchant and politician; b. 21 Dec. 1829 at Frelighsburg, Missisquoi County, L.C., son of Horace Mitchell and Lydia Leavens; d. 21 Aug. 1880 at Brome Corner (Brome, Que.).
Daniel Chandler, grandfather of Edmund Leavens, was born in East Hartford, Connecticut, and came to Canada in 1799, settling with his wife, Dolly Ayer, in “Slab City,” an early local name for Frelighsburg. There Edmund Leavens was born. After receiving an “Academical education,” he taught school, and at age 21 went to Lowell, Massachusetts, where he was secretary in a company of real estate dealers. In 1855 he moved to Brome Corner where he became a partner of Henry Rogers Williams, dealer in dry-goods, hardware, groceries, etc. At this time Brome Corner, although only a village of about 150, was the centre of a prosperous dairy-farming region and “the chief seat of business in the township.” In the same year Chandler was elected secretary-treasurer of the Brome County council, and he held this office for 13 years. In 1856 he was elected chairman of the board of school commissioners of the township and served for six years. Three years after his arrival he was erecting a brick dwelling (still in use) and a small brick store adjoining it, in which he ran a general business until his death. He married, on 9 April 1860, Amanda Jane Darling, a teacher in the village’s select school. His wife long survived him, but their only son died in 1878 at age 17, the year his father was elected to parliament.
Chandler’s public career included serving as mayor of the township of Brome (1868–72) and as warden of Brome County (1868–72). “He was one of the original and most influential promoters of the South-Eastern Railway, of which corporation he was elected Secretary-treasurer, holding that office from the formation of the company in 1867 ’til 1876.” This railroad (later to be taken over by the Canadian Pacific Railway) was of great importance in the development of Brome County; at Brome Corner the first sod for it was turned in August 1871 and the first train arrived in Knowlton in 1875; regular service from Sutton Junction to Sorel started in 1879.
“Although [Chandler was] an active and earnest supporter of the Liberal party all his life, this gentleman’s aversion to pushing himself forward kept him many years in the background of politics.” On 17 Sept. 1878, however, he became the Liberal member of parliament for Brome County in the House of Commons in the general election. He defeated, by a large majority, Judge Samuel Willard Foster of Knowlton, although the Liberal government under Alexander Mackenzie* was defeated by John A. Macdonald*. Chandler remained the sitting member until his death in 1880. By his death “Brome County lost one of its most highly esteemed citizens.”
Bishop Stewart Memorial Anglican Church Cemetery (Frelighsburg, Que.), Daniel Chandler. Brome County Historical Society Museum Archives (Knowlton, Que.), Genealogical records, Mrs. A. J. Patten Chandler to H. B. Shufelt, 9 Sept. 1933. St John’s Anglican Church Cemetery (Brome, Que.), Chandler family. St Paul’s Anglican Church (Knowlton, Que.), Registers. Guide to Canadian ministries since confederation, July 1, 1867–January 1, 1957 (PAC pub., Ottawa, 1957), 12. Illustrated atlas of the Dominion of Canada . . . (Toronto, 1881), xviii. George Chandler, The Chandler family: the descendants of William and Annis Chandler, who settled in Roxbury, Mass. 1637 (1st ed., Boston, 1872; 2nd ed., Worcester, Mass., 1883). Cyrus Thomas, Contributions to the history of the Eastern Townships: a work containing an account of the early settlement of St. Armand, Dunham, Sutton, Brome, Potton, and Bolton . . . (Montreal, 1866), 256–58.