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William Eaton Chandler

In office
April 16, 1882 – March 4, 1885
President Chester A. Arthur
Preceded by William H. Hunt
Succeeded by William C. Whitney

In office
June 14, 1887 – March 3, 1889
June 18, 1889 – March 3, 1901
Preceded by Person C. Cheney
Gilman Marston
Succeeded by Gilman Marston
Henry E. Burnham

Born December 28, 1835
Concord, New Hampshire
Died November 30, 1917
Concord, New Hampshire
Political party Republican
Alma mater Harvard Law School

William Eaton Chandler (December 28, 1835 – November 30, 1917) was a lawyer who served as United States Secretary of the Navy and as a U.S. Senator from New Hampshire.


Early life

A young William E. Chandler with his parents, Nathan S. Chandler and Mary Chandler

William E. Chandler was born in Concord, New Hampshire to Nathan S. Chandler and Mary Ann (Tucker) Chandler. William's elder brother, John Chandler, was a successful East India merchant and his younger brother George Chandler, an attorney who served as a major during the Civil War.[1]

William Chandler attended the common schools, Thetford Academy and the academy in Pembroke, New Hampshire before attending Harvard Law School where he graduated in 1854. He was admitted to the bar in 1855 and commenced practice in Concord.[2]

In 1859 Chandler first married Ann Gilmore, the daughter of Governor Joseph A. Gilmore, and after his first wife's death Chandler married Lucy Hale, daughter of Senator John Parker Hale in 1874, who was betrothed in 1865 to John Wilkes Booth, Abraham Lincoln's assassin.[3].

Political Career

In 1859, he was appointed reporter of the decisions of the Supreme Court of New Hampshire. He then served in the New Hampshire House of Representatives from 1862–1864 and was the Speaker during the last two years.[4]

In 1865, Chandler was appointed by President Abraham Lincoln solicitor and judge advocate general of the Navy Department. Subsequently, he was appointed First Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, until he resigned in 1867.[5]

Chandler returned to New Hampshire and became a newspaper publisher and editor during the 1870s and 1880s. Continuing in politics, he was a member of the State constitutional convention in 1876 and a member of the State house of representatives in 1881.[6]

William E. Chandler

Chandler was appointed by President Chester A. Arthur as Secretary of the Navy in 1882. He took charge in 1883 in planning for the rescue of Lt. Adolphus Greely's Lady Franklin Bay Expedition. Chandler served until 1885.

As a Republican, he was elected to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Austin F. Pike and served from June 14, 1887, to March 3, 1889. Subsequently elected for the term beginning March 4, 1889, he was reelected in 1895 and served from June 18, 1889, to March 3, 1901. He was an unsuccessful candidate for renomination. He served as chairman of the Committee on Immigration (Fifty-first and Fifty-second Congresses), Committee on Census (Fifty-fourth Congress), Committee on Privileges and Elections (Fifty-fifth and Fifty-sixth Congresses).

Chandler was appointed by President William McKinley to the Spanish Treaty Claims Commission in 1901. He was the president the Commission from its inception until 1907, when its work was nearly complete.

Leaving public office, Chandler resumed the practice of law in Concord and Washington, D.C..

He died at Concord in 1917.


USS Chandler (DD-206) was named for him.

Chandler's grandson, Theodore E. Chandler joined the U.S. Navy in 1911 and later distinguished himself as a Rear Admiral in World War II, and was killed in action by a Japanese kamikaze aircraft.


  1. ^ John Badger Clarke, Sketches of successful New Hampshire men ...(J.B. Clarke, 1882) 261-265
  2. ^ The New England magazine, Volume 36 ("What's Doing at Washington" by David S. Barry, New England Magazine Co., 1907) pg. 261
  3. ^ Kunhardt, Dorothy and Philip, Jr. (1965). Twenty Days. North Hollywood, Calif.: Newcastle. pp. 178–179. LCCN 62-015660.  
  4. ^ John Badger Clarke, Sketches of successful New Hampshire men ...(J.B. Clarke, 1882) 261-265
  5. ^ John Badger Clarke, Sketches of successful New Hampshire men ...(J.B. Clarke, 1882) 261-265
  6. ^ John Badger Clarke, Sketches of successful New Hampshire men ...(J.B. Clarke, 1882) 261-265
Military offices
Preceded by
William H. Hunt
United States Secretary of the Navy
Succeeded by
William C. Whitney
United States Senate
Preceded by
Person C. Cheney
United States Senator (Class 2) from New Hampshire
Served alongside: Henry W. Blair
Succeeded by
Gilman Marston
Preceded by
Gilman Marston
United States Senator (Class 2) from New Hampshire
Served alongside: Henry W. Blair, Jacob H. Gallinger
Succeeded by
Henry E. Burnham


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