Aaron B. Chandler ~ First Superintendent of The Friends Boarding Home in Waynesville
Aaron was a Civil War veteran who fought in the 79th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. This regiment was known as the “Quaker Regiment” because of the large number of young Quaker men enrolled in its ranks. According to legend, its commander, Colonel Azzariah Doan, who was a Quaker, never carried a weapon, even in combat. After Aaron returned from the war, he married his first wife, Abi Carroll (January 4, 1843 ~ February 6th, 1903) in 1868. Aaron and Abi had two children:
· Mariana Chandler (1872 ~ 1908) who was a distinguished elementary schoolteacher, and,
· Walter D. Chandler (1876 ~ 1938) who was a carpenter, an electrician, an insurance man and an airplane mechanic.
Aaron B. Chandler established himself as a dairy farmer after the war and became Waynesville’s milkman. He was a carpenter. He was also a teacher. The first mention of him teaching is found in the 1870 Census. He was a teacher at the District #5 schoolhouse and was also District #5 Director until 1885. This schoolhouse, which is now a private residence, was called College Hill Schoolhouse and stood on his dairy farm property north of Waynesville half way along Old Stage Road to the little hamlet of Mt. Holly. The details of his teaching career are sketchy but in connection with education it was said of him, “Aaron B. Chandler was so prominent in the affairs of this community for so many years that he certainly needs no further introduction” (The Miami-Gazette, December 21, 1932). We, of course, wish that the Miami-Gazette reporter would have elaborated a little more about Aaron.
He retired from dairy farming in 1897 and the Chandler family moved into Waynesville. Shortly after moving into town, Aaron B. Chandler became the Justice of the Peace for West Wayne and East Wayne Townships. He also acquired an Insurance business, which had previously been owned by F. E. Sherwood, and had his office at first in the Way Building on North Main and then in 1899 moved his office into the Stoops Building on South Main. He maintained his Insurance business until his death in 1915.
Aaron was a Past Master of The Waynesville Grange #13 (Miami-Gazette, February 25, 1903) and often was the treasurer of The Farmer’s Institute as well as its secretary (Miami-Gazette, March 13th, 1901). He was also active in The Wayne Township Farmers Club (Miami-Gazette, July 17, 1912).
Aaron was a councilman of Waynesville before and during the the Great Fire of April 7th, 1900 when almost a full block of North Main Street was destroyed. The earliest known reference to his election to the village council is found in the Miami-Gazette on November 9th, 1898. He was appointed to a committee to look into buying Potter’s Field for a garbage dump. On December 14th, 1898 according to the same newspaper, A. B. Chandler was re-elected to the Board of Directors of The Gas Works. They were in the midst of laying gas pipe for lights throughout Waynesville. The following comment was made upon his re-election:
Chandler is the only one on the new board who served on the first board and proved himself to be a faithful, persistent worker in the interests of the company, a fact appreciated by its members as his re-election evidences.
Sadly, all the village’s council minutes had gone up in smoke during the Great Fire of 1900. Aaron worked tirelessly on the committee that laboriously re-wrote all the village ordinances. He was appointed to the Light Committee and was much involved in the establishment of The Electrical and Water Works. He often served on the Finance and Auditing Committees. After May 4, 1903 he retired from the council. From 1903 through 1909 he concentrated on the building and establishment of The Friends Boarding Home. In 1909, at the age of 65, he was asked to be a councilman again. Interestingly, when he returned to this civic service, he served on committees to build sewers along Miami Street from Fourth Street down the hill (opposite the FBH). He also worked on committees to build cement street crossings from the FBH to the schoolhouse lot and from the NW corner of Fourth and Miami to the FBH. He worked on the Sidewalk and Gutter Committee during his final years. He was almost always appointed to the Finance and Auditing committees. From 1912 till his death in 1915, he was the Council Clerk.
Aaron B. Chandler was an important leader in the local meeting of Friends known as Miami Monthly Meeting. He also was active in Miami Quarterly Meeting and in Indiana Yearly Meeting (Hicksite, which after 1900 was known as Friends General Conference). He held the important position of Clerk in Miami Monthly Meeting from 1873 till 1883 and then again in 1890. Aaron was an active leader in the Indiana Yearly Meeting (Hicksite) from 1890 until his death. He served on a variety of committees and was one of the trustees of the IYM Benevolent fund for many years. He was the clerk of Indiana Yearly Meeting (FGC) in 1902, 1903, 1904, 1905, 1906, 1907, 1910, and 1911.
Aaron B. Chandler was instrumental in the building and then administration of The Friends Boarding Home during the first decade of its existence (1905-1913). He served on all the planning committees and held the position of Vice-President of the Board of Trustees of the Friends Boarding Home from its inception until his death. He helped to solicit funds for the project from Friends. When the Cincinnati contractors, The Fox Brothers, went into bankruptcy at the beginning of 1905, the burden of supervising the completion of this building was laid on his shoulders. He supervised the buying of materials for the construction and he supervised the workmen and paid them. He became the first administrative Superintendent of the Home on December 5th, 1905.
The first matron of The Friends Boarding Home was Lydia Ann Conard of New Vienna, Ohio. In 1903, Abi Carroll Chandler died after lingering with cancer for a number of years. On October 27th, 1908, three years after they began to work together at the Friends Home, Aaron B. Chandler married Lydia Ann Conard (1850-1931). In 1911, Lydia Conard Chandler resigned as Matron. The couple bought a home for themselves on Fourth Street. Aaron continued on as Superintendent and his widowed Aunt Esther Chandler Stout became the new Matron. Esther resigned after a year as Matron. In 1912 both Aaron and Lydia Chandler agreed to be in the interim Superintendent and Matron again with the stipulation that they not live in The Friends Home but in their own home only two blocks away on Fourth Street. Lydia was 62 years old and Aaron was 68. They remained in these positions until September 1913. Alice Alcorn of Mendenhall, Pa. was hired as the new Matron and Jonathan Haines was the overseer.
On September 13, 1915 Aaron B. Chandler was suddenly stricken with paralysis and there was little hope for his recovery. He died in their home on Fourth Street attended by Dr. Thomas Sherwood, M.D. and Dr. Robert Conard on September 15, 1915. On September 16, 1915, the Waynesville Council met in special session at the call of Mayor Hathaway. They recommended L. A. Zimmerman to fill the vacancy and finish Aaron B.’s term in office. Then the councilmen resolved to attend in a body the funeral of their friend and colleague (Council Records-Village of Waynesville, Ohio, Vol. 1, Vol. 2, and Vol. 3). Funeral arrangements were made through Ambrose Maffitt. The Rev. John F. Cadwallader, the Episcopal Priest at St. Mary’s Church, officiated at the funeral. The funeral was held at the White Brick Meetinghouse. Aaron is buried in Miami Cemetery next to his first wife, Abi, and his daughter, Mariana, Section A. His son Walter is also buried in the family plot. Lydia Conard Chandler lived many years after Aaron and is buried with her brother's family in the OddFellow/Masonic Cemetery in New Vienna, Ohio.
Timeline of the Friends Boarding Home and More Information: