John F. Chandler, an automobile dealer of Muskogee, was born near Fayetteville, Washington county, Arkansas, September 26, 1861. His parents were Preston and Bathsheba (Bartlett) Chandler, natives of Arkansas and Kentucky respectively. The grandfather in the paternal line was one of the earliest of the pioneer settlers of Arkansas and in that state Preston Chandler was reared and educated. After attaining adult age he became a farmer, purchasing land a mile from his father’s place and continuing the cultivation of his fields throughout his remaining days. He served with the Union army throughout the Civil war, while his brothers were members of the Confederate army. Both Preston Chandler and his wife have passed away.
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John F. Chandler pursued his education in the schools of Washington county, Arkansas, and remained with his parents through the period of early manhood, contributing to the support of the family in large measure for several years. He then went to Fort Smith, Arkansas, and became a steamboat pilot, although he had never seen a boat when he went there. He remained for eight years and in 1893 came to Muskogee, Oklahoma, where he entered the employ of the Turner Hardware Company. While thus employed he traveled horseback throughout this section of the country, making collections for the firm and fixing up commercial paper for the company. He afterward became credit manager for the house, with which he remained for ten years. On the expiration of that period he joined his cousin William Y. Chandler, in the establishment of a mercantile enterprise which they conducted under the name of the Chandler Mercantile Company. They carried a general line of goods and continued in the business for seventeen years, building up the largest credit business in Muskogee. In 1919 John F. Chandler sold his interest in the business and in 1920 turned his attention to the automobile trade, organizing the John Chandler Motor Company, of which his son, Robert P., is the manager, giving personal supervision to the business, while the father devotes the greater part of his time to the supervision of his farming interests and the management of outside affairs. He raises high grade cattle and hogs and he also buys and sells cattle, hogs and mules. He is an excellent judge of live stock and his ability in this connection has been a splendid contributing element to his success. He and his cousin, J. E. Chandler, own the Fall City Trading Company, engaged in handling general merchandise and implements, and Mr. Chandler also has important oil interests. He farms one hundred and forty acres of land and has two hundred acres in pasture adjoining. He keeps one hundred head of cattle and two hundred head of hogs and also has twenty head of mules upon his place.
On the 2d of October, 1894, at Fort Smith, Arkansas, Mr. Chandler was united in marriage to Miss Mamie Thompson, a daughter of Robert and Biddie (Donahue) Thompson, the former a native of Edinburgh, Scotland, and the latter of Arkansas. The father came to America in early life, settling at Fort Smith, Arkansas. At the time of the Civil war he enlisted and served with the rank of first lieutenant in an Arkansas regiment, remaining at the front throughout the period of hostilities. He afterward engaged in contracting and building for a few years and finally bought land near Fort Smith, devoting his remaining days. to its cultivation and improvement. His children still own that land and all of the gas that Fort Smith uses is produced upon that farm. The father and mother have both passed away. Mr. and Mrs. Chandler have one child, Robert P., who was born December 8, 1901, and who is now manager of the automobile business owned by himself and father. They handle the Oakland and Peerless cars.
Mr. Chandler has served as school treasurer of Muskogee for a period of four years and the cause of education always finds in him a stalwart champion. He belongs to the Woodmen of the World and politically he is a republican. His wife and son are members of the Catholic church. The family resides’ at No. 611 Callahan street, where Mr. Chandler erected a residence three years after his marriage. It was then way out of town but is now near the center of the city. Mr. Chandler is truly a self-made man and one who deserves much credit for what he has accomplished, his labors and energies bringing him substantial results.