02. Dr. Alexander John Chandler

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    Alexander John Chandler, or A. J., was born on July 15, 1859 in Proven, Quebec, Canada.  His parents were Joseph Chandler and Mary Ann Lorimer. He attended McGill University in Montreal where he studied veterinary medicine.  Upon graduation he moved to Detroit, where he set up a private practice and became very successful. 

    Members of the Chandler family were hard working people who capitalized on all available opportunities.  For example, Dr. A.J. Chandler’s first career choice was medicine, but because the Canadian government provided free tuition in the Royal College of Veterinarian at McGill University, he chose that instead.  A.J. worked his way through college, graduating with high honors.

     When representatives from the Arizona Territory approached him with an offer to become the territory's veterinary surgeon, A. J. quickly accepted, despite the significant decrease in pay.  He arrived in Prescott, the territorial capital of Arizona, on August 8, 1887, in the midst of a drought.  He decided it was better to resign his position and seek opportunity in California, but before he left he toured the Barbacamori Ranch in southern Arizona after a monsoon storm.  The tour made him realize that the key to desert development was controlling water.  He continued to California to study irrigation techniques, and returned to Arizona to start an ambitious plan to accumulate land and water rights in the Salt River Valley.  With capital from his partners Dexter Ferry and C. C. Bowen, and with a scheme to take advantage of loopholes in the Desert Land Act, Chandler went about the business of building a network of canals and accumulating a massive amount of land south of the Salt River Valley.  The end result of the project was the establishment of the town of Chandler, Arizona.

     861421.jpgA. J. married three times, but never had children of his own.  His first wife was Julia Pope Chandler, the daughter of a Detroit businessman.  She left him in 1913 and moved to California.  His second wife, Charlotte Boyd Chandler, was an entertainer from Philadelphia who suffered from several health problems.  After a short marriage, Charlotte passed away.  Dr. Chandler's third wife was Rosa Bell Chandler Wilson.  Rosa survived Dr. Chandler by nearly forty years.  She had two children from a previous marriage, and after A. J.'s death she moved to Virginia and remarried.

    To see more photos of Dr. Chandler click here.





    ♦Exhibit Home 03. Dr. Chandler's Wives►


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