Early Settlers of Union
Descendants...Their Stories...Their Achievements
Mists of History on Their Way of Life
By: Ethelene Dyer Jones
Thomas Slaughter Candler Wields Wide Influence
Judge Thomas Slaughter Candler at the dedication
service of the Brasstown Bald Recreation Area, June, 1971, the last
public function he attended prior to his death.
Slaughter Candler was born December 15, 1890 in Blairsville, Union County, Georgia,
the seventh and last child of William Ezekiel Candler and Elizabeth
Haralson Candler. His father was a local
lawyer. Did W. E. Candler have dreams
that his new son would grow up to follow in his footsteps as a lawyer,
even farther to become a Georgia Supreme Court Justice?
When Thomas Slaughter Candler was born
December 15, 1890,
Benjamin Harrison, the 23rd president of the United States
was in office. Called “the little
president” because of his short stature of five feet six inches in
dealt with labor strikes in manufacturing areas, and saw passage of the
McKinley Tariff Act that put a high tax on goods shipped to America
abroad. It was also the year the Sherman
Antitrust Act passed, intended to deal a blow against monopolies. On the very day of little Thomas Slaughter
Candler’s birth in Blairsville, the famed Sitting Bull, Sioux Indian
eleven other Sioux, were killed at Standing Rock Reservation in South
U. S. soldiers called Indian Police assigned to keep order there. To say the least, the Candler baby was born
in a time of unrest. Who knows? Maybe the situation called for growing up a
lawyer and judge who could make a difference in the future.
Our Blairsville Thomas Slaughter
Candler was well-connected descendancy-wise to other famous Georgians
Candler surname. Let’s look at Thomas’s
ancestors. Thomas’s great, great grandfather William Candler was born
1738. William was brought as a child to Virginia where
up and married Elizabeth Anthony in 1761.
Eventually, the Candlers migrated to North Carolina and then southward
Civil War to Columbia County,
Georgia. Daniel Candler, born in 1779 in Columbia County, was Thomas’s great
grandfather. In 1779 Daniel married
Sarah Slaughter, the forebear whose surname was used as the middle name
several of the Candler descendants.
Daniel and Sarah Slaughter Candler had several children, among
these named ones: Milton Anthony
Candler, 1837; Ezekiel Slaughter Candler, 1838; Noble Daniel Candler,
Florence Julia Candler, 1842; Sarah Justiana Candler, 1845; William
Candler, 1847; Elizabeth Frances Candler, 1849; Asa Griggs Candler,
Samuel Charles Candler, 1855.
Of the above-listed children of Daniel
and Sarah Candler, all “turned out well,” as we say in the mountains. Some made a name for themselves in business,
politics and religion.
Milton Anthony Candler was a Georgia
congressman. Asa Griggs Candler bought
out Dr. John Pemberton’s recipe for Coca-Cola for $2300 and made a
manufacturing that popular soda. He used
his wealth to found Emory
University and for
other philanthropic causes, including the Candler Missionary
College in Cuba. Samuel Charles Candler held public offices in
Cherokee and Carroll counties. Warren Akin Candler became a bishop in
Church in Georgia
and left a legacy of good
in institutions of that denomination.
Daniel and Sarah’s son, Ezekiel
Slaughter Candler (1838-1869) married Jane Williams.
They lived in Milledgeville,
when their youngest child, William Ezekiel Candler was born. The Civil War came when W. E. (as he was
known) was only eight. His parents sent
him from Central Georgia to live with
older sister who resided in Blairsville, hoping that the child could
death as Sherman’s
army marched through Georgia. While young W. E. was still in Union County,
his father Ezekiel died in 1869. He
remained on in Union at the home of his sister and got his education in
one-teacher schools, later reading law and passing the bar examination.
According to Union
W. E. Candler married Elizabeth Mary Haralson on June 11, 1879, with then-noted
minister, the Rev. Thomas M. Hughes performing their ceremony. Elizabeth Mary’s parents were Thomas J. and
Mary Haralson. This marriage joined two
families interested in law as a career.
Thomas Slaughter Candler had six siblings. His
sister June, the oldest, married Clabis
Lloyd. His sister called “Pick” married
Pierce Matthews. These two older girls
moved to Gainesville
respectively. Nellie (1880-1893) and
Ruth (1897-1928) died and were buried in the Blairsville Cemetery. Alwayne married Garnett Butt and remained in Union.
William Ezekiel, Jr. married and
Blairsville. The last-born child of W.
E. and Elizabeth Candler was Thomas Slaughter Candler.
On April 16,
1916, he married Augusta Beulah Cook, daughter
of Joe and Sarah Cook.
To Thomas and Beulah were born four
children: Sarah (died 1992) married
Jason B. Gilliland; William Ezekiel (called “Buck” died of diphtheria
Nell married Walter McNeil; and Thomas Slaughter Candler, Jr. married
Thomas Slaughter Candler was educated
in small schools in the Blairsville area and graduated as valedictorian
1913 class from Young
Harris College. He
went to the University
where he graduated summa cum laude in
1915 with an LLB degree. He passed the Georgia bar and worked with
father, William Ezekiel Candler, in his law office until his father
1927. Thomas served as a local lawyer,
on the School Board, and mayor of Blairsville.
In 1939, Governor Ed Rivers appointed
him as Georgia Superior Court Judge for the Northeastern District. He became a Justice of the Georgia State
Supreme Court in 1945, appointed by Governor Ellis Arnall, and
elected three more times, holding that office through 1966.
His other achievements included
assisting in rewriting the Georgia Constitution.
He gave generous portions of his
land for Vogel
State Park and for
the area around the spring at Bald Mountain
State Park. He was instrumental in getting electricity to
Union County through Tennessee Valley
Authority and in gaining grants for highway construction in the area.
A Christian gentleman, lover of the
Constitution—both Georgia and US—supporter of people’s rights, honest,
intellectually gifted, this man from Union County stood tall wherever
served. He died June 15, 1971 and his beloved
Beulah died in 1983. They were interred
in the Union
The Candler surname means “one who lights candles or one who makes
candles.” Certainly, Judge Tom Candler
lived up to his name and was a shining light in the mountains.
Jones; published October 15, 2009 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville,
Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Dyer Jones is a retired educator, freelance writer, poet, and historian.
She may be reached at e-mail email@example.com;
phone 478-453-8751; or mail 1708
Updated October 18,
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