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 Chandler Graham Heath (1795-1888)


A Manuscript Copy of  the Biography of CHANDLER GRAHAM HEATH (1795-1888)  of Fryeburg, Oxford, ME; Barrington, Strafford, NH; Chatham or Conway, Carroll, NH; and Mineral Point, Iowa, WI

 Chandler Graham Heath

 In the last Record, brief mention was made of Chandler Graham Heath, recently deceased.  He was the oldest man in this Pequawket Region. A few evenings since, Mr. Heath, a picture of whom, taken for a few years a go, accompanied this sketch, returned to his Eastern home after an absence of three years in the West.  His arrival here was quite a surprise to his kinsmen and neighbors, he being so advanced in years that it was not expected he would ever again come East.

 With the snows of ninety-two winters resting upon his brow it was not expected, though hale for a person of his extreme age, he would have the courage to leave his children in the West and start out alone on a fifteen hundred mile journey to see the few remaining friends of his early home.

 It has been truly said there is no person, however humble his lot, in whose life there is no incidents of interest to the world.  This being the case, what shall be said of a person whose term of years has well nigh filled a century, whose theater of action has been the continents, seas and even the globe, and has participated in many of the grand enterprises, marvelous events, and exciting scenes that have marked the century now drawing to a close.

 It would not be exaggerating to say that nations have been born, acted their little part on the stage of human affairs, and passed away without leaving a deeper impress upon the sands of time that has been produced by some individual lives; and the faithful biography of some individual characters celebrated for their devotion to humanity, liberty, art, science, religion, and progress would make a volume a thousand fold more interesting than the entire history of some nations that have encumbered the earth.

We are about to give a biographical sketch of a man whose life, though was unknown to fame has been intimately connected with some of the leading events of our nation's history.

 He was not an orator whose eloquence has charmed the multitude s, but "the round unvarnished tale" of the strange scenes in which he has participated and of which he has enacted a part is not less thrilling than the orator's most impassioned periods.  His life has been one of toil, hardship, privations, and danger, and has been marked by noteworthy incidents and startling events.

 His book education was meager but natural power of mind were good and his knowledge of human nature remarkable acute.

 On his recent sixty-hour ride of over fifteen hundred miles, he rode without sleep, his only sustenance being a buffet of cake, sandwich, and sausage stowed away in his carpetbag.

 Upon his arrival here he proceeded to one of the country stores where he was kindly invited by the keeper to go with him to the house and get a good square meal and a night's refreshing rest.  He firmly declined the invitation, however, stating that he wanted to get home, and had not the merchant insisted upon hitching up his team and taking him to his destination, he would have walked the four miles, which he had to go.

 Mr. Heath was born in Rumford, Oxford County, Maine, Oct. 17, 1795.  About the year 1800 he came with his parents to Conway, NH on the place now occupied by Charles Lewis, it being also the birth place and ancestral home of the writer.  He belonged to a hardy and long lived family and was fortunate in inheriting an iron constitution.  He was the fifth of nine children and was the sole survivor of them all.  His brother John W. Heath, a soldier in the War of 1812, died about a year ago at the advanced age of ninety-five years.  (His father Benjamin Heath, who lived to the age of ninety, served seven years as a Revolutionary soldier, a portion of the time being a servant to General Washington.   He was brought up the well-known and somewhat eccentric Col. David Page, one of the pioneer settlers of "Seven Lots" men of Fryeburg, Maine.)


 The mother of the subject of this article is Dolly Wyley (Willey) Heath, who died in 1850 at the age of eighty-five years, being an ancestor of the Wiley (Willey) family who perished in the famous White Mountain slide of 1826.


 When six or seven years old, Mr. Heath came to this village to live with Dr. Griswold, a well known physician, who practiced medicine in Fryeburg and vicinity for many years, and remained with him four years.


 While living with Dr. Griswold, he attended the academy at the base of Pine Hill, where Daniel Webster was preceptor in 1802, and was the last survivor of those who were pupils in the old building where the great expounder taught the young idea how to shoot.  (See picture of building in Fryeburg, Webster Memorial, facing page 31)


 At the age of ten or twelve Mr. Heath went to live with Edward Watson, where he remained about two years.  He says while there, he was many times called to tend the ferry across the Saco River, Watson's Bridge not then having been built.


 When he left Mr. Watson, he went to live with Harry Osgood, a well-known citizen of Fryeburg in the early part of the century.  He subsequently went to Waterford, in this county, to learn the carpenter's trade.


 The embargo with its hard times soon followed and his employer was imprisoned for debt.  Ere long the tocsin of war sounded and young Heath, filled with patriotic fervor, enlisted in the service of his country, going as a substitute for David Hardy, on Fryeburg quota, and receiving the magnificent bounty of twenty dollars.


 Inheriting a strong love of adventure he thus early started out as the sequel proved, on a venture full of change, novelty, hardship, and danger.  Returning to New Hampshire at the expiration of his term of service, which was short, he went into the White Mountain Notch and hired out with Rosebrooks at twelve dollars per month, while there he caught mink and muskrat enough to make his pay amount to twenty dollars per month.  He thought this was better than soldiering as he could make but eight dollars a month at that business.


 Soon after this he thought he would try his hand at a sailor's life, and in 1815 (April), he enlisted in the Navy and went out under Commodore Decatur to fight the Algerian pirates.  Here he had new experiences and his eyes looked upon strange scenes.  Decatur made quick work of the pirates who had attacked our merchant vessels and enslaved our seamen.


 Algeria, Tunis, and Tripoli soon yielded to the demands of our brave tars, giving up their prisoners, relinquishing all claims for tribute from the United States and paid full damages for property taken and destroyed.


 The corsairs being subdued, the rest of the time Mr. Heath spent in the Mediterranean waters visiting the historic and classic lands bordering on the great sea.


 Sicily with her ancient cities of Palermo and Syracuse was visited, and Naples with her matchless bay met his enraptured gaze.  He saw the ruined city of Pompeil and Herculaneum, and the lofty peak of Vesuvius and Aetna belch forth their thunders and fiery streams before his astonished vision.  In sad contrast with these pleasant recollections and almost making he blood freeze in ones veins are the harrowing tales he told of flogging in the navy in the days when the barbarous practice, more cruel that the wars direct woes, was in vogue.


 Soon after leaving the navy he returned home and in August 13, 1820 was married to Lydia Wyman, a niece of the philanthropist, Abiel Chandler, who endowed the Chandler Scientific School of Dartmouth College.  Mr. Chandler gave his niece, Mrs. Heath, a section of land at Mineral Point, Iowa County Wisconsin.  With her Mr. Heath wended his way thither in 1842 and made a new home on this tract, then the extreme West.


 Here he "roughed it," out from civilized society, from railroads, and from comforts of his early home until 1849 when news of the discovery of gold in the new Elderado spread over the country.  The fabulous stories of sudden accumulations of wealth and of the lumps of gold that could be had for the picking up, set his ambitious heart on fire, and like many another in those pioneer days the gold fever took complete possession of him at once.


 But a little time was lost in the packing up of his household goods and starting with a slow ox team on the four months journey over the plains.  So great had been the gold excitement, even at that early day the trail had already become a thorough-fare.  The prairie schooners with their man attendants resembling a huge caravan and the dead mules, horses and cattle, with the broken down and abandoned teams and wagons, in appearance, marking the line of retreat of a lately defeated army.


 Their route lay through Salt Lake City where they stopped two days for rest and repairs.  The little band of Mormons had then just pitched their tents in the beautiful valley having marched thither in the dead of Winter with nothing but white cotton tents to protect them.


 Mr. Heath has been much of a traveler and has seen much of the world.  He has visited the Pacific slope not less than 4 times and has spent years hunting for the shining ore and cultivating the soil.

 After many years roaming o'er land and sea he seemed delighted in the evening of his life to greet the friends of his youth, to look on the early home and scenes of childhood.

 Copied from the "Oxford County Record"

Fryeburg, Maine   February 11, 1888




Probably from the "Oxford County Record", Fryeburg, Maine  

(Publication date unknown but after 2 Feb, 1888)


 Died at Chandler's on Green Hill, three and half miles from Fryeburg, N.H.  It is thought that he was of English parents.  Following are the names of his brothers and sisters; Lewis, Ben, John, Oliver, and George.  One sister married Mr. Haley, and another sister married Mr. Stevens at Beaver Dam, Wisconsin.  His father, Benjamin Heath was in the Revolutionary War for 7 years.

 "The State of New Hampshire, Vital Statistics"

 Chandler G. Heath of Batchelder's Grant, N.H. and Lydia Wyman of Chattam, N.H.  Intention filed:  August 13, 1820

By whom married:  David Badger, Chatham.  Justice of the Peace.

Date of Marriage:  Aug. 13, 1820, Chatham N. H.



Washington D.C. War Record of the War of 1812


Chandler C. (G.) Heath served in the War of 1812 as a member of Matross in Capt. Phillip Eastman's Company of Artillery-Massachusetts Militia, called into service for the defense of the town of Portland.  His name is born on the company muster roll for the period from September 11 to 24, 1814, dated at Portland Nov. 23, 1814, which shows that his service commenced September 12th, 1814 and that he deserted September 25, 1814.  His place of residence was Fryeburg Maine.  No record found of the service of any other man named Chandler Heath.



C.H. Bridges, Major General


Compiled by Nettie White Wolcott, August 1958  
Transcribed to text file by Karen Heath Penman, Ogden, UT,
June 2000







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