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973. John Chancellor (Chansler, Chansellour, Chancelleur, Chanceleer) (Married 1st: Abigail Harrington (Harringden, Arrington) on 24 October 1676, 2nd: Margaret ___ (#974) about 1690 in Somerset County, Maryland) (Source: All purple information about John is The Wroe and Chancellor Families Compiled by William Clarke Wroe, 1992, pages 32-38) [ All notes in brown have been added by Susan Snyder, webmaster of this site.]

Born: about 1650 in Scotland of John Chancellor (#1,945) and Jean Dishington (#1,946).

Died: ? in Somerset County, Maryland.


[His siblings included:

Robert Chancellor: (Married Jean, daughter of Sir James Lockhart of Lee) Born: 1600; Died: 1661 ,immediately after the Restoration, 1660; Miscellaneous: He was Laird of Shieldhill 1642-1661 who signalled himself by his loyalty for Kings Charles I and II

Thomas Chancellor: (Married:Mrs. Katherine Robinson, widow of William Robinson on September 7, 1692;) Born: no later than about 1671. Died: Circa 1760; Thomas wrote a will on November 19, 1760 and the will was proved March 31, 1761 Miscellaneous: arrived in Westmoreland County, Virginia as early as 1688. A few years after the first record of John Chancellor #973 at Somerset County, Maryland, Thomas appears in Westmoreland County Virginia. At the time, Thomas was old enough to sign as a witness to a will of Mrs. Katherine Webb (1626-1688). After his marriage to Katherine Robinson, Thomas purchased land in Westmoreland County and the court record shows that William Saxton acknowledged a deed of sale for himself and his wife Margaret to Thomas Chancellor, recorded April 25, 1694].


Miscellaneous Information:

The following is quoted from The Wroe and Chancellor Families Compiled by William Clarke Wroe, 1992, pages 32-37:

"The following information is taken from Burke's, Landed Gentry [of Great Britain & Ireland, 1879], the most highly regarded and widely accepted historical reference to distinguished British landholding families."

" 'The family of Chancellor of Shield Hill, the only one of the name in Scotland, is of great antiquity, and has held the lands of Shield Hill for more than five centuries."

"According to tradition they came at the time of the Norman Conquest, along with the Sommervilles of Carnwath, whom they acknowledged as their lords-superior; and from whom they obtained a grant of the lands of Quadguan, lying in the Barony of Carnwath."

"The earliest member of the family of whom we find mention is Hugh Chanceller, who, in the year 1198, along with William Fleming, 'Dominus de Bygare,' witnessed a charter of William I of Scotland to the monks of Kelso."

"The oldest charter still possessed by the family, dated 6 March 1434, is one which is referred to in 'The Memorie of the Sommervilles,' and was granted by Thomas Sommerville, 'Dominus Baronie de Carnwath,' to George Chancler (#62,209), of half the lands of Quadquan."

"This charter states that George Chancler having resigned the lands into the hands of his lord-superior, Lord Sommerville, they are confirmed to him to be held as freely and honourably as his ancestors held them."

"In the 'Memorie of the Sommervilles,' it is stated that a firm friendship existed between the Lords Somerville and the Chancellors of Shield Hill and Quadquan, as far back as the time of Robert the Bruce."

"George Chancellor, to whom the lands of Quadquan were confirmed as above, was, s. (succeeded) by his son, Alexander, to whom the charter was renewed in 1460, and son and heir, George Chanceler (#31,105), also obtained a charter, 1472, wherein he is styled 'Noblis Vir Georgius Chanceler Dominius de Quadquan;' he m. (married) Elizabeth (#31,106), dau. of Brown, of Colstoun (#62,211) , and had a son and heir, William (#15,553), who m. Margaret (#15,554), a dau. of Hamilton of Dalserf (#31,107), and had a son William (#7,777)."

"This William Chancellor joined the adherents of Queen Mary in 1567, and fought in her favor at the battle of Langside, in consequence of which his house at Quadquan was demolished by the enemy. He m. Agnes (#7,778), dau. of Sir James Hamilton (#15,555), of Crawfurdjohn, Baron of Evandale, and by her had a son."

"Robert Chancellor (#3,889), of Shield Hill, who by Agnes Symington (#3,890) his wife, was father of John Chancellor (#1,945), who m. Catherine, dau. of Gavin Hamilton, of Raploch, by Jean (#1,946) his wife, dau. and co-heir of Sir Thomas Dishington (#3,891), of Andross. By this lady he had a son, Robert Chancellor (Laird of Shieldhill 1642-1661) who signalled himself by his loyalty for Kings Charles I and II, and d. (died) immediately after the Restoration, 1660. By Jean his wife, dau. of Sir James Lockhart, of Lee, he had a son, James Chancellor, of Shield Hill..."

"In 1983, Sir Christopher John Howard Chancellor [descendent of Robert], published a family history of his ancestors in Scotland. This work, entitled appropriately, The Chancellors of Shieldlhill, was written totally independent of any American work and it borrowed from no other genealogies. It did, however, make a brief mention of material Sir Christopher had read in a booklet published in the United States."

"In Sir Christopher's highly interesting family history, the next two paragraphs appear:"

" 'The history of the Somervilles, a family closely associated with the Chancellors in earlier days, is based on 'Memorie of the Somervills' (written in 1674 by the eleventh Lord Somervill, 'by way of ane epistle to my sones'). Its author has no doubt about his Norman roots as is shown in the following paragraph:"

"In both Kingdomes, the name of Somervill has attained great honours and places in court and camp. The first Somervill that came into England was Sir Gaultier, a Norman Knight, who, assisting King William in 1066 in his conquest of England, had conferred upon him a Lordship in Staffordshire...' "

"According to English surnames-Their Sources & Significations, by Charles Wareing Bardsley, MA, (David and Charles Publishers, Ltd.), London, 1873, the name of Chancellor was derived from the occupation of 'he to whose care was committed the chapter, books, scroll, records and what other literature belonged to the establishment with which he stood connected.' "

The original Chancellor family went by the name of Gaultier.

"The following may serve to identify M. Gaultier: 'M. Gaultier was a French law officer of the crown, who crossed over into England at the time of the Norman Conquest, 1066, with William the Conqueror. At that time he wrote his name 'Gaultier, le Chancelier,' to indicate his position as Chief Law Officer of the Crown. Subsequently, his descendants dropped the surname of Gaultier and assumed successively that of Le Chancelier, le Chanceler, Le Chancelour, Chancelor, and finally after the 14th century the name was written Chancellor.' "

"The highly regarded book, A Dictionary of Surnames, states: 'A Scots family 'Chancellor' were in vassalage [a position of subordination or subjection; servitude] to the Lord of Somerville before 1432, and possessed Shieldhill and Quothquhan for centuries.' "

"In spite of this subservience, the Chancellor family was armigerous." [Entitled to use a coat of arms.]

"In the Chancellors of Shieldhill, Sir Christopher John Chancellor says further: '....My father used to tell me that two younger sons left Shieldhill to cross the Atlantic in the seventeenth century. There was a strong family tradition at Shieldhill that they were younger brothers of Robert Chancellor (Laird of Shieldhill 1642-1661), who was [were] in trouble with the Presbyterian zealots Lanark.' "

"(This undoubtedly refers to the Robert Chancellor mentioned in Burke's -Landed Gentry, underlined above.)"

"None of the known reliable researchers of the Chancellor history have ever reported any Chancellor in America as early as 1650. On the other hand, there is documentation of two persons named Chancellor who arrived in America as early as 1672; a time which would be in accord with the life span of Robert Chancellor (of Shieldhill)."

"Accounts of our first Chancellor ancestor in America aver [verify] that '...he had been an army captain in the service of King Charles II of England with the rank of Captain..' This seems to be totally in character with the information from Sir Christopher Chancellor, set forth above."

"As a respected soldier, a dedicated Whig and devoted Protestant, he became an accomplice of Lords Essex, Monmouth, Russel, Sidney, and others who sought to raise the nation in arms in behalf of the established Church of England and against its attempted dissolution by the Government of King Charles II. Their plot being discovered, Captain Chancellor found it necessary to escape by flight the penalty of death which was prefigured in the fate of Essex, Russel, and Sidney and accordingly immigrated to America. It is traditional in the family that Captain Chancellor was present at the rout of Bothwell Bridge in Scotland.' "

"(Historical facts: In 1649, Charles I was overthrown, ending (for a while) the rule of Britain by the House of Stuart. Charles I was beheaded January 30, 1649 as a commonwealth government was formed. A Council of State existed from 1649 to 1653, when the Cromwells came to power and ruled Britain as a Protectorate until the resignation of the Lord Protector, Richard Cromwell, in May 1660. At that time the House of Stuart was returned to the throne in the person of Charles II. Religious turmoil, sometimes involving bloody battles, was a major factor throughout these periods of British history.)"

"Thomas B. Macaulay, noted British historian, gives additional information about the fates of the conspirators. 'The Duke of Monmouth threw himself at the feet of his father, Charles II, and found mercy; the Earl of Essex perished by his own hand in the Tower of London; Russel and Sidney were beheaded in defiance of law and justice; some of the less rank were sent to the gallows and others quitted the country.' "

"There seems to be no doubt that our first American Chancellor ancestor was a military man."

"The earliest Chancellor chronicler in America was Dr. Charles Williams Chancellor (1832-1915). He reported the name of his first Chancellor ancestor in America as Richard Chancellor; however, no evidence to support this has ever been produced. Research of the records of Westmoreland County, Virginia failed to disclose anyone by that name during the appropriate period of time."

"Perhaps the most significant reference to the name of our first Chancellor ancestor in America is the following:"

"Writing on March 29, 1886, Rev. Melzi Sanford Chancellor, a grandson of Mrs. Keeton, said: 'In regard to what Grandmother told me about the Chancellor family that they certainly came from England...[here I am deliberately leaving out a few words]..., and that he was a Captain in the British Army and that he brought his sword with him which was a very nice one being silver mounted and he also brought his Military tactics book and when my house got burnt at Dowdal's the book and Sword was burnt also. I have spoken in regard to the Chancellor from whom our immediate family descended. She gave me other information in regard to the Edwards and Chancellor family which I put down in a Book which also got burnt.' This is taken from a letter addressed to Dr. Charles Wroe Chancellor of Baltimore Maryland."

"In notes at the Virginia Historical society there was also a mention of a Bible in which Captain Chancellor wrote that he '...laid concealed in London for some time, but finally, through the aid of female adroitness and generosity, was enabled to board a vessel bound for America, and after landing remained some years incognito.' This Bible was reported to be in the possession of the descendants (unnamed) of Mr. Chancellor Cook of Pomona, California. Although I was able to identify the position of Mr. Cook in the family genealogy, I could not locate any names or addresses of his descendants."

"We must assume that being from a prominent family or being an army officer would mean that John Chancellor had the means of paying for his own transportation to 'the colonies'. Even if he did have the fare, a conspicuous place on the passenger list would likely bring unwanted attention. It seems to me that he would have a better chance of hiding his identity if he traveled as an indenture servant, with some [one] else paying for his passage."

"Up to this point, we have the two brothers of Sir Robert Chancellor who 'crossed the Atlantic.' We believe this occurred a few years after Charles II came to power and we believe that they came to America. We do not know how either of the brothers paid for their transportation or exactly where they first set foot in this country. Beyond that, we have accounts that one of them had been a soldier who fled to this country to escape prosecution for conspiracy, and there were certain items which reportedly would document that claim, if only they could be located."

"1672 is the year of the earliest known documented information on anyone named Chancellor in this country and this is from the records of Somerset County, Maryland."

"John Chancellor appears in Somerset County, Maryland before 1672. Having supposedly been a captain in the [British] army, it would seem likely he would then have been at least 21 years of age. We have verification of his son, Thomas, who was born in 1691, and who is said to have moved to Westmoreland County, Virginia."

"At some time prior to January 30, 1672, John Chansler was the indentured servant of one Jarvis Ballard, who sold all rights and title (to John Chansler) to one Allexander Jemison for a period of four years, effective as of October 10, 1672. This sale was witnessed by Johell Taylor. Upon the death of Allexander Jemison, his widow married one Richard Kimball, thus, bringing John Chansler under indenture to Kimball. Also in the servitude of Richard Kimball was a woman named Abigail Harrington (also spelled variously as Harringden or Arrington)."

"On March 10, 1673, John Chancellor, Johell Taylor and Abigail Arrington were indicted by a grand Jury in Somerset County, and were convicted for having committed the crime of fornication. For this John was awarded '...twenty nine lashes well laid on upon his bare back' and Abigail, '...twenty lashes well laid on upon her bare shoulders.' "

"(Johell Taylor, also indicted for having committed fornication with Abigail Arrington, was not present on March 10th and his trial was set for a later date. On June 9, 1672, Johell Taylor again failed to appear and someone was assigned to assure his appearance on the day the court would next meet. On that date [April 11, 1674-source: page 463 The Wroe and Chancellor Families Compiled by William Clarke Wroe, 1992], Johell was present, but the court ruled that there was no evidence to prove the charge against him [the witness did not appear] and the case was dismissed.)" [The June 9, 1672 date cannot be correct since it precedes the March 10, 1673 date. The date may have been June 9, 1673.]

"On March 10, 1675 [page 460 of Wroe's shows the document and it is dated November 10, 1675], in a civil suit before the court of Somerset County, Maryland, Richard Kimball and his wife charged that, '...the said John Chancellor & Abigail Harringdens continuance in evill contrary to the laws of god & this Province continewing in fornicacon and this resulted in' ...loss of time inability of service charges after delivery from child birth.' Since the activities of John and Abigail had caused Kimball to suffer the occasional loss of their services, Kimball was requesting satisfaction; whereupon, the court ordered that '...John Chansler and Abigail Harringden doe pay unto Richard Kimball or his order two hundred pounds of tobacco a piece for satisfaccon for his trouble and charge.' "

"On November 10, 1675 (the same day as the above case) [Note; this is correct with the month's correction in the previous paragraph.], the Somerset Grand Jury indicted '...Abigail Harringden, servant to Richard Kemball.' Abigail pled guilty to the charge that she had given birth to a 'bastard chilld,' and had named John Chansellour as the father, to which he admitted; '...whereupon this cort orders yt ye said John Chansellour & Abigail Harringden have twenty lashes a piece well laid on upon the bare back which was executed accordingly.' "

"On October 24, 1676 '...before ye Justices then setting were published ye banes of matrimony between...John Chancelleur & Abigail Harringdon both of Wiccomocoe Hundred in this County.' The reader will note that the period of indenture to Richard Kimball, which began in January 1672, had now ended."

"Still another Somerset County provincial record of 1679 states; '...Then John Chancellor owns rights to 100 & 50 acres of land for his transporting himself, Abigail his wife and Mary their child into the Province to inhabit.' "

"This does not mean that John and Abigail had just arrived in Somerset County in 1679. After all, the court record definitely established that they were both there as early as 1672, at which time John had four more years of servitude to fulfill. It was customary that indentured servants did not apply for ownership of land until after completing their period of indenture, because ownership of land that had to be 'worked' would interfere with their duties for the person to whom they were indentured (similar to a servant having a child). In any event, their daughter, Mary would not legally have been entitled to a grant of 50 acres, since she was born there (not transported); however, such applications were almost never checked for accuracy before approval and many contained fraudulent claims."

"Ten years later, still in Somerset County, Maryland, there is another documented record of a John Chanceleer (again a different spelling):"

" ‘To the King and Queens most Ext Majty.
Wee your Majesty’s Subjects in the County of Somerset and Province of
Maryland, being refreshed and Encouraged by your Majestys great and prosperous
undertakings, and by your late gracious letter to these of this Province, do
cast ourselves at your Majesty’s feet humbly desiring and hopefully expecting
the continuance of your Majtys care of us, as our Case and Circumstances doe or
may require, in confidence whereof wee resolve to continue (by the grace of
God) in the Profession and defence of the Protestant Religion and your
Majesty’s Title and interest against the French and other Papists that oppose
and trouble us in soe just and good a cause not doubting but your Majesty’s
wisdom and clemency will afford unto us all needful suitable Aid and
Protection for securing our Religion, lives and liberty under Protestant
Governors and Government, and for enabling us to defend ourselves against
invaders. Thus praying for your Majestys long and happy Reigne over us, Wee
know ourselves to bee (with due Reverence and sincerity,)
You Majestys Loyall Obedient and humble Subjects’

"This letter was signed by John Chanceleer and 47 other residents of Somerset County."

"In order to understand the meaning of this letter, we must have some understanding of the historical climate of the time. (1) Somerset County was a part of the Maryland Province under the governorship of Lord Baltimore, a man with strong Roman Catholic ties. (2) King James II (successor to Charles II) was a militant Catholic, but his reign was overturned in December 1688 by William III (or Orange) and his wife, Mary II, who in February 1689 were proclaimed by Parliament as king and queen of England. The Church of England had been returned to power. (3) In the Maryland Province in July 1689, the rebel 'Protestant Association' led by John Coode captured the capital of the Maryland colony at St. Mary's and established a new (but very short-lived) government. Still, the struggle between Protestant and Catholic factions in the American colony persisted. The language of the letter seems to reflect that the residents of Somerset were concerned for their safety and were asking for assurance of the Kings protection."

"Next: The Somerset County record books indicate that John Chancellor and his wife, Margaret, had two children; Thomas Chancellor (#487), born July 5, 1691 in Somerset County and Elizabeth Chancellor, born in Somerset County, Maryland, March 29, 1694. Another source of information asserts that Thomas moved to Westmoreland County, Virginia."

"There are no records known to exist which record what became of Abigail and Mary, the child, or of the marriage of John Chancellor to Margaret."

"In the above cited documents, there are several different spellings of the surnames of both John and Abigail. These variations in spelling can be disregarded for a number of reasons presented earlier in this chapter. Still, the records of Somerset County, Maryland reveal no other persons with similar names residing there during this span of years. Because of the extremely small population of Somerset County, Maryland during the years under consideration, it is highly unlikely that there could have been more than one adult bearing the same name and of about the same age (clearly of the same generation) residing there."

"Since we cannot prove beyond doubt that all these court records apply to the same person, we have the option of believing or not believing this to be so. After discussing this situation in general terms with several persons whom I consider to be authorities in such matter, it is my belief that there was only one John Chancellor and one Abigail Harrington."

[In summary about his progeny: John fathered three children: with Abigail Harrington, he had Mary, and with Margaret, he had Thomas (#487) and Elizabeth.]


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