Col. William Candler of Georgia(1736-1784)~ ©2000 by Ed Marsh
Allan Daniel Candler, in his book Colonel William Candler of Georgia, His Ancestry and Progeny, stated unequivocally that William Candler was born, raised, and married in North Carolina. He was misinformed. Wherever William was born, he grew to manhood and married in South River Settlement along the James River in Virginia. Daniel Candler (William's father) was probably settled at South River by the late 1740's. William would have been 14 years old when his brother, John, married a South River girl, Elizabeth Gibson, c1750.
In 1755, at age nineteen, William joined the Quaker meeting at South River (present-day Lynchburg, VA). Several years thereafter, he was elected clerk of the Quaker Meeting. He acquired modest tracts of land at South River including one sharing property lines with his future father-in-law Joseph Anthony and his father Daniel. The grant survives at the Library of Virginia.
In 1760, William Candler contracted (with Joseph Ray at Fort Lewis -- present-day Salem, VA) to carry supplies to soldiers stationed at Dunkard Bottom on the New River (present-day Radford, VA). In 1761, he married Elizabeth Anthony. In 1763, he and his brother John and cousin Zachariah Moorman, along with Robert Brooks, appraised two estates (in behalf of neighbor Charles Lynch a prominent South River man). These estates, belonging to Valentine "Felty" Yoacom (Yokum) and Frederick See, were located in present-day Greenbrier County, WV. At the time, this was on the extreme western frontier of Virginia. Yoacom was killed in the Indian massacre at Muddy Creek.
William Candler was the executor of his father's 1765 will filed in early 1766 in Bedford County, VA.. Later in 1766, he asked the Quaker meeting officials to settle his business -- to give him a certificate of good standing for departure. There are records of land and property sales in 1767 and early 1768.
After this he may have moved his wife and children to Cane Creek, North Carolina. William would have been relocating among friends and cousins. In 1755, he had received a certificate to travel to the Cane Creek meeting. The Candlers were obviously fine woodsmen, and had no doubt traveled and worked in the VA/NC area. A group of men from South River had gone on to Carolina in 1756 to settle. Some stayed and some returned. It is family legend that William was one who had gone and returned (although these old legends are another story in themselves).
A group of Quaker colonizers from Cane Creek, under the leadership of Joseph Maddock, moved to Georgia in about 1770 to take up a large grant given to them by Georgia governor Wright. They named this colony Wrightsborough. A short time later, William Candler was appointed as Surveyor of the County. I suspect that he went to Georgia ahead of the other Quakers and surveyed the land grant for the future settlement. Records show that he sold a slave in Georgia in 1769 (named Chester), a slave on whom he paid Pittsylvania County, Virginia tax in 1767.
Whatever the exact circumstances, William does not appear in Quaker records of the Wrightsborough meeting. The events of the Revolution overtook the details of normal life at South River. The Quaker meeting there was practically closed during the War - many Quakers, against their stated principles, fought against the British foe. When the meeting at South River started up again in 1782, William and Elizabeth Candler were, "discontinued having remove removed from amongst Frs." In common language: they were gone and had not taken up the Quaker ways elsewhere so it was the responsibility of South River Meeting to disown them.
In Georgia, William became a County Surveyor - in Colonial America this was a major political appointment. George Washington, Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, and Andrew Lewis were each a County Surveyor in Virginia. This appointment marked a man of intelligence, education, woodsmanship, and (most likely) military ability. This is a good description of William Candler of Georgia. At first a major in the Royal militia, he resigned his commission and joined the fight for American Independence. His distinction as a Major, then later Colonel of the Georgia "Refugees" of the American Revolution has been chronicled by his descendants.