Fonds MC1939 - Chandler, Racey Family Fonds

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Chandler, Racey Family Fonds

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  • Textual record
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  • 1880-1930 (Creation)
    Chandler, Racey family

Physical description

Approx. 100 cm of textual records, 1 reel of microfilm (F10555), and photographs

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(1867 -)

Biographical history

Phoebe Helen Charlotte Chandler, the daughter of Elspeth Russell Kirk and Dr. Amos Henry Chandler, was born in Moncton, New Brunswick, in 1867. She had 6 siblings, namely, Ivaline (1860-1930), Stanley Kirk (b. 1862), Dora (1853-1867), Mary Eliza (1865-1865), Laura (1868-1868), and Percy Barron (b. 1870). After her mother's death, in December 1870, when she was 3-years-old, Phoebe and her siblings went to live with their grandparents, Edward Barron Chandler and Phoebe Chandler, in Dorchester. Edward Barron Chandler, a prominent New Brunswick politician and Father of Confederation, served as Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick from 1878 until his death in 1880. Although Phoebe Chandler resided, for a time, with her grandparents, her permanent home seems to have been with her father and stepmother, Charlotte Elizabeth (Kirk) Chandler, who were married in Bangor, Maine, on 24 October 1871.

Charlotte Elizabeth (Kirk) Chandler was both Phoebe Chandler's stepmother and aunt. Phoebe remained emotionally close to her throughout her life, even following Charlotte E. Chandler's marital separation from Phoebe's father, A. H. Chandler, about 1890, and her move to England. Phoebe Chandler also remained close to her eldest sister, Ivaline Chandler. Between 1874 and 1875 Phoebe and Ivaline, attended the convent school of Notre Dame (Roman Catholic) in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. In the mid-1880s, the sisters attended religious services regularly at the Mission Church of St. John the Baptist (Anglican), in Saint John, which was under the guidance of Father Davenport. During this period, Ivaline Chandler joined an Anglican Sisterhood, the Society of Saint Margaret, which had come to Boston in 1873. Sister Ivaline Margaret died, in Boston, on 29 May 1930 and was buried in the Society's lot at Cedar Grove Cemetery, Boston.

On 4 June 1890, Phoebe H. C. Chandler married William Richardson Racey (Dick), the son of Mary Dixon Racey and Henry Racey, in the Mission Church of St. John the Baptist. Phoebe and Dick Racey had three children, namely, Barron Richardson (b. 1891), Mary Elspeth (b. 1892, Roller), and John Chandler (b. 1894). W. R. Racey (Dick) was employed with the Merchants' Bank of Halifax, first in Dorchester, then in Bathurst and Woodstock, and, lastly, in Fredericton where he was named manager of the local branch. He died suddenly, on 23 June 1897, at the age of 38, leaving Phoebe H. C. Racey a widow with three young children, the oldest being 6 and the youngest soon to be diagnosed with epilepsy.

In August of 1897, Phoebe H. C. Racey and her children sailed for England where they lived near or with relatives, including Phoebe's stepmother, Charlotte Elizabeth (Kirk) Chandler and stepsister, Elspeth Russell Chandler. Over the years, she made her home in several different communities. Due to financial difficulties, Phoebe H. C. Racey was forced to rely on family members for monetary support. On 3 October 1899, Phoebe H. C. Racey married Arthur Greenstock, a ship's officer with Canadian Steamship Lines, in London, England; however, they divorced, in 1907, over allegations of his marital infidelity. Following the divorce, Phoebe Greenstock resumed using her earlier surname, Racey. Phoebe Racey died, in England, at the age of 79.

Phoebe H. C. Racey's children led different lives. Barron Richardson (Dick) Racey went to sea as an apprentice, at age 14, but discovered the life of a seaman was not for him. He moved to Canada, in 1909, and found work as a bank clerk and later in the insurance business. During World War I, he joined the Canadian Army, in 1914, and was sent to France. He was captured, spending 15 months as a prisoner-of-war (POW) in Germany before escaping to Holland. He returned to Canada, and, at war's end, was training to become a pilot for the fledgling Canadian Naval Air Service. In 1927, he married Estelle Bélanger, and they moved to England, remaining there for a number of years. During World War II, he was awarded a commission in the Veterans' Guard of Canada. For a number of years, Dick Racey helped with the financial support of his mother, her stepmother, her stepsister, and, occasionally, his sister. He died in Rawdon, Quebec, at the age of 74.

Barron Richardson Racey's sister, Mary Elspeth Racey followed a theatrical career under the stage name, Elspeth Innes-Ker. She worked sporadically in both the London area and Paris, until about 1913. She married George Trevor Roller, in January 1914, and they had a daughter, Joan Roller. G. Trevor Roller served in the armed forces, during World War I, and the Roller family settled in London for a number of years after the war. The couple, however, separated, in 1937. Elspeth Racey Roller died, in 1941, at age 48.

The youngest Racey sibling, John Chandler (Jack) Racey, suffered from epilepsy. He had wanderlust, roaming the United States and western Canada and finding employment occasionally. He joined the United States Army, during World War I. His contact with his family appears to have been sporadic. The date of his death is unknown.

Custodial history

Information about the custody of these records prior to acquisition is incomplete.

Scope and content

This fonds consists primarily of textual records that shed light on the activites of several members of the Chandler and Racey families.

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