Rank(s): Master’s Mate
Dates of Service: -
John Candler was born on February 12 1792 in Marblehead, Massachusetts. He was the son of John and Abigail Russell Candler. The senior Candler had emigrated from Colchester, England to Marblehead. Candler’s mother was the widow of Lieutenant Thomas Russell, who had served under the famous Captain James Mugford during the Revolutionary War.
Candler went to sea as a young man, and by the beginning of the War of 1812 was a master mariner.
Candler joined Constitution’s crew as a “volunteer” on August 28, 1813 and was rated a master’s mate. He was discharged at New York on May 15, 1815.
Master’s mates were assistants to, and under the direction of, the sailing master. A master’s mate took charge of the log line and glass by which the ship’s speed was recorded. He made regular entries in the log, and saw to the adjustment of the forward sails. He was attentive to the stowage of the anchor cables, making sure they were clean and well coiled so as to be let out quickly when needed. The master’s mate also had to be well-versed in stowing ballast and provisions in the ship’s hold. He received $20.00 per month and two rations per day. Interestingly, after serving for a year as a master’s mate, Candler wrote to the commandant of the Marine Corps requesting a commission as a Marine officer. His request was accompanied by a letter from Captain Archibald Henderson, the officer in charge of Constitution’s Marine guard. Capt. Henderson wrote, “He has been on board the Constitution ever since I have been attached to her and I have had every opportunity to judge of his character & abilities and am fully persuaded that he will make an excellent officer.” Nothing seems to have come of this request, however.
Battles and Engagements
Candler sailed with Captain Charles Stewart during Constitution’s last two cruises of the war. He was on board when the ship took five British merchant ships and one man-of-war schooner. Because of his skills at sailing and navigating, Stewart made Candler prize master of the British ship Susannah, captured on February 18, 1815. As a result, Candler missed the engagement with HMS Cyane and HMS Levant on February 20. Candler and the prize arrived safely at New York on April 4.
Candler left the Navy in 1815 and returned to sailing in the merchant fleet. By the 1820s he was an active merchant and shipbuilder in Boston. His business and investments continued to prosper. In 1835, he became president of the newly instituted Lafayette Fire and Marine Insurance Company. He also served as president of the Marblehead Grand Bank. Candler died “insane” at the Charlestown, Massachusetts Hospital on August 24, 1842 and was interred in Marblehead.