An incident in Zachariah Chandler’s life

Chandler's house (from Life of Zachariah Chandler).

Chandler’s house (from Life of Zachariah Chandler).


Zachariah Chandler called Detroit his home. Unsurprisingly, he was well-traveled, however. In later years of his life, he made multiple trips. In 1877, he made his way to California. Along the way he stopped in such places as Denver and Salt Lake City. While in California he visited Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Yosemite Valley. Prior to this journey out West, he had taken a tour of the South. He even made a trip to Europe and the West Indies. Chandler also bought some property outside of Lansing, Michigan. It was a marsh farm. He spent considerable time at the farm taking care of business-organizing and managing the property.

Yet, Chandler, above all, coveted being home in Detroit. He had a house built in 1855-56. It stood on the Northwest corner of Fort and Second (see the drawing above). Much could be said about his comforts there. There was a near tragic incident that occurred there not known to many- that nearly cost him his life (and the life of his child). There was a gas leak in the home. Chandler went through the house to investigate. In one of the rooms, ignition took place from a lit candle. Chandler shielded his young daughter- but he suffered burns on his hands and face. It was feared he might be blinded. Chandler received careful medical attention. The worst case scenario was not realized. Chandler had some facial muscle issues for the rest of his life. If things had turned out differently, Chandler may have been incapacitated or even killed. What changes to history might have taken place? I know one thing for sure- I wouldn’t be writing about him right now…



Source: Life of Zachariah Chandler published by The Detroit Post And Tribune, 1879.


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