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08/01/2021 04:27 AM
Pennsylvania State Senate

Charles McCandless



Session Position District Party
1863 25 Republican
1865 27 Republican
 Counties   Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Lawrence


1834 - 1893

HON. CHARLES MCCANDLESS was born in Centre township, Butler county, Pennsylvania, November 27, 1834. His paternal grandfather, George McCANDLESS, a native of Antrim county, Ireland, emigrated to Pennsylvania when nineteen years old and settled near Carlisle, Cumberland county. About 1794 George McCANDLESS married Mary, daughter of Nathan FISHER, with whom he had found employment. In 1796 he removed with his young wife to Centre township, Butler county, where he spent the balance of his life. They were the parents of six sons and three daughters, the eldest son, John, being the father of Charles McCANDLESS. In 1824 John McCANDLESS married Jemima REAVES SULLIVAN, a sister of Charles C. SULLIVAN, long a leading member of the Butler county bar. John McCANDLESS was county commissioner in pioneer days, and subsequently associate judge of Butler county. He was the father of three sons and six daughters, Charles being the fifth in the family. The maternal grandfather of our subject was Charles SULLIVAN, a native of James river valley, Northumberland county, Virginia, where his ancestors had settled about the year 1700. Charles SULLIVAN was a soldier of the Revolution from Virginia, and was one of the first settlers of Butler county. Charles McCANDLESS grew to manhood on his father's farm, and received his education in a pioneer log school house of that locality. When twenty years of age he taught school in the same building, in the winter of 1854-55. In 1856 he came to Butler, entered Witherspoon Institute, and proved himself an industrious and progressive student. After completing his education he read law with his uncle, Charles C. SULLIVAN, was admitted to the bar June 14, 1858, and his uncle at once took him into partnership. In a few years he became recognized as a persevering and able lawyer, and entered upon a successful legal career that closed only with his death. In 1860 Mr. Sullivan died, and our subject succeeded to his large practice, which gradually increased through the passing years. Mr. McCANDLESS was married October 16, 1860 to Catherine, daughter of John Michael ZIMMERMAN, one of the pioneer hotel keepers of Butler. Their children are as follows: Caroline, who married Edward P. GREELY, of Nashua, Iowa; Mary B., who became the wife of Frederick LEE, and after his death married George D. OGDEN, of Butler; Catherine, wife of John G. JENNINGS; Louisa, and Charles, who died in early youth. In September, 1862, Mr. McCANDLESS was elected major of the Fourteenth Pennsylvania Militia, which, with other commands went to the support of General McCLELLAN at the battle of Antietam. A stanch and unswerving Republican, his party elected him to the State Senate in 1862, and he served in that body three years. At the Republican caucus for speaker of the Senate he came within one vote of being nominated for that position. In 1872 he was a delegate to the Philadelphia convention, which nominated GRANT and WILSON as the Republican standard bearers. In 1874 he was appointed by Governor HARTRANFT judge of the Seventeenth judicial district, and the same year he received the Republican nomination for judge of the same district, comprising Butler and Lawrence counties, his associate on the ticket being L.L. McGUFFIN, of Lawrence; but a bolt took place in the convention, and E. McJUNKIN, his competitor for the office, was nominated by the dissatisfied element of the party. The party thus being divided, a combination was effected between the friends of Judge McJUNKIN and James BREDIN, the latter one of the Democratic nominees. This combination was successful, and Mr. McCANDLESS and Mr. McGUFFIN were defeated. In February, 1878, Judge McCANDLESS was appointed by President HAYES chief justice of New Mexico, and filled that responsible position until October, 1878, when he resigned and returned to Butler. He at once resumed the practice of law, and continued to prosecute the duties of his profession until his death, which occurred March 14, 1893. His widow resides in the old homestead, where so many happy years of their lives were passed together. Judge McCANDLESS was an attendant of the Presbyterian church, and throughout his long and prosperous career in Butler he was recognized as one of the leading jurists of western Pennsylvania.
History of Butler County, Pennsylvania, 1895