Emma Marian Otis

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Emma Marian Otis was born in Marietta, Washington County, Ohio on July 1, 1866, the third child born to Harrison Gray Otis and Eliza Wetherby Otis. Her eldest brother Harrison, junior had died at a year of age and her eldest sister Lilian was almost two years old when she was born. Her father was newly returned from his service with the Union Army during the Civil War, and was working as the editor of a local weekly, the Washington County News. Her mother was contributing poetry to the paper on a regular basis.

House where Marion was born Marian as a baby Marian a child Marian as adult
House where Marian was born Marian as a baby Marian a child Marian as adult

Her mother's family, the Wetherbys, lived nearby, as did members of her father's family. However the family did not stay long in Marietta.

Her father was not happy in his work, which was never profitable, and so using his connections developed during the war years, the Otises moved to Washington, D. C. where he worked as the foreman of a government printing office in 1869 and 1870, and as the chief of a division of the United States Patent Office from 1871 to 1876. He also edited a newspaper, the Grand Army Times and was a Washington correspondent for the Ohio State Journal.

Marian and Lilian were joined by a third sister, Mabel in 1871, and a fourth child, Esther, was born in 1875, but she died in infancy.

Her father had made a trip to Santa Barbara in 1875 and met William H. Hollister, a large landowner who convinced him that there were opportunities in the west. He offered to sell him his newspaper, the Press on credit. Thus on March 5, 1876, the Otis family arrived in Santa Barbara, a city of 3000 inhabitants - and three newspapers. Harrison became the editor and publisher of the Santa Barbara Press,, and rapidly started a series of battles with the other papers and anyone else who didn't share his very adamantly Republican views. This didn't help his paper's circulation, but the economic climate and the fact that half of the town's inhabitants didn't read English were also important factors.

Faced with financial problems, Harrison left more and more of the work of the newspaper to Eliza, and in March 1879 took a position as the U.S. Treasury agent of the Seal Islands (the Pribiloffs) in the Bering Sea. During his two extended trips to the Seal Islands, Eliza kept the paper going and encouraged the girls to write letters to their father. It must have been a happy time for the children playing in the warm and gentle climate, and enjoying the seaside nearby. In one of her letters to Harrison, Eliza says:

I thank you daily for our horse and carriage. Frank is proving a real treasure, and goes splendidly. Mayne (Marian) thinks no money would tempt her to part with him I think he improves under her treatment of him. His lame legs are bathed and rubbed, and she keeps him splendidly groomed.

Harrison spent two summers in the Seal Islands by himself, and then in 1881 he took Eliza and Mabel with him for the eight month assignment. Lillian and Marian must have stayed with friends in Santa Barbara during this period.

In August 1882, after several months of negotiations. Harrison joined the Los Angeles Times as the editor with a one-fourth partnership in the business. The family settled in a house, and Eliza began working at the paper in earnest.

All three girls worked as clerks in the business office, and Marian went on to become the business office secretary and a member of the board of directors, and its secretary.

Marian married the young widower, Harry Chandler on June 5, 1894, in her parents' home at 1948 Grand Avenue. The wedding certificate states that they were married at eight minutes past four o'clock by the Reverend Charles S. Vaile. Marian gave up her position as the business office secretary at the Times. The parents of Harry's first wife, Magdalena Schlador, lived with the young couple for the first year of their marriage to help with his two daughters, Francesca and May, who were aged four and almost two.

(Sidebar about Harry Chandler, see also book on him)
(Sidebar - letter to Marian from husband Harry)

Fran and May were soon joined by Constance who was born March 19, 1896; Ruth, born October 15, 1897; Norman, born September 14, 1899; Harrison Gray Otis, born February 12, 1903 and the twins, Helen and Philip, born February 17, 1907.

Constance Ruth Norman
Constance Ruth on porch Norman
Harrison Poem when Harrison was born Helen & Philip
Harrison Poem when Harrison was born Helen & Phlip

The family lived on Fort Moore Hill at 503 North Broadway, across the street from the Hancock Banning house.

The Chandler cousins grew up playing with their McPherron cousins, Marian, called Mayne and Lilian Arrington, called Arnie, and Otis Booth.

When Harrison Gray Otis Chandler was born in 1903, his grandmother Otis had the poem above printed in the Times.

Chandler cousins and pony Picnic scene 1901 Chandler cousins
Chandler Cousins Picnic Scene 1901 Chandler Cousins
Marian's dress 1901 Entire Chandler family
Marian's Dress The Entire Chandler Family
Chandler family 1907 Christmas at the Chandlers about 1926
The Family in 1907 Christmas at the Chandlers about 1926

Marian Otis Chandler continued her involvement with the paper, and after her father's death was made Vice-President, Director and Secretary of the board of the Times Mirror company. At the time of his funeral a pamphlet was distributed with the letters he had written to Harry and Marian in 1914, entrusting the Times to their care and good judgment, and their statement in response to his letter.

Marian and Harry celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary on June 5, 1944. Harry died three months later on September 23, 1944 at the age of eighty of a heart attack.

Golden Weding Anniversy Party Marian portrait Marian middle aged
Golden Wedding Anniversy Party Marian Marian


Marian lived on quietly for eight more years, spending much of her time upstairs in her bedroom until her death on August 9, 1952 at the age of eighty six from heart disease. Harrison lived in the house with her after returning from his years with the United States Navy during World War II.

May married Roger Goodan on October 23, 1915, and had four children: Ruth, born July 10, 1916; Bill, born November 24, 1919; Doug, born February 6, 1923, and Jean, born August 6, 1926. Roger died December 13, 1943, at the age of fifty three. May died at the age of ninety one on May 26, 1984 of arteriosclerosis. Bill died May 6, 1990 of cancer.

Fran married John Kirkpatrick in 1918, and had Harry, born February 22, 1919 and Marian, born January 22, 1923. Fran died at the age of forty three, the first of the five Chandler siblings to die of cancer, on July 1, 1933. John died three years later of cancer on May 17, 1936, at the age of sixty one years.

Norman married Dorothy Buffum on August 30, 1922. They had two children, Camilla, born May 11, 1925, and Otis, born November 23, 1927. Norman died of cancer at the age of seventy four on October 20, 1973.

Ruth married Frederick Warren Williamson on June 26, 1924. They had four children: Warren (Spud) born July 30, 1928; twins, Susan and Chandler (Sue and Buck) born May 13, 1930; and Norman (Tad) born May 18, 1932. Fred Williamson died July 13, 1942 of heart disease, and Buck died on July 7, 1943 of epilepsy. Ruth was remarried on January 10, 1945 to James Griffin Boswell, who died at the age of seventy in 1952. She married her third husband, Sir William Charles Crocker on November 17, 1956. He died on September 29, 1973 at the age of eighty seven. She was married for the fourth time to Karl von Platen on January 18, 1983, Ruth died of arteriosclerosis on December 10, 1987 at the age of ninety. Karl von Platen died February 7, 1991 at the age of ninety.

The twins were married less than three months apart in 1933. Philip married Alberta Williamson, Fred Williamson's sister, on October 12, 1933; Helen married John Jewett Garland on December 29, 1933. The twins would die seven months apart in 1968 at the age of sixty one years.

Phil and Alberta had four children: Bruce, born August 11, 1936; Corinne, born May 29, 1938; Jeffrey, born January 18, 1942; and Stephen, born May 26, 1944. Phil died on May 22, 1968 of heart disease. Alberta died on August 18, 1982.

Helen and Jack had two children: Gwendolyn Chandler Garland, born April 2, 1935; and William May Garland II, born June 25, 1936. Jack Garland died of an abdominal aneurysm on November 30, 1968; and Helen, died a month later on December 27, 1968 of cancer of the pancreas. Bill Garland died in a plane crash on May 7, 1975.

Connie married Earle Edward Crowe on February 5, 1936. They had one child, Patricia, born June 4, 1937. Connie died November 13, 1962 of cancer, at the age of sixty six. Earle died February 7, 1990 at the age of ninety four.

Harrison married Martha Marsh Chapman on December 28, 1958. Harrison adopted Martha's daughter, Judy Lothrop Chapman. Harrison died of cancer on April 27, 1985 at the age of eighty two.