Milton A. Candler

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Milton A. Candler
Milton A. Candler - Brady-Handy.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's 5th district
In office
March 4, 1875 – March 3, 1879
Preceded byJames C. Freeman
Succeeded byNathaniel Job Hammond
Member of the Georgia Senate from DeKalb County
In office
Member of the Georgia State Constitutional Convention from DeKalb County
In office
Member of the Georgia House of Representatives from DeKalb County
In office
Personal details
Born(1837-01-11)January 11, 1837
Campbellton, Campbell County, Georgia, U.S.
DiedAugust 8, 1909(1909-08-08) (aged 72)
Decatur, Georgia, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Elizabeth Murphey
Alma materUniversity of Georgia
Occupationlawyer, politician, soldier
Military service
AllegianceConfederate States of America Confederate States of America
Branch/service Confederate States Army
Years of service1863–1865 (CSA)
Rankcaptain 10th Georgia Cavalry
Battles/warsAmerican Civil War

Milton Anthony Candler (January 11, 1837 – August 8, 1909) was an American lawyer, Confederate officer and politician from an influential Georgia family of businessmen and politicians. He served two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives.[1]

Early and family life[edit]

Candler was born in Campbellton (then the seat of Campbell County but since 1932 in Fulton County, Georgia). He was the first child of the former Martha Bernetta Beall (1819-1897) of Bartow County, and her husband Samuel Charles Candler (1809-1873) of Columbia County and who served in both houses of the Georgia legislature. His great grandfather Col. William Candler (1730-1784) had led Georgia troops during the American Revolutionary War and later served as a state legislator.[2] His uncle Ezekiel S. Candler (1815-1869) was Georgia's comptroller general (1849–54).[3] Milton Candler would have a dozen siblings, including brothers Ezekiel Candler (1838-1915; a teacher by 1860), Noble D. Candler (1841-1887; noted as insane on the 1860 census), William B. Candler (1847-1928; who became Villa Rica's mayor), Asa Griggs Candler (1851-1929; who built the Coca Cola Company), Rev. Warren Akin Candler (1857-1941; who became President of Emory University), Charles C. Candler (b. 1855) and John S. Candler (1861-1941).

His father, Samuel C. Candler, would soon move his family to Villa Rica, a city in Carroll and Douglas Counties in western Georgia, after the local Creek Indians were evicted on the Trail of Tears. S.C. Candler owned slaves in Carroll County in 1840[4] and 12 slaves by 1850.[5] By 1860, S. C. Candler farmed and owned $5700 in real estate as well as $13250 in personal property, which included 17 slaves, and he leased another 19 slaves from D.B. Chapman.[6][7]

As firstborn son, Milton A. Candler received a private education, then graduated from the University of Georgia (UGA) in Athens in 1854. He married Elizabeth Murphey, daughter of Georgia' U.S. Congressman Charles Murphey in 1857, and they had at least eight children: Charles Murphey Candler (1857–1935), Samuel Charles Candler (1859–1924), Milton Anthony Candler Jr.(1861–1893), Laura Eliza Candler (1864–1880), Florence Candler Cowles (1867–1940), Maury Lee Candler (1873–1889), Claude Candler McKinney (1877–1972), and Ruth Candler Pope (1880–1960).[8] Another of his relatives, Mark Anthony Cooper (1800-1885) was also a Georgia state legislator and twice an at-large U.S. Congressman from Georgia, and lived in Bartow County.


After studying law and being admitted to the bar in 1856, Candler began his law practice in Cassville, then the county seat of Bartow County, Georgia, where his mother's family and Congressman Cooper lived. The following year Candler moved to Decatur the county seat of DeKalb County, Georgia, which would be his home most of the rest of his life.

American Civil War[edit]

Shortly before the American Civil War began, his father-in-law died in January 1861. Dekalb County voters elected Candler to the Georgia State House of Representatives, where he served from 1861 through 1863. In 1863, Candler accepted a commission as captain of the 10th Georgia Cavalry, a militia unit fighting with the Confederate States Army.

Postwar years[edit]

Candler was a delegate to Georgia's state constitutional convention in 1865, and later the Democratic National Convention in 1872, 1876 and 1896. He served in the Georgia Senate from 1868 until 1872. In 1874, voters from Georgia's 5th congressional district elected Candler to the United States House of Representatives, defeating Republican James C. Freeman. Candler won re-election in 1876, but ultimately withdrew from the 1878 race and was succeeded by fellow ex-Confederate, and former state attorney general Nathaniel Job Hammond.

Candler returned to his law practice in Decatur, and continued his political involvement, but less directly. His son Charles Murphey Candler would become a lawyer and serve in both houses of the Georgia legislature, starting in 1886, and also served on the state Railroad Commission (1909-1922).[9] His younger half-brother John S. Candler would become a Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court (1902-1906) (as would a more distant relative Thomas S. Candler from 1945-1966). His cousin Allen D. Candler, also a Confederate officer but from Lumpkin County, Georgia, was elected Georgia's governor in 1898. His lawyer nephew Ezekiel S. Candler Jr. would be elected to the U.S. Congress from Mississippi and serve 1901-1921.

Death and legacy[edit]

Milton A. Candler died in Decatur in 1909, survived by his widow (would join him 8 years later), children and grandchildren. He was buried in the family plot in Decatur Cemetery. A street in Decatur is named after him.[10]


  1. ^
    • United States Congress. "Milton A. Candler (id: C000112)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  2. ^ U.S. Sons of the American Revolution of John Howard Candler dated October 9, 1940 available on
  3. ^
  4. ^ 1840 U.S.Federal Census for district 642, Carroll County, Georgia but scanner's hand makes associating slave numbers on next page difficult
  5. ^ 1850 U.S. Federal Census, Slave Schedule for Division 11, Carroll County, Georgia
  6. ^ 1860 U.S. Federal Census for District 2, Carroll County, Georgia family 115
  7. ^ 1860 U.S. Federal Census, Slave Schedule for District 2, Carroll County, Georgia
  8. ^ no.
  9. ^
  10. ^
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
James C. Freeman
U.S. Representative of Georgia's 5th Congressional District
March 4, 1875 – March 3, 1879
Succeeded by
Nathaniel Job Hammond