Archives of Maryland
(Biographical Series)

Daniel E. Chaney (b. circa 1832 - d. 1882)
MSA SC 5496-51879
Founding Officer of Freedom's Friend Lodge No. 1024, Trustee of Union M.E. Church, Talbot County


Daniel E. Chaney was a devoted member of the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows as well as the Union Methodist Episcopal Church, both of which were located in Saint Michaels. He was born into a religious family that valued hard work and charity. He received his freedom by 1860, a date much earlier than most of his fellow Black Odd Fellows.1 The only known parent that is listed in the Census for Daniel is his father, George Chaney.2 According to the 1860 Federal Census Daniel was living in Saint Michaels with his father and brothers in a house that his father owned.3 George and his brothers constructed the house in 1850 after they purchased a lease for a plot of land in Saint Michaels.4

It seems that Daniel followed in his fathers footsteps by becoming an Oysterman.5 By 1863 Daniel married a young woman named Ellen.6 But his matrimony could not keep him from answering the call to duty. In 1863 he and his brothers John, William, Samuel, and Charles were drafted by the Union Army to fight in the Civil War.7

After the end of the war in 1865 it is likely that Daniel returned to Saint Michaels to raise a family of his own.8 He and Ellen had five children: Morris (or Maurice), Harriet, Ella, Sedden, and William.9 The family had $600 worth of real estate and $300 in personal estate as of the 1870 Census.10
In 1867 Daniel was elected to serve as the Vice Grand for Freedom’s Friend Lodge No. 1024.11 In this same year Daniel and the other officers—Robert Brown, Joseph L. Johnson, and William Skinner—purchased land from William Green, who was also the same man that lived on George Chaney’s land in the 1860 Census.12 The land that they acquired belonged to the organization and would be used to support the African-Americans of Saint Michaels for decades. But it was not just Daniel who believed in the philosophy of the lodge. His nephew, Thomas N. Chaney, also supported Freedom’s Friend.13

Daniel’s dedication to the lodge could only be rivaled by his involvement with the Union Methodist Episcopal Church, of which he was one of their earliest Trustees. In 1867 Daniel and another Trustee, James Mitchell, purchased land from the (Whites-only) Methodist Episcopal Church in Saint Michaels.14 The land deed that he received enabled Union M.E. Church to increase its territory and influence.

The good times in Saint Michaels would be shortened when, in 1879, Daniel and his wife sold their land and moved to Baltimore.15  But before leaving Daniel assigns the rights of a large portion of his land and possessions to his eldest son, Maurice.16

After only five years of getting used to the “Greatest City in America”, Daniel E. Chaney lost his life to consumption and hemorrhages.17


Researched and Written by Tierra Langley, 2013

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