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Hillsborough Biographies


Author: The History of Florida:  Past & Present, The Lewis Publishing Co., 1923,  Vol. II pg. 46

CHANCEY, R.E.L. To succeed as a member of the Tampa bar requires more
than ordinary ability which has been carefully trained along the lines of the
legal profession, as well as a vast fund of general information and keen
judgment with regard to men and their motives. In a city of the importance of
Tampa there is, of course, much competition; events crowd each other;
circumstances play so important a part in the shaping of events that a lawyer
has to be a man capable of grasping affairs with a competent hand to effect
satisfactory results. Among those who have won enviable distinction as a
member of the legal profession here is R. E. L. CHANCEY, with offices in the
Sparkman Building. He was born in Pierce County, Georgia, December 16, 1880,
a son of LEWIS WILLIAM and ISABELL (BENNETT) CHANCEY, both of whom were also
born in Georgia, where their families settled over 100 years ago. They were
the parents of sixteen children, eight sons and eight daughters. All of the
daughters and six of the sons are still living. One son, Dr. M. G. CHANCEY,
was a practicing physician and surgeon of Tampa for about fourteen years, and
died January 8, 1918. The third daughter, Mrs. ANNA B. BASS, resides at
Tampa, and holds an official position under the county government. Two other
daughters also reside at Tampa. CHRISTOPHER L. CHANCEY, the fourth son, is
also a lawyer, who is engaged in an active practice at Fort Lauderdale,
Florida. Of all of the children R. E. L. CHANCEY, whose name heads this
review, is the fourth child and second son.
Growing up in his native state, R.E.L. CHANCEY attended its common
schools, and took the high-school course at Jessup, Georgia. Following his
completion of that course he took a teacher’s training at the Georgia State
Normal School at Athens, Georgia, and then for three terms was engaged in
teaching school in Georgia. He then took a scientific course at the Georgia
Normal College at Abbeville, Georgia, from which he was graduated at the
youthful age of twenty years. His legal training was received in the law
department of Mercer University, at Macon, Georgia, and in 1902 he was
admitted to the bar and located at Blackshear, the county seat of Pierce
County, but only remained there until 1905, when he left it for Tampa. At one
time Mr. CHANCEY was a candidate for the State Assembly of Florida, and was
defeated by only thirteen votes. He was appointed county solicitor of
Hillsborough County in 1916 by Governor Catts, and was elected to it in 1917,
and held it until July 10, 1920, when he was removed. He was reinstated in
January, 1921, by Governor Hardee, and was reimbursed by the State Senate for
the time he was out of office on account of his removal. For eight years he
was in partnership with M. B. MACFARLANE, and when this association was
dissolved he established an office by himself and has had no other partner.
During the time he has been in practice he has been connected with some very
important jurisprudence, and has handled his cases with ability and
resourcefulness. While county solicitor he prosecuted, convicted and sent to
the penitentiary the tax collector for embezzlement of funds. He belongs to
the Knights of Pythias, and is a past chancellor commander of Bay Lodge, the
largest in Florida. Mr. CHANCEY also belongs to Tampa Lodge No. 708, B. P. O.
On October 10, 1906, Mr. CHANCEY married JENNIE E. CORTINO, a native of
Florida, and a daughter of CHARLES A. and TERESSA (GENONE) CORTINO, of
Orlando, Florida. Mr. and Mrs. CHANCEY had two children born to them, but R.
E. L., Junior, was killed by an automobile, so that WILLIAM BENNETT is the
only survivor. Mr. CHANCEY holds to high ideals in his profession, and his
work is characterized by a devotion to duty that is somewhat unusual. A man
of broad information along many lines, in his profession he has kept in close
touch with all procedures both of a local and a national character. His
professional service has ever been discharged with a keen sense of
conscientious obligation, and his work has brought him to a prominent
position. His personal acquaintance with the leading citizens of note is a
broad one, and his spirit of good fellowship makes life brighter for those
with whom he comes in contact. Endowed by nature with strong mentality, he
has so used his time and talents in the practice of law that he has not only
won a material success, but a recognition which redounds to his lasting credit
and establishes his prestige among the leaders in his profession throughout
the state.

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