FEW men in the city of Portland stand higher in the estimation of their fellow-citizens
than the Hon. Charles J. Chapman, the merchant and banker. In a business career of more than twenty years' duration
in his city, in which he has had to do with large mercantile and financial transactions, he has, by his straightforward
and upright course, completely won the confidence of the business community in which he has been such an active
member, while by those enterprising, progressive, and public-spirited acts, which have characterized both his private
and official life, he has gained the respect and good-will of the whole community. Born among the bills of old
Oxford, in the picturesque town of Bethel, he inherited from his sturdy parents a good constitution and a well-balanced
mind, both of which have, of course, contributed much to the success he has achieved.
Mr. Chapman is now in the prime of life, being scarcely forty-five years of age. He was born January 29, 1848,
and his boyhood days were spent in the town schools and in Gould's Academy, Bethel, supplemented by a course at
the Gorham Academy. He entered Bowdoin College in 1864, and graduated in the class of 1868, winning the first prize
in his Senior year for excellence in English composition.
Mr. Chapman applied himself so closely to his studies during his college course that his health became somewhat
impaired, probably from dose confinement as well, and he concluded after graduation to make a trip to Minnesota,
and there he found employment with the Northern PacIfic Railroad Company, which was then in its early period of
construction in that State. Here he remained for about two years, when, in the summer of 1870, his health having
been regained in a great degree, he returned to Maine, and entered actively upon what has since proved to be a
brilliant business career. He became a member of the long-established flour and grain commission house of Norton,
Chapman & Co. of Portland. There have been several changes in this firm during the past twenty years, but Mr.
Chapman has remained with it through them all, until now he is the senior member.
In their branch of business the firm has ever maintained a very enviable position, and is recognized as the leading
house in Maine in the flour and grain trade. It has represented some of the largest and best-known mills in the
West, whose products have stood high in public favor, including the justly celebrated Pillsbury-Washburn Mills
Having a talent and love for finance, Mr. Chapman has devoted a portion of his time in later years to banking.
In connection with his brothers, Cullen C. and Robert Chapman, he established, in 1890, the wellknown and successful
Chapman Banking Company, whose banking house is located on Middle Street, Portland. Its business grew so rapidly
that it was decided to organize the company into a national bank, which was done the present fall, and the Chapman
National Bank opened its doors for business October 2, 1893. Of this bank Mr. Cullen C. Chapman is President, Mr.
Charles J. Chapman, Vice-President, whose services are supplemented by an efficient Board of Directors. That this
bank will be a fine success there can be no reasonable doubt. -
Politically Mr. Chapman has always been a Republican. He served on the School Board three years. from 1873 to 1875,
and was elected a member of the Common Council of Portland in the years 1877-9, serving as President the last-named
year. In 1880 and 1881 he was in the Board of Aldermen, and was chairman of the Board the latter year. Mr. Chapman
has been Mayor of Portland three years, first in 1886 and subsequently twice re-elected by increasing majorities.
During his terms of office many desirable improvements were inaugurated and successfully carried out. Among others
may be mentioned the Back Bay improvements; the lease of the Portland & Ogdensburg Railroad, in which the city
had a large interest, to the Maine Central Railroad Company, and the building of the new reservoir on Munjoy Hill.
The new Public Library Building, the munificent gift to the city of Hon. J. P. Baxter, was accepted by Mayor Chapman
in a most graceful and appropriate speech, as was also the Longfellow Statue, on State Street Square, from the
Longfellow Association, which erected it and presented it to the city in commemoration of the gifted poet. The
great celebration of the city's centennial was inaugurated and carried to a most successful consummation largely
through his influence and untiring efforts.
Mr. Chapman was one of the Commissioners of the State on the occasion of the National Centennial in New York City
in 1888, and in the same year was an alternate delegate-at-large to the Republican National Convention at Chicago.
Besides the attention bestowed upon his private affairs and his services in public life, Mr. Chapman has found
time to act as Director or Manager in several of the leading business and manufacturing corporations of Portland,
- a dominant public spirit leading him to assist in the development of all such enterprises whenever practicable.
He served, also, several years as Director of the Portland & Ogdensburg Railroad and as Trustee of the Public
Appreciating the rare beauty and value of Casco Bay as a place of summer resort, Mr. Chapman has manifested such
appreciation not only by erecting an elegant residence, "The Towers," for his family, on Diamond Island,
but also by helping in the reconstruction and present maintenance of the new Ottawa Hotel, thus bringing the advantages
of our Bay within the knowledge and enjoyment of visitors.
Mr. Chapman's name is included in the list of members of the Board of Trade and the roll of many of the social
organizations of Portland, with some of which, like the Portland Club, Bowdoin Club, and Athletic Club, he has
been identified from their start. In religion he is a Congregationalist, and has always been an interested member
and supporter of Williston Church.
In September, 1875, he was married to Miss Annie Dow, only daughter of Mr. Benjamin F. Hinds, of Portland. Their
family consists of one daughter and four sons.