Biography of General James F. Chapman
Erie County, OH Biographies





GEN. JAMES FOWLER CHAPMAN. For many years a prominent and respected resident of Erie County, Hon. James Fowler Chapman, late of Sandusky, won for himself an honorable record, not only as a trustworthy citizen but as a brave soldier, having served his country in an official capacity throughout both the Mexican and the Civil wars. A son of Arden Chapman, he was the first white child born in Medina County, Ohio, his birth having occurred in a log cabin in the wilds of that section of the state on March 30, 1819.

Coming from substantial. English ancestry, Arden Chapman was born and reared in New York State, living there until after his marriage. Migrating with his bride to Ohio about 1810, he secured a tract of Government land in Medina County, all of which was at that time in its virgin wildness. Clearing a space in the dense forest, he erected a rude log cabin, and immediately began the pioneer task of improving a homestead. Disposing of his farm a few years later, he engaged in mercantile pursuits in Wayne County, first in the village of Jackson, and later at Republic and Tiffin. Going with his family to Wisconsin in 1858, he located in Albany, and was there a resident until his death. The maiden name of the wife of Arden Chapman was Aithedia Hinman. She was born in Bethlehem, Connecticut, of honored Huguenot stock, having been a direct descendant of an exiled nobleman of France. Born in the latter part of the eighteenth century, she received exceptional educational advantages for that day, and prior to her marriage taught school. She died at her home in the Village of Republic, Wayne County, Ohio, leaving four children, namely: James Fowler, Pardee, Caroline A., and Adeline.

Brought up on the parental homestead in Medina County, James F. Chapman obtained his knowledge of the three "R's" in the primitive log schoolhouse, which was furnished with slab seats and had a puncheon floor and a chimney made of earth and sticks. A boy of thirteen years when the family removed to the village of Jackson, Wayne County, he was put to work in the tannery established by his father, driving the horse that pulled the machine used in those days for crushing the tanbark. In 1846, at the beginning of the hostilities between Mexico and the United States, Mr. Chapman assisted in the recruiting of volunteers for the war, and had the honor of being elected captain of Company F, Third Ohio Volunteer Infantry, under command of Col. Samuel Curtis. Going with his regiment to the front, Captain Chapman participated in many of the important battles of that conflict, and at its close was honorably discharged from the service.

Returning to his native state, Captain Chapman was for a short time engaged in business in Seneca County, first at Tiffin, and later at Republic. Coming to Erie County in 1848, he was for five years one of the leading merchants of Castalia. In 1853 he embarked in mercantile pursuits at Albany, Wisconsin, and there conducted a substantial business until the outbreak of the Civil war. Volunteering his services, he was then commissioned major by the governor of Wisconsin, and soon after was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel and given command of the Thirteenth Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, a position which he held for three years, doing valiant service on many a battlefield. While doing guard duty with his brigade along the Tennessee River, Jeff Davis issued a proclamation to the effect that if Colonel Chapman and certain others were captured they were not to be treated according to usages of civilized warfare, but he never fell into the clutches of the enemy

Retiring from the army as a brevet brigadier general, General Chapman again took up his residence at Castalia, Ohio. Subsequently locating at Clyde, Sandusky County, he was there actively engaged in business for eighteen years. Coming from there to Erie County, General Chapman purchased the McCartney farm, in Margaretta Township, and was there engaged in agricultural pursuits for a time. Removing from there to Sandusky, he subsequently lived retired in that city until his death, September 30, 1899.

On August 30, 1848, General Chapman was united in marriage with Gertrude L. McCartney, who was born in Erie County, a daughter of William McCartney, and the descendant of an early Scotch family, whose name was originally spelled MacCartney. Born and brought up in the "Blue Grass region of Kentucky," William McCartney migrated to Ohio in early manhood, and as a scout during the time of the Indian troubles traversed the length and breadth of Northern Ohio ere any permanent settlements had been made within its borders. In 1816 he became one of the first settlers of Sandusky. He secured title to 1,800 acres of land in Erie County, near Venice, he cleared a portion of it, and later engaged in banking, being thus employed when "wild cat" money was in circulation. He became the owner of vast tracts of land in both Erie and Sandusky counties, and spent the closing years of his life on his farm in Margaretta Township.

William McCartney married Eliza B. Cooper, a native of Mount Vernon, Ohio. Her father, Charles Cooper, an early settler of Mount Vernon, and a well to do farmer, was of English descent, being of the fourth generation from the immigrant ancestor. Of the union of Mr. and Mrs. McCartney six children were born and reared, as follows: Charles, Catherine C., Jessup, Gertrude L., Henry and Harvey.

General and Mrs. Chapman reared but one child, Jessup P. Chapman. who died at the early age of twenty two years. Mrs. Chapman still resides in Sandusky, and though she has passed the allotted three score and ten years of earthly life she retains her mental strength and vigor to a remarkable degree, and relates many an interesting incident of her early life. She has in her possession, among other relics of value, hank bills which were signed by her father when president of the bank.

From:
A Standard History of Erie County, Ohio
By: Hewson L. Peeke
Assisted by a Board of Advisory Editors
The Lewis Publishing Company Chicago and New York 1916


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