Biography of John A. Chapin

JOHN A. CHAPIN. The calling of the farmer is the primitive occupation of man, and the majority of those who have followed it have led upright and blameless lives, and the career of John A. Chapin is no exception to this rule. He is a native of Sangamon County, Illinois, where he first saw the light in 1829, a son of Paul Stillman and Sarah (Harrison) Chapin, natives of the Old North State, the birth of the father occurring in 1799. They accompanied their parents to Overton County, Tennessee, and were there married, and afterward lived for about three years in Illinois. At the end of that time they returned to Tennessee and there Mr. Chapin followed farming until his death, which occurred in 1843. His father, Paul Chapin, was a Massachusetts man and when but sixteen years old was a soldier of the Revolution and in an engagement during that war was wounded in the right arm. He removed to North Carolina when a young man, was married there and later removed, in a very early day, to Overton County, Tennessee, where he was called from life in 1845. He was married several times and his first wife was the grandmother of the subject of this sketch, by whom he had two sons and one daughter: Paul S.; Hiram, who lived in Sangamon County, Illinois, and Mary (Moore), who died in Carroll County, Arkansas Mr. Chapin was of English descent. Eli Harrison, the maternal grandfather of John A. Chapin, was an early settler of Tennessee, from North Carolina, and died in Clay County, Tennessee, when nearly ninety years old. His wife, Martha Hedgepeth, also died in Clay County. The mother of John A. Chapin came to. Howell County in 1851, but upon the opening of the Civil War she went to Greene County, Missouri, where she died in 1864, having been a worthy member of the Methodist Church for many years. She became the mother of the following children: Mary, widow of Riley Cox; Hiram, who died in California; Paul S., who died in Texas; Harrison, who died in Howell County, Missouri; Martha, who died in Tennessee; John A.; Josiah, who died in Arkansas; Silas J., who resides in Platt County, Missouri; Sarah, the twin sister of Silas, died young; Franklin resides in Shannon County; Alsie is the wife of Marion Davis, of Howell County, and Catherine is the wife of Thomas Kelley, of this county.

John A. Chapin received such education and rearing as usually falls to the lot of the pioneer farmer’s boy, that is, he had to labor hard and received but few educational advantages. In 1851 he was married to Sarah, the daughter of Hugh and Marian Kyle, who were of Scotch descent. They died in Clay County, Tennessee, where Mrs. Chapin was born, and Mrs. Chapin died in Howell County in 1867, having become the mother of seven children. In 1868 Mr. Chapin married Mariah E., daughter of James and Eliza Gillum, natives of South Carolina and Tennessee, respectively, but who were married in Alabama, and from there moved to Texas in 1859, where Mrs. Gillum died the same year. Mr. Gillum then came to Howell County, Missouri, but later moved to Arkansas, where he eventually passed from life. Mrs. Chapin was born in Morgan County, Ala. In 1851

Mr. Chapin came by wagon to what is now Howell County and located in the woods in Howell Valley, but two years after located on the farm on which he now resides, a short distance away, where he had cleared about ten acres of land. He soon had this farm in an excellent state of cultivation and well improved with farm buildings of various kinds, which added greatly to the value of his property. He is one of the best known men in the county, and Chapin Station, which was located on his land, was named in his honor. When the station was located the land belonged to J. H. Maxey. Although a stanch Union man, he took no part in the struggle between the North and South, save as a member of the Missouri State Militia. In February, 1875, he was elected sheriff and collector of Howell County, to fill an unexpired term, and in 1878 was elected to the same position for two years, which he filled with much credit to himself and to the satisfaction of all concerned. He is a member of Mt. Zion Lodge No. 327 of the A. F. & A. M., at West Plains, and he and his wife have long been members of the Methodist Church. Before the war he was a Democrat in politics, but since that time he has always voted the Republican ticket. He was a member of the first grand jury of Howell County when the court was held in a log cabin in West Plains and the members of the jury camped in the brush near by. When Mr. Chapin first came to this section the nearest blacksmith shop was at Thomasville, then the county seat of Oregon County, and their milling was done at Bryant’s Fork, in Ozark County. The country was wild and unsettled and Mr. Chapin has seen and assisted in almost its entire development.



A Reminiscent History of the Ozark Region: comprising a condensed general history, a brief descriptive history of each county, and numerous biographical sketches of prominent citizens of such counties. Chicago: Goodspeed Brothers Publishers. 1894.

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