Biography of Enoch Chase

Enoch Chase was one of the founders of the City of Topeka. He was actively identified with the free state movement in territorial times, and for years was a man of prominence in the state capital. While these reasons make his career a part of Kansas history, it is also noteworthy that his daughter became the wife of the war governor of Kansas half a century ago, while his granddaughter is the wife of the present war governor of Kansas, Arthur Capper.

Enoch Chase was born in Newburyport, Massachusetts, August 29, 1824, a son of Nathaniel and Harriett Ann Chase. His father was a shipbuilder, and the son spent much of his time in the ship yards, at the same time attending the common schools of his native town until he was seventeen years of age. In 1841 he went to Boston to learn the upholstering trade. He became proficient in that work, and it was his regular occupation for thirteen years.

Enoch Chase came out to Kansas in 1854. He set out with one companion in the month of November, and it was their intention at the time to identify themselves with Kansas as a permanent residence. From St. Louis they traveled up the Missouri River by boat to Kansas City, where they became members of a party of nine men bound for the West and with a definite purpose in view of establishing a new town. At Lawrence, which then consisted of a little group of sod houses, they met Dr. Charles Robinson, afterwards elected the first state governor of Kansas. At Doctor Robinson’s suggestion the little party moved on with their wagons about thirty miles west of Lawrence. Here they erected a house. It was the first structure on the site of what is now the City of Topeka. They also organized a town company, and thus laid the foundation for the creation of the city which is now the capital of the state. These nine men whose names are recorded as the founders of Topeka were Enoch Chase, George Davis, Capt. J. B. Chase, W. C. Linaker, M. C. Dickey, Cyrus K. Holliday, Fry W. Giles, Daniel W. Horne and L. G. Cleveland.

Enoch Chase continued to reside in Topeka until his death nearly thirty-five years later, on April 24, 1888. During the period of early statehood he was for several years owner and manager of the old Topeka Hotel, which was the center of a great deal of early Kansas political history and was frequented by all the promient men of the time. Later Mr. Chase acquired somewhat extensive real estate interests and was financially well to do. Politically he exercised his franchise according to the dictates of his independent judgment. He was a member of the Masonic Order.

At Boston, Massachusetts, in 1846, while he was still working as an upholsterer, he married Mary J. Dunlap, of Brunswick, Maine, daughter of Martin and Mary (Tredick) Dunlap. They became the parents of two children, Isabel M. Chase and George Sidney Chase. Isabel M. Chase, who was born February 9, 1848, was married at Topeka in 1866 to Samuel J. Crawford, who was at that time governor of Kansas. One of her children, granddaughter of Enoch Chase, is Florence Crawford Capper, wife of the present governor of Kansas, and a grandson of Enoch Chase is George Marshall Crawford, manager of the Mail Printing House, the publishing house of the various Capper publications at Topeka. George Sidney Chase, who was born October 27, 1850, married for his first wife Alice Griffith of Topeka, and for his second wife Elizabeth Todd of Washington, D. C. He became a resident of Washington a number of years prior to his second marriage. The family of George Sidney Chase consists of two sons: George Griffith Chase, now associated with the St. Louis Union Trust Company, and Enoch A. Chase, a practicing attorney in Washington, D. C.



Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies.

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