Biography of Charles T. Chapin

Explore the life of Charles T. Chapin, born in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1823, and a descendant of English settler Samuel Chapin. His journey from a diligent youth in Massachusetts to a pioneering figure in Ohio and the West embodies the American spirit of independence. Married to Emeline Rose, whose lineage ties back to Licking County’s first settlers, Charles’s story weaves through American history, showcasing his contributions in education and agriculture. This article celebrates Charles T. Chapin’s legacy, highlighting the resilience and pioneering spirit of early American families.

Among the most honored and respected of the venerable citizens of Licking County is Charles T. Chapin, who was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, December 20, 1823. His father, Curtis S. Chapin, traced his ancestry back to Samuel Chapin, who was the founder of the family in America, coming to the new world from England in 1640. Charles T. Chapin is a representative in the seventh generation of the descendants of Deacon Samuel Chapin, one of the founders of Springfield, Massachusetts, where has been erected a celebrated statue to his memory. The mother of our subject bore the maiden name of Mary Bursiel and was a native of Massachusetts, representing in the maternal line the old Colby family of that state. Throughout his entire life, Curtis S. Chapin was identified with the United States armory, and he and his wife always remained residents of Springfield, Massachusetts. In the family were six sons and two daughters, of whom Charles T. was the seventh in order of birth and the only one that came to Ohio. His brother, Luther Chapin, spent most of his life in Philadelphia and was the first president of the state organization known as the American Mechanics’ Association and was the first president of the national organization.

Charles T. Chapin spent the first sixteen years of his life as a pupil in the schools of Springfield, Massachusetts, and through the periods of vacation, from the age of ten years, was employed on a farm. His father was well-to-do, but the son preferred financial independence and thus provided for his own support after he had passed his first decade of life, during a portion of which time he worked in a cotton factory, there continuing for a year and a half. In 1840 he removed to Ohio, making his way to the Western Reserve. The trip was a business one for his father, who had shipped five thousand dollars’ worth of mulberry trees to that district. Owing to the suspension of specie payment in 1839, however, the trees were left on Mr. Chapin’s hands, as the purchasers could not make the required payments. Being pleased with the western district, Mr. Chapin determined to remain and in the spring of 1841 went to Akron, Ohio, where for four years he served an apprenticeship in a carriage shop. On the canal he made his way to Granville, where he arrived on the 1st of September, 1845. He had landed at Newark at midnight and had journeyed on foot to his destination, reaching the village by daylight. Hugh Sinnett was waiting for Mr. Chapin and invited him to join his Sunday school and there Mr. Chapin taught a class for six years. His work in the church at once established his place in the community, showing him to be a man of high and honorable purposes and upright life. Starting in business, he opened a carriage shop on the college grounds, doing general repair work for a year and a half. He also engaged in teaching school, for three months at thirteen dollars per month, and “boarded round” among the pupils. He also attended college and met the expenses of his college course through his own labors. After a year and a half spent in the preparatory department, he devoted four years to the completion of a college course, earning his own way through teaching and by work in the shop. He was graduated in 1851, having completed the classical course, at which time the Bachelor of Arts degree was conferred upon him. He then left for the west with a good span of horses and three buggies which he had made. He stopped first at Bellefontaine and at Delphos, teaching school in both places. In 1856 he continued his westward way to Iowa, where he engaged in teaching for four years and then went to Kansas, where he also taught for a number of years. After farming for a time, he started an apple nursery, being among the first to engage in that line of business in the locality. In other lines of activity, he also became well known. He was elected and served as county superintendent of schools in Anderson County, Kansas, for four years, and for a time was engaged in merchandising, conducting a dry-goods and grocery store for three years.

He was in Kansas during the period of the Civil War and was in the Price raid. Afterward, he engaged in merchandising in the Indian Territory for two years. In 1881 he returned to Licking County and established his home on his present farm, which now comprises fifty-four acres, although at one time it was one hundred acres. It was formerly the property of his father-in-law and his wife’s grandfather, having been in possession of the family since 1812. It is pleasantly located a half-mile north of Granville on the Mount Vernon road. For seven years, Mr. Chapin engaged in the milk business in connection with general farming, but now rents his land, while he is living retired. He also spent one year in Colorado for his health.

In 1851, Mr. Chapin was married to Miss Emeline Rose, who was born April 24, 1830, and is a daughter of William Rose, who was the first male child born in the Granville colony, the date of his birth being October 23, 1806. He spent his entire life on the home farm and was a son of Levi Rose, one of the colony who came to Licking County from Granville, Massachusetts, arriving in the year 1805. Levi Rose was a captain in General Hull’s army at the time Hull surrendered to the British at Detroit, Michigan. From that time forward until his death, he was closely identified with farming interests in this part of the state. William Rose was reared amid the wild scenes and environments of pioneer life and after arriving at years of maturity, he wedded Alexandria Atwood, a daughter of Squire Atwood. Unto them were born seven children, of whom two died in infancy, while Albert died as a soldier of the Civil War, Mrs. Chapin being one of the three surviving members of the family. Mrs. Chapin’s parents and both grandmothers were members of the Baptist church. Her grandfather Rose was an Episcopalian, and though her grandfather Atwood was a professor of religion, he did not belong to any church.

Fraternally, Mr. Chapin is connected with the Masons. His life has ever been actuated by high and honorable principles, and he has long been a prohibitionist who has done active campaign work for his party. He has ever been a believer in temperance principles and by precept and example has done much to further the cause. Since 1843 he has been a faithful and devoted member of the Baptist church, and Mrs. Chapin has been a member for sixty years. Mr. Chapin has acted as a teacher in the Sunday school for sixty years and for the past quarter of a century has been a deacon in the Granville church. His life has at all times been honorable and upright, in consistent harmony with his religious professions. He has endeavored closely to follow the teachings of the Bible and now in the evening of his days, he can look back over the past without regret and forward to the future without fear. All who know him appreciate the honesty of his motives and the sterling integrity of his conduct, and he enjoys in the fullest degree the good will and trust of those with whom he has been associated through a long life of activity and usefulness.


Brister, Edwin M. P. Centennial History of the City of Newark and Licking County, Ohio, 2 vols. S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1909.

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