Springfield, Massachusetts, USA
|Died||19 February 1835
|Occupations||singer, composer, music teacher|
|Years active||1790s to 1830s|
Chapin was born in Springfield, Massachusetts into a family of cabinet-makers. His father was Edward Chapin (1724–1800) of Chicopee MA. He had two older brothers, Aaron and Lucius (1760-1842). His second cousin was Eliphant Chapin (1741–1805). The family is believed to be of Puritan decen.
Chapin worked in Hartford, Connecticut from 1788 until 1791, when he moved to New Haven. Thereafter he embarked on a career as an itinerant singing teacher, composer and cabinetmaker in the South and Midwest.
Chapin married Hannah Power, daughter of Rev. James Power, on 10 October 1800 in Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania, where he taught and farmed for the next thirty years. They had seven children including five daughters named Jane, Eunice, Eliza, Rebecca and Hannah.
In 1831 the Chapins and their children's families moved to Northfield, Ohio, becoming some of the pioneers of Northfield Township. Amzi Chapin is listed as one of the four founders of the Presbyterian congregation in Northfield. He died there on 19 February 1835.
Chapin taught singing schools in Virginia and North Carolina, before moving to Kentucky and then Pennsylvania. He was a proponent of Andrew Law's four-note method of shape note notation. Lucius Chapin was also a singing teacher, and the two were apparently among the first to teach sacred music west of the Allegheny Mountains. The well-known tune "Primrose" (47t in the Sacred Harp) is by Amzi Chapin, while Lucius contributed "Vernon" (95) and the Ninety-Third Psalm (31t). "Olney" and "Rockingham" (63 and 300b in the Southern Harmony) are credited to "Chapin".
- Mary O. Eddy, "Three Early Hymn Writers" in Southern Folklore Quarterly, Vol. 10, no. 3 (Sept. 1946): 177–82, on Amzi Chapin (1768–1835), Samuel Wakefield (1799–1895), and Amos Sutton Hayden (1813–1880)
- David C. Thomas and Peter Benes, "Amzi Chapin: A New England Cabinetmaker Singing and Working in the South and Trans-Appalachian West" in Rural New England Furniture: People, Place, and Production, ed. Peter Benes (Boston University Press, Boston, 2000), pp. 76–99
- J. W. Scholten, The Chapins: a Study of Men and Sacred Music West of the Alleghenies, 1795–1842 (dissertation, University of Michigan, 1972)
Notes and references
- "Sherrill Family Roots Go Back To 1830s Home", The Times, Friday June 14, 1957, from The Story of Allan A. Sherrill, Snr., great grandson of Amzi Chapin by Marie Murphy, 1939. The Historical Society of Olde Northfield, http://www.hson.info/Chapin.htm
- Thomas P. Kugelman and Alice K. Kugelman, Magazine Antiques, February 2005, http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1026/is_2_167/ai_n10017224/pg_4/
- "Nordonia Club gathers for program on Amzi Chapin", The-News-Leader.com, http://www.the-news-leader.com/news/article/4468921
- Portage County Ohio - History: Northfield 1807–1850, http://files.usgwarchives.org/oh/portage/history/Northfield.txt