Chester W. Chapin
|Chester William Chapin|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 11th district
|Preceded by||Henry L. Dawes|
|Succeeded by||George D. Robinson|
Biography and career
Chester W. Chapin, six generations removed from the family's pilgrim immigrant forebear, Deacon Samuel Chapin, was born in Ludlow, Massachusetts to Ephriam and Mary [Smith] Chapin, the youngest of seven children. He married Dorcas [Chapin] Chapin on June 1, 1825, and had four children, Abel Dexter, Margaret, Anna, and Chester W.
The family moved to Chicopee and in 1806 his father died, leaving Chester and his brothers to maintain the family and work their farm. He attended common schools and Westfield Academy, Westfield, Massachusetts. One of his first paying jobs was when local cotton mills were being built, when he earned $1.50 a day. He quickly went into business for himself, opening a store, and in 1822 was appointed town tax collector, for which he received $80.
Around 1826 he bought an interest in the stage line from Hartford, Connecticut to Brattleboro, Vermont, soon holding extensive mail and stage contracts. In 1831, when steamboats first began to run on the river between Hartford and Springfield, Massachusetts he bought an interest, soon became sole proprietor, and for about 15 years controlled all the passenger traffic on that route. He also became a large or principal owner of the steamship lines between New York City, Hartford and New Haven, Connecticut. He later extended his interests into railroads and banking, becoming founder, principal or president of many companies, including the Western Railroad, the Agawam (National) Bank, and the Connecticut River Railroad. He was one of the earliest advocates of a bridge over the Hudson River at Albany, New York. He served as member of the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention of 1853, president and director of the Western Railroad Corporation from 1854 to 1867, president of the Boston and Albany Railroad from 1868 to 1878, and a director until 1880.
Chapin was elected as a Democrat to the Forty-fourth Congress (March 4, 1875-March 3, 1877), and served on the Committee of Ways And Means. He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1876 to the Forty-fifth Congress. He died in Springfield on June 10, 1883 and was interred in Springfield Cemetery.
- Noon, pp. xiv – xvii.
- Chapin, Gilbert Warren, p. 219.
- Chapin, Charles Wells, p. 100.
- Chapin, Charles Wells, pp. 100-101.
- Chapin, Charles Wells, p. 102.
- Chapin, Charles Wells. "Sketches of the Old Inhabitants and Other Citizens of Old Springfield of the Present Century, and its Historic Mansions of 'Ye Olden Tyme,' with One Hundred and Twenty-Four Illustrations and Sixty Autographs" Press of Springfield Printing and Binding Company, 1893. Springfield MA.
- Chapin, Gilbert Warren. "The Chapin Book of Genealogical Data with Brief Biographical Sketches of the Descendants of Deacon Samuel Chapin; Vol. I: First Seven Generations and Vol. II: Eighth to Twelfth Generation". Chapin Family Association, 1924. Hartford, CT.
- Noon, Alfred. "Ludlow: A Century and a Centennial, Comprising a Sketch of the History of the Town of Ludlow, Hampden County, Massachusetts, Together with an Account of the Celebration by the Town of Its Centennial Anniversary, June 17, 1875. C. W. Bryan and Co., 1875.
This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.