Christopher G. Champlin

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Christopher Grant Champlin
Christopher Grant Champlin.jpg
United States Senator
from Rhode Island
In office
June 26, 1809 – October 2, 1811
Preceded by Francis Malbone
Succeeded by William Hunter
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Rhode Island's At-large district
In office
March 4, 1797 – March 4, 1801
Preceded by Elisha Reynolds Potter
Succeeded by Thomas Tillinghast
Personal details
Born (1768-04-12)April 12, 1768
Newport, Rhode Island
Died March 18, 1840(1840-03-18) (aged 71)
Newport, Rhode Island
Resting place Common Burial Ground
Political party Federalist
Alma mater Harvard College
College of St. Omer

Christopher Grant Champlin (April 12, 1768 – March 18, 1840) was a United States Representative and Senator from Rhode Island.


He was born in Newport, the oldest child and only son of the merchant ship owner Christopher Champlin (b. 1731). His uncle George Champlin was a member of the Rhode Island Legislature; his niece Elizabeth (daughter of his sister of the same name) married Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry.[1] After completing preparatory studies, Champlin entered Harvard College, from which he graduated in 1786, then going on to continue his studies at the College of St. Omer in France.[1] On his return, he settled in New York, where he lost a fortune speculating in the stock market.[2] He returned to Newport and married Martha Redwood Ellery (b. 1772) in 1793. They had one child, a son who died young. For several years after his marriage, Champlin worked as an assistant to his father in the shipping business.[2]

In 1896, Champlin decided to run for Congress. To strengthen his chances, he swore that he had not speculated in southern real estate and that he would not use a congressional position to further his own investments. However, it was later revealed that he had lied about his southern land interests, as he had speculated heavily in the Tennessee Company with a college friend.[2] In any case, Champlin was elected as a Federalist to the Fifth and Sixth Congresses (March 4, 1797 – March 4, 1801). During this period, he took part in a duel with a South Carolina congressman, James A. Bayard.[2] He continued to engage in mercantile pursuits, and was later elected to the U.S. Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Francis Malbone and served from June 26, 1809 until October 2, 1811, when he resigned and returned to Rhode Island. Champlin was elected a member of the American Antiquarian Society in 1814.[3]

Champlin served as commanding officer (with rank of colonel) of the Newport Artillery Company from 1815 to 1818. He commanded the company when it responded to the 1815 New England hurricane, also known as the Great Gale of 1815. As a measure of their gratitude, the Newport town council made the following resolution: "Voted and resolved that the thanks of the town Council be presented to Colonel C. G. Champlin and the officers and privates of the Artillery Company of the town of Newport under his command for the prompt attention they paid to the request of said town council to turn out and guard the property of the unfortunate sufferers in the late destructive storm, and for their good conduct while on duty."[4]

He attended Newport's Congregationalist Church.[5] Champlin was president of the Rhode Island Bank until a short time before his death in Newport in 1840; interment was in Common Burial Ground.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Updike, Wilkins; Goodwin, Daniel (1907). A History of the Episcopal Church in Narragansett, Rhode Island. vol. 1 (part 1). Boston: Merrymount Press. pp. 116–119. 
  2. ^ a b c d Christopher Champlin Papers. In Collections of the Rhode Island Historical Society, Providence, Rhode Island.
  3. ^ American Antiquarian Society Members Directory
  4. ^ Hammett, Fred. M. "The Newport Artillery". Artillery Company History Circa 1889. (Web page.)
  5. ^ Mason, Geroge Champlin (1890). Annals of Trinity Church, Newport, Rhode Island 1698–1821. Philadelphia: Evans Printing House. 
United States Senate
Preceded by
Francis Malbone
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Rhode Island
Served alongside: Elisha Mathewson, Jeremiah B. Howell
Succeeded by
William Hunter
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Elisha Reynolds Potter
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Rhode Island's At-large district

Succeeded by
Thomas Tillinghast