|Other People | Frank J. Bradley | Olive Rambo Cook | Jerry Litton ||
Past and Present of Livingston County
Volume 2. Biographies
by Major A. J. Roof. 1913
Lewis A. Chapman, for forty-three years a member of the Chillicothe bar, has throughout that period maintained a creditable and enviable position as a practitioner of law, being recognized as one conversant with the salient principles of jurisprudence, and who in conducting his practice thoroughly prepares his cases and presents them with clearness and force. While his professional duties have been extensive and at times onerous, he has yet found opportunity to cooperate in the work of advancing public progress along political, social and moral lines, and Chillicothe therefore numbers him among her valued and representative citizens. His birth occurred in Rappahannock county, Virginia, October 1, 1852, about fifty miles southwest of Washington, D. C. His father, John Chapman, was a native of New Market, Virginia, and was there reared. In Rappahannock county he was married and in 1856 removed westward to Livingston county, Missouri, where his wife's parents had settled the previous year. Following the death of his wife in 1858, he removed to Pike county, where he again married, He was a cabinet-maker by trade and followed that pursuit for a long period. He died in 1867 of cholera contracted while on a trip to St. Louis. His first wife bore the maiden name of Jemima Nolen and was a native of Rappahannock county, Virginia. Her father, Gustavus A. Nolen, who came to Livingston county in 1855, was a man of considerable means. He here engaged in farming and also conducted a store in the town now called Utica. Unto John and Jemima Chapman were born four children: Gustavus A., who is practicing law at Bentonville, Arkansas; Lewis A., of this review; Oliver J., a lawyer of Kansas City, Missouri; and a daughter, who died at the age of two years. By the father's second marriage there were two children who are still living: Elizabeth, the wife of Professor J. B. Wharey, of the University of Texas; and Louie, the wife of J. B. Abrams, an attorney of Bellingham, Washington. When the mother of Lewis A. Chapman died her children went to make their home with their maternal grandparents, and pursued their education in the then somewhat primitive schools of Livingston county. The educational opportunities of Lewis A. Chapman were therefore somewhat limited in his early youth, for when but ten years of age he was obliged to start out in the world on his own account, and from that period to the present has been entirely dependent upon his own resources. Anxious to obviate his lack of early school advantages, he afterward spent two years as a student in an academy at Chillicothe. Later he took up the study of law and was admitted to the bar in 1870, just after he had reached the age of seventeen years. Being too young to practice. he took up the profession of teaching, which he followed for five or six years and then opened a law office in Chillicothe in 1876. For a time he practiced in partnership with the Hon. H. M. Pollard, but for many years has been alone. He has proven his worth and ability in the conduct of many notable and important cases, correctly solving intricate problems of law and so presenting his cause as to win the verdict desired. The profession as well as the consensus of public opinion places him in the leading position at the Chillicothe bar. He has also figured in connection with financial interests of the city, having been one of the organizers and the first vice president of the Citizens National Bank, of which he served for many years as a director. He is still a stockholder and attorney for the institution.
On the 15th of March, 1877, Mr. Chapman was married to Miss Luella F. Benson, a native of Livingston county and a daughter of Ira and Sarah (Munroe) Benson, both of whom were natives of Maryland. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Chapman were born eleven children, of whom eight are living, as follows: Lewis A., residing in Liberty, Missouri; Charles H., a resident of Cheyenne, Wyoming; John B., Nolen M. and Donaldson, all of whom are attending the University of Missouri; and Vanderbilt, Thomas H. and Marion, all at home.
From the age of fifteen years Mr. Chapman has been a member of the Baptist church and his religious faith has been the permeating influence in his life. For many years he has been a teacher of the Bible class, for several years has been treasurer of the Sunday school, and takes an active and helpful interest in all departments of the church work, doing everything in his power to promote its growth and extend its influence. His political allegiance is given to the republican party and he has been called to fill a number of positions of honor and trust, the duties of which he has discharged with promptness, capability and fidelity. He has several times served on the city council and has exercised his official prerogatives in support of various measures for the general good. For three terms he filled the office of city attorney and for fifteen years was a member of the school board, acting as its president for eleven years of that time. He has been actuated in all that he does by a devotion to the general welfare; his labors have been a tangible asset in public progress, and he is one of Chillicothe's best representatives of sterling manhood and citizenship.