Charles E. Chapman

Biography of Charles E. Chapman

Charles E. Chapman
Charles E. Chapman

Truly this gentleman is entitled to honorable mention among the pioneers to the reservation portion of Nez Perces County as will be evinced from the points of his career mentioned, while also he has shown forth stanch qualities of uprightness and integrity in his walk.

Charles E. Chapman was born in Woodbury County, Iowa, on June 24, 1868, being the son of George and Frances J. (Herrington) Chapman. The father was born in Yorkshire, England, on February 24, 1827, and came to the United States in 1849. He settled in Illinois, moved to Iowa in 1867, and died on September 22, 1892. He had two brothers in the Civil War. The mother of our subject was born in Wayne County, Pennsylvania on December 27, 1830, and died in 1875. Her parents were pioneers in Pennsylvania; she had two brothers in the Civil War.


Our subject was educated in Iowa, Dakota and Montana. The family went to the latter state in 1883 and two years later migrated to Emmons County, Dakota. Upon the opening of the Nez Perces reservation, Mr. Chapman came hither and in April 1896, he settled on his present claim, about two miles east from Melrose. He had arrived in Moscow the year previous, and his entire capital was fifteen cents, three poor horses and a covered wagon. He had traveled the entire distance from the east by team.

Phoebe Dill Chapman
Phoebe Dill Chapman

On October 29, 1896, Mr. Chapman married Mrs. Phoebe Dill, a daughter of William and Catherine (Primer) Beasley. The father was a farmer, born in Illinois, Morgan County, on February 28, 1839, came as a pioneer to Umatilla County, Oregon, in 1865, to Idaho in 1886 and died July 15. 1902. The mother of Mrs. Chapman died in 1S78. Mrs. Chapman was born in Umatilla County, Oregon, on September 28, 1873, and has one sister, Mrs. Sarah Cox, near Odessa, Washington. Mr. Chapman has one sister and three brothers, Rosella Coker, Levi, Henry and David. To Mr. and Mrs. Chapman there have been born three children, Gertrude, Mildred and William. By her former marriage, Mrs. Chapman had two children, Edwin, deceased, and Hazel. Mr. Chapman is a member of the M. W. A., Melrose Camp, No. 6216. He is a Republican and has been elected constable, but refused to qualify. Mr. Chapman has one hundred and sixty acres, well improved, a fine threshing outfit, and several thousand dollars worth of property besides.

He came to the reservation without enough money to file. His wife was obliged to hold the claim, having only an unchinked cabin with dirt floor, while he went to earn money. All the hardships incident to this trying life they bravely bore, and their combined wisdom and labors have made them among the most prosperous people on the reservation and they are entirely worthy of this good fortune that has rewarded their labors.

Source: An Illustrated History of North Idaho: Embracing Nez Perce, Idaho, Latah, Kootenai and Shoshone counties, state of Idaho; Western Historical Publishing Company, 1903

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