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The Register,

Thursday, June 3, 1954

N. E. Planters And Chipman Geneology


Lord Herbert Samuel is a British Statesman noted for his wit. The story goes that he once was bored by an American determined to make an impression who said, "One of my ancestors signed the Declaration of Independence". Said Lord Samuel, "One of my ancestors wrote down the Ten Commandments".

Ex-Vice-President Barkley of USA in his memoirs, "That Reminds Me", says, "I am always cautious when I get to rambling about my ancestors for it reminds me of the little boy who asked his father," Daddy, what’s an ancestor?" When the father replied after some embarrassing hesitation, "Well, son, I’m an ancestor", the boy asked, "Why do people brag about them?""

I find many people are so inclined to a similar attitude that they do not even know who their grandmother was. Quoth one, "Better let the poor souls rest". On the other hand, there are those who, having a sense of history, are keenly interested in their ancestry. In a letter from my uncle, Dr. David Webster, dated 1895, he says: "I suggest you keep my letters for their historical value".

To emphasize the importance of preserving Canadian historical heritage, the immortal words of Hon. Joseph Howe’s speech of 1871 are often quoted: "A wise nation preserves its records, gathers up its muniments, decorates the tombs of its illustrious dead ... fosters national pride and love of country by perpetual reference to the sacrifices and glories of the past." Consider the Chipman Family.

The Cornwallis grantee and founder of the illustrious and prolific Chipman family was Handley Chipman of Sandwich, Mass., "a man of strong character and great intelligence, who left more literary remains (mostly journals and prayers) than any one of the N. E. Planters". He was the grandson of John Chipman who hailed from Dorchester, England, and married the daughter of a "Mayflower Pilgrim". He was the first Judge of Probate for the County of Kings, and he was the father of fifteen children, many of whom became persons of distinction in various fields of service.

One son, Rev. Thomas Handley, converted in Cornwallis under the preaching of the Evangelist, Henry Alline, was long pastor of the Baptist Church at Annapolis, N. S.

Two other sons of Handley, the grantee – John, MPP (father of fifteen children) and William Allen, MPP, were members of the Provincial Legislature. The latter was "long one of the most conspicuous public men of Kings County", and the father of two distinguished sons – Hon. Samuel Chipman, MPP, who died in Cornwallis at the age of a hundred and one; and Rev. William Chipman, first pastor of the Baptist Church, Berwick (then called Pleasant Valley). By two marriages, he had in all 21 children.

One son of Rev. William, was William Henry Chipman, MP, a prominent merchant and landowner in Cornwallis, long conspicuous in public affairs. On the creation of the Dominion of Canada in 1867, he was elected the first representative for Kings County in the Dominion Assembly. In 1870, when he died suddenly at Ottawa, his son, Col. Leverett deVeber Chipman, was elected by acclamation in his place. The latter’s residence, quaint, Cape Cod style, is a historic landmark of Kentville. His daughter Ethel married Judge Barclay Webster and their only son, Beverly, gave his life in the South African War. A nephew, Dr. Lev. de V. Chipman, retired eye specialist, Wolfville, received an Honorary Doctorate at the recent Convocation of Acadia College.

Tragedy overtook the family of Rev. Wm. Chipman when his beloved son, Isaac Chipman, MA, Professor of Acadia College and its mainstay was drowned on a sad day in June, 1852, while returning across Minas Basin from gathering minerals at Blomidon.

Two other sons of Rev. Wm. Chipman deserve special mention, viz., His Honor Judge John Prior Chipman, LL.B., and Holmes Samuel, the two youngest of the twenty-one children.

I well remember Judge J. P. Chipman, one of the most prominent and honored men of Kentville, when he paid a courtesy call on my schoolroom in Kentville Academy in connection with his son Jack, one of my pupils, for whom I had much affection. Judge Chipman’s daughter Norah, still "keeps the home fires burning" at the "old Homestead" on Chapel Hill.

Holmes Samuel Chipman is best known for his work in the international field. In 1870, being then in California, he went with Count Ito, Premier of Japan, to the Orient. There he introduced the modern system of printing. He made the first type, printed the first newspaper in Japanese and established a government printing office and paper mill during the next six years.

Judging by the size of their families, one would expect to find many descendants of the Chipman family in the Valley, but they are few and far between. Evidently, the roving spirit of their Pilgrim ancestor of the Mayflower, led them to seek fields abroad.