REV. WM. J. CHAPIN. - The first settler of the "Chapin family" in America, as far back as records show, was Deacon Samuel Chapin, who settled in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1642, and from whom all bearing the name are presumed to have originated. The name of Chapin is represented in almost every profession and occupation in the county. Probably no family name presents more distinguished men, among them eminent clergymen, lawyers, doctors and statesmen, and not a few prominent capitalists, who, by dint of well directed application in the various forms of business, have amassed princely fortunes.
The subject of this sketch was a native of Grandville, Washington county, New York, being born September 2, 1821. His father, Salma Chapin, was a blacksmith, a "Stalwart of the Old Stock." In the spring of 1832, Chapin, Senior, moved with his family to Wayne county, New York, where in connection with his trade, he worked a farm.
The advantages for education in the new country were limited, and W. J. had no other school than country schools, except three terms at the Marion Academy in 1842-43.
In 1839, during a series of revival meetings he made profession of faith, from that until 1845, when he was licensed to preach. He worked upon the farm, devoting his leisure hours to study.
In same year he came to the State of Illinois, and taught one term of school. Also taught one term of school in Jo Daviess county, pursuing his studies while teaching, and during intervals of school.
In 1847, he went to Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, where he was formally ordained as Baptist clergyman. Here he remained one year, showing good results from his labors. Here, February 16, 1848, he married Harriet L. Horton. In same year (1848) he went to Aztalon, where he was pastor of that church, and preaching also at Lake Mills, although there was bur one charge. Here he labored, most successfully, eight years, holding several series of meetings, adding many to the church. In 1856, he was called to Manston, Wisconsin, when the church was in its infancy, having no edifice for worship. Here he remained four years, greatly increasing his membership; besides, he had put his efforts into building a church, and even had the building up and covered, when he was called to Reedsburg, Wisconsin, in 1860. In 1863, he was re-called to Manston, remaining until 1865. During that time he finished the church, and awakened the people to such a sense of duty that his membership was greatly enlarged. From 1865 to 1873 he did a vast amount of hard preliminary work, at Bangor, Salem, Fall River and Windsor, (all in Wisconsin), showing most happy results in his every field of labor. In 1873, he removed to Troy, Madison county, Illinois, remaining until 1877, producing wonderful results. Also supplying at Edwardsville and other occasional places. In December, 1877, he went to Chatham, Sangamon county, where he is now, (1881), engaged in connection with his pastorate at Auburn.
He has ever been an earnest, self-sacrificing laborer in the ministry, and his efforts have been productive of the happiest testimonials of good.
Mrs. Harriet L. Chapin died at Manston, Wisconsin, January 25, 1860. Mr. Chapin married Lucinda M. Marshall, at Aztalon, July 11, 1860. Children, Lucius H., born July 2, 1849; married in August, 1876, to Emma W. Nutter; Edwin L., born April 25, 1857; Hattie J., August 26, 1861.