Biography of William Chapman

William Chapman, the junior partner in the ranching and cattle firm of Chapman & Son, doing business near Glenwood Springs, is a native of Michigan, born near Saginaw on January 14, 1862, and the son of Simpson and Julia (McAlpin) Chapman, natives of Canada, the father being born and reared near Niagara Falls. They farmed in their native land with moderate success and, thinking to better their condition, moved to Michigan where the father turned his attention to the lumber business, becoming a contractor, with saw-mills in the woods. He was thus engaged four years, then passed five in association with the Otto Lake Lumber Company. In these engagements he was successful and prosperous. In 1880 he came to Colorado and at Golden City prospected and worked as a laborer, and went broke. He then made his way to Glenwood Springs in 1883, at the time when the town was being laid out and consisted of one house and some sixty tents. He had but twenty cents in money and his rifle was his only other possession except the clothes he wore. But he found credit and bought a supply of ammunition and started out for game. It was plentiful then and he had no trouble in getting it in large quantities, often making as high as twenty dollars a day hunting for the markets. A year and a half was passed in this way, his success being all the time exceptionally good. He then opened the first livery barn at Glenwood, which he conducted four years. At the end of that time he rented the barn at fifty dollars a month for a few months, then sold it at a good price and purchased the improvements on a portion of the ranch on which the business of the firm composed of himself and his son William is carried on. The first purchase covered one hundred and sixty-six acres and one hundred and twenty acres have been added since. Of the joint tract one hundred and forty acres are under cultivation, with good water rights to the place, and the yield in hay, grain and other farm products is abundant in quantity and superior in quality. Cattle are also raised in numbers, and a flourishing and profitable dairy business is conducted during the summers. In political matters both father and son are independent, having more regard for the general welfare of the county and state than for allegiance to any party. Mrs. Chapman, the mother of William, died in 1876. Five children were born in the family. A daughter named Mary is deceased, and the four living are: Florence, the wife of George McFail, of Flint, Michigan; Charles, a resident of Alberta, Canada; Monroe, living at Denver, and William, the immediate subject of this sketch. All are members of the society of Friends. William Chapman was educated in the public schools of Michigan and Canada, and after leaving school remained in Canada until 1881 working on farms and in the lumber woods. In the year last named he came to Colorado and located at Golden, where he found employment on a ranch. Sometime afterward he went to Wyoming and from there to California, devoting three and one-half years to profitable employment on ranches and fruit farms. Being pleased with Colorado, he returned to the state and settled at Glenwood Springs and soon after entering into partnership with his father in business. On May 29, 1893, he was married to Miss Mabel Haff, a native of Colorado, born in Jefferson county, and the daughter of John and Matilda Haff. Her father was a carriage-maker and also a carpenter and miner. He now lives near Dillon on the Blue river. His wife died on June 16, 1881. They had seven children. One son, William, has died. The living are George, a resident of Gold Hill, Oregon; Abbie, now Mrs. Lafayette Cox, of Garfield county, this state; Mabel, the wife of Mr. Chapman; Harris, at Alma, Colorado; Horace, at home with his father; and Charles, a resident of Fairplay, this state. Mr. and Mrs. Chapman have five children, Eunice, Lloyd, Bessie, Amos and Nellie. The careers of the Chapmans, father and son, forcibly illustrate the value of thrift, industry and courageous perseverance in effort, with clearness of vision to see and alertness to seize opportunities, and capacity to make the most of them.


Source: Bowen, A. W. Progressive Men of Western Colorado. Chicago: A. W. Bowen & Co., Publishers. 1905.


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