Chapman Family papers
John Grant Chapman, an affluent citizen and plantation owner in Charles County, was active in state and national politics for over twenty-five years. A member of the Whig party, he served in the Maryland House of Delegates and then advanced to the Maryland Senate. From 1845 to 1848, Chapman served in the U.S. House of Representatives. Marshall Chapman, the second of John Grant Chapman's sons, inherited the Chapman estate upon his father's death in 1856. Much of the personal correspondence in this collection concerns this branch of the Chapman family. Andrew Grant Chapman, another of John Grant Chapman's sons, followed directly in his father's footsteps and served in the Maryland House of Delegates and the U.S. House of Representatives. A third son, Robert F. Chapman attended the University of Maryland Medical School in Baltimore and later moved to New York City to work for Bellevue Hospital. The records pertain to various family members and include correspondence, financial records, and notes on medical lectures.
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Chapman Family papers, Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries.
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John Grant Chapman was born in 1798 in Chapmantown (now La Plata), Charles County, Maryland. He studied law at Yale University, graduating in 1817. Chapman joined the Maryland bar in 1819 and began practicing law in Port Tobacco, also in Charles County, Maryland, shortly thereafter, in addition to running his plantation. John Grant Chapman married a Virginia cousin, Susan Pearson A. Chapman, and by 1830 owned nearly 70 slaves. John Grant and Susan had five living sons: John Grant, Jr. (b. 1833?), Marshall (b. 1835?), George P. (b. 1837?), Andrew Grant (b. 1839), and Robert F. (b. 1840?). By 1840, Elizabeth Chapman, perhaps John Grant's mother, was living with the family, and they owned nearly 90 slaves. By 1850, there were 140 slaves on the Chapman plantation.
An affluent citizen of Charles County, John Grant Chapman participated in both state and national politics for over twenty-five years. A member of the Whig party, he served in the Maryland House of Delegates from 1824 to 1828 and again in 1830 and was Speaker of the House from 1826 to 1828. Chapman then advanced to the Maryland Senate, serving from 1831 to 1836 and holding the positions of President Pro Tem in 1831 and President from 1834 to 1836. He returned to the Maryland House of Delegates again in 1843 and 1844 as Speaker of the House. Chapman ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1844 but was subsequently elected to the U. S. House of Representatives, serving from 1845 to 1849. In 1850, John Grant was elected president of Maryland's Constitutional Convention.
The Chapman sons left their parents' Port Tobacco estate upon maturity. Before 1860, John Grant, Jr. married (Mary, whose maiden name is unknown) and began his own life as a planter. Nothing further is known about this couple or about one of the other Chapman sons, George. Robert F. Chapman attended the University of Maryland Medical School in Baltimore from 1864 to 1865. How he used his medical skills immediately after graduation is unknown, but, during the late 1860s, Robert busied himself with agricultural pursuits, joining his brother Marshall on the family plantation. In the mid- to late-1870s Robert moved to New York City to work for Bellevue Hospital.
Marshall Chapman, the second of John Grant Chapman's sons, inherited the Chapman estate upon his father's death in 1856. Sometime during the early 1860s, he married, and he and his wife, Ellen, had four daughters, Ellen S. (b. 1854?), Mary (b. 1856?), Etheldra (B. 1869?), and Nannie Kent (b. early 1870s?). Much of the personal correspondence in this collection concerns this branch of the Chapman family. The financial papers detail Marshall's agricultural work as a producer of tobacco and wheat.
Andrew Grant Chapman was the only son to follow directly in his father's footsteps and pursue law, politics, and farming. Andrew served in the Maryland House of Delegates from 1868 to 1872, in 1880, and again in 1886, when he was also Speaker Pro Tem. Andrew Grant Chapman served in the U. S. House of Representatives from 1881 to 1883 and was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1888. Andrew lived with Marshall's family until he married Helen Mary Chapman in 1871, after which he farmed his own plantation. Andrew and Helen Mary had seven children
Scope and Contents of the Collection
The Chapman Family papers include financial and personal papers that span the years 1816 to 1895; the bulk of the material dates from 1850 to 1880. The Chapman financial papers (1816-1889) include three hundred receipts, fifty-one pieces of business correspondence, and forty-six bank statements, most of which are addressed to Marshall, as well as twenty-nine ledgers belonging to John Grant, Marshall, and Robert F. Marshall, as well as twenty-nine ledgers belonging to John Grant, Marshall, and Robert F. Chapman. Various tax records, timekeeping records, legal papers, agricultural papers, and insurance forms are also included.
The Chapman's personal correspondence (1849-1888) includes forty-one letters written to John Grant, Susan, Robert F., Marshall, Ellen, Ellen S., Ethel, Lizzie, and Nannia Kent Chapman, as well as several with the addressee unknown
Custodial History and Acquisition Information
The University of Maryland Libraries purchased the Chapman family papers from manuscripts dealer Carmen Valentino in 1990 and 1992.
Processed by Sarah Wiesner, November 1999.
Materials in this collection were separated into three series. All metal fasteners have been removed and replaced with plastic clips. All materials were placed into acid-free folders within acid-free boxes. All oversize documents have been flattened and moved into an acid-free oversize box.
EAD markup created using EAD database in Microsoft Access. Markup completed by Sarah Heim.
Arrangement of Collection
The collection has been arranged into three series.
Detailed Description of the Collection
Series 1: Financial Papers, 1816-1889 (460 items)
This series contains financial records documenting activities on the Chapman plantation in La Plata, Maryland, and the personal finances of several members of the Chapman family. The bulk of the series, 329 receipts and ledgers dating from 1857 to 1883, detail purchases made by John Grant, Marshall, and Robert Chapman for the day-to-day maintenance of the plantation. Other receipts chronicle Chapman family finances, beginning in 1817 during John Grant Chapman's years at Yale University. This series also includes tax records for selected members as well as Marshall Chapman's bank statements from 1858 to 1864. The records of day laborers and field hands who worked for the Chapmans are also included. Documents of interest in this series include the valuation of John Grant's estate after his death, which contains information about his slaves, and records that indicate that during Robert's days as a planter, his brother Marshall often paid for his expenses.
This series is arranged alphabetically by document type
|Description||Series||Box / Reel||Folder / Frame|
|Agricultural Records, undated||series 1||box 1||folder 1|
|Bank Statements, 1858-1864||series 1||box 1||folder 2|
|Bank Statements, 1858-1864||series 1||box 1||folder 3|
|Correspondence, 1858-1889||series 1||box 1||folder 4|
|Correspondence, 1858-1889||series 1||box 1||folder 5|
|Insurance Forms, blank, undated||series 1||box 1||folder 6|
|Ledgers -- John Grant Chapman (Includes Oversize), 1857-1859||series 1||box 1||folder 7|
|Ledgers -- Marshall Chapman (Includes Oversize), 1865-1882||series 1||box 1||folder 8|
|Ledgers -- Robert F. Chapman (Includes Oversize), 1866-1870||series 1||box 1||folder 9|
|Legal Records, 1840-1870||series 1||box 1||folder 10|
|Receipts, 1816-1883 and undated||series 1||box 1||folder 11|
|Receipts, 1816-1883 and undated||series 1||box 1||folder 12|
|Receipts, 1816-1883 and undated||series 1||box 1||folder 13|
|Receipts, 1816-1883 and undated||series 1||box 1||folder 14|
|Receipts, 1816-1883 and undated||series 1||box 1||folder 15|
|Receipts, 1816-1883 and undated||series 1||box 1||folder 16|
|Tax Records, 1861-1881||series 1||box 1||folder 17|
|Timekeeping Records, Day Laborers and Field Hands, 1856-1869 and undated||series 1||box 1||folder 18|
Series 2: Personal Papers, 1849-1888 (39 items)
This series consists of thirty-nine letters written by members of the Chapman family between 1849 and 1888; the bulk of the material was written in the 1870s and 1880s. Many of the members of the Chapman family are represented by the correspondence in this series, including Marshall Chapman, his brother Robert, and their parents John Grant and Susan Chapman. Letters written to Marshal Chapman's wife Ellen and daughters Ellen S., Ethel, and Nannie Kent Chapman are also included in this series, as well as a letter addressed to Lizzie Chapman.
Correspondence in this series discusses news and health of family members, daily activities, and hunting. Of special note in this series are several letters written by Robert to his brother Marshall Chapman, detailing his daily life in 1874 and 1875 while Robert was working at Bellevue Hospital in New York City. Another significant letter written by Robert to his mother while he was studying at the University of Maryland Medical School in Baltimore enumerated his activities as a medical students, gave information on Baltimore and included a hand-drawn map of the area. Other significant correspondence in this series includes two letters received by John Grant Chapman while he served in the U. S. House of Representatives in 1849.
The correspondence in this series is organized alphabetically by recipient
|Description||Series||Box / Reel||Folder / Frame|
|Ellen Chapman, 1874||series 2||box 2||folder 1|
|Ellen S. Chapman, 1874||series 2||box 2||folder 2|
|Etheldra Chapman, 1884-1888||series 2||box 2||folder 3|
|John Grant Chapman, 1849||series 2||box 2||folder 4|
|Lizzie Chapman, undated||series 2||box 2||folder 5|
|Marshall Chapman, 1870-1888||series 2||box 2||folder 6|
|Nannie Kent Chapman, 1883||series 2||box 2||folder 7|
|Robert F. Chapman, 1865||series 2||box 2||folder 8|
|Susan Chapman, [1864?]||series 2||box 2||folder 9|
|Miscellaneous Correspondence, 1870-1886 and undated||series 2||box 2||folder 10|
Series 3: Miscellaneous, 1846-1895 (22 items)
This series hold various diverse items found among the Chapman Family Papers. A notebook belonging to Nannie Kent Chapman contains her notes from Henderson College in Henderson, North Carolina, from 1892 to 1895. This book includes notes from her literature, history, algebra, and Latin courses, as well as minutes from the meeting of the "Sixtelle Club," presumably a secret society at the college. Another diary and personal account book contains Nannie Kent Chapman's personal thoughts and expenditures from 1885 to 1887. This diary also contains some memorabilia, such as newspaper clippings, envelopes, and a listing of election candidates. Also included in this series is Robert F. Chapman's notebook from his years at the University of Maryland Medical School (1864-1965) as well as his lecture and matriculation tickets. Robert's professors signed his matriculation ticket as a graduation prerequisite. A list of recipes is also included within this series.
Some of the documents in this series have no obvious connection to the Chapman family. These materials include a personal letter dated 1846 and various certificates in Danish, dated 1877. The personal letter, which can actually be described as a love-letter, was written to a Mr. Elias Hall by an unknown author. It describes the author's desire to be reunited with Mr. Hall. The Danish certificates belonged to a Caroline Georgina Elisabeth Villiamson, whose connection to the Chapman family is uknown.
The series is arranged alphabetically by creator or document type.
|Description||Series||Box / Reel||Folder / Frame|
|Nannie Kent Chapman -- Diary and personal account book, 1885-1887||series 3||box 2||folder 11|
|Nannie Kent Chapman -- Lecture and class book notebook, 1892-1895||series 3||box 2||folder 12|
|Robert F. Chapman -- Lecture admission and matriculation tickets, University of Maryland Medical School, 1863-1865||series 3||box 2||folder 13|
|Robert F. Chapman -- Notebook, University of Maryland Medical School, 1864-1865||series 3||box 2||folder 14|
|Danish Certificates, 1877||series 3||box 2||folder 15|
|Letter to Elias Hall, 1846||series 3||box 2||folder 16|
|Recipes, undated||series 3||box 2||folder 17|
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Selected Search Terms
This collection is indexed under the following headings in the University of Maryland Libraries' Catalog. Researchers desiring related materials about these topics, names, or places may search the Catalog using these headings.
- Chapman Family -- Archives
- Charles County (Md.) -- History -- Sources
- Charles County (Md.) -- Social life and customs -- Sources
- Plantation life -- Maryland -- Charles County -- History -- Sources
Names (Added Entries)
- Chapman, John G. -- (John Grant), -- 1798-1856
- Chapman, Marshall, -- b. 1835?
- Chapman, Nannie Kent
- Chapman, Robert F., -- b. 1840?