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J. H. Chapin

REV. J. H. CHAPIN, PH.D., MERIDEN: Universalist Clergyman, and Professor of Geology and Mineralogy in St. Lawrence University, New York.

Dr. J. H. Chapin is a descendant of the eighth generation of Samuel Chapin, who came from Wales to Dorchester, Mass., in 1636, and finally settled at Springfield in 1642, where some of his descendants still reside. He was born Dec. 31, 1832, at Leavenworth, Ind., but spent his youth in Illinois, whither his father removed in 1839. He graduated at Lombard University, Galesburg, Ill., in 1857, and was for several years an instructor in mathematics and natural science in that institution. In 1859 he was ordained to the ministry in the Universalist church, and was settled at Pekin, and afterwards at Springfield in that state. During the war of the rebellion he was in the service of the United States Sanitary Commission, and crossing the Rocky Mountains in the spring of 1864, canvassed the greater part of the Pacific coast from Mexico to British Columbia for funds for the commission, supplementing the work that had been so well begun by Rev. T. Starr King just before his death. In the autumn of 1865 he went to Boston as secretary of the New England Freedmenís Aid Society, of which Governor John A. Andrew was president, and while holding that position made several tours of inspection of the schools in the Southern States. In 1868 he became financial secretary of the Universalist convention, with headquarters in Boston, and during the centennial period of that church was instrumental in raising the larger part of the "Murray centenary fund," now held for missionary purposes. In 1871 he became professor of geology and mineralogy in St. Lawrence University in New York, which position he still holds. In 1875 he was elected president of his alma mater at Galesburg, Ill., but after due consideration declined to go. In 1873 he resumed regular pulpit ministrations, and became pastor of the Universalist church at Meriden, Conn., and continued in that relation till 1885, when, finding himself overloaded with professional duties, he resigned. 

He is a member of the school board in Meriden, and from 1880 to 1887 was acting school visitor ; and it was during this period that the high school was established, and the present capacious building erected. He is an active Fellow of the American association for the advancement of science, and one of the founders of the association of American geologists. He has been president of the Connecticut convention of Universalists for a dozen years, and was for a long period, preceding his recent absence from the country, chairman of the committee on missions in the national convention of that church. He belongs to the free masons and odd fellows, and among the former holds the rank of knight templar. 

He has been twice married - first in 1857 to Helen M. Weaver of Alstead, N.H., and again in 1878 to Kate A. Lewis of Meriden, Conn., and has one daughter, Mary A., born in 1863. Dr. Chapin has made several tours in foreign lands, and not long since returned from a tour around the world. He is the author of several volumes, among them "The Creation, and the Early Development of Society," which had a large sale for a scientific work; and one recently from the press entitled "From Japan to Granada," is well received both by the press and public. He has been identified with the republicans since the organization of the party, but never held a political office till elected to the house of representatives in 1888.

SourceIllustrated Popular Biography of Connecticut - 1891 Compiled and Published by J. A. Spalding Hartford Conn.  Press of the Case, Lockwood and Brainard Company 1891

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