genealogy trails

Christian County Illinois

Named after Christian County in Kentucky through the influence of emigrants from that county.

Established February 15, 1839 as Dane County (Laws, 1839, p. 104). Name changed to Christian County in 1840.

Portrait and biographical record of Christian County, Illinois : containing biographical sketches of prominent and   representative citizens, together with biographies of all the Governors of the state, and of the Presidents of the United States.  Chicago, Ill. : Lake City Pub. Co., 1893.  Transcribed and annotated by Judy Rosella Edwards, 2007.
ANDREW B. CHAPMAN, whose commodious home is on section 19, Prairieton Township, has been for nearly half a century an honored citizen of Christian County. He claims Connecticut as his native State, his birth having occurred in New London County, on the 29th of February, 1824, and while he is nearly seventy years, of age, he has never witnessed but seventeen birthdays.

He is of the fourth generation, all bearing the name of Andrew, removed from John Chapman, who was an English sailor, who founded this family in New England. Our subject's great-grandfather was the founder of the town of Stonington, Conn., while his son Andrew won honors in the Revolutionary War.

The father of our subject, Andrew Chapman, was born at Stonington, Conn., November 27, 1785, and served as a soldier in the War of 1812. He was married to a Connecticut lady, and reared his family and spent his entire life in his native State. Our subject is one of twelve children, six sons and six daughters, all of whom grew to mature years. He is the youngest of the four brothers and sisters who are yet living.

The early years of the gentleman whose name heads this sketch were spent in the county of his birth, where, in spite of limited school privileges, he became quite a scholar, and while still young taught in the common schools. He was always especially fond of mathematics, and became an adept in the higher branches. For a number of years he followed teaching as a profession, both in Connecticut and Rhode Island.

In 1848, he concluded to try his fortune in the West, and decided to locate in Christian County, Ill. His first purchase was a tract of one hundred and sixty acres of wild prairie land. This he fenced and placed under cultivation, and as his means increased he invested from time to time in more land, until at the present time he owns about twelve hundred acres of valuable and well-cultivated land.

When the law restraining stock from running at large came in force, our subject had already made rails and built forty miles of fencing. During the first winter of his settlement here he taught a country school, and for the two succeeding years was principal of the Taylorville school. For a number of years he was the leading teacher and educator in the county, and met with flattering success as a pedagogue.

Returning to Stonington, Conn., Mr. Chapman wedded Miss Elizabeth Williams, on the 18th of March, 1852. Mrs. Chapman is a native of Connecticut, and was herself a successful teacher before her marriage with our subject. During the years he was teaching in Taylorville she was his assistant, and rendered material aid. This worthy couple have two sons, the elder of whom, John W. H., is at present ably serving as Supervisor of Prairieton Township, and in company with his younger brother, Andrew B., has charge of his father's farms. The parents are active members of the Stonington Baptist Church, and our subject has been a member of that denomination for over fifty years.

Since the organization of the Republican party Mr. Chapman has used his influence and vote in favor of its nominees, and assisted in organizing the party in this county in 1856. Prior to that time he was a Jackson Democrat. In local politics he has played an important part, and has served as a delegate to numerous County Conventions. It has been forty-five years since he cast in his lot with the pioneers of this county, and he has not regretted the step he then made. Few men are better known in this part of the State, and he has for years possessed the confidence of all to a flattering degree.



© Judy Edwards and Genealogy Trails