Charles S. Chapman, whose death occurred in January, 1902, as a result of his being injured by a train at Fort Scott, was one of the most prominent citizens of Pittsburg. He is best known in business circles as having been the proprietor of the Pittsburg Foundry and Machine Works, which he developed from small beginnings into one of the large industrial enterprises of the city. But in addition to this, he was known as one of the city's most public-spirited and progressive men, having done much for building up the city both as an official and in a private capacity. He is still held in affectionate remembrance for his broad-minded and upright character, his liberal dealings with men, and his unflinching rectitude in all the relations of life.
Mr. Chapman was born at Wooster, Ohio, in 1857, and was a son of Augustus R. and Lillie (Mott) Chapman, both now deceased. His father was a long-time resident of Wooster and a well-known iron master of Ohio. He was extensively engaged in manufacturing, being the senior member of the firm of Chapman, Barrett and Company, foundrymen, of Wooster, and was also head of the Lima Agricultural Works at Lima, Ohio. At the time of his death he was a member of the board of education in Wooster, and his activity was in many other ways useful to the city in promoting its intellectual and material welfare. His wife, Lillie (Mott) Chapman, was a member of the well-known family of which Lucretia Mott was such a notable member. On her maternal side she was a direct descendant of Roger Williams, and in the Chapman home at Pittsburg there is a table of solid mahogany, which was among the possessions brought by the noted colonial preacher to America, and which has been preserved as a most valuable and interesting relic through all the succeeding generations of the family.
Mr. Charles S. Chapman was reared in Wooster, where he received a good education. He learned the trade of machinist and foundryman in the works of his father, and with the intention of making mechanical pursuits his life work added to his equipment in that line by studying and becoming a draughtsman. His talents were of a high order, and in the course of his research work he devised several devices that became valuable adjuncts in shop work. He left Wooster, when about twenty-nine years of age, to accept the position of master mechanic of the cable street railroad in Kansas City, which was the forerunner of the present Metropolitan Street Railroad Company of that city. He was in charge of the cable line when the first wheel was turned in the system, and he continued as master mechanic of the company for nine years. He came to Pittsburg in 1892. His foundry and machine shop was started in a little shanty of a building, but from this unpretentious inception, because of the excellence of the workmanship and the thoroughly honorable business methods in vogue, it expanded into the large works known as the Pittsburg Foundry and Machine Company, with shops on Locust street, at the corner of First. The establishment was both large and successful, and Mr. Chapman became one of the leading business men of the city, resourceful and enterprising in his own work and lending his aid to every worthy cause for building up the city. Pittsburg as well as his family and friends sustained a great loss in his early death, for his substantial citizenship and well-rounded character were benefits conferred on the community and are worthy monuments of his career.
He was mentioned for the office of mayor of his city, and took such a prominent part as a member of the city council that he was sometimes called the father of the council. He had fraternal affiliations with the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. When he met with the injury that terminated his life he was on his way home from Iola, Kansas, where he owned another foundry.
Mrs. Chapman survives her lamented husband. Her maiden name was Mary J. Clark, and she was born in New York city and was a daughter of John and Helen (Miller) Clark. She was married to Mr. Chapman at Kansas City in 1885. There are three children: Charles S., Thomas William and Robert Lanyon.Pages 468-470 from A Twentieth century history and biographical record of Crawford County, Kansas, by Home Authors; Illustrated. Published by Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, IL : 1905. 656 p. ill. Transcribed by Carolyn Ward, in November, 2003.
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