Sumter County Alabama

Sumter County
Reuben Chapman Biography

Contributed by Mary Hoit Abbe

From Northern Alabama, Historical and Biographical by Smith & Deland
Chicago: Donohue & Henneberry, Printers and Binders, 1888
p. 220

REUBEN CHAPMAN, Attorney-at-law, son of the late Hon. Samuel Chapman, native of Virginia, was born in Madison County, this State, May 25, 1833. The senior Chapman was born in 1791; removed from Virginia to Tennessee in his early manhood, there became State’s Attorney General; and, in 1818, came to Alabama, settling in Madison County. He was a member of the first Legislature that assembled after the admission of this State into the Union, and, as he lived till 1863, he was many years the sole survivor of that body. He was thirty years a Judge of nisi prius Courts, twelve of the county and eighteen of the circuit.

He removed to Livingston in 1834, and called that place home thereafter; though his last days were spent at the residence of his son-in-law, Gen. E. W. Pettus, at Cahaba. He died Oct 11, 1863, at the age of seventy-two years. His younger brother, Reuben Chapman, is known in the history of our country as Governor of Alabama and member of the United States Congress. [See Gov. Reuben Chapman, this volume]

The subject of this sketch received thorough educational training at some of the best institutions in the country, and studied law under Colonel Wetmore, at Livingston. He was licensed to practice by the Supreme Court in January, 1856, and the year following hung out his shingle at the thriving little village of Carrollton. He was expounding the intricacies of Blackstone, Chitty and Coke upon Littleton, at his suburban retreat, when the tocsin of war summoned him to the defense of his State. During 1861 and a part of 1862, he was attached to the Army of Virginia as a captain in the Eleventh Alabama Infantry. His health compelling his resignation, he returned home, where he speedily recuperated sufficiently to re enter the service, which he did as a member of Bradford’s Battalion of Scouts. He remained with this command until the close of the war, when he returned to Livingston and resumed the practice of law. To his profession he has assiduously devoted his time and talents. Always interested and active in the political advancement of friends, he has sought no preferment in that line for himself.

In March, 1861, at Livingston, Mr. Chapman was married to Miss Rebecca Arrington, daughter of Robert Arrington, who came from North Carolina in the early history of the State, and was a member of that numerous and honorable family so well know throughout the South.

Mrs. Chapman died March 1, 1866, leaving two children—a daughter, Alta, at present a popular teacher at Livingston Normal College, and Robert A, now a business man at Sheffield.

Captain Chapman’s second wife was Miss Mary C. Scruggs , also of Livingston. They were married July 17, 1870, and their children are Lillie Beck, Reuben, Anna and Lulu.

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