HERBERT RALPH CHAPPELL

BIOGRAPHY

AS RECORDED IN:

COMMEMORATIVE BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD OF 
TOLLAND AND WINDHAM COUNTIES CONNECTICUT.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF PROMINENT AND REPRESENTATIVE  CITIZENS AND OF MANY OF THE EARLY SETTLED FAMILIES
PUBLISHER: J.H.BEERS & CO., CHICAGO; 1903          P.  611

HERBERT RALPH CHAPPELL, a popular and widely known business man of Willimantic, whose qualities, unswerving integrity and genial manners have made him troops of friends in the community in which his useful life is passing, was, as the second mayor of Willimantic, identified with the early political history of the city, and his influence has always been felt in local affairs. Mr. Chappell is a contractor in painting, and a dealer in paints and supplies, and is the leading man in his line in Windham county, where his name is familiar as that of a dealer in good and honest goods, and a contractor of work upon whose word dependence may be placed.

John Chappell, the American ancestor of the Willimantic Chappells, as well as numerous other branches of the family scattered all over the United States, landed in Boston in 1634.

Thomas Chappell, the great-grandfather of Herbert Ralph, was a weaver by occupation, and lived at North Kingston, R.I. He served as a soldier in the War of the Revolution.

Benjamin Chappell, son of Thomas, was the first of this branch of the family to settle in Windham county, Conn. He came to Windham, Conn., when a boy, and later, settled here permanently. In youth he worked as a stone mason, but began life in Windham as a farmer, and he was known as one of the most successful farmers of his day, becoming very prosperous. At South Kingston, R.I., he was married to Susan Morey, by whom he became the father of a numerous offspring. He died at a ripe old age, as did his wife, both of them being over seventy-three years of age when they passed away. They were associated with the Baptist Church, and were buried in the Windham Center Cemetery. Mr. Chappell was one of the most highly respected citizens of his day, and exerted a strong influence for good. The children of this excellent couple were as follows: (1) Ralph, was born July 9, 1823; (2) Levi, born in 1825, died young; (3) Susan, born in 1827, married Edward Grovenor, and moved to Clarendon, Ohio, where they had two sons; (4) Eliza, twin to Susan, died young; (5) Benjamin, born in 1831, went to Dover, Ohio, his present home, where he has had a family of five children; (6) Nancy, born June 15, 1833, married Charles Kenyon, and died in Willimantic, the mother of three sons; (7) Charles, born June 16, 1835, was at one time a farmer, but later became connected with the Willimantic Linen Company, and the only survivor of his three children is Mrs. Everett Ladd, of South Park street, in Willimantic; (8) Charlotte, a twin to Charles, married, first, Orrin Kenyon (to whom she bore two girls), second, William Tew, and third, O.A. Chappell, of Lebanon, Conn., and she died in 1901; (9) Dorcas, born in 1837, was the first wife of O.A. Chappell, and the mother of a large family of children; and (10) Lydia, born in 1841, married Milton Young, of Willimantic, who removed to Forestville, Conn., where he died. (Their two sons, Alvin and Herbert, compose the firm of Young Brothers, engaged in manufacturing novelties at Forestville).

Ralph Chappell was born and reared in Old Windham, and his education was completed in Bacon Academy, at Colchester. His trade of joiner was learned under the instruction of Col. Fitch, of Mansfield, known in that day as one of the best workmen in the eastern part of the State. For some years after he had finished his trade Mr. Chappell was in the employ of Sweet & Carpenter, very extensive contractors and builders, of Providence, and while in that city he was married to Maria Horton, born March 10, 1815, at Rehoboth, Mass., a daughter of Eliphalet Horton. Mr. and Mrs. Chappell spent some years in Providence, where he was engaged in jobbing and building for a time, in company with his cousin, William Guile. About 1852 Mr. Chappell removed his family to South Windham, where his last days were spent. In Willimantic for a number of years he was a member of the firm Chappell & Potter, builders and contractors, who for years did the greater part of the building of Windham county. For some time before his death Mr. Chappell was retired from active business, a paralytic stroke having incapacitated him for active work of any kind. His death occurred in April, 1883, at South Windham, where he was buried. His widow is still living, and after making her home for some years on the old homestead in Windham, is now a member of the family of her only daughter, at Seekonk, Mass. Their children were as follows: (1) Herbert Ralph was born Dec. 27, 1850, at No. 58 John street, Providence, R.I.; (2) Alice died when three years old; and (3) Ann Frances, born July 27, 1856, is now Mrs. Francis B. West, of Seekonk, Mass., and the mother of two children, Helen B. and Mary.

Herbert Ralph Chappell was reared in Windham, to which place his parents came when he was but a child of eighteen months. His education was principally obtained in the Pine Grove Seminary at Windham, when that noted school was under the charge of Dr. J.C. Fitch, and at the Natchaug high school, when D.P. Corbin was principal. From a boy he had assisted his father at carpenter work, but that was distasteful to him, and as soon as he was old enough to act for himself he became an employe in the painting department of Chappell & Potter, extensive contractors. When Mr. Potter took sole charge, Mr. Chappell remained with him as a foreman and thoroughly mastered every detail of the work, so that when he began for himself, April 8, 1888, he was well prepared to take care of anything that might come to him. Business naturally sought one so thoroughly educated in its every part, and Mr. Chappell has greatly prospered in the last ten years.

Herbert Ralph Chappell and Miss Isabella Webster were married Jan. 15, 1876, in Willimantic. Mrs. Chappell is a native of Lee, Mass., where she was born April 27, 1857, a daughter of Charles and Emily H. (Huyck) Webster, and a descendant of Gov. John Webster, who was governor of Massachusetts in 1656. Charles Webster was born Aug. 3, 1831, in Becket, Mass., and Emily H. Huyck in Bethlehem, in 1838. David Webster, father of Charles, was born Sept. 22, 1796, in Florida, Mass., and his wife was Uduxia Wright. Jacob Webster, the father of David, was born July 23, 1772, and his wife was Lavina Heminway. Jacob Webster, Sr., the father of Jacob, was born Feb. 2, 1748, and served in the Revolutionary army, and died in 1776; his wife, Abigail, married a second time, hence the name does not appear on the roll of Revolutionary pensioners. Stephen Webster, father of Jacob, Sr., was born June 11, 1728, was also a Revolutionary soldier, and he died in 1818; his wife was Rebeckah.

Herbert R. Chappell has always been a Republican, and cast his first presidential vote for Gen. U.S. Grant in 1872. When Willimantic was a borough, he served several terms as a burgess, and in 1895 was elected mayor of the new city of Willimantic. Mr. Chappell is a Mason of high degree, belonging to various Masonic organizations, including Eastern Star Lodge, No. 44, A.F & A.M.; Trinity Chapter, No.9, R.A.M., of which he is Past High Priest; and St. Johnís Commandery, No. 11, K.T. Mr. and Mrs. Chappell are members of the Congregational Church, where he has served as chairman of the Societyís committee for several years. Mrs. Chappell is a member and treasurer of Anne Wood Elderkin Chapter, D.A.R., and is also chairman of the Ladiesí Society, auxiliary to the First Congregational Church. Mr. Chappell is vice-president of the Willimantic Building and Loan Association, and was one of the incorporators of the Willimantic Savings Institute. For thirteen years he was a member of the Conn. National Guard, of which time for nine years he was captain of Company E, of the Third Regiment. He was one of the organizers of the Willimantic Machine Co., and also of the Windham Silk Co., of Willimantic. Mr. Chappell is a man of fine social qualities, which retain the friendships his business ability and evident integrity command. He is known as a liberal, public-spirited and progressive citizen, ready to take hold of any measure that looks to the advance of the city.

Reproduced by:  Linda D. Pingel

Return to Main Page

This page was created by Linda Pingel on April 7, 2008
copyright 2008 - all rights reserved