Near the end of his life, Robert Chapman wrote a letter to his children in which he acknowledged the hand of God in his life (punctuation and spelling have been modernized): “I have through the grace of God in difficult cases, which were beyond me, been able to commit myself in the sense of my own insufficiency into the hands of him who is all-sufficient and have had the accomplishment of that promise, both in doing and suffering, ‘My grace shall be sufficient for thee.'”
According to his letter, Robert Chapman arrived in Boston, “after a long and dangerous voyage,” on December 26, 1635. Born in England, probably in Yorkshire, Robert sailed from Hull, England when he was about 18 years old. According to family tradition, Robert’s mother was anxious to emigrate to America, but her husband was not. She, therefore, sent her son and, later, three of her daughters, in the hopes that once they were established in the new world, her husband would agree to cross the Atlantic with her. There is no evidence to suggest that she succeeded in gaining her desires.
Shortly after Robert’s arrival in Boston, John Winthrop, Jr., the newly commissioned governor of the river Connecticut, hired Lieutenant Lyon Gardiner to build a fort and lay out a town near the mouth of the Connecticut River. Gardiner, with a company of twenty men, one of whom was Robert Chapman, sailed from Boston to the Connecticut River early in 1636. There they established Fort Saybrook.
Robert Chapman lived in Saybrook for the remainder of his life and held many important positions there. He was a soldier during the war against the Pequot Indian tribe. He served as town clerk for many years, was deputy to the General Court in Hartford and also served as a member of the legislature of the state of Connecticut. Robert Chapman was also a prominent landholder, owning large tracts of land in Saybrook and in the neighboring communities of East Haddam and Hebron.
Robert Chapman married Ann Bliss on April 29, 1642 in Saybrook. They had seven children. Their oldest child, John, who was born in 1644, married Elizabeth Hawley in 1670. They had three children. Joseph Chapman, the second child of John and Elizabeth, was born in 1673. He married Sarah Spencer in 1700. They had six children. Levi Chapman, who was born in 1708, was the fourth child of Joseph and Sarah. In 1735, Levi married Lydia Chalker. They had eight children. Levi Jr. was their third child. He was born in 1740.
Levi Chapman Jr. married Elizabeth Hull in 1767. Levi and Elizabeth had twelve children. In 1794, Levi and his large family relocated to Ohio. They were some of the first settlers in the area. The two youngest children of Levi and Elizabeth were twin sisters. Hepzibah Chapman married Seth Jones Jr. in 1807. They had a son named Stephen Chapman Jones, who had a son named Seth William Jones, who had a son named Edwin Hyrum Jones. Edwin had a daughter named Blanche who had a son named Eric.
Robert Chapman died in Saybrook in 1687.
The Chapman Family, by Frederick William Chapman (available for free download at Google Play)
The Pioneer History of Meigs County, by Stillman Carter Larkin (available for free download at Google Play)