The Bethel Journals—Chapman Homestead Farm Gilead

Chapman Homestead Farm—Gilead

 

 

During the 1889 to 1891 years, the Chapman homestead farm was in the news frequently.  It was an experimental farm in some respects where new farming practices and varieties of livestock were tried out.  One reason for this farm gaining public attention was its owner - Timothy A. Chapman who was a descent of Rev. Eliphaz Chapman of Bethel and a wealthy favorite son.  T.A. Chapman owned a very profitable dry goods store in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  He visited the farm and the Bethel area as often as possible.  When the first large detailed history of Bethel by William Lapham was ready for printing, Mr. Chapman donated $300 to Lapham which matched the amount the Town of Bethel had appropriated for the same purpose.  In 1891, after the Bethel Methodist church had been destroyed by a freak tornado, Mr. Chapman stepped up with a donation of $250 to help rebuild the church.  He also contributed to public projects designed to beautify the appearance of town centers, such as at West Bethel village. 

Although the farm continued healthily after Timothy Chapman’s death in March of 1892, the farm’s activities lost some of their news attractiveness. 

Timothy Chapman’s nephew, William C. Chapman, inherited the farm. He continued to operate it and introduce new farming methods and machinery.

 

 

 

The Chapman Homestead Farm consisted of various buildings at various times.  The 1880 Oxford County Atlas map of Gilead shows two buildings – the northern building is labeled T. Chapman and the building next to the road is labeled G.G. Chapman for George Granville Chapman.  The farm was originally settled by George Whitefield Chapman (1780-1875) who after the death of his first wife and his re-marriage moved to Bethel leaving the “homestead” to his son George Granville Chapman. Lapham’s History of Bethel has an illustration of the farm on page 116. The illustration and the maps do not agree as the illustration shows the farm buildings north of the Chapman Brook (the Gilead Chapman Brook). The portion of the 1914 map above showed no buildings at all on the homestead site. I marked the building locations as they appear in the 1880 map. DGB

 

The period of William Rogers Chapman's ownership saw major developments on the former Mason farm, one of Bethel's oldest-settled properties. Chapman had the Northwest Bethel road repositioned from between the former church and the back of the present Norseman barn to its current location south of the homestead.

In early 1915 he dismantled, moved and re-constructed a massive barn (from the Chapman Homestead near the Gilead line) to Mayville just west of the main house, to use as a stable for his growing number of horses.

This barn (right) was later moved to a location nearer the present Bethel airport, where it still stands. In a taped interview, the late John Harrington stated that parts of the church were used in various Bethel buildings, including the Hanover Dowell mill building.

It now seems that 1909 was the year when the church was torn down. Some of the timbers from the church were used to build the Merrill-Springer mill (aka Hanover Dowell Co. later). In the 1980’s Bob Saunders pointed out to me some of the “church timbers” in the Hanover Dowel mill which framed the wall where stairs to the second floor office ran. I believe Leonard Bond Chapman wrote that the church was dismantled in 1909.

In a taped interview, the late John Harrington stated that parts of the church were used in various Bethel buildings, including the Hanover Dowell mill building.

Another source of this story has said that the barn was moved to Bethel over the ice on the Androscoggin River during the winter.

The paragraph about moving the barn from Gilead to Bethel was excerpted from The Bethel Agricultural Fair and Riverside Park by Yvonne B. Nowlin, published by the Bethel Historical Society.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Homestead%20Farm%20Map

 

The Chapman Homestead Farm consisted of various buildings at various times.  The 1880 Oxford County Atlas map of Gilead shows two buildings – the northern building is labeled T. Chapman and the building next to the road is labeled G.G. Chapman for George Granville Chapman.  The farm was originally settled by George Whitefield Chapman (1780-1875) who after the death of his first wife and his re-marriage moved to Bethel leaving the “homestead” to his son George Granville Chapman. Lapham’s History of Bethel has an illustration of the farm on page 116. The illustration and the maps do not agree as the illustration shows the farm buildings north of the Chapman Brook (the Gilead Chapman Brook). The portion of the 1911 map above showed no buildings at all on the homestead site. I marked the building locations as they appear in the 1880 map. DGB

 

The period of William Rogers Chapman's ownership saw major developments on the former Mason farm, one of Bethel's oldest-settled properties. Chapman had the Northwest Bethel road repositioned from between the former church and the back of the present Norseman barn to its current location south of the homestead. In early 1915 he dismantled, moved and re-constructed a massive barn (from the Chapman Homestead near the Gilead line) to Mayville just west of the main house, to use as a stable for his growing number of horses.

 

1982 Bethel Fairgrounds Barn Harrington.jpg

 

This barn was later moved to a location nearer the present Bethel airport, where it still stands. Chapman may also have been responsible for the razing of the old 2nd Congregational Church, though the exact date of its demise is unknown. . In a taped interview, the late John Harrington stated that parts of the church were used in various Bethel buildings, including the Hanover Dowell mill building.

 

It now seems that 1909 was the year when the church was torn down. Some of the timbers from the church were used to build the Merrill-Springer mill (aka Hanover Dowell Co. later). In the 1980’s Bob Saunders pointed out to me some of the “church timbers” in the Hanover Dowel mill which framed the wall where stairs to the second floor office ran. I believe Leonard Bond Chapman wrote that the church was dismantled in 1909.

 

Another source of this story has said that the barn was moved to Bethel over the ice on the Androscoggin River during the winter.

 

The paragraph about moving the barn from Gilead to Bethel was excerpted from The Bethel Agricultural Fair and Riverside Park by Yvonne B. Nowlin, published by the Bethel Historical Society.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Chapman family name has always been a Bethel mainstay family name dating back to 1789

 From 1889 to 1891, the Chapman “Homestead Farm” was frequently in the news. The house and barns were located in Gilead, but part of the farm was situated on the Bethel side of the town boundary.

 For the times, the Homestead Farm had a well deserved reputation for high quality animal husbandry, use of modern techniques in the raising of field crops and willingness to invest in both superior livestock and farm machinery. 

In the minds of local citizens, two men were responsible the farm’s high standing in the valley’s agri-cultural domain:  William C. Chapman, 49, and Timothy A. Chapman, 67.

 

Timothy Appleton Chapman was born in Gilead, May 23, 1824; his parents were George Whitefield and Mary Chapman. Timothy A. was a grandson of Rev. Eliphaz Chapman, Sr., the man credited with naming Bethel in 1796. Timothy was married in Boston and later moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he gained wealth and high standing as a businessman dealing in dry goods. Devoted to his place of birth – his charity and interest in his heritage are noted in this journal.

 

William Chalmers Chapman was born November 13, 1841 at the Chapman homestead farm in Gilead; parents were George Granville and Eliza Chapman. William C. was a nephew of Timothy A. Chapman.  William C. Chapman managed the homestead farm in the late 1880’s and early 1890’s.

 

William Lapham, History of Bethel, Maine pages 362, 505 and 506.

 

 

 

Text Box: The Chapman Homestead Farm Journal
	May 1889: William Chapman received two car loads of lumber and two cars of fertilizer and plaster for his own use.  Chapman has put in a four ton hay scales. William Chapman has received a car load of farm machinery from Milwaukee and some thoroughbred Holstein stock. 
	October 1889: William Chapman has received an invoice of 50 Shropshire sheep from Canada.
	March 1890 – Northwest Bethel: Gus Chapman of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is at William Chapman’s (Probably Augustus F. Chapman who was a clerk in Milwaukee for his uncle, T.A. Chapman.)
	April 1890 – West Bethel: The pine grove near the depot has been purchased by Mr. T.A. Chapman of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The grove will be preserved from the lumberman’s axe.
	August 1890 – Gilead: Many of the farmers are not yet through with their haying – many getting more than expected. Corn is making rapid growth. T.A. Chapman of Milwaukee is stopping with William Chapman.
	September 1890 – Northwest Bethel: T.A. Chapman of Milwaukee is at the Homestead Farm where he is having stumps blasted (clearing more land for planting). William Chapman is filling his silo at the rate of 30 tons a day. He has 16 acres to cut (for silage?) and he has a crew blowing out stumps - busy times – plowing, etc.
 November 1890 – Northwest Bethel: A crew of men from the Chapman homestead was a work at the Mayville Cemetery on the 12th.
	December 1890 – Northwest Bethel: They are feeding silage at the Chapman Homestead Farm and the stock seems to take to it with the same avidity that a hungry boy takes to sweet cake.  Some cattle prefer the chopped corn to their grain.
Note: Use of silos was still a new feed storage method – likely a result of collaboration between Timothy and William Chapman as Timothy was known for experimenting with farm improvements.	

	March 1891 – Bethel: The $300 voted for town history is to be added to the $300 generously given or guaranteed by T.A. Chapman of Milwaukee for the purpose of procuring or writing and publishing a town history. (William Lapham of Augusta published the “History of Bethel, Maine” in 1891.)
	Gilead: William Chapman has 62 young lambs.
	May 1891 – Northwest Bethel: A fine monument has been erected in Mayville Cemetery in memory of Mr. and Mrs. George Granville Chapman and their six children. (George Granville Chapman and Eliza Chapman were William C. Chapman’s parents. They were also the parents of Augustus F. Chapman who worked for T.A. Chapman in Milwaukee. George Granville Chapman and Timothy A. Chapman were brothers. The George Granville Chapman was a farmer who lived at the Homestead.)
	Gilead: The town’s top three taxpayers in 1891 were: J.W. Bennett, $255.89; American Bobbin, Spool and Shuttle Co.,$108.09; William C. Chapman, $107.82.
	September 1891 – Gilead: William Chapman has harvested about fifteen acres of grain with a self-binding reaper. He will run the ensilage cutter this year by steam power and will begin cutting his 18 acres of corn this week. Northwest Bethel: The fields of corn at the Homestead have mammoth stalks. 
	October 1891 – Bethel: Mr. T.A. Chapman, a wealthy merchant of Milwaukee, Wis., brother of A. P. Chapman of Bethel, is visiting his old Bethel home. His brother told him about the disaster of the Methodist Church – whereupon he immediately drew out his checkbook and gave a check for $200 towards rebuilding it again. Northwest Bethel: William Chapman of the Homestead was in Massachusetts on business this week. Rumor has it that another large barn will be built at the Homestead.
Prizes at the Bethel Fair: Best flock of sheep: J.M. Philbrook, $1; Wm C. Chapman, 50 cents.  Best bull for stock: Polled Angus, Wm. C. Chapman, $3; best for dairy purposes, Moses Cummings, $2.
November 1891 – Northwest Bethel: The Chapman Homestead Stock Farm had six sheep - costing $1,200 – arrive from England last week. They were accompanied in their journey across the big water by a finely training dog which will remain at the Homestead. The man who saw them safely to their new home stopped one night and then started on his return home.
575 cedar posts have been set at the Homestead this fall. They believe in good board fences there.

April 9, 2013

Chapman Homestead Farm in Gilead was located just beyond the Bethel—Gilead town line on the Northwest Bethel Road. This photo was copied from The History of Bethel Maine by William Lapham, page 116.

The Chapman family name has always been a Bethel mainstay family name dating back to 1789

 From 1889 to 1891, the Chapman “Homestead Farm” was frequently in the news. The house and barns were located in Gilead, but part of the farm was situated on the Bethel side of the town boundary.

 For the times, the Homestead Farm had a well deserved reputation for high quality animal husbandry, use of modern techniques in the raising of field crops and willingness to invest in both superior livestock and farm machinery. 

In the minds of local citizens, two men were responsible the farm’s high standing in the valley’s agri-cultural domain:  William C. Chapman, 49, and Timothy A. Chapman, 67.

 

Timothy Appleton Chapman was born in Gilead, May 23, 1824; his parents were George Whitefield and Mary Chapman. Timothy A. was a grandson of Rev. Eliphaz Chapman, Sr., the man credited with naming Bethel in 1796. Timothy was married in Boston and later moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he gained wealth and high standing as a businessman dealing in dry goods. Devoted to his place of birth – his charity and interest in his heritage are noted in this journal.

 

William Chalmers Chapman was born November 13, 1841 at the Chapman homestead farm in Gilead; parents were George Granville and Eliza Chapman. William C. was a nephew of Timothy A. Chapman.  William C. Chapman managed the homestead farm in the late 1880’s and early 1890’s.

 

William Lapham, History of Bethel, Maine pages 362, 505 and 506.

 

 

Rectangular Callout: Chapman Homestead Farm
Rectangular Callout: West Bethel Village
Rectangular Callout: Gilead Village

Engraving of Timothy Appleton Chapman (1824-1892) image published in front pieces of The History of Bethel, Maine by Wm. Lapham. Mr. Chapman’s financial support and encouragement made the publication of Lapham’s Bethel history possible.

George W. Chapman (1780-1875) founded the Chapman farm in Gilead; his father was Rev. Eliphaz Chapman who brought his family to Sudbury Canada in 1789. Image taken from Lapham’s History of Bethel, Maine .

1914 map reprinted in 1935.

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