Connecticut State Library with state seal

Memorials of Connecticut Judges and Attorneys
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports
volume 68, page(s) 596-597


CHARLES RICHARD CHAPMAN was born at New Haven. Connecticut, November 23d, 1827, and died at Hartford, Connecticut, January 25th, 1897. He was the son of Hon. Charles Chapman and Sarah Tomlinson, his wife, and the grandson of Hon. Asa Chapman, formerly a judge of the Supreme Court of Errors of this State. In 1829 his parents moved to Hartford, and there he continued to reside until his death. He graduated from Trinity College in 1847, studied law for a year in Northampton, Mass., and completed his legal studies in Now York in the office of John Van Buren, son of President Martin Van Buren. He was admitted to the bar of this State in 1850 and continued in the active practice of law until 1885, at first in partnership with his father, and later in partnership with the late Judge Collier.

He was a distinguished son of a distinguished ancestry. His grandfather, Hon. Asa Chapman, was a judge of the Supreme Court from May, 1818, until his death in 1825, and was recognized as a leading member of the court. His father, Hon. Charles Chapman, was one of the ablest lawyers this State has produced, and by his ability and wit left an impress on the history of the Connecticut bar which is practically unparalleled.

Charles R. Chapman was early recognized as a strong lawyer and a leader among his fellow-citizens. In 1856, at the age of twenty-nine, he was a member of the house of representative of this State. In 1857 he represented the first senatorial district in the State senate. He was mayor of the city of Hartford three terms, from 1866 to 1872. In 1872 he was again a member of the house of representatives. He was city attorney of the city of Hartford in 1874, 1875 and 1876, and postmaster from June, 1885 to March, 1890. He was a most conscientious public servant, and in every case filled the public positions to which he was called, to the full satisfaction of his fellow-citizens, as is evidenced by his continued call to public office during a period of over thirty years.

As a lawyer he was well equipped mentally, and by his careful and straight-forward method gained the highest confidence and respect both of his clients and of the members of the bar. On becoming postmaster in 1885 he gave up active professional practice and never resumed it. The last few years of his life were passed quietly in Hartford where he was a well known and much respected figure in the community. He had a most charming personality. He was loyal and upright in all his dealings. As a friend he was unswerving in his devotion. He could not be unjust or malevolent. He possessed the altogether rare gift of making many friends and no enemies. His record from the beginning to the end is unstained, and he will be remembered as one of those lawyers of the older school who honored their profession and the offices they held, by strict integrity and purity of purpose.

Mr. Chapman married May 1, 1855, Mrs. Harriet Putnam Thomas, daughter of Rt. Rev. Thomas Church Brownell, Episcopal Bishop of Hartford. Mrs. Chapman and four children, Mrs. Charles Holland of Torquay, England, Thomas Brownell Chapman of Hartford, Conn., Mrs. Howard Dudley Bean of New York City, and Robert Holland Chapman of Pittsburgh, Kansas, survive him.