Finding Freedom…at $1.25 an acre
The geographical founding of Waterford is detailed in the EARLY HISTORY section of this writing.
The story of the Waterford Village founders begins in the State of New York, in the mid-1830s, in the vicinity of Waterford, which is located about 11 miles north of Albany and at the east end of the Erie Canal. The newly built canal brought much prosperity to the towns on the water route raising the price of land and decreasing opportunities for the settlers. By the mid-1830s, New Englanders were migrating to the Midwest via the Erie Canal or by horse and wagon. Much of the color of the pioneer’s story as presented is gleaned from various historical publications. It is stitched together to provide a story of a generation of people, known as pioneers, migrating west to get their share of the newly declared land available for claiming at a reasonable cost – $1.25 per acre. Adventure, risk, and hope, were common attributes amongst those who would venture west into the uncharted lands in search of opportunities and freedom.
The Blackhawk Indian War ended in 1833. One of the treaty terms was to bar outside settlers until 1836 – after the government had a chance to survey the territory and the Indians relocate to eastern Iowa. A few settlers did break the rules but risked everything they had as well as being thrown off the land if they were caught. Other than traders and trappers, very few pioneers accepted the risk. Consider the time, place, and conditions under which they were to travel westward to the land of opportunity.
Sometime around 1833-34, 56-year-old Levi Barnes and his 26-year-old son-in-law, Samuel E. Chapman, decided to follow the frontier westward in search of lower cost land and waterpower opportunities.
The journey would take Barnes and Chapman from upstate New York – through Pennsylvania- Northern Ohio and to a settlement called Detroit – a military fort. Only a few inhabitants were located in the immediate area, primarily to offer services to the military. The trails were well marked, but not heavily traveled. From there, they would take a military road called the Chicago-Detroit Trail through lower Michigan and northern Indiana – running through LaPorte, Indiana. From there, they established a base from which to inquire further and launch further west to the newly acquired Wisconsin Territory. While in Indiana, Chapman’s had a son, Irving.
The military road continued to the Military Post of Fort Dearborn in Chicago – located at the Chicago River between modern-day Rush and Michigan streets. The Indian and Military trails were quite primitive, rough, and in a condition that was very weather dependent. Spring and Fall travel could be very difficult. It took about 10 days to travel from Detroit to LaPorte, depending on weather conditions.
At LaPorte, Chapman and Barnes stopped for a period of time to assess the situation while staying with some friends or relatives. One of Barnes sons, Alpheus, apparently had purchased some land in the South Bend area as indicated in the letter that follows.
After deriving information about the new land to be open to settlement, Barnes and Chapman set out alone on horseback, leaving their families behind in LaPorte. It would take up to four days travel to reach Fort Dearborn.
They were to return after they made their claim at a suitable location.
Consider that there were only about a dozen families living near Fort Dearborn in 1831. The population experienced exponential growth over the next five years to 4,100 in 1836, most of it coming in 1834 and 1835 as the pioneers were getting ready to launch further west. To gauge the size of the settlement, consider that the population of Waterford Village in 2020 was 5,749.
From Chicago, they would follow a narrow military trail, called the Green Bay Trail, primarily used for mail between the forts, for another three days until reaching Jambeau’s Trading Post in Skunk Grove – today, the east side of Franksville, Wisconsin on County Highway K. It was the only building for many miles in 1836 between Fort Dearborn and Racine.
(A roadside marker is located along the fence near the entrance of the Franksville Park.) There they would ask about where they would find possible water power, enjoy some hospitality from Mrs. Jambeau’s kitchen, and stock up on provisions. Jambeau’s Trading Post was the closest establishment to Waterford for necessary items.
Based on a horse and rider covering an average of 20 miles on a good day – and good trail conditions – along with stops for rest and inquiry, it is estimated that it took about two weeks to travel the 175 miles from LaPorte to Racine. From Racine, it would take another two days following an Indian trail, which would be a modern-day 25-mile journey on County Highway K to arrive at the banks of the Pishtaka River, aka. Fox River. Also, as mentioned in the following letter, Chapman and Barnes got lost along the way – not hard to do when traveling through a primitive forested countryside with few landmarks.
Chapman recounts part of his journey in remarks made to the First Old Settlers Association meeting June 8, 1870 and printed in the Racine Advocate. It is re-typed for clarity:
“Mr. Chapman of Waterford, was the next to address the audience. He described how he came to Racine, poor and unaided, he worked his way through to Racine; he pictured Chicago in those days. We of a later date cannot imagine it. Chicago, the great and glorious metropolis of the west. A scattered hamlet. It seems impossible that there would be living now a man who had seen the Queen of the west in such humble life. He told of his trouble in getting to Waterford, of being lost on the prairie and camping out overnight, of two days travel to reach that spot. Two hours suffices now. And he showed a picture of the first house (a log cabin) that was ever built in Waterford; he described the mode of life. Among other things he told who brought the first bushel of wheat to Racine, (Archibald Cooper), and then with a glowing eulogy on labor and laborers like those before him, he closed.”8
Having decided to settle at the rapids of the Fox River, as detailed in the EARLY HISTORY section, a large log cabin was built to house the two families until they could build separate facilities. Its location was only about a hundred yards south of the present dam and located directly behind the present day Enve’ Salon & Day Spa. The location is deed documented and corroborated with an article from the Waterford Post, November 9, 1882 edition.
“In 1836, Samuel E. Chapman and Levi Barnes built the first log house in the village of Waterford. It was regarded “headquarters,” and with its shake roof, still stands, slowly going to decay, but in its speechless old age reviving in the minds of the old settlers interesting memories of the past.”2
Chapman Log Cabin site today– River and Racine Streets – Enve’ Salon & Day Spa in background.
Establishing a timeline of activities upon arrival is based on assumptions and are hard to corroborate with prior written evidence. The steps likely taken by Chapman and Barnes are as follows:
. Establish a claim by marking it with a jackknife and compass.
. Clear land and prepare materials for building shelter.
. Build a log cabin to shelter and secure the claim as required by law.
. Create the dam on the river to power the anticipated sawmill
. Build a sawmill
. Return to LaPorte, Indiana to get remaining family members.
Establishing the claim, clearing some land and building a log cabin would have taken the better part of the remaining year until winter set in. Perhaps they returned to LaPorte for the winter.
Assuming they returned early in the spring of 1837 to continue working on developing the claim, corroborates the written history by others that “when they returned from LaPorte, they found that a Mr. Beebe had made a claim on the waterpower for which they paid him 700 dollars to settle it.”1 Since claims were not legal documents, they had to be personally protected to hold them.
Several written sources state that in 1837, Chapman and a group of pioneers built the dam and erected a sawmill. According to the following original letter from Barnes to Chapman, dated August 26, 1837, Chapman was in Laporte and Barnes was in Waterford. It was time to get the families and personal possessions while Barnes stayed in Waterford to protect their interests.
The letter was donated to the Burlington Historical Society by Mary Chapman Jordan, Samuel Chapman’s 92-year-old daughter, and is re-typed verbatim for clarity. It appears that Barnes was expressing angst about getting out of a business relationship and getting money to buy land or retiring. Further information regarding a missing page is provided by Mrs. Jordan on the envelope in which it is kept, however, the August 19, 1926 issue of the Waterford Post carried the entire text:
“Dear Son, I received yours of 12th instant by the last mail and hasin(sic.) to answer it. I was glad to hear of your health and prosperity but was very sorry you could not have come yourself. Hiram will not let you have any of Prerra he will have all or will not have any had you come now he would have sold to us but now I fear he will sell the Prerra claim and get his money and go to the land office and get the premtion (sic.) and will not sell us at all. I can hold ½ the mill claim and he the other.
You wrote that you thought we could git (sic.) the money we wanted if I would come down soon. I wish you would write me how we can git (sic.) it and on what terms and as quick as I can git (sic.) an answer of this letter I will bring mother along with me. I wish you to go to South Bend and see how they do and if Alpheus has got well enough to come and wishes me to bring the oxen and wagon to move him. I will bring them and if not tell Samuel to come with a horse and put it in my one horse wagon and bring me and mother back with him. What you do do quick and do it well and then write to me what you have done. I shall wait with all patience I can until I hear from you again and in the meantime I shall keep the mill agoing. I have got the saw ground yesterday and fixed it up and sawed 500 feet and today I have sawed 900 feet all black walnut. I have sold about 5000 feet and am to have the money on the first day of January. There is not much call for lumber yet but will be after the land sales. We had a public meeting for the purpose of sending an agent to get a loan for us and we have got Esquire Jones (probably Andrew B. Jones) to go for us and he thinks he can get money for us. We send 2000. I have put in 600 dollars for myself and Hiram Page.
I shall try if I can not to have Hiram sell the Prerra claim. One man would have bought it if I had not told him you own one half of it. I try hard as I can to keep things straight. But I want help. We must get out of this scrape as easey (sic.) as we can and as quick. I feel in hopes he will sell to us as he is discounted at the Mill and being in Company he wants all or none he wishes to be Boss. He does not work half his time now never will while we are in Company with him. We have but about 30 tons of hay and our crops look well. We have plenty of melons and pumpkins on the nole (sic.) at the west end of the hous (sic). I wish you to keep this letter to yourself it is wrote in Confidence. I wish no trouble But I must git (sic.) out of this scrape as quick as possible. We have had no hard words all is peace yet for I let him do as he pleases and say nothing to him. You must do as fast as you can and look well for money. I wante(sic.) 900 dolars (sic.) my self to pay for land and I shall try to sell my interest at the Bend to somebody if I can not git (sic.) one third of its value. I am settled for life if I can git (sic.) out of this scrape. I like the country better than ever. I had rather have land here than at the Bend or LaPorte or anywhere in Indiana and now sir be faithful and send me as quick as possible you can for I shall wate (sic.) for it and look for it until it comes at least until as late as the 20 of Sept. if I Sam can come I wish he would and bring mother and me back. That all. (signed) Levi Barnes
I you can inlist someone with us as I wrote I shoud(sic) be glad”
Samuel Chapman: ‘a man of indomitable will’
Chapman was the pillar of the community which is evident by the leadership that he showed in the following timeline. He appears to have been a man of morals and conservative in his politics. No obituary has been uncovered to date but it would have been impressive based on the items listed in the timeline which shows his influence in developing the character of the territory. As printed in his daughter Ellen’s obituary published in the Waterford Post, November 9, 1895, “He was a man of indomitable will and energy and took a prominent part in the growth and upbuilding of his town, county and state.”
Organizations that Chapman either belonged to or founded:
State Lawyer – admitted to Bar
First State Legislature – elected
Racine County Board – appointed 1850, 51, Chairman in 1853
Waterford School Board – founded
Fox River Valley Commission – appointed
Notary – appointed
Racine County League – founded
Trustee for Wisconsin Insane Hospital – appointed
Trustee for Oakwood Cemetery – founded
Racine Agricultural Society – founded
Racine County Delegate – appointed
Justice of the Peace – appointed
Masonic Lodge – founded local chapter June 9, 1858
Republicans – Whigs – member and District Chairman
Old Settlers Club – founded
Temperance Union – member
Time Line of the Pioneers:
The timeline from 1833 to 1838 is pieced together from anecdotal writings, an original letter written by Barnes, and an assumed logical sequence of timing and events. The remainder of the timeline is documented in various registered governmental documents, old published books, and newspaper clips.
1832 – Samuel and Harriet Chapman are married in upper New York state. Harriet was the daughter of Levi Barnes.
1833 – 1834 – Chapman and Barnes moved to Indiana in search of new home and wait for the opening of new government land known then as the Wisconsin Territory. A son, Irving, is born to the Chapman’s.
1836 – Barnes and Chapman leave LaPorte in April and arrive at the Fox River in May to stake their claim. A cabin is built to hold the claim. Some land cleared for the next seasons projects. Chapman and Barnes return to LaPorte for the Winter.
1837 – Upon returning in the spring, the Beebe Waterpower Claim was purchased and the first dam built. This was immediately followed by the construction of a sawmill. Chapman returns to LaPorte, Indiana
1838 – Chapman returns to Waterford with his wife. The first grist mill was erected by Chapman and Barnes with two run of stones – flour and feed.
March 9, 1839 – Agent Eliphalet Cramer buys one half of Section 36, 320 acres, in the Great Land Sale of 1839 for $1.25 per acre – $400 in 2020 dollars. The land would become the village of Waterford.
March 30, 1839 Cramer sells the half section to Chapman and Barnes with a mortgage for $1,200.
Aug. 24, 1839 – Lucretia “Lewey” Barnes died, age 61, and was buried at the Old Settlers Cemetery in Waterford.
Sept. 21, 1844 – Levi Barnes and Sam Russ appointed trustees to settle the estate of Niles Iverson
Sept. 22, 1845 – Chapman is one of the trustees for School District Number Nine. Chapman sells a parcel measuring 40 feet North/South by 30 feet East/West on the northwest corner of Lot 3, Block 19 for $10 dollars. It is to be used to build the first school in Waterford. This is the southwest corner of Center and Main – now Waterford Union High School.
July 10, 1846 – Chapman is appointed to a five-member committee for the purpose of co-operating with the citizens of the Fox Valley in Illinois to make the Fox River navigable from Muskego Lake to the Mississippi River. In addition, a canal or railroad is proposed from Lake Michigan to Muskego Lake to link up with the Fox River. Their report was read and approved. Proceedings were published in the Racine Advocate on July 28, 1846. The plan was never followed through.
Sept. 26, 1846 – Wisconsin Democrat newspaper announcement of Chapman appointed as notary for Racine County.
Jan. 18, 1847 – Petition by Chapman and multiple signers to establish Waterford as a separate township.
1848 – From the book, History of Racine and Kenosha County, page 321, a listing of members of the first session of the State Legislature, dated June 5, 1848, shows Samuel E. Chapman as a member of the House.
Aug. 7, 1848 – Milwaukee Daily Sentinel – Article showing Sam Chapman as Chairman of the District Whig Party convention which was to be held at the Waterford House in Waterford in October – the purpose of which is to nominate a candidate for the national Legislature.
Aug. 26, 1848 – Sheboygan Mercury newspaper article detailing a decision on giving away state owned lands authored by S.E. Chapman, Chairman of General Laws Committee.
Oct. 17, 1849 – At 75, Levi Barnes dies of consumption and was buried in Old Settlers Cemetery.
1850 – As written in the History of Racine and Kenosha County, page 315, Racine County split into Racine and Kenosha counties. Chapman appointed to the County Board.
1853 – From the History of Racine and Kenosha County, page 315, Chapman became Chairman of the County Board.
June 3, 1854 – The Racine Advocate published an ad about the formation of the Racine County League. Chapman was voted as the vice president of the organization the purpose of which was to protect the rights of all under the recently passed Fugitive Slave Act.
June 19, 1857 – Wisconsin State Journal publishes that on June 18, 1857, Chapman has been admitted to practice as an attorney in the State of Wisconsin.
June 9, 1858 – Waterford Post article published June 26, 1902 states the founding of the Masonic Lodge in Waterford on June 9, 1858 with Chapman listed as the highest-ranking member, the Worshipful Master.
1858 – Chapman raises the dam and increases the size of the mill. Lawsuits follow for many years.
Feb. 16, 1860 – The Racine Daily Journal article listing Chapman as a member of the Assembly District Committee of Republicans calling for a meeting on February 18 – at the Waterford House to appoint two delegates who will attend the State Republican Convention on February 29, 1860.
Sept. 12, 1860 – The Racine Advocate article detailing assignments from the County Republican Convention; Chapman was Chairman of the convention and one of the District delegates for Waterford.
October 29, 1860 – The Racine Daily Journal article about promoting the District Republican Party candidates for offices, including Abraham Lincoln, et al, and Chapman representing the 4th Assembly District in the State Legislature. They were to have a torch-light procession in Waterford before an oyster dinner.
October 29, 1860 –The Racine Daily Journal – Endorsement of Chapman for 4th Assembly District in the State Legislature. It details the law he authored regarding debts subject to extraction during settling debts (bankruptcy). He is ultimately elected.
Jan. 16, 1861 – The Racine Advocate article details the appointment of chairmen to standing committees, Chapman chaired the committee on State Prisons. The article also detailed legislation sponsored by Chapman to acknowledge seceding states as territories and that Wisconsin would stand with the Union at whatever hazard. He also introduced a resolution to publish the governor’s message in multiple languages.
March 1, 1862 – Wisconsin State Journal announces Chapman appointed as Trustee for Wisconsin Insane Hospital.
Jan. 23, 1863 – A Racine Advocate ad announcing the convention for the Third District Convention, Chapman as Chairman.
Sept. 3, 1863 – A Racine Advocate article about the Third Assembly District Convention, Chapman, as Chairman, and appointing various men as delegates.
Aug. 1, 1866 – Racine Advocate announcement of the founding of Racine Agricultural Society, Chapman is Vice President.
June 8, 1870 – Racine Journal announces the first meeting of the Old Settlers Society. A train from Waterford brought many participants. Chapman addresses the group describing his ordeal during his travel to the area.
Sept. 25, 1872 – At 64, Samuel E. Chapman dies and was buried in Old Settlers Cemetery. He was re-interred along with five other family members to the Rochester Cemetery June 30, 1897 as reported by the Burlington Free Press. In addition, Levi and Lucretia Barnes were also re interred at the Rochester Cemetery.
More information about Barnes’ and Chapman’s lives are found throughout this website
The offspring of the Barnes and Chapman families have long since scattered but the Barnes legacy continues in Waterford to this day – but not as the Barnes family name. Several families trace their lineage though marriage back to the Levi Barnes family name. The Chapman lineage did not continue in the Waterford area and scattered beyond the State. Following is a brief summary of the children of Barnes and Chapman.
Levi Barnes was born in May, 1778, in Middletown, Middlesex County, Connecticut. A local genealogist has traced his roots back to Lord Barnes who came to this country on the Mayflower. Besides Barnes being an itinerant preacher, it is not known what else he did to make a living for his family. Perhaps farming was the occupation since all his male offspring were farmers. His wife, Lucretia, “Lewey” was also born in Middletown. They married in 1758 and raised seven children. Lewey died in 1839, just two years after moving to Waterford.
An earlier pioneer, L.O. Whitman described him as “a man of earnestness and candor though sarcastic in expression”.
The Barnes had six children, Hiram, Sally Jane, Adeline, Harriet, Alpheus, Martha – all of whom eventually came to Waterford.
Hiram, and wife Adelia, were farmers owning 120 acres on the northeast side of today’s Milwaukee and Main streets. A large log cabin was built by Hiram and Levi and was to be the main family center for many generations. It was modernized before this picture was taken. At the time it was built, Both Levi and Hiram occupied the cabin.
Remodeled Barnes Log Home ca. 1900
Adeline married Samuel C. Russ, in 1834 at Batavia, New York. In 1839, the Russes followed Barnes and Chapman to Waterford. They started out with a small frame building and operated a tavern with meals for travelers. It was located just north and east of the Jefferson-Main Street intersection and in a few short years was quickly outgrown. Mrs. Russ was known for her quality meals and fine hospitality while Mr. Russ worked on his development of the village real estate. A triumvirate partnership of Barnes, Chapman and Russ was formed in June, 1842 to develop a village of streets, blocks and lots. Russ hired county surveyor Moses Vilas to make the first survey of the village which was completed and submitted to the Register of Deeds in July, 1842. A second survey in February, 1843, added blocks to the east side plus the village cemetery. The third survey in May, 1845, would become the real estate base for many years after.
About 1845, Russ recognized that he had the ideal location for his business on the county road and soon to be constructed, Plank Road. Russ built one of the first three-story brick structures in Racine County on the northeast corner of Main and Jefferson streets. The hotel rooms had “comfort-dealing fireplaces, wide halls and hospitable verandas. At the rear was a frame addition which contained the dining room and the kitchen and the living and sleeping quarters for the Russ family. This handsome building was the pride not only of its owner but also the entire community. The “spring floor” in the upper story of the addition was known through-out the county and stalwart youths drove prancing teams for many a mile to enjoy the reels and quadrilles danced upon its gleaming surface.”7 It would become the center of social activities, political rallies, and a meeting place for the community and travelers for many years. It survived until 1925 when it was razed and replaced by a filing station.
In 1849, Russ had the privilege of becoming the first Postmaster in Waterford with the Post Office located in the hotel. He also developed a mill site across the dam from Chapman. Over the years, ownership was passed along to his son-in-law and others. The mill was destroyed by fire in 1870 and not re-built.
The Russes are buried in the Rochester Cemetery under the name “Rust”.
Alpheus Barnes and wife Caroline were farmers, and later, moved with other members of their family, to Oketo, Kansas to live out their lives.
Martha Amelia married Richard Short who worked as a Mason in the Waterford area. Short joined the Civil War cause at age 44 and was taken prisoner in the battle of Fair Oaks, Virginia, He died at the Libby Prison in Richmond and was returned to Waterford where he was buried in the Old Settlers Cemetery.
Daughter Harriet, age 25, married Samuel Chapman, described as a young aspiring 24-year-old lawyer, in September of 1832. According to The History of Racine and Kenosha Counties1, Chapman was apparently practicing law in Batavia, New York at the time.
Samuel Elisha Chapman was born at Saratoga Lake, Saratoga County, in upper New York state on December 14, 1808. He was the son of Amos and Ruth Rider Chapman. His lineage is traced to the 1630’s in New London, Connecticut – the very early days of colonization by the English.
He and wife Harriet Barnes had one child, Irving, while setting out for the west. As a pioneer mother of seven children, it is best said that she was a full-time homemaker. While this family made its mark on the village, none of the offspring established their families here. The following photo on the left is from the UW Digital Archives labeled as the Chapman residence. However, the photo on the right is also from the Digital Archives and is also shown as the Chapman residence after remodeling. Similarities between the two are in question since there are several anecdotal notations indicating that the home was the first large frame house in Waterford. The first photo has a brick and stone exterior, different roof line, and chimney structure. .
Irving, on the right, (Charles on the left) was the oldest and is listed in the census as born in Indiana in 1834. The 1860 census lists him as a miller, perhaps working with his father in the family mill. Irving was married to Susan Foat from Rochester. By 1870, they had moved to Hanover Kansas where, again, the census lists him as a miller. According to the 1900 census, Irving, at 65, was widowed and moved to Payette, Idaho where he was living with his son, Samuel. Son Samuel was working as a station agent. Irving died January 29, 1911 and is buried at Morris Hill Cemetery, Boise, Idaho.
Ellen is reportedly the first female born in Waterford in 1839. While she never married, the 1860 Census listed her occupation as a music teacher, while in the 1870 Census, she is listed as schoolteacher. In 1869, she partnered with her sister Imogene in the millinery business located in her father’s building on the northwest corner of Main and River streets. In addition, she helped manage the affairs of the Chapman Estate, which was considerable at the time.
Attesting to her character and as stated in her obituary in the Waterford Post, November, 9, 1895 edition, “Her life was characterized by a steadfast devotion to others – an unselfish, unswerving desire to make their home a comfort and joy to all who were sheltered by its roof.
Entirely free from show or ostentatious, she quietly but firmly followed the path of duty and right, and is fully entitled to the reward. Well done thou good and faithful servant.” At age 56, Ellen died in October of 1895 and is buried in the Rochester cemetery alongside her parents and other siblings.
Chauncey was born January 25, 1842. He was the only one of three boys that was eligible to join the military for the Civil War in October, 1861. Achieving the rank of sergeant, he was captured September 19, 1863 at the battle of Chickamauga, Georgia. After escaping the prison camp, he mustered out Oct. 13, 1864. He fought in the same battle where Colonel Hans Heg was killed in action that same day.
After returning from the war, he married Emily Hewitt of Rochester on June 6, 1865. By 1870, the family moved to Oketo, Kansas, near where his brother Irving was located and was employed as a miller. In 1887, Chauncey partnered with Peter Anderson to buy the flour mill which they refitted with a new roller system.
Emily died in June, 1889. November 1890 saw 48-year-old Chauncey re-married to 29-year-old Edith Wright in Nemaha, Kansas. During 1895, Chauncey bought out his partner and continued operating the mill until his death in 1906. He is buried in Hanover, Kansas.
Chauncey followed in his father’s footsteps as noted in his obituary “He was untiring in his effort to merit patronage, fair minded and honorable in his dealings, he had won the esteem and good will of those with whom he associated and dealt.”
Mr. Chapman was a Mason, Knights Templar and a member of Ancient order of United Workmen and Woodman Lodges. A summary of his military service, as printed in the Waterford Post, January 29,1911 and January 8, 1925 editions, and follows:
Harriet Chapman Stone Turnbaugh was born in 1843. In 1868, she married Lafayette Stone, a blacksmith in Waterford, and had two children before he died in 1871 at age 25 – after only three years of marriage. After 10 years a widow, Harriet re-married two-time widower Joseph Turnbaugh, a farmer in Mt. Carroll, Illinois, and had one more child. A few years after she became widowed again, she moved back to Waterford to live with her daughter, Laura Stone until she died in April, 1921. She is buried in the Rochester Cemetery in the Chapman family plot.
Imogene, aka. “Genie”, was born in 1846, disabled (lame), and never married. That didn’t stop her from succeeding in life. She became an entrepreneur, owning a millinery store in her father’s building from around 1869 until shortly before she died in 1915. Her sister, Ellen, partnered with her until her death in 1895. In Imogene’s later years, and after her sister Ellen died, her niece, Laura Stone assisted her in the business. Along with the duties of running a business, Imogene was principal in managing the affairs of the Chapman Estate. As evidenced by her ad in the Waterford Post in 1877, her product and services would be very much in demand by the women in the village.
Note the small print in the ad:
“Are now showing a magnificent line of MILLINERY of all styles and prices” and “And a hundred other Novelties which must be seen to be appreciated.”
Ms. Chapman is buried in the family plot in Rochester.
Charles was born in 1848, the youngest of three brothers. Charles married his wife, Minerva, in Walworth County, in 1869. The 1870 Census listed his occupation as miller. By 1875, the family followed his brother’s footsteps and moved to Riley County, Kansas where he would spend the remainder of his life. Charles died in 1891 at the relatively young age of 43 and is buried in the Randolph Cemetery, Kansas.
Mary Chapman Jordan, aka. “Mate”, born in 1851, was the youngest child born in the Chapman family. At ages 19 and 29, the 1870 and 1880 censuses respectively, show her occupation as a school teacher. Mary became the wife of John Wilder Jordan in 1883 and operated a small store on Main Street for a few years and then left to live in Mason City, Iowa. The following obituary gives details of her life. The store referred to as Central Food Market was located on Main Street, about where the Community Room of the Waterford Public Library now stands.
Mary Chapman Jordan Obituary.
September 26, 1935, Waterford Post
Carriage in front of the Chapman home. Mary and Imogene in the back and Laura stone driving – ca. 1910. Photo and identification courtesy of Waterford Public Library Digital Archives.
Lead Researcher: Robert E. Gariepy, Sr.
NOTE: Should the reader have further documentation to enhance the content of this web page, please contact the Lead Researcher through email at: firstname.lastname@example.org. We are particularly interested in pictures or historic artifacts that may be shared. Credit will be given.
- The Grass Roots History of Racine and Kenosha Counties, Waterford Public Library History Room.
- Wisconsin Historical Society/Wisconsin County Histories, Author: James H. Beers & Co. – 1906, p.492
- Waterford Post, various editions.
- Waterford Public Library Digital Collection
- Racine Journal Times, various editions
- Racine Advocate, various editions
- Burlington Historical Society Collection
- Burlington Free Press, various editions
- Newspapers.com, various articles
- History of Racine County, Waterford Public Library, History Room.
- Jean Foat Collection
- Photos by Robert E. Gariepy, various
- History of Racine and Kenosha Counties, Western Publishing, 1879, Website: https://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/cgi-bin/WI/WI-idx?type=header;id=WI.HistoryofRacine
- Chicago’s Highways, Old and New, Milo Quaife, 1923. Website: https://archive.org/stream/chicagoshighways00quairich/chicagoshighways00quairich_djvu.txt
- Digital Research Library of Illinois History Journal. Website: https://drloihjournal.blogspot.com/search?q=old+jambeau+trail