In the affairs of his part of the grefct state of Illinois James Clinton Chapman is a leader, and happily in the case of a man of so much influence as he possesses, he is progressive and public-spirited. Although for many years identified with mercantile business, Mr. Chapman since 1905 has given the greater part of his attention to agriculture, owning a fine farm of five hundred and thirty acres and a half interest in the old Oliver farm north of Vienna. He is scientific in his agricultural methods, and not only has lent his assistance to certain experimental endeavors, but has also profited by them very materially in the cultivation of his own land. He has been particularly successful as a stock-breeder and has raised some of the finest stock in this part of the state. He has taken an active part in the adoption of the best educational methods procurable, for he is fully cognizant of the important part education plays in the life of the nation.

Mr. Chapman was born February 10, 1856, in Johnson county, Illinois, the son of Daniel C. and Mary Elizabeth (Groves) Chapman, the former a brother of Hon. P. T. Chapman. The Chapman family is, in truth, one long established in this country and some of the subject's ancestors were soldiers in the Revolutionary war. James Clinton Chapman was educated in the district school and worked upon the old homestead farm until the age of twenty-three years. He then concluded to to try town life for a time and became a clerk in a mercantile business in Vienna, in which capacity he remained for the space of seven years. In 1885, when thoroughly familiar with the business in all its departments, he, in association with his brothers, Tobias and Pleasant, established a mercantile business, the firm being known as Chapman Brothers, and, good fortunes being the result of their fine management and unimpeachable business methods, they continued together for a period of twenty years, or until 1905. In that year Mr. Chapman disposed of his interests in the concern and removed to his present farm of five hundred and thirty acres, in whose management he has ever since been successfully engaged. As previously mentioned, he also owns a half interest with C. H. Gillespie in the old Oliver farm of four hundred acres north of Vienna. He is an extensive raiser of draft horses and Angus cattle, having eight head of the latter on one of his farms and sixty-six head on the other. He has twenty-one head of draft horses at the present time. He built a handsome and commodious home, which further enhances the attractiveness and desirability of his property.

For five years Mr. Chapman has been a director of the Pair Association and in 1910 he served as president of the Vienna school board, having on several occasions been a member of the same. He was serving in 1899 when the Vienna school board authorized the erection of the new high school building. Prom 1896 to 1902 he was a member of the State Board of Agriculture of Illinois. At the present time he is vice-president of the Illinois State Live Stock Breeders' Association. He is one of the most popular and prominent of lodge men and he is represented in various orders. His Masonic affiliation is with the Blue Lodge, the Chapter and he is eligible to the white-plumed helmet of the Knight Templar. He belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, including the Encampment, and he is also connected with the Knights of Pythias and the Eastern Star. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church and in politics is Republican; having given his allegiance to the "Grand Old Party" since his earliest voting days.

On November 28, 1889, Mr. Chapman laid one of the most important stones in the foundation of his success by his marriage to Eliza Ann Oliver, daughter of James and Aveline (Smith) Oliver. Her grandfather Oliver served as county judge for many years in Johnson county. Aveline Smith is the daughter of Barney Smith, one of the pioneers of Southern Illinois. They share their happy and hospitable home with six children, five of whom are sons. They are as follows: Oliver, a graduate of the Vienna high school, class of 1911; James, of the class of 1912; Robert; Joseph; Mary, and George.

Extracted 07 Nov 2018 by Norma Hass from History of Southern Illinois, by George Washington Smith, published in 1912, volume 3, pages 1469-1470.

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