Biography of Hon. Albert W. Chapin

Hon. Albert W. Chapin, one of the pioneers of the slate quarrying industry in Monson, an ex-State Senator, and a Civil War veteran, was born in this town, June 11, 1842, son of Arctas and Mary W. (Whiting) Chapin. A descendant of the Chapin family, he is of English or Welsh origin. Chapins have figured prominently among the early settlers of Springfield, Massachusetts. The immigrant ancestor, Samuel, came to the country with a brother, who was killed by the Indians soon after his arrival. Samuel settled in Springfield, and was the progenitor of a numerous posterity.

Captain Amasa Chapin, grandfather of the subject of this sketch, was born in Monson, Massachusetts, in 1782. When a young man he served as Captain in the Massachusetts State militia. In 1819 he settled as a pioneer in Monson, Maine, where he acquired possession of a tract of wild land one mile square. After clearing a farm here he cultivated it during the rest of his active period, and was one of the stirring men of this locality in his day. He attended the first town meeting, and took an active part in organizing the town government, in which he was for many years a prominent factor. In politics he was a Whig. He died in 1852. Of his two children, one lived to maturity.

Aretas Chapin, son of Captain Amasa Chapin, was born in Monson in 1806. Having assisted his father for a time in carrying on the farm, he succeeded to the property, and sold it in 1840. Moving then to the village, he purchased a saw and grist mill, which he operated until 1872 In 1861 he became the proprietor of the Hotel Chapin, in which he continued to entertain the traveling public until a few years previous to his death, which occurred in 1878. He served as a Selectman for nearly twenty years, was a County Commissioner for the years 1858, 1859, and 1860, represented his district in the legislature for one term, and held other elective offices. He took especial interest in educational matters, and was one of the founders of the Monson Academy. In his later years his political faith was that of the Republican party, while his religious belief was the Congregational. His wife, Mary W. Chapin, who was born in Wrentham, Massachusetts, about the year 1810, became the mother of five children. Of these, three are living, namely: Albert W., the subject of this sketch; Emily C., the wife of Charles A. Wentworth, a prosperous farmer of Ontario, Iowa; and Charles W. Chapin, an engineer in Sioux City, Iowa. The others were: Francis M. and J. Henry Chapin. The mother, who survives the father, resides in Monson.

Albert W. Chapin completed his education at the Monson Academy. In July, 1862, he enlisted in the Eighteenth Regiment, later known as the First Maine Heavy Artillery. This regiment saw an unusual amount of hard fighting, and distinguished itself on several notable occasions, especially in the battle of Spottsylvania and at the siege of Petersburg, in both of which it is claimed that it lost a greater percentage of men than any other regiment in the service. Mr. Chapin remained with his company until the close of the war, excepting a period of four months spent in the hospital on account of a severe wound received in front of Petersburg. After he was mustered out in October, 1865, he returned to Monson, and was clerk of Hotel Chapin for the ensuing five or six years. While there his attention was attracted to the future possibilities of slate quarrying in Monson, which up to that time had received little or no notice. In 1871, he began the development of what has since proved one of the most important industries of this section, the Monson and Burmah Quarry. The product of this quarry has acquired a high reputation among the builders throughout the country. While still retaining a connection with that enterprise, Mr. Chapin has become the owner of three undeveloped quarries and some valuable tracts of timber land, is interested in lumbering, and deals in real estate.

A member of the Board of Selectmen for seventeen years, Mr. Chapin has been the chairman of that body for sixteen years of the period. He was elected to the State Senate in 1891, and he served as Postmaster for eight years. At the present time he is the Treasurer of Doric Lodge, F. & A. M., of which he was Worshipful Master for two years; and he is a comrade of Gerry Post, No. 5, G. A. R. He occupies a prominent and influential position among the well-to-do business men of Monson, and is highly respected for his ability and upright character. Mr. Chapin is unmarried.

Source: Biographical review: containing life sketches of leading citizens of Somerset, Piscataquis, Hancock, Washington, and Aroostook counties, Maine. Boston: Biographical Review Publishing Company, 1898.

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