THE LEADING CITIZENS OF MADISON COUNTY

CONTENTS
Preface
Names Index
Portrait Index


     C. WILL CHAPPELL, one of the most prominent and distinguished citizens of Oneida, was born in the town of Cazenovia, Madison County, N.Y. April 5, 1845. He has a lineage far back in the history of New England, his great-grandparents being John and Barbara (Webster) Chappell, of Andover, Conn. Their son, the grandfather of the subject of our present sketch, was born in that town, June 14, 1793, and remained a resident there until 1831, when with his wife and four children, and bringing the household goods and provisions, he migrated to New York State, making the journey over land by teams. They stopped at the towns and taverns on their way, but, as they were provided with food, paid only for lodging and the use of a table. After seven days of hard travel they reached Cazenovia, and settled on the sixty-three-acre farm which he had purchased the previous year, paying twenty-three dollars per acre therefor. As he grew successful and acquired more money, he bought small parcels of land adjoining, soon making his farm consist of one hundred and twenty-six acres. He improved the property greatly by putting up good buildings, and at his death, which occurred February 5, 1878, in his eighty-sixth year, left most of this comfortable estate to a grandson, Charles A. Chappell, who died in 1890. The grand-father is buried in Evergreen Cemetery at Cazenovia, where a monument fittingly inscribed to his memory has been erected by his son, Chester L. Chappell. His family consisted of two sons and two daughters, and the maiden name of his wife was Esther Loomis. She was a native of Columbia, Tolland County, Conn., daughter of Asahel Loomis, her mother's maiden name being Woodard. This wife, who was of English origin, died September 5, 1849, aged fifty-two years.
   The father of our subject, Chester L. Chappell, was born August 21, 1819, at Andover, Conn., and was but twelve years old when he came to Madison County with his parents. At that time there were no railroads in New York State, and the Erie Canal was the great highway of commerce. He made the best use of what chances he had to secure an education, and attended the schools of Cazenovia and the seminary of that place. At the close of his school years he adopted agriculture as his life pursuit, and at the time of his marriage resided on his own farm in the town of Cazenovia, where he remained until the spring of 1879, and then removed to his present pleasant home, at No. 12 Sullivan Street, Cazenovia. His farm now contains but forty acres, he having sold parcels of it from time to time. His wife was Miss Sarah Maria Jackson, born in Windham County, Vermont, December 3, 1822, daughter of Jonas and Rachael (Wilson) Jackson. She was but two years of age when her parents died, and was adopted into the family of Jacob F. Streeter. They removed to Massachusetts, and in 1828 came to the town of Fenner, Madison County, where she was brought up.
   To Mr. and Mrs. Chester L. Chappell were born seven children: C. Will; John Watson, born August 22, 1847, married, and has three children; Esther Maria, born October 4, 1849, died January 6, 1876, leaving one daughter, Esther M. Davis, who is now an interesting young lady of eighteen years, and a student at the Cazenovia Seminary; Adoniram Judson, born November 14, 1851, died, unmarried, February 23, 1872; George Jackson, born December 27, 1853, died March 24, 1874; Emma, one of twin girls, born August 12, 1856, is now Mrs. E. E. Torrey, of Oneida, and has a son fourteen years of age; Nellie J., wife of Dr. J. E. Salisbury, of Cazenovia, born March 17, 1861, has two little daughters, Helen and Margery.
   C. Will Chappell attended the district school and later the Cazenovia Seminary, obtaining a good practical education, although at the age of fifteen he went to work, becoming a clerk in the employ of Charles Crandall, dealer in books and stationery, and also publisher of school books. Two years later his father purchased an interest in that store for him, and the firm became Crandall & Chappell. The next year his father bought the interest of Mr. Crandall, and the firm was then known as Chappell & Son; but the entire management of the business was left to the son. Afterward the father sold his half-interest to Mr. Watkins; and this firm remained until 1866, when Mr. Chappell sold out, and engaged with the firm of Woodworth Graham, manufacturers of blank books, envelopes, etc., and went as a commercial traveller in their interest for three years through the North-west. At the end of that time he formed a partnership in a book and stationery business in Atchison, Kan., with a Mr. Heim, but sold out in a few months, and returned East. This was in the fall of 1870, and in March of that year he came to the village of Oneida. With Mr. Benjamin E. Chase he started in a gents' furnishing and clothing business in the Devereaux Building on Main Street. They were so successful from the start that they soon found their store accommodation insufficient, and moved into the Monroe Opera House Block. In 1877, together with Mr. J. F. Tuttle, they purchased the business of E. W. Jones (deceased), this being the manufacture of undertakers' goods. Mr. Chappell gave all his attention to this branch, while Mr. Chase attended to the clothing department. In addition to this, they engaged in the sale of caskets to the trade, and in 1879 sold the clothing store, and purchased the casket factory of Maxwell, McWeeney & Co., of Rochester, N. Y. The same year they erected a building in Oneida, and removed the plant hither, established a warehouse in Rochester, and in 1881 a branch house in New York City. In 1879 the firm name was Chappell, Chase, Maxwell & Co., our subject being the President of the corporation.
   This company conducted the business most successfully, enlarging the plant from time to time, until in 1890 it was purchased by the National Casket Company, the latter being a corporation capitalized for three millions of dollars under the manufacturing act of the State of New York of 1848. The National Casket Company also purchased the Stein Manufactory of Rochester, N. Y., the plant of Hamilton Lemon, Arnold & Co. of Allegheny, Pa., the Boston Casket Company of Boston, Mass., and the Maryland Burial Case Company of Baltimore, Md. This multiplicity of enterprises has been under one management since. Mr. Chappell was chosen Vice-President and general manager of the company, and still holds his position. Since then the National Casket Company have established branch houses at Chicago, Ill., Pittsburg(sic), Pa., Brooklyn, and Albany, N. Y., having also purchased a factory at Hoboken, N. J.; and under the skill, tact, and intelligence of Mr. Chappell, who has to a large extent the supervision and general management of the whole, the business has increased to its present enormous proportions, and has proved a very successful undertaking. His early and thorough business training, and the careful attention which he has given to all details in the various business enterprises with which he has been associated, have enabled him to grasp rapidly the most intricate problems that arise out of his business transactions, and to make up his mind readily, quickly forming an opinion based on sound judgment and accurate knowledge.
   While Mr. Chappell's affairs require his attention out of town much of the time, and compel him also to keep an office in New York City, yet he is naturally a man of domestic and social tastes, and is never so well contented as when pleasantly domiciled in his own comfortable home, surrounded by friends and in the company of his accomplished and agreeable wife. During the long years of his personal and business associations in the village of Oneida he has always been characterized by his public spirit, and has supported with a generous hand all enterprises calculated to promote the physical or moral improvement of his village and county, and has ever in a quiet and unostentatious manner extended the hand of Christian charity to those deserving and in need.
   Among the prominent and public-spirited enterprises of Oneida with which Mr. Chappell is still connected are: the 0. W. Sage Manufacturing Company of which he is Vice-President and a Director; the Oneida Valley Bank, of which he is a Director; and the Oneida Savings Bank, of which he is Trustee. He is also interested in the Oneida Carriage Works and the Oneida Chuck Company. He supported liberally and labored earnestly for the Oneida Water Works, and assisted greatly in the establishment of the street railway from the New York Central Railroad to Oneida Castle. He was the first man in the village to put a telephone into his private residence, and the local fire company has always found in him a generous supporter. His progressive spirit is manifested in other than business spheres of activity; and he has ever proved a strong advocate of popular education, taking an active part in the establishment of the Union School system, and being at the present time a Trustee of the Cazenovia Seminary.
   Realizing, however, that secular education should be accompanied by moral and religious training in order not to prove a menace to the community, he has been ever among the foremost in promoting such institutions as have for their object the moral advancement of the community and the spreading of true Christian principles, and is a Trustee of the Cochran Memorial Church of Oneida Castle, and superintendent of their Sunday-school. His political affiliations are with the Democratic party; and for some years he took quite an active part in local and State politics, especially during the campaigns of 1884 and 1888, persistently declines to accept any official honors. Fraternally, he has been for years prominently associated with the Masons, being a member of Doric Chapter, No. 193, R. A. M., of Oneida, of which he was High Priest for several years. He is also a member of Syracuse Commandery, No. 25, K. T., of Syracuse, N. Y., and of the Consistory of the same place.
   Mr. Chappell has been twice married,--first, November 5, 1869, to Miss Emily C. Bridge, who was born at Oneida Castle, N. Y., and was a daughter of J. L. and Clarissa Bridge. She died September 4, 1872. Mr. Chappell was again married on the 10th of November, 1884, to Miss Mary Wells, of Oneida Castle, N. Y. In 1886 he built his present beautiful residence, in the best style of modern architecture, at the corner of Elizabeth and Grove Streets. It is a charming place, with beautiful trees and exquisitely kept lawns, dotted here and there with flowering shrubs.
   This gentleman's success in his life-work is a striking illustration of what can be accomplished by wisely directed energy, accompanied by a progressive spirit. He early commenced to work, and has never been afraid to turn his hand to any enterprise in which he saw success. Throughout his career he has so regulated his conduct toward his fellow-men as to win their respect and esteem; and his many admiring friends in Madison County and elsewhere will view with interest and pleasure the portrait which accompanies this biographical sketch, and faithfully reproduces the well-known lineaments of this popular, progressive, and useful citizen.

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