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Caleb P. Chapman
By Charles Dailey - 2003

At a Glance:
Born: St. Clair Co., IL in 1810
Married: Elizabeth Smith - 1842
Emigrated:From Fayetteville, AR - 1848
Settled: Salem area
Family:See list
Preached:Bethany Church near Silverton
Died:1892 in Salem
Buried:Pioneer Cemetery, Salem, OR

Caleb Peacock Chapman was raised as a Methodist, but came to understand that we can be Christians only and that immersion is a part of the salvation process. He was baptized by his cousin, Elijah Goodwin in 1838. (Elijah Goodwin's mother was Mary Polly Chapman.) He immediately wanted to tell others what he had done and began preparing to preach the gospel of Christ.

Caleb Chapman was ordained to the ministry at the church at Cynthiana, Indiana and continued preaching for most of the years of his life. He purchased and farmed 40 acres near Fayetteville, Washington County, Arkansas. He sold this prior to coming over the Oregon Trail in 1848. William Porter of Aumsville was a member of the same overland party.

Caleb Chapman had married Elizabeth Smith of Bedford County, Virginia when he was 32 years old. The wedding was held in Arkansas.

Upon arriving in Marion County, the Chapman family farmed the land where the Rickey Schoolhouse was later built, close to Macleay Road SE, east of Salem. He may have been a moving force in establishing the long-forgotten Antioch Church, just three miles east of Rickey on Howell Prairie Road.

Click here for details about the Antioch Church.

About this time, he wrote to the Christian Record:

I have been proclaiming the glad tidings to the best of my ability, for some 18 months, in this new country, and during that time we have organized several congregations, numbering some thirty members, some more and some less, and besides these I have had the pleasure of baptizing many penitent believers throughout the country, and have obtained quite a number of proselytes from the sects.
Christian Record, August 1852, page 62

Later he took a Donation Land Claim of 456 acres on Howell Prairie, northeast of Salem. It was located at the northwest corner of Howell Prairie Road and Lardon Road, with the main portion along Lardon. His DLC document was affirmed by Noah Powell.

In 1851, preacher Chapman was involved in establishing the Bethany Church near Silverton. The founding covenant of the church shows the flavor of the times:

Bethany Christian Church
Built in 1858

Oregon territory, Marion County, April 1851.

We whose names are first subscribed, having in consideration the necessity of uniting ourselves into church order did, on the fourth Lord's Day of April, eighteen hundred and on the waters of the Pudding River, under the superindence of the eldership of C.P. Chapman (presiding) and by the consent of each other, agree and covenant together to first give ourselves to the Lord and then to one another, to watch over each other for good, to enable ourselves to keep all the ordinances of the House of God more prefectly; and we are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone.

Abbott Levi Todd and Angeline Todd were members in those earliest days. She was baptized into Christ at Bethany. They later settled in Douglas County and finished out their days serving the Lord there.

The Chronicles of the Mill Creek Church in Aumsville records that Elder Chapman preached there July 25, 1858. The report is over the signature of William Porter, Caleb's friend from the Oregon Trail days. Mr. Chapman preached there on other occasions, too.

The Chapmans sold the farm and settled in Salem in 1862. He became an elder at First Christian Church in Salem, along with Governor George L. Woods.

His obituary says, "Mr. Chapman's nature was kind and generous and charitably inclined toward the frailties of his fellow creatures."

Caleb and Elizabeth are buried in the Pioneer Cemetery in Salem.

Photos courtesy of Tracey Saucy.

Caleb P. Chapman (1810-) & Elizabeth Smith (1819-)
|    John Aurelis Chapman (1853-) & Lucy Althena Barnum     
|    Harriett (Hattie) Chapman & Charles Bowker   
|    Harriett (Hattie) Chapman & Thomas B. Jackson
|    Caleb A. Chapman 
|    Sadie Chapman  & David McFadden 

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