Convention Member William Chapman

Convention Member
Born in Clarksburg, Virginia, (now West Virginia) on August 11, 1808. His father died when William was fourteen, at which time he left home to earn his own way. He was educated in the public schools, and then took a job as a court clerk, while studying law on his own time. In 1832, after reading law, he earned his law license and began practice in Middletown. Mr. Chapman married Margaret F. Ingraham in 1832, and had seven children with her. They moved to Macomb, Illinois in 1833, then to what is now Burlington, Iowa (then part of Michigan Territory) in 1835, where they were among the first settlers. The next year he became a prosecuting attorney, and was then appointed by United States President Andrew Jackson as United States Attorney for the Michigan Territory. In 1836, the Wisconsin Territory was formed from the western section of the Michigan Territory. He became the first U.S. Attorney for this new territory when it was created. He was elected as colonel of the militia in 1836 after moving to what is now Dubuque, Iowa. Then in 1838, the Iowa Territory was carved from the Wisconsin Territory. Mr. Chapman was elected as Iowa Territory’s first non-voting delegate to the United States House of Representatives. A Democrat, he served from September 10, 1838 to October 27, 1840, spanning portions of the Twenty-fifth and Twenty-sixth Congresses. While in Congress he introduced legislation for a pre-emption law, the first to do so in Congress. After his term expired, Chapman returned to Iowa, relocating in 1843 to Agency City in Wapello County. In 1844, he served as a delegate to Iowa’s Constitutional Convention, which was held in Iowa City and led to the entry of Iowa into the Union as the 29th state in 1846. Mr. Chapman left Iowa in 1847, traveling the Oregon Trail to the Oregon Country. He died in Portland on October 18, 1892, at the age of 84, and was buried at Lone Fir Cemetery in that city.