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  • Writer's pictureJessica Feinstein

Mary Chapman, and a soldier in the Union Army

Mary Chapman was Ari’s 5x great-grandmother. She came from Pinchbeck in Lincolnshire, where she was baptised on 20 July 1760. Her parents were John Chapman and Frances Bell, and she was their first child.

Mary’s father John, who was a labourer, died when she was only sixteen. On 12 May 1793 Mary married William Cawthorn. Their first child, John, was born the following year, followed by Martha and William both in 1796 (January and December) and James in 1799 who died as a baby. Ari’s ancestor Frances Chapman Cawthorn was the next child, and the youngest two were Robert and another James.

This son James married Jane Chapman, and had a son called Chapman Cawthorn, born in 1832. In 1858, Mary's grandson Chapman emigrated to Illinois, USA.

The Sleaford Gazette of 10 July 1858 reported that 4,683,194 people had emigrated from the United Kingdom between 1815 and 1857. Of these, 1,170,342 went to North America, and 613,615 to Australia and New Zealand. The report ended by saying: “We earnestly hope our countrymen will not have to regret the step they have taken, and that in a far-off land they may obtain that livelihood which the mother country failed to afford them; and we heartily wish them God speed!” (p. 2)

Of course we don't know exactly why Chapman decided to emigrate. He had been a farmer, and perhaps he was struggling to make a living. He became a Private in the Illinois Infantry (30th Regiment) and fought in the Union Army in the American Civil War. His description in the Databases of Illinois Veterans Index says that he was 5’4” with black hair, grey eyes and a fair complexion. He signed up for three years. He married Sarah Jane Morris in Illinois in 1871, and they had two children, Lucina and James.

Civil War Pensions Index, NARA. Fold3

Find a Grave, database and images ( accessed 02 September 2022), memorial page for Chapman Cathorn. Sulphur Springs Cemetery, Loami, Sangamon County, Illinois, USA. Daniel W. Stowell.

Mary died in 1830 and was buried on 6 January.

Ari, this is how you are related to Mary:

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