The Chapman Family


My parents were Levy D. and Clemmie Rogers Friend of Ivydale, Clay County, West Virginia. My grandmother Friend was Rosanna Butler, daughter of Oliver Marion and Mary Jane Brock Butler. Oliver Marion Butler's father was Jeremiah Butler who married Margaret J. Chapman. It is the Friend/Butler/Chapman family connections starting with Margaret Chapman and beyond that I wish to cover in this presentation. Individuals wishing to research the Chapman descendents of Margaret are directed to the references given at the end of this narrative.

At the present time, the earliest known Chapman in Margaret's line was Jacob Chapman who was born at Staunton, Virginia, about 1755. Jacob died in what is now Nicholas County, West Virginia, between 1840 and 1850.

Jacob went to Greenbrier County, Virginia (now W.Va.) by 1771 and acquired considerable land. He served in the militia at different times during the American Revolution and later received a veteran's pension. He was one of the rescue party that relieved Donnally's Fort in Greenbrier County when it was attacked by Indians in May 1778. One historical account of Fort Donnally follows:

Fort Donnally was situated near the present town of Frankford, (West Virginia) ten miles north of Lewisburg, in Falling Spring District, Greenbrier County. The actual site of Donnally's Fort is on Raiders Valley Road, 8 miles west of Lewisburg, West Virginia, reached by taking present day Route 60. Both the entrance to Raiders Valley Road and the fort site are marked.

Fort Donnally was erected by Colonel Andrew Donnally in 1771, while the locality was still in Botetourt County. It consisted of a large two-storied double log-house surrounded by a palisade wall and was, therefore, of the class known as Stockade Forts. It was attacked in 1778 by a large body of Indians who maintained the struggle throughout the day. It was defended by twenty men who, with their families had taken refuge therein, until about four o'clock in the evening, when reinforcements arrived from Lewisburg and the Indians withdrew. This was one of the most important actions of the border wars in West Virginia. The fort-the double house- was demolished in 1825, the logs being well filled with bullets fired into them on that battle. Click here for more information on Fort Donnally.

Jacob Chapman married Margaret Burns on June 16, 1779. Margaret was probably a daughter of a James Burns who was killed during the attack on Donnally's Fort.

As noted above, Jacob received a Federal Pension for his Revoluntary War service. His pension started in 1834 when he was 81 years old. A record of this pension can be found in the records of Nicholas County, West Virginia.

By 1797, Jacob Chapman and his family had moved to what is now Nicholas County, West Virginia, but he kept one parcel of land in Greenbrier County until 1819.

Jacob and Margaret Burns Chapman had two children. These children were William O. (born about 1782 married Frances F. Wilson 1805 and died Dec. 25, 1874), and Jacob Jr. (born 1788 and died about 1855).

William O. Chapman, son of Jacob and Margaret, as noted above married Frances F. Wilson in 1805. Frances was born in Virginia about 1787. Their marriage is recorded in Kanawha County, West Virginia.

William and Frances had five children. These children were Margaret J. (born about 1805 and married Jeremiah Butler), William C. (married Velicity V. ?), Jacob (married Mary "Polly" Hamrick, then Sarah J. Jarrett and then another Mary Hamrick), Andrew Jackson (married Rebecca Margaret Wood and then Nancy Keziah Hall, born c. 1838, on January 5, 1858, in Braxton County, Va., (now W.Va.), and John C. (married Ludy Ann Bowman, Julia Ann Williams, Sarah J. ? and Alice Ray). Janet Reeves of Lebanon, Pennsylvania, a great grand daughter of John C. Chapman, questions the validity of John's wives. Her data raises doubts about John's marriage to Lucy Ann Bowman and Alice Ray. Using a Philip Chapman Family Bible, her information shows that John married Julia Ann Williams July 1, 1847, who died on February 16, 1855. He then married Sarah Collison on January 18, 1856. And a photo provided by Janet (shown below) of the grave marker for John and Sara shows that he did preceed her in death. Hence the doubt cast on John's marriage to Alice Ray.

William O. Chapman and his family are identified by one source as living in 1835 on Elk River, probably close to the present limits of Clay County, West Virginia. Another source states that Margaret J. Chapman, William's daughter, was living at Red House Run on the Elk River when she married Jeremiah Butler in Nicholas County, Virginia (now W.Va.), on August 19, 1825. Jeremiah Butler, a son of Joseph and Elizabeth Butler, was born in New York about 1795 and had come with his family to the Nicholas County area no later than 1825.

Jeremiah and Margaret Chapman Butler's homeplace was on the Moore Fork (or Butler Fork) of Big Otter in what is now Clay County, West Virginia. Their children (with their spouses) were: William Francis (Elliander Rogers), Oliver Marion (Mary Jane Brock), Louisa J. (Washington M. Wilson), George W. (unmarried), and Martha (Thomas Cadle, then Amos Nelson).

When the Civil War broke out, one report has it that Jeremiah and his son Oliver both enlisted in the Confederate Army and that both were captured and sent to the Yankee prison at Camp Chase, Ohio. Oliver was exchanged and survived, but Jeremiah never came home again. This report goes on to state that the family supposed he died at Camp Chase, but probably it was at the Johnson's Island Prison, where a tombstone is marked, "J R B".

A more likely explanation of Jeremiah's fate is given by Clayburn Pierson, a comtemporary of Jeremiah's, who writes in his article "Early History of Clay County" that "Mr. Butler was accused (and from all the circumstances which I have been able to obtain, the charge was just) of giving aid and comfort to Confederate soldiers. He was sent to and confined in Camp Chase where he died."

Jeremiah and Margaret originally had some 2100 acres of land on their farm. After Jeremiah's failure to return from the War, Margaret apparently continued to live on the farm and when Oliver Marion Butler married Mary Jane Brock, they moved in with her. However, Margaret,at some unspecified date, moved to Calhoun County where she reportedly died and is buried although this has never been verified. Art Friend


The above article was written by Arthur R. Friend in October of 1997. Sources drawn on in the preparation of this presentation were:

1. Don Norman Internet Site:

2. "The Chapman Family - A Study in the Social Development of Central West Virginia" by Berlin B. Chapman

3. "The West Virginia Heritage Encyclopedia, Volume Six, pp 169 - 171"

4. "The West Virginia Heritage Encyclopedia, Volume Eight, p 1698"

5. "Early History of Clay County" by Clayburn Pierson

6. "Chapman Family Sketch" by Berlin D. Chapman, PHD

7. Information provided by Mary Butler Anderson

8. "History of Clay County, W.V. 1989"