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Below is a family biography included in the Biographical Review Volume of Biographical Sketches of The Leading Citizens of Hampshire County, Massachusetts published by Biographical Review Publishing Company in 1896.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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HENRY R. CHASE, whose portrait* accompanies this brief sketch of his honorable career to the present date, enlisted as a private in the Civil War, and during his three years of service was gradually promoted till he reached the rank of Major. He is now a commercial traveller, residing at Northampton, Mass., and is widely known as a comrade of the Grand Army of the Republic and as a prominent Knight Templar. He was born January 26, 1838, in the town of Guilford, Vt., and there reared to a sturdy manhood. His father, Henry S. Chase, who was born in the same place, December 12, 1811, was a son of Jonathan Chase, a native of Pomfret, Conn., born November 24, 1776.

His grandfather was three times married, his first two wives having been sisters bearing the name of Stuart; and his last wife was Sophia Houghton. Two sons and five daughters were born of his marriages, all of whom grew to mature years, the youngest to die being Caroline, who passed away when but sixteen years old. Three of his daughters married Universalist ministers, one, Mary, being the wife of the Rev. Levi Ballou, a nephew of the Rev. Hosea Ballou, the “Father of Universalism.” Jonathan Chase was a prosperous farmer, and spent the larger part of his fourscore years of life in Guilford, where his death occurred in January, 1856.

Henry S. Chase received an excellent academic education, and was engaged as a teacher for nearly eighty terms. He was also superintendent of schools for many years, and served in the other town offices. He was strongly interested in military tactics, and organized a company of militia, of which he was chosen Captain. In 1836 he married Lucy M. Weatherhead, a daughter of Ira Weatherhead, a carpenter of Guilford, and they became the parents of three children, namely: Lucy Ann and Henry R., twins; and a daughter named Ellen, who died in infancy. Lucy Ann Chase passed to the higher life when seventeen years old. The mother died in 1842, being but twenty-nine years of age; and the father afterward married Martha Ward, a daughter of Henry Ward. Six children were born of this union, two of whom are deceased, Elizabeth having died when five years old, and Albert at the age of thirty-nine years, leaving a wife, now deceased, and one daughter. The record of the four living is as follows: Eliza P. is the wife of John E. Treveres, of Springfield; Jennie M., wife of Albert R. Willard, of Greenfield; Mary E., wife of Henry Rugg, of Brattleboro, Vt. ; and Etta E., the wife of David A. Young, of Brattleboro. The father departed this life February 24, 1892; and his widow a few weeks later, March 5, 1892.

Henry R. Chase was prepared for college at Powers Institute, subsequently spending one year at Middlebury College. He began teaching when a beardless boy of sixteen years, and taught much of the time thereafter until 1870, his first experience being in the district schools. Afterward he taught in the high school of Newport, N. H., and at Guilford, Vt. This position he resigned in 1862 to become a defender of his country, enlisting August 11, in Company E, Eleventh Vermont Volunteer Infantry, as a private. On the organization of the company Mr. Chase was appointed Second Sergeant, being promoted September 6, 1862, to the rank of Second Lieutenant, and August 19, 1863, to the rank of First Lieutenant. In that month the regiment was changed to artillery; and on January 30, 1865, Lieutenant Chase was appointed Captain of Battery M. This was followed by still another promotion, he being made Major of the First Vermont Artillery, July 25, 1865. He was an active participant in many of the most important battles of the Rebellion, winning distinction by his brave and meritorious conduct. For eleven months he was a prisoner, having been taken in front of Petersburg, and being confined from June 23, 1864, until July 3, 1864, in Libby Prison, whence he was taken successively to Lynchburg, Danville, and Macon, Ga., being in the last place from July 10 until August 25. He was next sent to Savannah, thence to Charleston, S.C., and from there to Columbia, Charlotte, and Raleigh, and thence to Goldsboro, where he was paroled on March 3, 1865. He, with a comrade, Lieutenant Parker, made several ineffectual attempts to escape while en route to Charleston, having learned that they were to go there via Savannah. They agreed to jump the train near Fort Motte, and did so October 6, making their escape into the woods, but were recaptured. On March 8, five days after his parole, Major Chase reached Annapolis. He was given a month’s furlough, which he spent at home. He rejoined his regiment at Danville, Va., where he was discharged, August 25, 1865, and was then sent to Burlington, Vt., on special duty, reaching his home on the 22d of the following month.

On April 11, 1865, while on his furlough, Mr. Chase was united in marriage with Mary L. Wheeler, of Guilford, a daughter of Deacon Stephen and Maria (Emerson) Wheeler, the former of whom died in December, 1887. Mrs. Wheeler is now a remarkably strong and active woman for her age, eighty-one years. Two children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Chase: Lucy M. and Charles H. Lucy M., who was a student of the Smith College and subsequently graduated from the Westfield State Normal School, is now a successful teacher at the Easthampton High School. Charles H., a resident of this city, married Josephine Thompson; and they are the parents of one son, Leland Henry. Mrs. Mary L. Chase’s married life was not of long duration, she having passed to the silent land in 1874, in the thirty-fifth year of her age. On August 19, 1875, Mr. Chase was united in wedlock with Elvira H. Wheeler, a sister of his former wife. The only child of their union is Mary Louise, an ambitious and faithful student of eleven years, who during the school years of 1 894 and 1895, was neither absent, tardy, nor dismissed from school, a record worthy of note. For twenty-three years Mr. Chase has travelled for Springfield houses, the past two years representing the well-known firm of Forbes & Wallace. In 1885 he purchased his present home lot of two acres, erecting his fine residence the same year. He is a steadfast Republican in his political views, and while in Guilford held the various town offices. Mr. Chase is a member of the First Baptist Church, of William L. Baker Post, No. 86, Grand Army of the Republic, and in Masonry has taken the thirty-third degree, and is Past High Priest of Northampton Royal Arch Chapter, and Eminent Commander of Northampton Commandery of Knights Templars.

*Editor's note: Portrait was included in the original printed book.

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This family biography is one of the numerous biographies included in the Biographical Review Volume of Biographical Sketches of The Leading Citizens of Hampshire County, Massachusetts published in 1896. 

View additional Hampshire County, Massachusetts family biographies here: Hampshire County, Massachusetts Biographies

View a map of 1901 Hampshire County, Massachusetts here: Hampshire County Massachusetts Map

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