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Below is a family biography included in Portrait and Biographical Record of Berrien and Cass Counties, Michigan published by Biographical Publishing Company in 1893.  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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H. L. CHAPMAN. One of the most successful and representative concerns in the city of Marcellus is that conducted by H. L. Chapman, who is the manufacturer of Chapman’s Portable Forges. In these forges the main general features of the best of other makes is preserved, and to them are added such practical improvements as years of careful study and skilled mechanical genius could devise, aided by suggestions from hundreds of experienced smiths. In simplicity, durability and economy, this forge far surpasses all others. They are strongly built and have fewer wearing parts than any other, hence are less liable to get out of order.

The fan is bolted direct to the bottom of the hearth and fire pit, holding it firmly and avoiding long cast-iron supports, liable to break in shipping. The fan is so located that a part of its body is above the opening to the fire pit, and the ash pit is so arranged that cinders do not fall inside the fan case. Should anything get into the fan case the fan blades, by their first quarter-turn, will carry it direct to the discharge opening, and, unlike others, they do not have to carry it back and up over the top of the fan to get it out; hence this fan is never clogged or injured by cinders, The fan is located nearer to its work, and has a shorter and more direct air passage from fan to fire than any other forge. It is driven by the only intermittent grip clutch that has ever been patented, in which there is absolutely no lost motion; that is, it locks automatically and positively at any point of the circle before the lever starts on its driving stroke.

This, together with the automatic take-up spring attached to the head piece of the lever, taking up all slack in the winding straps, causes the fan to start at once on pressing down the lever, thus avoiding a quick, downward motion and sudden stop at the beginning of each stroke, as in all ratchet-geared machines, and which is more tiresome to the operator than the actual work done. The wear in this clutch does not cause it to slip, but makes it grip the firmer. The clutch is made with adjustable bearings, to compensate for wear, and will last from twenty to fifty years, when they can be renewed in a few moments without further cost, making the clutch as good as new. In these forges the pit is cast separate from the hearth and bolted on in such a manner as to avoid the strain caused by expansion from heating, hence they do not crack. The shafting is all cold-rolled steel. And last, but not least, this is the only forge in which the fan, shaft boxes, clutch, bearings and all important wearing parts can be quickly renewed by the smith himself, without employing a machinist or sending for new parts.

Mr. Chapman was born in Newburg, Cass County, Mich., on the 20th of March, 1849, to the marriage of Amory Harrison and Lucinda (Hastings) Chapman. The father was a native of Vermont but moved to Ohio with his parents when a boy. His great-grandfather was a soldier in the War of 1812. Amory Chapman attained his growth in Medina County, Ohio, and was married there to Miss Hastings. Later he emigrated to Cass County, Mich., settled in Newburg Township, which was then in a wild state, and there died in 1892. His widow is still living on the old homestead, which consists of over one hundred and sixty acres of land. Mr. Chapman followed general farming and accumulated a reasonable amount of property. He was a good manager and a man of more than ordinary ability. Two children were born to his marriage, both sons. One son, H. S. Chapman, is a farmer and sheep-breeder of Penn Township, this county. Politically, the father of our subject was a Republican.

Reared on the old home place, our subject attended the country schools, and remained with his parents until twenty years of age. Previous to that he began learning the trade of gunsmith, and followed that on the home place for a short time. He then came to Marcellus, set up a shop in this town, and here remained for about three years, when he embarked in the hardware business. Later he returned to gunsmithing and machine work, and, as he had a natural taste for handling tools, he soon had plenty of work.

In the year 1872, Mr. Chapman married Miss Tryphena A. Iverson, who was the daughter of Thomas Iverson, one of the representative farmers of Woodstock Township, Lenawee County, Mich. Mr. Iverson was a native of England and settled in the last-mentioned county in 1860. To Mr. and Mrs. Chapman have been born two children, Ola E. and Rena D. Politically, Mr. Chapman is liberal in his views, and socially he is a Mason. He has been Junior Warden and Secretary of the Masonic lodge. He is quite an inventor, but his forges are the only invention he has brought out. The principal part of the forge is the friction clutch, which he had patented in 1891. In the fall of 1892, he permanently located in Marcellus and occupied the large building formerly built for a wheel factory. He employs from six to seven men, all first-class workmen, and is prepared to do general machine repairing. Mr. Chapman is preparing to bring out two other very important inventions in the near future.

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This family biography is one of numerous biographies included in the Portrait and Biographical Record of Berrien and Cass Counties, Michigan published in 1893. 

View additional Cass County, Michigan family biographies here: Cass County, Michigan Biographies

View a map of 1911 Cass County, Michigan here: Cass County Michigan Map

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