Edward Whitman Chapin, 1840-1924

by Laurel | December 20th, 2013

May 7, 1924

Edward Whitman Chapin, 1840-1924

Edward Whitman Chapin, 1840-1924

For Nearly 40 Years Connected with City’s Court, 20 Years as Justice – One of Holyoke’s Leading Citizens.

Judge Edward Whitman Chapin, 84, for twenty years presiding justice of the Holyoke police court, and closely identified with the business and social life of the city, died yesterday morning at his Elm street home after an illness of three weeks. Judge Chapin had been connected with the Holyoke court for nearly 40 years, for previous to his appointment as judge he was associate justice of the court for 19 years. He had served the city in many official capacities.

Judge Chapin was president of the board of trustees of Mount Holyoke College from 1906 – 1912 and had been president of the Farr Alpaca Company since May 18, 1894. He was also a member of “The Club,” the oldest club in the city. He is survived by his widow, three daughters, Mrs. Ann Whiting, wife of William F. Whiting, head of the Whiting Paper Company. Clara M. and Alice M. Chapin, all of this city; and a son Arthur B. Chapin, former state treasurer and for six years mayor of Holyoke, vice-president of the American Trust company of Boston.

Career of Judge Chapin

Judge Edward Whitman Chapin was born in Willimansett (Chicopee) August 23 1840, the son of Whitman and Theodocia (McKinstry) Chapin. He was graduated from Williston seminary in the class of 1859 and took his A.B. at Amherst in the close of 1863. He attended Harvard law school and also studies in the office of Beach & Stearns in Springfield and was admitted to the Hampden county bar December 11, 1865, and began the practice of law in Holyoke.

He was appointed an associate justice of the Holyoke district court in 1877 by Gov. Rice and appointed regular justice of the court by Gov. Roger Wolcott in 1898 on the death of Judge W. B. C. Pearsons, Holyoke’s first police court judge, and served continuously until January 27, 1919.

In 1873 he was elected to the General Court, the late Congressman William Whiting serving in the senate at that time ans was a member of the Legislature when Holyoke was incorporated as a city. In 1877 he was elected councilman from ward 6, serving one term on the common council. He was Holyoke’s first city solicitor and for nine years, also, was a member of the school board. On May 16, 1866, he was married to Miss Mary L. Beebe of Springfield.

Judge Chapin held many importation positions in Holyoke and assisted in the growth of the city from a town to its present increased size. He was president of the Farr Alpaca company, Holyoke’s largest textile mill; a director in the Mechanics savings bank, a former vice-president of the institution and was its first secretary. He had served as a member of the board of trustees of Mount Holyoke college and for a number f years was president of the board. He had served as a director of the Holyoke & Westfield railroad and fr many years was a president of the company; a director of the Holyoke public library; a director of the Holyoke City Hospital, besides holding many other offices of trust.

He had always been a Republican in politics and was a member of Mt. Tom Lodge of masons, of the Mt. Tom Gold Club, the Bay State club and other organizations. For many years he had been deacon in the Second Congregational church.

In his service as judge of the police court through many years he had given careful attention to the many cases which appeared before him and was recognized for his integrity and his conscientious attention to duty. Judge and Mrs. Chapin observed their golden wedding in May, 1918.

A A special meeting of the Holyoke Bar Association has been called for tomorrow morning in the club at 9 o’clock to take action on the death of Judge Chapin.

Judge John Hildreth in speaking of the death of Judge Edward W. Chapin said: “Judge Chapin was a man of inflexible honor and justice. A thorough gentleman at all times, even when dealing with criminals. The administration of this court while he presided was one of firmness and yet with consideration that the persons brought before him did not always deserve. No one who ever tried a case before him could not help but feel that justice had been meted out when he passed judgment. He enjoyed the universal respect of the Bar Association and I always felt personally associated with him in my life as a lawyer.

The funeral will be held at the home Thursday afternoon at 2:30. Rev. Dr. E. A. Reed and Rev. Dr. R. R. Wicks will officiate. Burial will be in Forestdale Cemetery.

From The Springfield Republican.

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