:HAPIN FAMILY ASSOCIA'
IALVIN CHAPIN, D. D.,
OF ROCKY HILL, CONN.
THE REV. EDWIN P. PARKER, D. D.,
Of (he South Congregational Church,
REV. DR. CALVIN CHAPIN.
From a portrait in possession of Arthur Reed Kimball,
of Waterbury, Conn.
CHAPIN FAMILY ASSOCIATION
CALVIN CHAPIN, D. D.,
OF ROCKY HILL, CONN.
THE REV. EDWIN P. PARKER, D. D.,
Of the South Congregational Church,
SNOW & FARNHAM Co., PRINTERS,
OFFICERS OF THE ASSOCIATION FOR THE YEAR BEGINNING
MAY 1st, 1908, ARE AS FOLLOWS :
MR. GILBERT W. CHAPIN, Hartford, Conn., . . President.
MR. MERRICK W. CHAPIN, Hartford, Conn., . . Sec. -Treasurer.
MR. TERRY J. CHAPIN, Suffield, Conn., . . . Recorder.
HON. ARTHUR B. CHAPIN, Holyoke, Mass.,
DR. WALTER H. CHAPIN, Springfield, Mass.,
MR. WM. H. G. CHAPIN, Parkersburg, W. Va., . . j
> Vice- Presidents.
REV. CHARLES B. CHAPIN, Rochester, N. Y.,
MR. CHARLES S. BLAKE, Hartford, Conn.,
MR FRANK M. CHAPIN, Pine Meadow, Conn.,
MR. FREDERICK W. CHAPIN, . . Springfield, Mass.
MR. HENRY G. CHAPIN, . . . Springfield, Mass.
MR. WILLIAM H. CHAPIN, . . . Springfield, Mass.
A PREFATORY WORD.
BEGINNING on Sunday, September twenty-one, nine-
*-* teen hundred eight, and continuing through Tuesday,
September twenty-three, the old town of Rocky Hill, Conn.,
celebrated the one hundredth anniversary of the Congrega-
tional Meeting House with an Old Home week. Two special
gifts marked the celebration. One was the completion of the
Chapin Memorial Parsonage, which stands on the crest of the
hill, west of the church, on what is known as Chapin Street,
and on land originally owned by Calvin Chapin, D. D., for
fifty-six years, from seventeen ninety-six to eighteen-fifty-two,
pastor of the church. The other gift was that of an organ
for the church, which has just completed its century. In
connection with the celebration, the Rev. Edwin P. Parker,
D. D., pastor of the South Congregational Church in Hart-
ford, was invited to speak a word of appreciation of Dr. Calvin
Chapin, a word so perfectly spoken as to deserve perpetuation
beyond passing publication in the newspapers of the day.
For that reason, the privilege of issuing this little brochure in
the series of Chapin Family Association Publications, has
been sought by and given to a great-grandson of Dr. Chapin,
Arthur Reed Kimball of Waterbury, Conn.
LIST OF PLATES.
I. Rev. Dr. Calvin Chapin . . Frontispiece
From a portrait in possession of Arthur Reed Kimball
of Waterbury, Conn.
II. Rocky Hill Congregational Meeting-House . 7
Dedicated September 22, 1808.
III. The Old Home of Calvin Chapin, D. D., of
Rocky Hill 9
Now the residence of H. H. Humphrey.
IV. Chapin Memorial Parsonage . . . . 1 1
ROCKY HILL CONGREGATIONAL MEETING HOUSE.
Dedicated, September 22, 1808.
REV. DR. EDWIN P. PARKER, pastor of the South
Congregational Church in Hartford, gave the following
address on Rev. Dr. Calvin Chapin :
" Shortly after I came to live in Hartford, in the year 1860,
some kind of ecclesiastical meeting called me to Rocky Hill
and its meeting house. Not quite nine years before that Dr.
Chapin had ceased from his labors in that parish. I found
the place thronged with memories of the former pastor. His
personal atmosphere pervaded the town. His spirit seemed
to linger on the premises. I became aware that a remarka-
ble man had lived and labored there, about whom I desired to
know more and more. The more I inquired concerning him,
the more I felt as they did who would end anecdotes about
him by saying, " Oh, you ought to have known Dr. Chapin ! "
As if there had never been in all these parts another like
him, as, indeed, is true. There was little difficulty in becom-
ing acquainted with his characteristic traits and qualities.
Dr. Hawes, then in vigorous health, had known him intimately
for more than thirty years. Deacon Seth Terry had known
him longer than that, and there were many clergymen and
laymen who were familiar with his remarkable doings and
sayings. Therefore, I feel competent to speak of him as
almost from acquaintance or recollection.
"He came of excellent stock. He, Calvin Chapin, descend-
ant of the fifth generation of Deacon Samuel Chapin, who
came from England or Wales, was the fourth of six sons of
Deacon Edward Chapin, a farmer of Chicopee Parish, Spring-
field, Massachusetts, and grandson of another Deacon Chapin
of that same parish. His mother was Eunice Colton of
Longmeadow. He was born July 22, 1763. At the age of
fifteen years he served for six months as a fifer in a militia
company of the Revolution. He prepared for college under
the instruction of Dr. Backus of Somers, Connecticut, entered
8 CHAPIN FAMILY
Yale College in 1784 and was graduated with honor in due
season. After spending two years as a highly successful
teacher in Hartford and there decided to become a gospel
minister, studied theology with Dr. Perkins of West Hartford
for six months, and was there licensed to preach by the Hart-
ford North Association. Meanwhile, in September 1791, he
had been elected tutor at Yale College, and entered on that
office that autumn. Dr. Stiles was then president of the col-
lege, and numerous entries in his diary mention Tutor Chapin,
and show a high appreciation both of his tutorial work and of
his ability and success as a preacher. In 1794 he resigned
his office at Yale, accepted a call of the church in Stepney
Parish of Wethersfield, now Rocky Hill, and was ordained as
pastor of that church composed of twenty-seven members,
April 30, 1794, with an annual salary of $333, which contin-
ued the same to the end of his long pastorate. The ordaining
council comprised twenty-four pastors and delegates of neigh-
boring churches, not one of whom survived him.
" He married, February 2, 1795, Jerusha, younger daughter
of Dr. Jonathan Edwards, and sister of Jonathan W. Edwards,
with whom he lived in closest, sweetest intimacy for fifty-two
years, and of whom he said, " She made my home the pleas-
antest spot to me on earth." His entire ministerial life was
spent, as has been said, in Rocky Hill, and that means that
he was an acceptable preacher and a faithful pastor. Much
more than most ministers of his time, he was a scholarly man,
fond of classical and mathematical studies.
" Such a light must needs shine out far beyond the bounds
of his parish. His influence in behalf of all good causes was
widely exerted. He was not an orator, but much better than
that. He employed his time and expended his energies with
more beneficent results to society, than most of the theologians
whose work did not seem of much interest to him. He wore
without fret the theological and ecclesiastical harness then in
vogue, but concerned and engaged himself with matters more
closely pertaining to social progress and improvement. Few
ASSOCIATION PUBLICATIONS. 9
of his works were printed or published except as they were
printed on the minds and hearts of his contemporaries, and
published as by translation into social life and public sentiment.
He was one of Connecticut's great ministers few of them
greater or more useful in the world, none of them sounder in
judgment and practical wisdom, more kindly and lovable.
From 1805 to 1831 he was a trustee of the Missionary Society
of Connecticut, and intimately associated in the work of that
society with my own predecessor, Dr. Abel Flint, who from
1798 to 1824 was secretary of the same society. They were
also associated in organizing and managing the Connecticut
Bible Society (1809). Dr. Chapin was one of the five men
who in 1810 projected and organized the American Board of
Commissioners for Foreign Missions, was chosen its Recording
Secretary, which office he held for thirty-two years. He was
active in forming and fostering a Connecticut Society for the
promotion of Good Morals (1813), became one of the Board
of Visitors of Andover Seminary (1816) and served as clerk
of that Board until he was seventy years old. He received
from Union College in 1816 the honorary degree of Doctor of
Divinity. From 1820 to 1846 he was a member of the cor-
poration of Yale College, and all that while, except one year,
a member of its Prudential Committee.
"About the year 1806 serious difficulties had arisen among
the missionaries employed by the Missionary Society of Con-
necticut, in northern Ohio. The trustees gravely considered
who of their number would best serve to deal with the delicate
complications of the case. Dr. Chapin, though the youngest
member of the Board, was selected for the service, and per-
formed it to the entire satisfaction of his brethren, and to the
great enlargement of the Society's operations and usefulness.
He was an anti-slavery man. He was one of the earliest,
most persistent and efficient promoters of the cause of tem-
perance. As early as 1812 he took his stand for total absti-
nence, and maintained it to the end, and lived to see wonder-
ful results of his unpopular labors. (He even succeeded for
IO CHAPIN FAMILY
a time in having his church disuse wine at the Holy Com-
munion.) It is authentically related that he experienced
some disadvantage from his zeal in this matter. In the early
years of the iQth century Rocky Hill was somewhat celebra-
ted for the quantity and quality of its cider. There was none
better in the parish than that made by Dr. Chapin. His very
best was produced by exposing barrels of cider to the extreme
cold of winter. These would freeze considerably, and the
precious part of the fluid was then obtained by boring through
the frozen shell. It required three barrels of the original
cider to make one barrel of this superior liquor, which, of
course, was rather potent stuff. It was stored away in casks.
" Well ! Dr. Chapin's parishioners had been accustomed to
assemble each spring to give him a lift in cutting his firewood,
and the Doctor, on such occasions, would produce pails of
this precious cider for their refreshment, which made the
gatherings very popular and pleasant. But when he ceased
from cider-making and the cider itself was no longer forth-
coming, the people began to lose all interest in the parson's
wood-pile, and soon left it to his own exertions.
" Dr. Chapin continued to discharge his pastoral duties with
fidelity until November 1847, when, at the age of eighty -four
years, he retired from active duty. Shortly thereafter his
wife died, and on March i6th, 1851, in the 88th year of his
life and the 57th of his single pastorate, he died peacefully,
while sitting in his accustomed chair. Some years before his
death he had written to Dr. Hawes requesting him to preach
his funeral sermon, suggesting his favorite scriptural verse as
a text, "For We Shall See Him as He Is." Dr. Hawes
was unable to attend his venerable friend's funeral, and Rev.
Mr. Tucker of Wethersfield preached on that occasion. I
have read his sermon with some care. It is rather tame but
one short sentence is worth all the rest, and more. In an
inspired moment the good Mr. Tucker said of Dr. Chapin,
" He was no driveler ! "
" But Dr. Hawes, the next month after the funeral, and on
ASSOCIATION PUBLICATIONS. II
the 5 7th anniversary of Dr. Chapin's settlement, did preach
a sermon in loving commemoration of the grand old minister ;
preached it in the church where Dr. Chapin had preached so
many years ; a notable sermon, in Dr. Hawes' very best style ;
which also I have recently read, and which gives a lifelike
portraiture of the man : A sermon with a letter written some
four years later by the same hand, is the mine from which al-
most all the treasure of later obituaries of Dr. Chapin have
been derived. Dr. Hawes shows us the tall, erect, well-pro-
portional, vigorous frame of the man ; his ever cheerful and
buoyant spirit ; his quick, clear, practical, penetrative mind ;
his terse style of writing ; his most fascinating conversation ;
his rugged simplicity, honesty, energy ; his unfailing stead-
fastness in duty ; and then adds as perhaps, his most striking
peculiarity, " His exuberant and boundless wit, which gave a
complexion to his conversation and to his whole character."
Dr. Chapin, when tutor in Yale College, had for a pupil him
who afterwards was famous as President Day of the same
college. He also wrote reminiscently of Dr. Chapin,
mentioning especially "his instructive and engaging conver-
sation, his playful humor and never failing cheerfulness and
vivacity," and added, "He was the most uniformly happy
man I have ever known." What a beautiful eulogy that !
Happy in his heritage, happy in his friends, happy in his
work, happy in his home, happy in his church, happy in his
undogmatic and simple and almost natural piety, happy in his
views and hopes, happy in the serenity of his mind and in the
summer sunshine that ever seems to have shed its blessings
upon his heart and mind !
" Yes, I wish I might have known him who seems to me,
on the whole, about the best -worth-knowing of all the minis-
ters of that generation, in these parts ; if for nothing else,
because being an intelligent and wide-awake minister, he had
that almost priceless gift of exuberant wit and humor, as
natural to him as his breath, says Dr. Hawes, who also says
that in the very letter wherein Dr. Chapin solicited the favor
12 CHAPIN FAMILY
of a funeral sermon for himself, that same wit crept in to
upset even Dr. Hawes's great gravity. " Incurable " humor,
says Dr. Hawes ! Thank God, incurable ! Wrought into
his very soul and spirit, natural, exuberant, incurable ! We
wonder if death impairs it and hope it does not ! That wit
and humor, so thoroughly domesticated and familiar in his
parish took wings and flew abroad everywhither, and have
ever been intimately and inseparably associated with Dr.
Chapin's name, without in the least derogating from his real
and wholesome sanctity.
" Somehow, thanks to Dr. Hawes and Dr. Robbins and
many others, it verily does seem as if I had known Dr. Chapin,
and were all the better for having known him, and if these
words of mine shall serve to bring him up before your imagi-
nation at all presentably, and make you feel a little as if you
too had known him if not after the flesh, yet after the
spirit I shall be abundantly recompensed for my slight
labor of love therein."