Ethan Samuel Chapin

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Ethan Samuel Chapin

Birthdate: (75)
Birthplace: Somers, Tolland, Connecticut, United States
Death: March 1, 1889 (75)
Place of Burial: Springfield, Hampden, Massachusetts, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Samuel Chapin and Mary Pease
Husband of Louisa Chapin
Father of Amelia Louisa Haile; Henry W. Chapin; Emma F. Chapin; Anna P. Chapin and Alice Chapin
Brother of Marvin Chapin; Albert Chapin and Horace Chapin

Occupation: Proprietor/Massasoit House, Springfield, Mass.
Managed by: Harrison Victor Baldwin
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Ethan Samuel Chapin

Ethan Sameul Chapin, son of Samuel Chapin and Mary Pease, was born in Somers, Tolland Co., Connecticut on Feb. 22, 1814; married with LOUISA BURNS, dau. of John C. Burns and Mary Marble. She was born Feb. 22, 1814 in East Windsor, Hartford Co., Connecticut. Children all born in Springfield, Massachusetts,

Child: Amelia Louisa (1840-1919; m. William Haile), Henry W. (1844), Emma F. (1847), Anna P. (1850; d.y.), and Alice (1852).

  • 1850 census: Ethan S. (36, b Ct) and wife Louisa B. (36, b Ct); in Springfield, Mass. w ch. Amelia L. (9, b Ma), Henry W. (6, b Ma), Emma F. (6, b Ma) and Anna P. (0, b Ma). He is a hotel keeper.
  • 1855 census: Ethan S. (38) and Louisa L. (38); in Springfield, Mass. w ch. Henry W. (12), Emma F. (8), and Alice (3). He is hotel keeper.
  • By Wayne Phaneuf, The Republican

on May 23, 2011 at 9:32 AM, updated May 23, 2011 at 9:59 AM

Springfield's famed Massasoit House next to the Depot is now the site of the Paramount Theater building which incorporates some of the original 1843 structure.

For most of Springfield’s early years, from the mid-1600s to the early 1840s, the center of life in the town was Court Square, where the First Church was, the stage coaches stopped and hotels flourished.

The coming of the railroad to Springfield in 1838, and construction of Union Depot near the present site of Main and Gridiron streets was to change the emphasis from Court Square to the north end of Main Street.

But it took two brothers Marvin and Ethan Chapin to realize the significance and build a fortune around the most successful and famous hotel to ever grace the town, and later the city, of Springfield.

In 1842, Marvin Chapin and Israel M. Parsons of Westfield purchased the property of Judge John Hooker for $8,000, located across Railroad Row (now Gridiron Street) from the depot.

Hooker’s old house was moved back, and the partners began the construction of a new hotel. Before the building opened in 1843, Parsons became alarmed at the risk and was bought out by Ethan Chapin.

The brothers were considering three names for their hotel, “The Massachusetts,” “The United States Hotel,” and “Massasoit House.”

Although the Chapins disliked the latter, two barbers who had rented a corner shop in the new block began advertising in the Daily Republican as being located “at the Massasoit House.”

Before the owners of the new establishment got a chance to stem the tide, the new name caught on, and stuck with the flourishing hotel for another 83 years.

In an interview with Seth H. Moseley, who helped manage the hotel for the Chapins during its first 20 years of operation, The Daily Republican in 1893 recounted the 50th anniversary of the Massasoit House.

The yellowed registers of the hotel are still in the possession of Springfield City Library, although there are some missing years.

Among the famous names on the registers are Horace Mann, listed as the first guest, Daniel Webster, Samuel Colt, Jenny Lind, P.T. Barnum, Charles Dickens, Presidents Franklin Pierce, Ulysses S. Grant and Andrew Johnson.

Frequent Massasoit House visitor Daniel Webster

Jefferson Davis stayed at the Massasoit House when he came to Springfield to inspect the Armory when he was secretary of war under Pierce, eight years before he became president of the Confederacy. 

The years before the Civil War were profitable ones for the hotel and its proprietors, who were ardent anti-slavery men.

A portrait of John Brown, on display at the Pan African Historical Museum.

They may have been swayed by John Brown, the famous abolitionist, who roomed at the Massasoit House before moving his family to Springfield in the late 1840s. 

According to Moseley, the Chapin brothers were the first men to give financial aid to Brown after he returned from Kansas and began plotting an attack on the South, which ended in disaster at Harper’s Ferry in 1850 when he was hanged.

One of Moseley’s favorite stories involved a visit by Daniel Webster. The hotel manager said George Ashmun, a city resident and friend of Webster, told Ethan Chapin the famous senator would be arriving in three hours and wished a Connecticut River shad for dinner.

Ethan Chapin and Moseley searched the fish markets of Springfield but could find no fresh shad, so they persuaded a fisherman to sell them one he had just caught on the banks of the river. It was prepared and ready in time for Webster.

Moseley also said Webster liked his drink and sipped brandy “by the tumbler.” The Massasoit House was sold in 1912, by William Chapin to Dunlap Realty for $750,000. At the time, it was the biggest real estate deal in the history of the city.

The hotel was sold again in 1926 to a New York firm, which tore down most of the structure and built the Paramount Theater, which opened in 1929.

After several up and downs the property was recently bought by Herbie Flores of the New England Farm Workers. Some of the original hotel still remains in the southern section of the building.

Ethan Samuel Chapin .. Birth: Feb. 22, 1814 Somers Tolland County Connecticut, USA Death: Mar. 1, 1889

Son of Samuel CHAPIN/Mary PEASE

Family links:

 Louisa Burns Chapin (1814 - 1897)*

 Amelia Louisa Chapin Haile (1840 - 1919)*
  • Calculated relationship

Burial: Springfield Cemetery Springfield Hampden County Massachusetts, USA Plot: Tulip Path South Side Lot # 1525

Edit Virtual Cemetery info [?]

Created by: John P OCONNOR Record added: Jul 23, 2009 Find A Grave Memorial# 39798080

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Ethan Samuel Chapin's Timeline

February 22, 1814
Somers, Tolland, Connecticut, United States
April 22, 1840
Age 26
Springfield, Hampden, Massachusetts, United States
Age 29
Springfield, Hampden, Massachusetts, United States
Age 32
Springfield, Hampden, Massachusetts, United States
Age 35
Springfield, Hampden, Massachusetts, United States
Age 37
Springfield, Hampden, Massachusetts, United States
March 1, 1889
Age 75
Springfield, Hampden, Massachusetts, United States