John Chapman, Sr.

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John Chapman, Sr.

Birthdate: (58)
Birthplace: Bristol Parish, Dinwiddie, Virginia
Death: 1780 (57)
Wilkes, North Carolina, United States (Murdered by Godfrey Isbell)
Place of Burial: Three Forks, Swain, North Carolina, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of John Chapman and Unknown Chapman
Husband of Eurith Chapman
Father of Enoch Chapman; Robert Chapman; Raleigh Chapman; John Chapman, Jr; Nicholas Chapman and 5 others
Brother of Robert Chapman and Richard Chapman

Managed by: Philip Virl Holmes
Last Updated:

About John Chapman, Sr.

John Chapman was murdered about 1780 by a Godfrey Isbell. Isbell fled the area and was never prosecuted Stories say the reason for the murder was because John Chapman was "a vocal Tory" A very knowledgeable lady in Taylorsville, NC, a Miss Opal Harrington, writes that "tradition states it was not in any way connected to the American Revolution Both families were Whigs, not Tories.". []


From THE CHAPMAN FAMILY Revised July 17, 2004

Edward Crutchley shows line goes from Thomas (1), Thomas (2), John (1), John (2) who married Eurith.

Tom Chapman shows line as Thomas (1), Robert(2), Robert(3), Robert(4), John.

Judge Noble sent info, not proven, that line went thus: Thomas (1) 1613, Robert (2), Robert Jr. (3), John (4)

Info from Jerry Wentworth shows John (1), John (2) & Mary. John (3), .

Most seem to agree on Thomas and his line supposedly goes back from Thomas to Benjamin of Devonshire, England to William and to an Arthur Champernowne, ca mid 1500s. None of this is proven hopefully, someday we will be able to find sources and prove it one way or the other.


JOH720VA Although we coded this John [who married Eurith] as born in 1720 in his reference he was probably just born sometime during the 1720's- there is no specific year. It is also supposed that he was born in Virginia but he could have been born in Maryland. Some show John to be the son of a 3rdgeneration Robert Chapman but nothing has been seen to support that. The best published work on this one is Thomas C. "Tom" Chapmans, "The Chapman Trail" (Published for Tom, Peter E. Randall, 1985). In Chapter 3 Tom covers John and Eurith (some say Barnes) Chapman saying that they moved from Loudoun Co. VA to North Carolina in 1765- possibly with a short stay in Halifax Co. VA. Tom lists the children of John and Eurith as John, Jr., Enoch, Raleigh, Nicholas, James, Nathan and Sarah. Some of the children were supposed to have been born in Baltimore, MD. Ole John Chapman was shot to death in western North Carolina in late 1780 or early 1781. GENEALOGY (NKL-258 & MNA-010) [December 1, 2001]


  • "A letter from Ethlyn Rainey in 1978 stated that she obtained this story from "a Chapman Family History" (at the S.C. state library or the Univ. of South Caroliniana Library, Univ. of S.C.) that referred to John Chapman going into the woods sometime in the 1770s "to cut a Christmas tree for his children" when he was waylaid by Godfrey and Pendleton Isbell, brothers, a brawl ensued and the tresspasser was shot and killed in cold blood. Some one else said later that this story came from original court records or newspaper articles which described Godfrey and Pendleton Isbell as brothers; that Godfrey was charged because Pendleton was "under age," but Godfrey was acquitted "when it could not be determined which of the brothers did the killing."I have never seen the Chapman family history referred to, nor any court or newspaper records referring to the incident. If true that John Chapman was cutting a christmas tree, this is one of the earliest references to a Christmas tree in America, so it would be interesting to find this information if for that reason alone. It is likely a later embellishment, however. You can't get much meaner than to kill a man for cutting a Christmas tree "for his children." Another reference just says he was cutting wood. If he was born in 1722 as some say, John Chapman was around 58 years old. "[



  1. Some of the known descendants of John Chapman (1720s - 1780s) PDF document
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John Chapman, Sr.'s Timeline

August 26, 1722
Dinwiddie, Virginia
Age 25
Age 29
Age 31
Age 32
Wilkes, North Carolina, United States
Age 35
Age 37
Age 39
Age 41