Herbert Fuller Chaffee

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Herbert Fuller Chaffee

Birthplace: Sharon, Litchfield County, Connecticut, United States
Death: Died in Mid-Atlantic Ocean off of Labrador, Canada
Cause of death: Drowned in the sinking of the RMS Titanic
Place of Burial: Body Not Recovered
Immediate Family:

Son of Eben Whitney Chaffee and Amanda Chaffee
Husband of Carolyn Constance Chaffee
Father of Eben Whitney Chaffee, II; Dorothy Adelia Strowd; Herbert Laurance Chaffee; Esther Carolyn Chaffee; Florence Adele Higgins and 1 other
Brother of Allice Rebecca Chaffee and Florence Adelle Reed

Occupation: CEO Amenia-Sharon Land Co, Agriculture in North Dakota/Seed&Grain Company
Managed by: Gene Daniell
Last Updated:

About Herbert Fuller Chaffee


Mr Herbert Fuller Chaffee, 46, was born on November 20, 1865 at Sharon, Litchfield County, Connecticut, the son of Eben Whitney Chaffee and his wife Amanda Fuller Chaffee. Members of the Chaffee family had lived in Sharon since the Revolutionary War.

Herbert was educated in the common schools in Sharon, a seminary in New York, and the Williston Seminary, a scientific school in Easthampton, Massachusetts. He graduated from the latter school in 1885. In 1887 he was living in Ellsworth, CT and in that year he entered Oberlin College in Oberlin OH where he studied at the Conservatory of Music. He enrolled for 2 years but probably moved to North Dakota to help run the family firm as he did not graduate.

While at Oberlin he met his future wife Carrie Constance Toogood of Manchester, Iowa. They were married on December 21, 1887 and a son was born on September 28, 1888 in Amenia, ND.

Herbert's father came from Litchfield Co., CT and came to Dakota in 1875 where he founded the bonanza-farming business "Amenia" -- Amenia-Sharon Land Co (organized with bondholders of the Union Pacific Rail Road) which had its headquarters in Amenia ND. Herbert Chaffee eventually became the chief executive officer of the family business which, at its greatest extent, controlled 42,000 acres of prime farmland, 34 grain elevators, a grain-trading firm, and three company towns with dozens of smaller company-owned businesses. Its holdings were worth perhaps $150 million in today's dollars. H. F. Chaffee, who routinely worked a 72-hour week, felt that this was only the beginning. He had developed sophisticated management systems and was constantly expanding the operation.

He continued in business in North Dakota, purchasing the interests of the remaining investors of the Amenia & Sharon Land Company in 1893.

"Through his sound scientific and business judgment he established a farm business that is unique and stands today as a memorial of his faith in the future of his adopted state and his unswerving fidelity to high ideals." (Lonsberry 1917).

Chaffee was a Republican and a member of the Congregational Church.

Chaffee and his wife had been on a European trip and boarded the Titanic at Southampton, travelling in first class (cabin E-31). They were returning to their home in Amenia, Cass County, North Dakota. https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-deckplans/ (See RMS Titanic deck plans) Cabin E-31 is located on E deck, starboard of boiler casing 3 & 4 just aft of the Grand Staircase landing.

Herbert died in the sinking. His body, if recovered, was never identified.

After Chaffee's death, remaining family members ran the firm jointly but continually disagreed on business strategy. In 1922 the company was dissolved and its assets distributed. Very little of its holdings remain in family hands today.

Herbert Fuller Chaffee was my great-grandfather from my Mother's side. The story of Herbert and Carrie (TooGood) was such a sad story. They had traveled to England to purchase furniture for their home in North Dakota, and while in London had heard about the maiden voyage of a grand new ship by the name of Titanic. They booked passage in First Class. On the night of the tragedy, they had dined with the Captain (or so we were told.) After dining, Herbert and Carrie went back to their stateRoom to retire for the night. In the middle of the night, there was a quiet knocking on their door and Herbert got up and went out of the stateRoom and the ship's purser told them the ship had run into a huge iceberg and they must abadon ship. Herbert went back into the room and told Carrie to get dressed and to hurry. She did and they both went up on deck...where lifeboats were being lowered into the sea. Herbert showed Carrie how to get into the lifeboat and a few others were with them as the lifeboat was being lowered down to the ocean's water. Herbert did not get into the lifeboat, and he said to Carrie, "I will see you later dear." Carrie said there was plenty of room in the boat for Herbert, but in those days, gentlemen observed the protocol of women and children first. So Carrie and a few others rowed far away from the Titanic, so as not to be sucked under when the big ship would finally meet her "watery grave." The ship Carpathia rescued all of the people in the lifeboats. Gr.Grandmother Carrie never recovered from this shock...she was quiet and sad and withdrawn for many years. (My grandmother Adele was 12 at the time and waiting back in North Dakota for her parents to return home. She told me this story when she was in her 80's and remembered every bit of the sad story.)
Motion picture, "A Night to Remember" (1958) https://video.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search;_ylt=A0LEVimfTI5YwlUAwFQPxQt.?p=Mvie%3A+A+Night+to+Remember&fr=yfp-t-900&fr2=piv-web&hspart=att&hsimp=yhs-att_001&type=att_pc_homerun_portal#id=1&vid=5dd4c77994578de56cefc5bbf48d1a2f&action=view
Documentary: The sinking of the "Titanic" in real time: 2 Hrs 40 Mins.

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Herbert Fuller Chaffee's Timeline

November 20, 1865
Sharon, Litchfield County, Connecticut, United States
September 28, 1888
Age 22
Amenia, Cass County, North Dakota, United States
June 15, 1890
Age 24
Amenia, Cass County, North Dakota, United States
June 24, 1892
Age 26
Amenia, Cass County, North Dakota, United States
May 10, 1895
Age 29
Amenia, Cass County, North Dakota, United States
June 1, 1900
Age 34
Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minnesota, United States
October 30, 1902
Age 36
Amenia, Cass County, North Dakota, United States
April 15, 1912
Age 46
Mid-Atlantic Ocean off of Labrador, Canada
Body Not Recovered