October 29, 2022

Samuel M. Chapman, 1839-1907 [RG2974.AM]


RG2974.AM: Samuel M. Chapman, 1839-1907

Papers: 1866-1906
Plattsmouth, Cass County, Neb.: Lawyer, judge, politician
Size: 5.5 cu. ft.; 10 reels of microfilm


Samuel M. Chapman was born in Blairsville, Indiana County, Pennsylvania, on October 28, 1839. He was the fifth of eight children born to Joseph Chapman and Elizabeth Pollack. Other children in the Chapman family were Thomas P., James P., John W., Jane, Joseph M. (Samuel’s twin brother), Mary H., and Washington H.

Samuel’s father was a farmer and in 1843 moved the family to Iowa Territory. Samuel grew to manhood near Burlington and later attended Yellow Springs College at Kossuth, Iowa. In April 1861, while in college, he enlisted in Company E, First Iowa Infantry serving three months. Completing his service he re-enlisted in Company K, Fourteenth Iowa Infantry, and served three years before returning to Iowa where he received his discharge.

In early 1865 Samuel came to Plattsmouth, Nebraska Territory. He studied law under Turner M. Marquett and was admitted to the bar on October 30, 1866. In March 1867 Chapman entered into law partnership with Samuel Maxwell. This relationship was terminated in 1873 when Maxwell moved to Fremont, Nebraska. (The Maxwell Papers are in the Nebraska State Historical Society, and also have been microfilmed under the auspices of the National Historical Publications Commission.) After 1873 Chapman was associated in Plattsmouth with a number of lawyers, including A L. Sprague, and Allan D. Beeson. Chapman served as a collector for eastern creditors, mainly farm machinery firms, for many years. In part the importance of his papers relate to this work. In addition Chapman’s correspondence reveals significant friendships with Nebraskans on a national and state level in matters relating to the Republican Party.

Chapman was an active member of the Republican Party. He served in the State Senate in 1875 ad 1877 and was chairman of the Judiciary Committee during both of these terms. In 1885 he was elected judge of the 2nd District and served in that capacity for ten years. In 1895 he returned to private practice and remained in Plattsmouth until his death on January 5, 1907.

Chapman was married twice. On October 14, 1869 he married Sarah E. Putnam, of Ludlow, Vermont. Four children were born to this union: Harriet E., Emeline, who died in infancy, Thomas P., and Sarah. His wife died on February 11, 1880. Samuel married Agnes D. Samson in June 1883. Children from this marriage were: Samuel M., Helen H., John R., Joseph, and Clement.


This collection is arranged into six series. Series 1 through 3 consists of the papers of Chapman as they were arranged and microfilmed by the Nebraska State Historical Society under the auspices of the National Historical Publications Commission during the period from 1965 to 1967 (see Samuel Chapman (Guide to Microfilm)). Series 1 contains incoming correspondence, 1866-1903, Reels 1-8; Series 2 contains outgoing correspondence, 1872-1906, Reels 8-10; Series 3 contains miscellaneous material, 1899-1906, Reel 10. (Series 4 through 6 consists of unfilmed material of the Chapman collection): Series 4 consists of financial information, 1872-1902; Series 5 contains miscellany, 1872-1900; and Series 6 contains an index of correspondence, 1876-1903. For preservation purposes, researchers are asked to use the microfilm rather than the original documents whenever possible.


Series 1 – Incoming Correspondence, 1866-1903

Box 1

  1. 1880-1903, Index to Correspondence
  2. 1866-1870
  3. 1871
  4. 1872, January-May
  5. 1872, June-December
  6. 1873, January-May

Box 2

  1. 1873, July-December
  2. 1874, January-March
  3. 1874, April-August
  4. 1874, September-December
  5. 1875, January-June

Box 3

  1. 1875, July-September
  2. 1875, October-December
  3. 1876, January-May
  4. 1876, June-December

Box 4

  1. 1877, January-July
  2. 1877, August-December
  3. 1878, January-February
  4. 1878, March-July
  5. 1878, August-December

Box 5

  1. 1879, January-July
  2. 1879, August-December
  3. 1880, January-March
  4. 1880, April-July
  5. 1880, August-December
  6. 1881, January-December
  7. 1882, January-December
  8. 1883, January-December
  9. 1884, January-December
  10. 1885, February-December
  11. 1886, January-December
  12. 1887, January-December

Box 6

  1. 1888, January-December
  2. 1889, January-May
  3. 1889, June-December
  4. 1890, January-December
  5. 1891, January-November
  6. 1892, January-October
  7. 1893, May-December
  8. 1894, January-December
  9. 1895, January-December
  10. 1896, January-April

Box 7

  1. 1896, May-September
  2. 1896, October-December
  3. 1897, January-February
  4. 1897, March-November
  5. 1898, January-December
  6. 1899, January-March
  7. 1899, April-September
  8. 1900, January-July
  9. 1900, August-December

Box 8

  1. 1901, January-June
  2. 1901, July-November
  3. 1902, January-July
  4. 1902, August-December
  5. 1903, January-May
  6. 1903, June-October
  7. Undated
  8. Undated

Series 2 – Outgoing Correspondence, 1872-1906

Box 9

  1. 1872-1900
  2. 1900-1905
  3. 1894-1896 (unbound letter press)
  4. 1880-1882 (Press Copy Book)
  5. 1897-1898 (Press Copy Book)

Box 10

  1. 1899-1902 (Press Copy Book)
  2. 1904 (Press Copy Book)
  3. 1904-1906 (Press Copy Book)

Series 3 – Miscellaneous Material

  1. 1872-1906, Miscellany: Includes circular letters, legal briefs, depositions and leases

Series 4 – Financial File (not on microfilm)

Box 11

  1. 1872-1900, Includes receipts, bills, checks and promissory notes
  2. 1872-1900, Includes receipts, bills, checks and promissory notes

Series 5 – Miscellany (not on microfilm)

  1. 1872-1906, Includes circular letters, advertisements, autograph books and organizational literature

Series 6 – Index of Correspondence (not on microfilm)

  1. 1876-1903, Index of incoming correspondence

Subject headings:

Agriculture — Economic aspects
Boyd, James E., 1834-1906
Burlington and Missouri River Railroad Company
Chapman, Samuel M., 1839-1907
Crounse, Lorenzo, 1834-1909
Dawes, James William, 1844-1918
Garber, Silas, 1833-1905
Grand Army of the Republic
Lawyers — Nebraska
Manderson, Charles Frederick, 1837-1911
Maxwell, Samuel, 1825-1901
McShane, John A., 1850-1923
Missouri-Pacific Railway Company
Morton, Julius Sterling, 1832-1902
Paddock, Algernon Sidney, 1830-1897
Pensions — Military
Pound, Roscoe, 1870-1964
Saunders, Alvin, 1817-1899
Thayer, John Milton, 1820-1906
Van Wyck, Charles Henry, 1824-1895
Weaver, Arthur J., 1873-1945

DJR/ab 01-26-1967
KFK/dco 09-11-2003
Encoded TMM 03-10-2010

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