Source Information for Jerard CHAPMAN
(first settler in the interior of Nepean Township, Ottawa, Canada)
by Joy Eastop Watson
June 20, 2008:
I thought I should pass along some of the source information that I found for Jerard Chapman
since he is the originator of our Chapman family line in Canada.
The Meaning of the name CHAPMAN
Chapman is a derivative of the Saxon word Caepman, meaning a marketman, a
monger or a merchant.
According to a list of colonial occupations, a chapman is a peddler or
dealer of goods, usually itinerant, going from village to village.
The name comes from the Old High German choufman or koufman, which became
the Old English céapman. Old High German chouph, Old Saxon cop and Old
English céap meant barter, business, dealing, which, combined with mann
or man, gives the name CHAPMAN.
Other spellings of the name include cepeman, cypman, cypmann, chepmon,
caepmon, and even shapman!
The Oxford English Dictionary supplies four meanings for chapman.
A chapman was a man whose business was buying and selling-a merchant,
trader or dealer.
Second, he was an itinerant dealer who traveled about from place to place
selling or buying; one who kept booths at markets etc; a hawker, a
peddler (English spelling).
The third meaning is that of an agent in a commercial transaction, a
negotiator or broker.
Fourth, a chapman was a purchaser or customer.
There is also a citation that appears to be a law handed down by Edward
VI in 1553. A Petty chapman was a retail dealer. Edward said "No Tinker,
Peddler, or petit Chapman shall wander about from the Towne but such as
shall be licensed by two Justices of Peace."
RICHMOND ON THE JOCK by John Curry
Jerard B. Chapman
Sometimes history thrusts people into the spotlight. Such was the case
of Jerard B. Chapman, who happened to be in the right place at the right
time and had history's spotlight shine upon him.
He was propelled forever into the pages of history when the Duke of
Richmond died in his log cabin on the banks of the Jock River in late
August of 1819. Here was a man who had gone off into the wilderness and,
suddenly, a Duke was dying in his cabin.
Jerard B. Chapman, the son of a United Empire Loyalist, had come to
Canada just after 1800, eventually ending up in Hull where he worked for
Hull's founder, Philemon Wright. Eventually, Chapman became an early
settler and perhaps the first settler in the interior of Nepean township.
He settled as a squatter on a Crown reserve on the Jock River around
1814. At that time, there was no Richmond Road; there was no Richmond;
the nearest community was Wright's Hull settlement 20 miles away on the
The Chapman homestead was truly in the middle of nowhere, although there
could have been some activity of a lumbering nature along the Jock River
at that time. Mr. Chapman could have been involved through his contact
with Philemon Wright, but it seems likely that all of the lumber had
already been cut along the Jock River by the time that Chapman arrived at
his homestead site.
In any case, for whatever reason, Jerard B. Chapman and his family
consisting of his wife, sons Orlando, 12, and Chester, 8, and four
daughters, settled along the Jock River about 1814. And there Chapman
stayed. Suddenly in 1818, his homestead started seeing visitors.
It is likely that he had met Captain George Thew. Burke and his advance
guard of ex-soldiers who travelled to the site of the future Richmond in
August 1818, to set up the government depot and other facilities in
preparation for the arrival of the 400 family group of disbanded soldiers
of the 99th Regiment later in the fall.
The surveyor, Colonel Fortune, who laid out the village of Richmond
earlier in 1818, also probably passed by the Chapman homestead on his way
to the site of the future village. So, Jerard Chapman probably knew
about the Richmond settlement before the group of disbanded soldiers
arrived in his neighbourhood in the fall of 1818, hacking out a road
running from the Richmond Landing on the Ottawa River to the Jock River
three miles below the site of Richmond.
The road, which became the Richmond Road, stopped at the Chapman
homestead, with the Jock River being the thoroughfare from there to the
site of Richmond. There was smooth water all the way from the Chapman
homestead to the rapids on the river where Richmond had been laid out.
the use of the river for the last part of the journey eliminated three
miles of hard road work for the ex-soldiers. Time was short, and there
just was not time to cut the road through three more miles of bush.
Besides, the river was there, and river transport was familial to theses
As a result of all of this, Jerard B. Chapman, who had thought that he
was settling far removed from all civilization, suddenly found himself
right in the centre of things with the Richmond Road/ Jock River
transportation route to the Richmond military settlement running right
past his doorstep. Instead of living an isolated existence, he was
thrust onto centre stage.
But added to this, less than a year later, he again found himself in the
middle of historic happenings. The Duke of Richmond, the Governor
General of the Canadas, following his inspection visit to Richmond and on
his way to the Ottawa River and the route back to Quebec City, collapsed
in the Chapman barn, reportedly going mad because of rabies. Later, the
Duke was taken into the Chapman log home where he died after dictating
his final wishes. The body of the Duke was transported by Philemon
Wright in a wagon to Richmond landing and from there to Quebec City where
burial took place at the Anglican Cathedral.
The extent of the Chapman homestead at the time of this incident reveals
something of the Chapman family's success in the wilderness. The Duke of
Richmond first entered the Chapman's barn, indicating that there was a
barn and that Chapman had been successful enough to need such a
building. It is reported that the Duke lay on some bundles of corn in
the barn, further revealing that the Chapman family did have some harvest.
Since the Duke of Richmond, who was terrified of water by this time, due
to the rabies, travelled to the Chapman's via the Jock River from
Richmond , it can be assumed that the river must have remained the main
transportation route to and from Richmond for at least a year after its
settlement. Eventually the Richmond Road would be completed through to
the Richmond settlement, but it only makes sense that the time and effort
to carry out such a task were not yet available to the members of the
Richmond community who were still struggling to establish their own
homesteads on their new lands.
Jerard B. Chapman seems to have taken his situation in stride and indeed
appeared to have grasped its implications quickly. It is believed that
he and his son Orlando, kept a tavern at his homestead during the early
1820's. What better spot would there be for such an establishment than
where the road met the river and travellers had to switch from foot to
Soon after the Duke of Richmond's death at his homestead, Chapman
received a grant of land on which he was squatting, a 'payment', no
doubt, by the authorities for his part in providing final shelter for the
In 1822, just three years after the Duke of Richmond had died at his
homestead, Jerard B. Chapman had 30 acres of his 400 acres cultivated.
He had a horse, four oxen, and three cows, a sizeable livestock
collection for a settler so recently established on the land.
Excerpts from The Historical Atlas of Carleton County, Ont.
H. Belden &Co. 1879
-Duke of Richmond died today at Chapman's farm, 3 miles NE of Richmond.
(Actual date of death was August 20, 1819 - Ottawa Journal)
-This Chapman, at whose place the Duke died, was the son of a United
Empire Loyalist who moved in from the St. Lawrence front and "squatted"
on his then location early as 1815- though the exact date is uncertain.
The above melancholy occurrence drew attention to his case, and he soon
afterwards received a grant of the lot whereon he was then settled ( 13,
V. Con. R.F. ,Nepean) It is now the well-known Byers' property.
-The Chapman family afterwards mostly emigrated to the United States,
though some of the descendants of the original settler still live in
Nepean; and a son of his occupied for many years a leading position in
the management of Township affairs.
-During this year Bytown was incorporated, and in 1848 Nepean commenced
to run its own affairs alone. There were 169 ratepayers in the Township
entitled to vote that year, and the Town Wardens were John Robertson and
Samuel Collins; Clerk, James Shanley; 1849 (last year of the old system)
- Town Wardens were Chester Chapman, John Scott; Assessor-James Spain;
Collector- E.L. Wood.
-The Town meeting to elect the first Council under the new system was
held at Bell's Corners, January 7, 1850 , when Frederick Bearman, J.P.,
Chester Chapman, James Spain, John Robertson, J.P., Michael Grady, John
Scott, G.W. Baker, William Foster and John Thompson ran for Councillors-
the five first-named being elected. These were all present at the first
Council meeting held at the same place, January 21, 1850, when Colonel
Frederick Bearman was chosen Reeve. He resigned in December 1850 and
Chester Chapman succeeded to the vacant position for the balance of the
-The same Council were re-elected in 1851. Mr Chapman was again chosen
Reeve, and James Spain , Deputy- and the same gentlemen held the same
positions during 1852 and 1853. In 1854, Mr. Chapman was again chosen
Reeve, but declined to act and the place was filled by John Scott.
OTTAWA JOURNAL March 24, 1905
MRS SUSANNA McRAE
The funeral took place at Bell's Corners yesterday of Mrs. Susannah
McRae, an aged resident of Nepean. She died at the residence of her
grandson Mr. William McRae of Twin Elm, in her ninety second year. Her
father, the late Gerald Chapman came from the United States to Hull in
1815 and was the first actual settler in the western township of Nepean.
It was in a barn on this farm, now owned by Robert Mann, that the Duke of
Richmond , the then Governor General of British North America, died from
hydrophobia on August 20, 1819.
The late Mrs. McRae when twenty years of age married the late Alexander
McRae who came from Glengarry county, and purchased the next lot north of
his wife's father's whereon they lived together until her husband's
death, a number of years ago and afterwards coninuing to reside with her
son, the late Alexander McRae, who was accidentally killed in the year
1874, and since which she has continued to reside with her grandson. In
her death, the last connecting link with the first settlers of at least
this part of the county has been broken.
EARLY OTTAWA VALLEY RECORDS
Early Population Lists - Nepean Township
Transcribed by Bruce Elliott
Original in Ontario Archives (RE 21 A)
Return of the Population of Township of Nepean for the year 1822
Names of Heads of Families : JB Chapman
Heads of Families : Men -1 ; Women -1
No. of Children - Male - 2 ; Female - 4
No. of Servants Male ; Female
Totals - 8
Heads of Families are : Thomas Stanley; Patrick Corbett; Richard Loney;
Robert Malcomson; James Davidson; J.B. CHAPMAN; Francis Davidson; James
Fallon; John Steel; John Dawson; William Boyd; James Shouldice; James
Bearman; Robert Vincent; Richard Allen; John Le Breton; John Hogg; MARTIN
MOORE; Ire Honeywell; ROGER MOORE; George McConnell; Henery Fulford;
Peter Hellin; John McCarters; Someone Griffiths; John Thompson; Andrew
Berry; James Ferth; Nicholas Sparks; Lewis Williams; Abraham Dow; Samuel
Dowe; Phillip McHerron; John Mitchell; Someone Minor; David Harris.
(Note: Abraham & Samuel Dow (Dow's Lake) are the brothers of Mrs. Braddish Billings;
ROGER MOORE also has 2 sons and 4 daughters; James Fallon is the Town
ASSESSMENT FOR THE TOWNSHIP OF NEPEAN FOR THE YEAR 1822
Name - J.B. Chapman
Acres of Land - Uncultivated: 370 ; Arable: 30
Horses 3yrs old and upwards: 1
Oxen 4 years old and upwards: 4
Milch cows: 3
Value of Ratable Property 137 pounds
Amount to be collected: 11 shillings, 5 pence
Names are: James Davidson; J.B. CHAPMAN; Trueman Miner; Francis Davidson;
Mr. Falon; Patrick Corbet; Richard Loney; John Steel; William Boyd; James
Shordyce; James Bearman; Robert Malcomson; Mr. Allan; Capt. John Le
Breton; MARTIN MOOR; Irey Honeywell; ROGER MOORr; George McConnel; John
Wm. Thosons; Henry Fulfer; Peter Allan; Andrew Berry; Isaac Ferth;
Nicholas Sparks; Abraham Dow; Samuel Dow; Lewis Williams; Hugh Griffith;
Mr. Stanly; John McCarter; John and Walter Dawson; John Hogg; John
Transcribed from Archives of Ontario microfilm MS-262 Reel 8 page 41.
Original spelling of names has been maintained. In "Amount to be
collected" fractions have been omitted after pence.
THE CITY BEYOND - A HISTORY OF NEPEAN, BIRTHPLACE OF CANADA'S CAPITAL
1792-1990 by Bruce S. Elliott
It was around 1814 that another American, Jerard B. Chapman, became the
first settler in the interior of the township and the first within
Nepean's late 20th century boundaries. Chapman had come to the Ottawa
Valley around 1802 settling in Chatham Township on the Lower Canada side
and marrying a native of the upper province. By 1813 the family was in
the Hull settlement where Jerard worked for Philemon Wright as a tailor.
In coming to Nepean, Chapman seems to have been after timber, but he did
take up residence squatting on a Crown reserve along the Jock River in
what is now known as the Twin Elm neighbourhood. Because it was still a
wilderness, he did not bother to apply for a Crown lease until settlers
began arriving in considerable numbers.
A few families, mostly Americans, followed Chapman across the river from
the Wright settlement and bought land from Honeywell or rented or
squatted on Crown reserves along the Ottawa. They included Martin and
Roger Moore, George McConnell and Moses Holt. Roger Moore was initally
put "in peaceable possession of the place at the foot of the Chaudiere
Falls" by John Torry, Mr. Randall's agent. The first marriage in Nepean
was solemnized in Roger Moore's house when his brothers David and Job, of
Hull, were married by a magistrate from the Long Sault to sisters named
Nepean first came to the notice of many in the outside world when the
Governor, the Duke of Richmond, died in agony of rabies in Jerard
Chapman's cabin while on a tour of inspection of the new settlement in
August of the following year.
Page 14 -
Footnote 14 - The date that the land was granted to him was July 15, 1819
and this was for Lot 13 Concession 5 Rideau Front
Between Baseline and Richmond Jerard B. Chapman and his son Orlando had
kept a tavern at Twin Elm during the early 1820's, but in 1832 a new
establishment opened its doors about a mile south of Fallowfield on the
farm of another American, Trueman Miner.
CARLETON SAGA Harry & Olive Walker
This (the Duke of Richmond had been already bitten by the rabid fax and
was exhibiting symptoms) prompted them sending again for Surgeon Collis
who had started for Richmond Landing at the Chaudiere where all the party
were to meet the batteau for Montreal. Because the river was navigable
as far as Chapmans (3 miles down stream) and because the road was so
rough, it had been decided that the Duke, Major Bowles and the servant
should travel by canoe while the horses had been sent to Chapmans to
which place Colonel Cockburn and Major Burke would walk to meet the
canoe. Cockburn and Burke saw the canoe party off at the embarkation
point. (Leaving Richmond, the old pioneer route was a trail of about 3/4
mile to the foot of Nesbitt's Rapids which is near the present United
Church cemetery.) Down this trail on that fateful August morning, the
Duke walked to the point of embarkation.
The Duke made no objection to entering the canoe and Cockburn and Burke
departed with their forebodings to meet the craft at Chapmans. As they
were turning into the Chapman farm yard they met the Duke and Bowles
walking toward the road. But the river trip and the rushing water "was
more than His Grace could bear" .
What happened on that long day and night and another long day between the
woods and wet gullies bordering
AN ACRE OF TIME Phil Jenkins
Autumn maple leaves, then winter's first snow fell on the settlers in
their haphazard arrangement of canvas tents. Then word came that Colonel
Burke had reached the settlement site; gradually the pioneers peeled
themselves free of Richmond Landing family by family, and made the two
day trudge over 20 miles to their new homes. At first they stayed close
to the Ottawa River, taking the bush path that led to Bell's Farm and
then dog-legged down to meet the river at Jerard Chapman's homestead.
Chapman had worked for Philemon Wright, then gone off into the woodland
to set up on his own.
In 1819 the town's namesake, the Duke of Richmond himself, visited. He
dined well with the town's important folk in the brand new inn. It
turned out however to be a tragic visit. Bitten several days earlier by
a rabid fox, the Duke now took ill and died two days later at Jerard
Chapman's farm, on his way to Richmond Landing. His body was taken in
one of Philemon Wright's carts, down the Richmond road, and has thus had
the distinction of being the first European to pass the acre.
E-mail Joy Watson and Al Lewis
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