Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Samuel Chapin Monument - Not So Wordless Wednesday

"The Puritan" Deacon Samuel Chapin
at Boston's MFA
The Samuel Chapin Monument stands in Merrick Park at Springfield, Massachusetts. It is located about two blocks from the Springfield Marriott and the Springfield Monarch Place, where the NERGC New England Regional Genealogical Conference will be held on April 6 - 10, 2011. Ruth Himan of the blog "Genealogy is Ruthless without Me" and I would like to invite any Chapin descendants attending the NERGC, or any Chapin descendants in the Springfield area, to be part of a large group photo. The exact time is still to be determined, so if you are interested in participating, please leave your email or contact information here in the comments. I'll try to post more details before NERGC.

Deacon Samuel Chapin (October 8, 1598 – November 1, 1675) was one of the founders of Springfield, Massachusetts. According to Wikipedia "He had many famous descendants, including Presidents Grover Cleveland and William Taft, John Adams' uncle Seth Chapin, actor Spencer Tracy, abolitionist John Brown, financier J.P. Morgan, and singers Harry Chapin and Jen Chapin." He is my 10th Great Grandfather, and also an ancestor of Ruth Himan.

a detail of Chapin's buckled shoe

The statue, by New Hampshire sculptor Augustus St Gaudens, is formally named "The Puritan". It was commissioned by a descendant in 1881 and was installed in Merrick Park in 1887. I've seen several smaller versions, including one about two feet tall in Boston's Museum of Fine Arts and also at the Metropolitan Museum in New York City. St. Gaudens is also well known for the Shaw Memorial in Boston and the image on the "Double Eagle" gold coin. My favorite statue by St. Gaudens is the "Diana", a copy is in the Metropolitan, but the original stood atop of the old Madison Square Garden and at the time was the highest structure in New York City.
[the statue above was photographed at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts]
Copyright 2011, Heather Wilkinson Rojo


  1. Hi There,

    Funny that I just came across this. I'm a direct ancestor of Samuel Chapin, and my name is Marlis Eleanor Slater. I'm from Wyoming but my father came from Cambridge, MA. My sons and I will be in the area in June and I'm hoping to see the statue in Merrick Park. It would be fun to see a bit more, if that were possible. My son, Benjamin, was nearly named "Sophia Chapin", however--despite two misread ultrasounds, he was born a boy, not a girl! Hence, "Ben".

    I likely have early Chapin Family documents, if they are of use to you.

    Cheers, Marlis Slater

  2. My children are direct ancestors of Samuel Chapin, in fact, my youngest son is named Chapin Warner. His grandfather's middle name was Chapin: Donald C. Warner and he lived in Springfield, Mass. We went to see the statue of Samuel Chapin around 1978. Very impressive.