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Biographical Review: Greene, Schoharie and Schenectady Counties, New York
Elda B. Chapman

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[This information is from pp. 273-274 of Biographical Review Volume XXXIII: Containing Life Sketches of Leading Citizens of Greene, Schoharie and Schenectady Counties, New York (Boston: Biographical Review Publishing Company, 1899). It is in the collection of the Grems-Doolittle Library of the Schenectady County Historical Society at 920 BIO.]

Elda B. Chapman, wife of J. P. Chapman, of East Cobleskill, Schoharie County, N. Y., and a prominent worker in the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, was born at Bramanville, in the town of Cobleskill, on April 9, 1852, her parents being Nelson and Catherine M. (Braman) Bice. Her family is of Dutch origin, a representative of it coming from Holland in 1657, and settling in New York when it was called New Amsterdam. The name was originally spelled Buys, as it still is in Holland.

Mrs. Chapman's paternal grandfather, Joshua Bice, who was a farmer and later a merchant, settled on land in East Cobleskill. He was a man of strong Christian character, and for sixty-two years was an earnest and devoted member of the Methodist church. He was the first member of the church here. At the age of seventy-four years he handed in the classbook that he had used in the many years when he had held the position of class leader, saying he was too old to attend to it any longer.

Mrs. Chapman's father, Nelson Bice, was born at East Cobleskill, where his daughter now resides. He lived in this county nearly all his life, and for the nine years preceding his death he lived on this place. He was a farmer by occupation. For six years, while residing in Middleburg, he served as Assessor of the town, being nominated to the office by acclamation. In politics he was a Democrat. At the age of twenty-three he joined the Methodist Episcopal church, and from that time until his death, in 1880, he was one of its faithful members. For many years he held the office of superintendent of the Sunday-school, for eight years that of class leader, and for many years he was one of the church trustees. He served his townspeople as school trustee for a number of years. His wife, Catherine, was born in Bramanville, daughter of John W. Braman. Her grandfather, William Braman, was an Englishman; and his wife, whose maiden name was De Lamater, was half French and part Dutch, being a descendant of the Rev. Everardus Bogardus and his wife, Anneke Jans. John W. Braman built a woollen-mill in Bramanville. The place was named in his honor, and he was one of its most highly valued citizens. He was a strong advocate of temperance. When at the advanced age of seventy he taught the village school in Bramanville. For twelve years he was a Justice of the Peace. He married Elizabeth Wetsell, daughter of Christopher Wetsell, a German who owned about a thousand acres of land and a number of slaves. When the State gave them freedom, some of Mr. Wetsell's negroes remained with him, and some of them accompanied Elizabeth Wetsell when she married and left home.

Mrs. Chapman's father was an owner in the woollen-mill built by her grandfather Braman, but when she was three years of age he removed to East Worcester. There the family lived for the next five years, at the end of which time they went to East Cobleskill. Six years later they removed to Fultonham, and after staying in that place four years they returned to East Cobleskill, where Mrs. Chapman has since made her home. She attended the district schools until she was sixteen years old, and was then sent to Schoharie Academy, where she remained for some time, studying academic branches and music. She subsequently studied music with Miss Rankin, of Middleburg. Her marriage occurred on October 25, 1871, and since that time she has shown her ability not only in the administration of her domestic duties, but in various responsible public positions. In connection with her efforts in behalf of the cause of temperance she has been county superintendent of the Sunday-school work of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. For twenty-one years she was a teacher in the Sunday-school of the Methodist church, of which she is a member.

Mr. Chapman was born in Fulton, his parents being Jacob and Huldah (Winans) Chapman. His mother was the daughter of the Rev. Mr. Winans, a Baptist minister. Mr. Chapman is an enterprising farmer and a man who commands universal esteem. He has been twice elected Supervisor of the town of Middleburg.

Mrs. Chapman takes an active interest in the advancement of agriculture, and has written several valuable essays, which were read before the State Agricultural Society and before the State Dairymen's Association. She has also read papers before the county Sunday-school conventions, and has been one of the judges of award at two silver medal contests. Mrs. Chapman is the mother of three daughters — Lena May, Mildred H., and Agnes E. The first named is a graduate of the Cobleskill High School and of Syracuse University. Mildred H. is a graduate of the Cobleskill High School, and is now preparing to take a course of study in Syracuse University. Agnes E. is ten years of age.

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