John Chapman

ID # 6869, (1824-1880)
BirthJohn Chapman was born on 29 December 1824 at York (now Toronto). 
MarriageHe married Wilhelmine Hespeler, daughter of Johann Georg Hespeler and Anna Barbara Wick, on 17 November 1849 at Preston and Berlin, Canada West.
The evidence below strongly suggests that John Chapman and Wilhelmine Hespeler had two marriage ceremonies.

First, see Marriage Notices of Ontario, William D. Reid, Hunterdon House, Lambertville, N.J., 1980, page 349. The extraction is taken from the 26 November, 1849, edition of The Gazette, Hamilton, Canada West. This states:

At Preston, in the Roman Catholic Church, on Saturday, 17th inst., John Chapman, merchant, New Hope, to Wilhelmina Hespeler, of Preston. (Rev. Mr. Holzer).

There are one or two problems with the above. Rev. Mr. Holzer was at least to a degree an itinerant priest who probably regularly served his congregation at Guelph. There was not a physical church building per se at Preston at the time, services being held in available homes or halls, but the point need not be belaboured.

Also, and this from the text of the notice is entirely arguable, New Hope became such with the establishment of a post office there on May 6, 1851. Hitherto, it was known as Bergeyville, though there was never a post office under that name (see Floreen Carter's Ghost and Post Offices of Ontario, 1986.) New Hope became Hespeler in 1858.

Which brings us to the other, undated, marriage ceremony. And for this, please see The Marriage Registers of Upper Canada / Canada West, Wellington District, Vol. 9, part 1, 1840-1852, compiled by Dan Walker & Fawne Stratford-Devai, Global Heritage Press, 2000, page 81.

This presents us with a list of marriages performed by Rev'd Frederick W. Bindemann, Minister of the United Lutheran & German Reformed Protestant Church at Greenbush (Berlin, now Kitchener), between October 1, 1849, and January 1, 1850. Other than this, the marriages str shown as undated.

Near the end of the list, we find:

John Chapman, 25, Merchant of New Hope, Waterloo, to Wilhelmine Hespeler, 24. By licence. Rev. Bindemann.

That there were two marriages for the couple may strike the reader as unusual, and was, though certainly not unheard of. There is some evidence that at least some members of the Hespeler family were dedicated Lutherans. We must believe John Chapman to have been a dedicated Roman Catholic, especially when we note the separate burials for John and his two Hespeler wives, woman who were sisters.

The date of marriage shown here is that which appears in Reid's extraction from the Hamilton Gazette, namely November 17th, 1849. Was the Lutheran marriage ceremony as performed by Fredrick Bindemann held on the same day? For the moment, this is unknown.

Beyond this, and not to suggest that Bindemann couldn't deliver an impressive marriage ceremony, but he was known betimes to be terse. It is said that on occasion his idea of a marriage ceremony amounted to:

You want each other? You got each other. Two dollars.

MarriageHe married Ferdinande Hespeler, daughter of Johann Georg Hespeler and Anna Barbara Wick, on 16 June 1853 at Berlin, Waterloo Co., Canada West.
An independent record of the marriage of John Chapman and Ferdinande Hespeler Muehleisen has yet to be found. The Waterloo Historical Society publishes an annual volume of their proceedings and historical articles. The 1938 edition of the Waterloo Historical Society tells that John and Ferdinande were married in Berlin (now Kitchener) on 16 June, 1853.
DeathHe died on 20 July 1880 at St. Boniface, Manitoba, at age 55. 
BurialHe was buried on 23 July 1880 at St. Mary of the Visitation Cemetery, Preston, Ontario. 
NoteNorma Huber's Funeral Notice Cards of Waterloo County, 1851-1980, Waterloo branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society, 2001, page 69, quotes a card that locates John's death in Winnipeg on July 20, 1880. It states that a funeral was being held in Winnipeg on 22 July at 9AM and that there would be a funeral in Hespeler on the 23rd.

Train service was good in those days, though a second funeral on the 23rd seems a bit close. John's gravestone places his death in St. Boniface, Manitoba, and this is probably the more accurate.

A biography for John Chapman in the 1938 publication of the Waterloo Historical Society tells that he was born on December 29, 1824, in Toronto. At the time, the name of the town was York, the name not being changed to Toronto until 1834.

Per the Dumfries Reformer (information as extracted by Rosemary Willard), we find that John Chapman lost an infant daughter on 3 April, 1854. This will be Ferdinande's child. The child is not named and we have no burial record.


Child of John Chapman and Wilhelmine Hespeler

Children of John Chapman and Ferdinande Hespeler

Last Edited28 Mar 2019