Although of foreign birth, the subject of this sketch has long been a resident of America and for over forty years has been identified with Doniphan county, Kansas, where he is well-known as a breeder of short-horn cattle.
He was born in Devonshire, England, June 13, 1824, of English parents, John and Anna (Atwill) Chapple, both of whom died in their native land. His father a farmer, William spent his boyhood days on the farm and had the advantages of a common-school education, attending school up to the time he was sixteen. From that time until he was twenty-one he assisted his father in the farm work and then learned the trade of stone cutter, which he followed until he was thirty.
In 1849, thinking to improve his condition in life by emigration to America, he took passage in a sailing vessel for New York, and after a voyage of twenty-eight clays lauded at that port. Soon after his arrival he secured employment in the navy yard, cutting stone on the dry dock. From there he went to Virginia and for eighteen months was employed on the canal locks. November, 1856, found him in St. Joseph, Missouri, where he worked at his trade two years. At the same time he located a claim of one hundred and sixty acres in Doniphan county, two miles west of Troy, where he settled his family in 1857 and in 1859 he commenced farming. He was fairly successful in his operations from the first and as he was prospered bought more land and drifted into the breeding of fine short-horn cattle. In the stock business he has made a decided success. Cattle and hogs, however, have been his specialty. For years he has handled a large number of fine cattle, registered stock of the best families, selling and shipping to various points in this and adjoining states for breeding purposes. In 1898 he turned his farm and stock business over to his son and is now practically retired from active life. His farm comprises three hundred and sixty acres of fine land, well improved and under a high state of cultivation, and in its broad pastures are to-day some of the finest stock in the country.
Mr. Chapple's married life covers a period of nearly fifty years. He was married, December 19, 1850, to Miss Elizabeth Croft, a native of Virginia and second daughter of William and Emily Croft. Mr. and Mrs. Chapple have the following named children: Emily, the wife of John Williams; Mary W., the wife of Albert Gillman; John W.; William H.; George W.; Richard T.; Ellen N., the wife of Richard Mears; Anna L., the wife of Charles Penn; and Edwin A., who married Sarah B. Taylor. Mr. and Mrs. Chapple have twenty-three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Essentially loyal and patriotic, Mr. Chiapple was not one to refuse to answer to the call of his adopted country for volunteers to defend the national honor. He enlisted in 1862 as a member of Company A, Thirteenth Kansas Volunteer Infantry, and went to the front under the commands of Captain Samuel Flickinger and Colonel Thomas Bowen. He was with the forces that operated in the southwest and among the engagements in which he participated were those at Camden and Marks Mills. At the later place he was captured, was taken to Texas and held prisoner for thirteen months, after which he was exchanged. Receiving an honorable discharge in 1865, he returned to his home and family in Kansas.
Mr. Chapple has never sought official honors, but was elected and served as assessor of Center township. He has long been identified with the Masonic order and maintains membership in both the lodge and chapter at Troy. He and his wife are consistent members of the Christian church.