Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record - Published 1894 by Excelsior Publishing Co., Chicago" Pages 310 - 311
William Chaplin, of Plymouth, is numbered among the early settlers of Sheboygan County, and dates his arrival from
August 15, 1855. He was born in the town of Berkshire, Franklin County, Vt., April 6, 1837. His parents were Hosea
and Almina (Harmon) Chaplin, natives of Brandon, Vt., who belonged to early families of that State. The paternal
great-grandfather of the subject of this sketch was Col. Chaplin, an officer in the War of 1812. The grandfather of
our subject was Aaron Chaplin. Hosea Chaplin had one brother, Guy, who at this writing is still living, and a
resident of his native State. There were also several sisters in the family, but Hosea was the only one of his
family who ever came West to live. He and his wife became the parents of ten children, four sons and six daughters,
and the first of the family who came West was Martha, wife of H. H. Bradford.
William Chaplin grew to manhood in his native town. On leaving the parental home, he went to Rutland, in his native
State, and resided with a great-uncle for about a year, and then decided to emigrate to Wisconsin. A year or two
after his arrival in Sheboygan County, the father and mother also came, and eventually the parents and all of their
children became residents of the town of Plymouth. Many years later the father sold out and removed to Cloud
County, Kan., where he died in November of 1885, at the age of seventy-nine years. The mother is living with her
son William in Plymouth. Several of the children are now deceased, and the subject of this sketch is the only one
still residing in Sheboygan County.
On October 8, 1861, Mr. Chaplin was married to Miss Melissa E. Wilson, daughter of Ara Wilson, an early settler of
the town of Plymouth. On February 28, 1864, he enlisted in Company E, Thirty-sixth Regiment Wisconsin Infantry, and
served until the close of the war, his regiment forming a part of the First Brigade, First Division, Second Army
Corps, commanded by the gallant Gen. Hancock, and his division by Gen. Gibbons. He joined, with his command, the
Army of the Potomac, soon after the battle of Spottsylvania, and took part in the famous battles of Cold Harbor and
North Anna. He participated in the important movements and battles attending the siege of Petersburgh, and joined
in the pursuit of Gen. Lee and his army to the finish at Appomattox. From there he went to Alexandria, and
participated in the Grand Review at Washington, and was discharged at Jeffersonville, Ind., April 12, 1865. Though
he participated in many important battles, he escaped unwounded by the bullets of the enemy, but the exposures and
hardships incident to his army life greatly undermined his constitution, and he suffers greatly from lumbago and an
affection of the heart, which are traced directly to the cause above mentioned.
In 1867, Mr. Chaplin purchased a farm on section 32, in the town of Plymouth, where he resided with his family until
March 15, 1892, when, owing to impaired health, he abandoned his farm, which, however, he still owns, and removed to
Mr. and Mrs. Chaplin are the parents of four children, three sons and a daughter. Harry A., the eldest, is a
resident of the town of Plymouth and is engaged in the manufacture of cheese. Ralph H. resides at Brownsville,
Ore. Ella, their only daughter, is the wife of F. F. Ames, and resides in Seattle. Mr. Ames is a civil engineer by
occupation and is at present County Surveyor of King County, Wash., in which Seattle is located. Guy W., the
youngest of the children, is also in Seattle. They all give promise of becoming worthy citizens. All are graduates
of the High School of Plymouth, and Guy W. also took a full course at the Commercial School at Sheboygan.
Mr. Chaplin has been called upon to serve in various local offices; he has served on the Town Board, and is at
present Police Justice of Plymouth. He has also served as Secretary of the Farmers' Fire Insurance Association of
his town, and has been Chairman of the Adjusting Board. In 1890 he took the census of the town of Plymouth. He is
at present local correspondent of the Sheboygan Herald. In politics, he is a Republican. Mr. Chaplin was a gallant
soldier in the war for the Union, and is a worthy and respected citizen.
Copyright 1997 - 2009 by Debie Blindauer