Famous Chapman's


One of my favorite pastimes is the research into the world of famous "Chapman's". Many of these can be found in various places, but the internet is one of my favorite. Here are a few of my famous "Chapman's".

Some of us have already heard of "Joseph Chapman the Pirate" who is believed to be one of the first men of Caucasian blood to arrive on the shores of California in 1818. He married a young Spanish girl, Guadalupe Ortega, and they had a large family, with many descendents still living in California.

Then there is "Lawrence of Arabia", of which almost everyone has heard of or have seen the wonderful motion picture. However, what most people do not know is that Lawrence was a Chapman! The best way to read of his colorful life is to type in "Lawrence of Arabia" in the Google search engine.

He portrayed one of filmdom's best-loved monsters, cloaked in the in one of the most memorable and terrifying costumes in horror film history. Though only glimpsed outside his Gill Man regalia in publicity shots, "Ben Chapman" is the man most closely identified with the role of "Creature from the Black Lagoon". He tells his unusual story and this too can be found on the Internet.

One of my favorite "Chapman's" is the story of the Cleveland Bay. As the name suggests, the Cleveland Bay emanates from the Cleveland area of North East England. Without doubt, it is Britain's oldest breed of horse and the church played a very large role in their breeding. Throughout the middle ages, the Monastic houses in the North East were the principle breeders of horses. Packhorses were needed for the trading of goods between the various Abbeys and Monasteries.

Most certainly, the ancestors of today Cleveland Bays, particularly on the female side, were such packhorses bred in the Yorkshire Dales. Locally they were known as Chapman horses, the name being derived from the name given to packmen and itinerant peddlers of those days i.e. "Chapman".

There was an influx of barb horses into the port of Whitby. These were used on Chapman mares. Before the end of the 17th Century the main ingredient of the Cleveland Bay, the Chapman, and the Barb had come together to mould the type of powerful horse whose popularity as a pack/harness horse was beginning to spread beyond the North East.

The demand for faster carriage horses resulted in some breeders crossing their Cleveland's with strong Thoroughbreds. Their offspring were known as the Yorkshire Coach Horse, a tall elegant carriage horse, much in demand by the rich and royal. (this is part of an article from the "Cleveland Bay Horse Society".

For pictures and information, go to www.clevelandbay.com/history.htm

By Leonard B. Chapman

©Chapman Family Association
All contents copyrighted by the Chapman Family Association unless copyrighted by individual contributors.