Jacob Page Chapman · 1966

Jacob Chapman came from Massachusetts to Indiana in 1838 and on July 4th of that year, in association with his brother, established the Wabash Enquirer, a Democratic paper of considerable influence, in Terre Haute. C.C. Oakey in his History of Terre Haute describes Chapman as one of the "sassiest" editors that ever struck Terre Haute. Much of the language common to Chapman’s editorials would today be considered grounds for libel.

Chapman moved to Indianapolis in 1841 and purchased The Democrat, a semi-weekly Democratic organ, from Alexander Morrison. He changed the name to The Sentinel – the character of the paper was also changed a good deal by Chapman. It became more of a newspaper, while maintaining Morrison’s spirited attitude as the state organ of its party. On December 6, 1841 when the legislature met, they issued a daily edition during the session and kept it up until the close of the session of 1843-44 when they reverted to semi-weekly publication. This continued until the permanent establishment of the daily on April 28, 1851.

In June 1850, The Sentinel was sold and the Chapman brothers retired from a position in which Jacob Chapman had achieved a national reputation.
In 1847, Jacob Chapman had established The Grand Encampment of Indiana by warrant from the Grand Lodge of the United States and he was elected Grand Patriarch in 1851.

He was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention of October 7, 1850, and was a leader of the conservative wing of the Democratic party. In the spring of 1853, Jacob Chapman, with his son George H. Chapman, started a weekly paper called the Chanticleer. In the first issue he stated that the paper was to be independent but not neutral and said that he was glad to write his opinions untrammeled by party management. The Chanticleer was suspended in 1854 and a weekly was started in its place. In 1855, under the editorship of George H. Chapman, this became The Daily Evening Republican.

Jacob Chapman’s health failed during this period and in 1855 his mind became so disoriented that he was confined in an insane asylum where he died a few years later.


browse alphabetically
or click a year below