William Henry Chapman, a practitioner of law at the bar of San Francisco, is one of California's native sons, his birth having occurred in Sacramento county on the 19th of October, 1856. He is a son of Daniel H. and Martha Jane (Coolidge) Chapman, whose family numbered two sons and four daughters. Three of the sisters of Mr. Chapman are yet living, but his brother has passed away. The father was born in New York and is a representative of an old American family of English lineage. He came to California in January, 1850, attracted by the discovery of gold on the Pacific slope and the business opportunities afforded by the great and growing west. He made the journey across the plains with ox teams and took up land near Folsom, turning his attention to agricultural pursuits, which he followed consecutively until 1857, when, on making a return trip to New York by water, he was lost at sea on the steamship Central America, off Cape Hatteras. His wife, who was born in Maine, still survives him and is now living in Sacramento at the age of seventy-six years. She too is of English descent, and her ancestral history is one of long and close identification with America.

William Henry Chapman was less than a year old at the time of his father's demise. He began his education in the public schools of Sacramento and there continued his studies until he had completed the high school course. In 1875 he entered the University of California, where he remained as a student for four years, and was graduated in 1879 with the degree of Bachelor of Arts. He continued his work there through the succeeding year and won the degree of Master of Arts. With broad general knowledge to serve as the foundation upon which to rear the superstructure of professional learning, he took up the study of law and was admitted to the bar in January, 1881. Since that time he has engaged in practice, and to-day has a distinctively representative clientage in San Francisco, his devotion to the interests intrusted to his care and his thorough preparation of cases having gained for him a reputation that enables him to command a good patronage.

In July, 1881, Mr. Chapman was united in marriage to Miss Lulu E. Medbery, a native of Wisconsin and a daughter of William C. and Mary E. Medbery, who came to California about 1860, locating in Sacramento. In the family are three sons and a daughter: Alice Mabyn, who is now a student in the University of California; Lester H.; Charles Carroll; and Philip Stanard. Mr. Chapman belongs to the Masonic fraternity, and is also identified with the Native Sons of the Golden West, while his political allegiance is given to the Republican party. He and his wife have a wide acquaintance in the city where they make their home, and his record is one which reflects credit upon his native state, for laudable ambition and strong purpose have characterized his professional career and gained for him a desirable position in the ranks of the legal fraternity of the metropolis of the west.

Source: History of the New California Its Resources and People, Volume II

The Lewis Publishing Company - 1905
Edited by Leigh H. Irvine

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