Ralph Chapman was born 9 December 1615 in St. Savior's Parish Church, Southward, Surrey, England to John Chapman (1589-) and Elizabeth Unknown (c1589-) and died 4 June 1672 in Marshfield, Plymouth County, Massachusetts of unspecified causes. He married Lydia Wells (1621-1671) 23 November 1642 in Marshfield, Plymouth County, Massachusetts.


Ralph Chapman (1615-1672) & Lydia Wells (1618-1681): A ship's carpenter, of Southwark in Surrey near London, Ralph, aged 20 years, arrived aboard the Elizabeth in Apr 1635. He first settled in Duxbury, where he is recorded as purchasing land in 1639, and received a grant of four acres at Stoneybrook in 1640. He later removed to Marshfield, where he was a proprietor in 1644, and bought a ferry privilege at New Harbor marshes of Robert Barker 11 Jan 1641. His wife is also recorded as Lydia Willis, as is noted in the earliest marriage recorded for the town of Marshfield: "Ralph Chapman and Lydia Wills were married 23 November, 1642."

He removed at some point to Newport, RI, where he was connected with several others who built a wharf where the Jamestown Ferry was later situated, no doubt in connection with continuing his father's business. According to research done by a Newport relative, who referred to the book "The Chapman Family", by John Harvey Chapman, Ralph evidently married three times, but there is considerable confusion as to the identity of his first two wives (or possibly there was only one previous wife). One Deliverance Slocum of Portsmouth, RI, married "Ralph Jr." 10 Feb 1684; this seems to fit well as a second wife (although still not the mother of his son, Ralph), but she is stated in Newport records to have died in 1711, and Ralph definitely married Mary Clarke as his third wife, well before the date of death for Deliverance Slocum.

The thought that this Deliverance may have been rather the wife of the next Ralph (b 1679) seemed plausible as that Ralph did not have his first child by Mary Holmes until around 1718 (when he would have been about age 38), but the marriage date to Deliverance would have occurred when he was 8 years of age. Exactly who this "Ralph, Jr" is is a complete mystery. A Rhode Island Friends record for Newport, shows Ralph Chapman, b 7 Jan 1679/80 as son of Ralph and Mary, so the assumption is that Ralph Chapman (b 1654) was first married to Mary, surname unknown, again from a Rhode Island Friends record, "Chapman, Mary, wife of Ralph, Newport, d May 22, 1688", and (?secondly or thirdly?) to Mary Clarke, who died 1711, age 51 years, at her father's, Walter Clarke's house. Also somewhat perplexing is that another death record of (second or third) wife Mary Clarke, states "Chapman, Mary, wife of Ralph, Absent, aged 50 years, 1711, etc. when the date shown above, while not exact, indicates he was deceased.

As had his father, he pursued his trade on Chapman's Wharf (later Commercial Wharf), which was in recent times located in the same area as the Newport-Bristol Ferry. He married Ann Holmes, great-granddaughter of Roger Williams, by whom he had two sons and two daughters. A cooper by trade, he was made a freeman of Newport in 1742. He was also a mate on the privateer "Lady Washington", under the command of Capt. James Godfrey. He married Mary, widow Young, of Boston, whose surname has not been identified. It has been conjectured that Mary may have been Mary Brenton, or whose mother may have been a Brenton, as their son was given this rather unusual first name.

Other than her name and dates of birth and death, nothing else is yet known. There are a small number of Kaighns who begin appearing in Newport records in the late 1700s, perhaps descending from a brother of Rebecca. The only other individuals of an earlier period yet found with this surname are in New Jersey, and the name Kaighn appears to have been the shortened form of Kaighin, probably a name of Irish origin, both spellings appearing interchangeably in New Jersey.

1634 Voyage to America


He was a passenger on the 2nd Voyage of the English ship Elizabeth, which sailed from London in April, 1635, bound for New England. The ship arrived safe at Massachusetts Bay. Passenger list information was transcribed in the 19th century by Michael Tepper from records found in London, the Public Rolls Office, formerly at Carleton Ride.

Marriage & Family


  1. CHAPMAN b: 5 Oct 1649 in Plymouth, Marshfield, Ma
  2. Sarah CHAPMAN b: 15 May 1645 in Duxbury, Plymouth, Ma c: 27 Sep 1657 in Scituate, Plymouth, Ma
  3. Lydia CHAPMAN b: 5 Oct 1649 in Marshfield, Plymouth, Ma
  4. Ralph CHAPMAN b: 20 Jun 1653 in Duxbury, Plymouth, Ma c: 27 Sep 1657 in Scituate, Plymouth, Mass
  5. Ralph CHAPMAN b: 1651 c: 27 Sep 1657 in Scituate, Plymouth, Ma
  6. Mary CHAMPMAN b: 31 Oct 1643 in Duxbury, Plymouth, Ma
  7. CHAPMAN b: ABT 1653 in Duxbury, Plymouth, Ma
  8. Isaac CHAPMAN b: 4 Aug 1647 in Marshfield, Plymouth, Ma
  9. CHAPMAN b: 1651 in Marshfield, Plymouth, Ma
  10. John CHAPMAN b: 1657 c: 27 Sep 1657 in Scituate, Plymouth, Ma
  11. Mary Chapman (1643-1704) - b: 13 Oct 1643 in Marshfield, Plymouth, Ma - md English Civil War Refugee - William Throop (1628-1704)
  12. Samuel CHAPMAN b: ABT 1653 in Duxbury, Plymouth, Ma c: 27 Sep 1657 in Scituate, Plymouth, Mass


Offspring of Ralph Chapman and Lydia Wells (1621-1671)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Mary Chapman (1643-1704) 13 October 1643 Marshfield, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, United States 6 June 1732 Bristol, Bristol County, Rhode Island, United States William Throop (1628-1704)

Sarah Chapman (1645-1704)
Lydia Chapman (1649-1649)
John Chapman (1651-1677)
Ralph Chapman (1651-1653)
Samuel Chapman (1653-)
Ralph Chapman (1653-1711)
Isaac Chapman (1647-1737)


Vital Records

Will of Ralph Chapman

The Will of Ralph Chapman (abstracted):

To da. Sarah and her husband Wm Norcut; to younger son Ralph; to children Isaach, John and Mary. 28 Nov 1671. Witnessed by Peregrine White and Eph Little. Wm Ford Sen, aged 67; Thomas Tilden aged 50, Anna Little, aged 60 yrs; and Eph Little aged 22 yrs, testify that at the making of his will, R. Chapman's hands were so swelled, that he could not sign it.



Footnotes (including sources)



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