CHAPMAN, ROBERT MARTIN
CHAPMAN, ROBERT MARTIN (1810–?). Robert Martin Chapman, Episcopalian missionary, was born in Petersburg, Virginia, on April 10, 1810. He became a deacon in 1838 at St. Stephen's Church in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Early that year he corresponded with Mirabeau B. Lamar, then the vice president of Texas, and informed him of his desire to establish an academy in the republic. In October 1838 Chapman gained an appointment as foreign missionary of the Protestant Episcopal Church to Texas, where he arrived in late November. He boarded in Houston with the family of Col. William Fairfax Gray, a prominent settler and active layman of the church. In return for this assistance, he tutored the family children. Chapman spent most of his time in Houston, where he held church services in the Capitol, though he also ministered in Galveston and traveled to Velasco and Quintana. In March 1839 Gray circulated a petition to organize an Episcopal congregation in Houston, and Chapman presided over the first parish meeting on April 1, 1839. The vestry elected during this meeting formed the foundation of Christ Church in Houston, the second Episcopal church in Texas. During this time Rev. Leonidas Polk, missionary bishop of the Southwest, conducted the first visitation of a high Episcopal church official to the Republic of Texas. While in Texas, Chapman opened the Senate five times, held services for nine burials, solemnized five marriages, and baptized two children. He left Texas in June of 1839 apparently discouraged and unable to cope with the conditions of frontier life.
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Handbook of Texas Online, David L. Fisher, "Chapman, Robert Martin," accessed June 27, 2016, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fch18.
Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.