Afrolumens is grateful to
Charles Anderson Robinson for the submission of the following old
newspaper clipping about his third great grandfather. Mr. Robinson is a
family historian with
the distinction of having eleven ancestors who served with the United
States Colored Troops during the Civil War.
He has also done much research into the Pennsylvania State Equal Rights
League, of which his ancestor, William Nesbit, was president. The
Nesbit and Chaplin families were joined when John Chaplin's daughter,
Florence, married Charles, son of William Nesbit. The close family
connection may be illustrated by the fact that when Huntingdon County
formed a chapter of the Pennsylvania State Equal Rights League, John G.
Chaplin was its first president.2
For our article about John G. Chaplin's
life and accomplishments,
G. Chaplin, the well known colored artist and portrait painter of 1314 Ford
avenue, was struck and instantly killed Saturday evening, about 6:30 o'clock
by passenger train 211 on the Pennsylvania. The accident occurred a
short distance east of Haselton and the head of the unfortunate man was
Mr. Chaplin was 79 years of
age3 4 and for a number of years his sight has been very poor. For this
reason it is thought that he probably lost his way after dark and becoming
bewildered wandered onto the track. Knowing his feebleness, his family
became anxious by his prolonged absence and the police were notified.
The search resulted in his body being found at Gillen's morgue where it was
taken after the accident.
Mr. Chaplin has been a resident of this city
for the past ten years and was noted as an artist which calling he followed
to the day of his death. Several paintings done by him have received
much notice and he was awarded first prize at the Louisiana exposition for a
painting exhibited there.
He leaves beside his widow, five daughters,
Mrs. R. A Kerr of Foster street and Mrs. Albert Johnston of Crossman avenue,
this city,; Mrs. Charles Nesbit of Altoona, Pa., Mrs. Richard Wagner of
Rochester, Pa., Mrs. Charles Robinson of Beaver Falls, Pa., one son Charles
Chaplin of Washington, D.C.
Services attending the funeral will be held
at 2 o'clock Tuesday afternoon at the residence, 1314 Ford avenue.5
Charles Robinson writes "The article of
my third great-grandfather, John Chaplin, I found In the library in
Youngstown, Ohio, which is where he and his wife Hannah spent the last days
of his life. The paper, I believe, was the Youngstown Telegram,
dated Monday, January 7th 1907. The Huntingdon [Pennsylvania] Historical
Society has several of his paintings hanging In their library. He was
a very good portrait painter. I have some photos of some of his paintings.
In his lifetime he painted hundreds of paintings. A few years ago I
went to Altoona to view a painting of his that was on display there at an
antique shop during a Black History Month affair." The death of
John G. Chaplin was also reported in the Youngstown Vindicator, 6
January 1907. (Charles Anderson
Robinson, email correspondence to the Afrolumens Project, 20, 22, 30 January
"Another County Equal Rights League," The Christian Recorder, 18
3. John G. Chaplin was
born in 1828, in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. Mr Robinson notes "The
Chaplins have been In Huntingdon as far back as 1810. I located Levi Sr.'s
father (grandfather of John G. Chaplin) in the 1810 census record and his
name was Van Chaplin. As to when the Chaplins first located In
Huntingdon, I'm not really sure, as there is a lot of speculation among old
family members, and I am still on the search for lots of answers."
(Charles Anderson Robinson, email correspondence to the Afrolumens Project,
24 January 2006)
4. John Chaplin is found
in the 1860 census of Huntingdon County, living in the eastern half of the
Borough of Huntingdon. He is listed as "John Chapman," age 33,
mulatto, and his occupation is listed as "barber." He is listed with
his wife Hannah, son Charles, age 7, and daughters Anie Eliza, age 3, and
Florence, six months. Also in the Chaplin household is Hannah's
mother, Maria Penlow,
age 60, and Ellen Molson, age 15. (1860 U.S. Census, Huntingdon
Borough, Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania, p. 338-339; The relationship of
Maria Penlow to Hannah is from Nancy Shedd, "Program on John G. Chaplin for
the Huntingdon Historical Society, May 1, 1984," typescript, n.p., submitted
by Charles Robinson.)
For a photo of John G. Chaplin, click here.
This is believed to be the photograph upon which the newspaper drawing was
based. Photograph submitted by Charles Robinson.