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Governor Reuben Chapman Autographs, Memorabilia & Collectibles

Born: July 15, 1799 in Bowling Green, Caroline County, Virginia
Died: May 16, 1882 in Huntsville, Madison County, Alabama
Biography | show moreshow less
Reuben Chapman (1799-1882), an Alabama lawyer, owned a cotton plantation in the state's "Black Belt." He served as a Democrat in the US House of Representatives (1835-1849) and as Governor (1847-1849). Becoming governor in the wake of the failure of the state-chartered Bank of Alabama, he struggled with some success to restore fiscal solvency, but his deep suspicion of banks in general limited his ability to propose reforms. Chapman was a zealous supporter of slavery, who even argued for admission of California to the Union as a slave state. He had second thoughts in 1860, however, and sought unsuccessfully to prevent the northern and southern wings of the Democratic Party from nominating rival candidates. He was a Presidential Elector for Jefferson Davis in 1862, however. Chapman suffered greatly during the Civil War, losing a son in battle, having his plantation burned, and being briefly imprisoned. He had regained prosperity before his death, however, successfully growing cotton despite his aversion to "free labor".

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