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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
James B. Chapman

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 633-634 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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James B. Chapman, vice president and sales manager of the Van Vleet Company, Incorporated, of Gloversville, represents the third generation of his family in the glove industry. His grandfather on the paternal side of the house was a glove maker in the early days. He used to drive out west across the Mississippi river with his horse and wagon in the early pioneer period of that region to buy hides from the Indians, which he hauled back to New York state and manufactured into gloves. On his return trip to the west he sold his product from his wagon on the way, thus realizing a neat profit on his investment and labor. George H. Chapman, the father of James B. Chapman, is a native of Broadalbin, New York, and is also engaged in the manufacture of gloves, his plant being in Johnstown. As a young man, and indeed up until 1920, he was a glove salesman, leaving the road to establish the firm of Chapman, Finch & Smith, with which he was connected for two or three years. Later he disposed of his interest in this company to found the firm of George H. Chapman & Sons, manufacturers of fine gloves, also of Johnstown and he is now going out on the road again selling the output of the new factory. Needless to say, the prosperity of the enterprise owes much to his ability as a salesman and his long connection with the trade. Mrs. Chapman was Miss Catherine B. Crouse before her marriage, and claims St. Johnsville, New York, as her birthplace.

Born at Broadalbin, on January 30, 1886, James B. Chapman is one of Fulton county's native sons. He was educated in the Broadalbin public schools and is a graduate of the Gloversville high school, class of 1905. Entering Union College at Schenectady the following autumn he took the four-year course there, and obtained his Ph. B. degree in the spring of 1909. His first position was that of a traveling salesman for Lucas & Kennedy of Johnstown, glove manufacturers. Subsequently he was associated with the Niagara Silk Mills and the firm of G. W. Mandrill & Company in a similar capacity and he is still selling goods for the Mandrill concern. Meanwhile, in 1921, Mr. Chapman bought an interest in the Van Vleet Glove Company of Gloversville, becoming vice president and sales manager of the firm. The Van Vleet concern specializes in the production of motor gloves and enjoys a trade extending throughout this country and Canada. Its officers, aside from Mr. Chapman, are: Edward Van Vleet, president, and Charles L. Smith, secretary and treasurer.

Mr. Chapman and Miss Janet Scott were married on July 1, 1915. Mrs. Chapman is the daughter of the late Allison R. and Elizabeth (Vanderbilt) Scott, the former a Scotchman by birth and the latter a native of Geneseo, New York. Her father came to America as a boy and entered the newspaper profession. For many years before his death in 1912 he owned and operated the paper at Geneseo known as the Livingston Republican.

In college days Mr. Chapman became a member of the Delta Phi fraternity and was active in campus life as president of the Democratic Club. He has retained an unusual interest in his Alma Mater as an alumnus and for five years after leaving school served on the graduate council. In the years that have passed since his school days Mr. Chapman has shifted his political position to that of an independent voter, like many other progressive men and women of the day who are deciding each individual political and public question on its merits, rather than adhering strictly to party lines. He is a Protestant in his religious faith and is a member of the Eccentric Club and Elks lodge of Gloversville, among whose members he has made many friends.

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