Chapman, Jonathan, 1807-1848
Jonathan Chapman, Boston's eighth mayor, was born on January 23, 1807, and was the son of Jonathan Chapman, who had been a selectman of Boston. Preparing for college at Phillips Academy, he graduated from Harvard, studied law under Judge Lemuel Shaw, then went into politics, and was elected mayor in December, 1839, and held office for three years. As the city debt had nearly doubled in eighteen years, though there had been a proportionate increase in the value of the property owned by the city, Mayor Chapman recommended a reduction of the city debt as the chief aim of his administration.
In his inaugural speech in 1841, Chapman spoke of the great commercial importance to Boston of the establishment in 1840 of the Cunard Line between Boston and Liverpool, and the opening of the new Western Railroad to the Hudson River. The old County Court House was made over for use as the City Hall, and was occupied as such on March 18. 1841.
During his term of office he employed an extra police force to prosecute violators of the laws regarding liquor licenses.
He was a brilliant speaker, and had considerable literary ability, contributing to the "North American Review" and other periodicals. He died on May 25, 1848.
Taken from "Boston's 45 Mayors from John Phillips to Kevin H. White," City Record, Boston, 1979.
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Photographs and other images collected by the Boston Landmarks Commission for reference use and for publications as well as photographs taken by the Landmarks Commission documenting their work and city neighborhoods.