Susan Amelia Risley Chapman was born 24 August 1807 in Madison, Madison County, New York, United States to Elizur Risley (1779-1841) and Amelia Matson (1781-1868) and died 18 February 1888 Fountain Green, Sanpete County, Utah, United States of unspecified causes. She married Welcome Chapman (1805-1893) 1832 in Madison County, New York.

Susan Amelia Risley (1807-1888)

Early LDS Convert / Pioneer

Vital Stats

  • Daughter of Elizur Risley (1779-1841) and Amelia Matson (1781-1868)
  • 1807-Aug-24 : Birth in Madison, Madison Co, New York, USA
  • 1832 (Est) : Marriage (1) to Welcome Chapman (1805-1893) - Settled in Hubbardsville, Vermont.
  • 1836 (est) : Family joined LDS Church and then relocated to Far West, Missouri where next child was born.
  • 1847 : Migration with LDS Pioneers to Salt Lake Valley, Utah
  • 1888-Feb-18 : Died in Fountain Green, Sanpete Co, Utah - buried 3 days later in Manti Cemetery


Susan Risley was a direct descendant from the Risley Family of Early England.

Childhood / Marriage

In between his fishing expeditions Susan met Welcome Chapman (1805-1893). Her parents disapproved of the relationship because they believed his occupation was too unstable to support a family. In response, Chapman abandoned fishing and took steps toward returning to stone cutting. The Risleys relented, and Chapman married "Amelia" in about 1831.

The Chapmans made their home in a hamlet known as Hubbardsville in Madison County, where they had four children, all daughters. The first two were twins who died in infancy (1833). [1]

A New Religion

While in Hubbardsville, they joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. First Welcome joined, to which Amelia reacted harshly, declaring "You have went and joined those awful Mormons." However, she joined the church about six months later.

Because they joined the Mormons, an unpopular religion, their friends and neighbors shunned them and appeared to look down on them, the prominence of Amelia's parents notwithstanding.

The Risleys were broken-hearted over their daughter joining the Mormons, but they did not turn bitter. However, Welcome's parents disowned him. The Chapmans soon moved to a Latter Day Saint community, possibly Kirtland, Ohio, but more likely Jackson County and then Far West, Missouri where their fifth child (Joseph Smith Chapman) was born.

Armed mobs drove the Chapmans from their homes in Missouri and Illinois. They built a home in Far West, Missouri, in 1838, only to be forced from the state by order of the governor that Fall. Amelia was six months' pregnant when a mob gave the Chapmans and their Mormon neighbors a few hours to clear out before their homes would be burned. They remained in the area long enough for Amelia to carry the baby, a son, to full term. He was born two weeks after the Haun's Mill Massacre. They soon fled to Illinois, where they built a home in Nauvoo along the banks of the Mississippi River and Chapman cut stone for the Nauvoo Temple. While in Nauvoo, Amelia had three more children, all sons, one of whom died at three months.

Chapman was part of the Maid of Iowa expedition to rescue the Prophet Joseph Smith.

Brigham Young 1848 Pioneer Company


After leading his first historic 1847 Vanguard Company to blaze the trail to the Salt Lake Valley, Brigham Young (1801-1877) and many of the others returned back to Winter Quarters to collect their families and the rest of the church.

This family was numbered with the 1229 pioneers in 397 wagons make the 1,031 mile trek in 86 days (May 26 to Sept 24) and would be amongst the first of hundred plus wagon trains that would make the same journey over the next 24 years.

Manti Stake President

The Chapmans had their final child, a son named Welcome Chapman, Jr., in the Salt Lake Valley in Fall 1849. About the same time, Brigham Young asked Chapman to help colonize the Sanpitch (now Sanpete) Valley with Isaac Morley. They arrived in November 1849 and endured a harsh winter with little shelter. Chapman was part of the first militia of Manti and used his stone cutting skills to help construct the first fort. He was also among the first group of selectmen. The young colony experienced great difficulties, but gradually began to prosper. View of the Sanpete Valley

On April 30, 1851, Brigham Young called Chapman to be part of the first High Council of the Manti Area Branch in Manti, Utah. On July 8, 1854, the High Council installed Chapman as the colony leader, replacing Isaac Morley, who had been "called to Salt Lake." The next day, the settlers unanimously approved him as their leader. Later that month, on July 27, a stake was organized and Chapman was chosen as its president. That same day, the Mormons baptized (or rebaptized) Chief Wakara into the LDS Church in Manti's City Creek, along with 120 other members of his tribe (103 males, 17 females).

In Manti, Chapman practiced plural marriage. He married Ann Mackey on October 5, 1855, and Catherine Stainer on March 5, 1856. He had a large family with each of these women, in addition to the family he had with Amelia. (He also possibly married two women who left him shortly thereafter.) Chapman was a founding owner of the San Pete Coal Company, incorporated by act of the Territorial Legislature on January 8, 1856.

Temple Stonecutter

After serving as the leader in Manti for eight years, Brigham Young called him to Salt Lake City to cut stone for the Salt Lake Temple, where Chapman often worked with a son at his side. At one point he worked alongside seven of them. Welcome had previously cut stone for the Nauvoo Temple.

In either late November or early December 1893, at the age of 88, Chapman reportedly rode a horse bareback for three miles to build a chimney on the house of his third wife, Catherine. Chilled through after building the chimney and riding home again through the cold, he developed pneumonia. He died soon after in Fountain Green, Utah on December 9, 1893, and was buried in Manti.

Marriage and Family

Children of Welcome Chapman and Susan Risley

  1. Almina Chapman (1833-1833) - died infant
  2. Chestina Chapman (1833-1833) - died infant
  3. Rosetta Anise Chapman (1834-1914) - m. Jerome Bonaparte Kempton
  4. Amelia Caroline Chapman (1835-1913) - m. Jerome Bonaparte Kempton
  5. Joseph Smith Chapman (1838-1917) - m. Mary Jane Matthews
  6. Hyrum Smith Chapman (1841-1928) - m. Rhoda Ann Fullmer
  7. Benjamin Chapman (1843-1843) - died infant
  8. Levi Chapman (1845-?) - m. Cadella Case
  9. Fidelia Chapman (1846-1909) - m. Richard Babbitt
  10. Welcome Chapman Jr (1849-1900) - m. three times - participated in LDS Colony to St Johns, Arizona


Vital Records

Manti Gravestone


1850 US Census

Taken in Sanpete County, Utah Territory:

  • Welcome Chapman (M-44) / Ocp: Stonecutter
  • Susan Chapman (F-43)
  • Rosetta Chapman (F-16)
  • Amelia Chapman (F-14)
  • Joseph S Chapman (M-12)
  • Hiram Chapman (M-9)
  • Levi Chapman (M-5)
  • Fidelia Chapman (F-3)
  • Welcome Chapman (M-1)

1880 US Census

Residence : Salt Lake City, Salt Lake Co, Utah

  • Welcome Chapman (M-75) / Ocp: Stone Mason
  • Ann Chapman (F-39) / Spouse
  • Phoebe A Chapman (F-23) / Child
  • Samuel W Chapman (M-18) / Child
  • Anthony Chapman (M-17) / child
  • Louis Chapman (F-15) / child
  • Mary Chapman (F-2) / child
  • Susan A Chapman (F-73) / Spouse
  • Catherine Chapman (F-41) / Spouse
  • Eliza Chapman (F-21) / child
  • Cyble Chapman (F-19) / child
  • Francis Chapman (F-8) / child
  • Ellen Chapman (F-6) / child
  • Henry Chapman (M-3) / child

See Also


  1. ^ Findlay, Linnie T.M. "Welcome Chapman". Saga of the Sanpitch. 1989. Vol. 21, pp. 111–118.

Footnotes (including sources)