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Dee Burris Blakley ([personal profile] dee_burris) wrote2010-11-14 11:10 am

Black Sheep Sunday: Charles E Chapin, the "Rose Man of Sing Sing"

Oh those Chapins, they are a mixed bag. Meet Charles E Chapin, sixth great grandson of The Puritan, Deacon Samuel Chapin.


No one knows for sure what happened to Charles, former city editor of New York's The Evening World, on 16 Sep 1918. That was the day he shot his wife, Nellie L (Beebe) Chapin, to death in their hotel suite at the Hotel Cumberland in New York City as she lay sleeping.

When he turned himself in to police on the day following the murder, he told them he had intended to also kill himself, but chickened out. Chronic money woes seemed to be at the source of his misery, and his wife had already hocked her jewelry to try and ease the troubled family finances.

The New York Tribune covered his plea agreement before NY Supreme Court Justice Weeks on 14 Jan 1919, during which Chapin pled guilty to murder in the second degree, and was sentenced to not less than 20 years hard labor and not more than life, with the possibility of death in the electric chair.

He was committed to Sing Sing Prison to serve his sentence. Charles Chapin was 60 years old at the time of his sentence. He died in Sing Sing of bronchial pneumonia on 13 Dec 1930.

I'm still looking for his grave - I understand that historian and author James McGrath Morris knows where it is.

ETA: I sent an email to James McGrath Morris, and he answered. Charles Chapin is buried in Glenwood Cemetery in Washington, DC.