Women’s Suffrage, Skull and Bones and The Underground Railroad.
Lydia Chapin (my 6th-great-grandmother) married Josiah Taft, a Captain in the French and Indian War, who later served in the Colonial Legislature. It is reported that he became the wealthiest and largest taxpayer in the town of Uxbridge.
In the fall of 1756, Josiah and Lydia’s 18 year old son, Caleb, became ill while studying at Harvard, and died on September 19. Josiah went to Boston and then to Cambridge to bury Caleb. Josiah himself became ill after returning home and died on September 30, at age 47.
Lydia Chapin Taft became the first woman voter in colonial America. She fought for and won the right to vote as a landowner and taxpayer, in the tradition of “no taxation without representation”. Another woman would not vote again legally in America for more than 150 years. Her role in the history of women’s suffrage was recognized by the Massachusetts legislature, which named Massachusetts Route 146A from Uxbridge to the Rhode Island border in her honor.
President George Washington visited “Samuel Taft Tavern” in Uxbridge in 1789 on his innaugural tour of New England, the tavern belonged to Josiah’s brother.
Another son of Josiah and Lydia, Bezaleel Taft, Sr. (my 5th-great-grandfather), was a Captain in the American Revolutionary War and later, a US Senator. He left a legacy of five successive generations of public service in the Massachusetts state legislature. Bezaleel’s first cousin was Alphonso Taft, a US Secretary of War, an Attorney General, and an Ambassador – he was also a founding member of Skull and Bones at Yale. Alphonso’s son William Howard Taft would become the 27th President of the United States.
During renovations to Sen. Bezaleel Taft, Sr.’s home in 1970, a Hessian sword was found hidden in one of the walls, supporting a local legend that German mercenaries had visited the Taft property as they marched through the Blackstone Valley during the Revolutionary War. The renovation work also uncovered a number of small hidden rooms throughout the mansion, constructed for no apparent reason, and supporting another local legend that the hiding spots were designed to conceal escaped slaves as they traveled the Underground Railroad on their journey to Canada.
1 – Lydia Chapin married Josiah Taft.
2 – Their son US Senator Bezaleel Taft, Sr. married Sarah Richardson.
3 – Their daughter Eunice Taft married Phineas Chapin.
4 – Their son Bezaleel Taft Chapin married Martha Olivia Vittum.
5 – Their son Henry Daggett Chapin married Mary Elizabeth Foster.
6 – Their daughter Mary Chapin married Fayette Kinyon.
7 – Their son Chapin Foster Kinyon married Elizabeth Graves.
8 – Their son was my dad.
Taft Family Gathering by The Taft Family Association – Published 1874
The Chapin Genealogy by Orange Chapin – Published 1862