John Chapman was born in 1815 in Romsey, Hampshire, (date of birth and parents are derived from census and other records as no record of his birth has been found) he was the son of John Chapman, a cordwainer (shoemaker) and his wife Lydia, formerly Dawes. John was apprenticed to his father and also became a cordwainer. He married Elizabeth East on 14th June 1835 in Romsey. Elizabeth was the third child of William East and Mary, nee Herring. When she was two years old, Elizabeth's mother died and her father married again and moved to High Wyckham, Bucks, but there is no evidence that either Elizabeth or her two older siblings, William and Louisa, went with them. They may well have remained in Romsey with their mother's family.
John and Elizabeth had twelve children including one set of twins:
William b. 1836
Louisa b. 1839
Eliza b. 1840
Harriet b. 1840
Mary 1842 - 1908 married George Parker 1836 - 1909
Kate b. 1844
George 1846 - 1924 married Harriet Collins 1846 - 1918
Arthur Harry 1848 - 1876 married Caroline Longman b.1852
Henry b. 1850
John b. 1852
Ellen 1855 - 1937 married Jesse Herbert Barber 1860 - 1941
Elizabeth Lydia b. 1858 married Henry Hackett b. 1858
John and Elizabeth lived for many years in Industry Row, an area off Mill Lane in Romsey, where John carried on his trade as a boot and shoemaker. In the 1841 census he is described as a "journeyman shoemaker" the term "journeyman" applied to someone who had finished their apprenticeship but had not yet become a master and worked for another. By 1851 he had set up on his own and his occupation is recorded as "cordwainer"
By 1891 John and Elizabeth were living with their daughter, Mary Parker, in 39 School Road, Sholing, Southampton. Elizabeth died here on 14th February 1892, cause of death - diabetic coma, the informant was her son in law, George Parker who was in attendance at the time of her death. John died at the same address eighteen months later on 22nd July 1893, cause of death - senile decay, the informant was his daughter Mary Parker who was present at the death.