Sunday, November 21, 2010

Grave of Alvin Wentworth Chapman - Apalachicola, Florida

A stroll through Apalachicola's historic Chestnut Cemetery invariably brings you to the grave of Dr. Alvin Wentworth Chapman, one of the most noteworthy Floridians of the Civil War era.

Born in the North and educated at Amherst, Dr. Chapman moved to Florida in 1834 when he was 25 years old. He lived in Marianna and then Quincy before settling for good in Apalachicola in 1847. Always interested in nature and botany, he was a good friend of Hardy Bryan Croom, the man credited with discovering the extremely rare Florida Torreya tree. Following Croom's untimely death in a shipwreck, Dr. Chapman plunged fully into botanical studies himself and was credited with discovering scores of new varieties of plants in locations throughout the South.

His primary work, Flora of the Southern States, was published in 1860 even as war clouds gathered over the nation. The book would be published twice more in Dr. Chapman's lifetime and remains a favorite of lovers of trees and plants around the world.

A Unionist, Chapman decided to remain in Apalachicola throughout the war, even though his wife relocated to live with family in Marianna. To learn more of his remarkable story, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/chapmangrave.

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