WILLIAM D. CHAPPELLE
born in Fairfield County, South Carolina, November 16, 1857. At twelve years of age, he was sent to the common schools of Winnsboro, S. C., to Northern teachers. So eager was he to learn that he cut light wood up at night and carried it to town on his head, using the money thus obtained to buy his first book. After finishing the common schools, he entered Fairfield Normal Institute, and there prepared himself for a teacher, which vocation he pursued for several years. After his conversion he felt called to the ministry. Accordingly, he joined the Columbia Annual Conference in 1881, and feeling his inability to effectually preach the Gospel of Christ, he entered Allen University, there taking a collegiate course, at the same time serving missions near Columbia.
With a wife and one child, he found that the mission work was inadequate for his support, having very often to cease his studies in school and go out and teach for two or three months to relieve the wants of his family. This was very discouraging to him, but he courageously worked on until Bishop Dickerson relieved him of some of his responsibilities by giving him a room in his back yard. This he gladly accepted that he might earn some money with which to buy books and thus sustain himself in his struggle for an education.
I know of my own personal knowledge that he had very often to walk sixteen miles on Sundays and preach twice, getting back home at 11 or 12 o’clock at night to be enabled to make recitations on Monday. Nevertheless, he struggled on and graduated at the head of his class in 1887.
He was ordained deacon in Bethel A. M. E. Church, Columbia, S. C., March, 1883, by Bishop Dickerson, and ordained elder by Bishop James A. Shorter at Greenville, S. C., in 1885. He graduated from Allen University in 1887, in a class with six other young men—four preachers and two lawyers. In 1887 he was elected a delegate to the General Conference which met in Indianapolis, Ind., and he has been elected to each successive General Conference ever since. He served eight years as a pastor, holding three appointments, and ten years as a presiding elder. He was appointed to the Manning District in 1889, and after serving there four years he was appointed, by Bishop Salter, to the Orangeburg District, the largest district in the State, and served there five years. Bishop A. Grant appointed him to the Sumter District in 1898, which district he served until the General Conference met in Columbus, Ohio, 1900, where he was elected Corresponding Secretary and Editor of the Sunday School periodicals of the A. M. E. Church.
Dr. Chappelle also served two years as President of Allen University, his alma mater, being elected just ten years after his graduation from that institution.
He has had a successful career as teacher, as preacher and, now, as business manager and editor. He ranks, also, as one of the leaders of his race, as a scholar and writer of no mean ability. He is an able debater, having few superiors as an extemporaneous speaker. Acute in thought and incisive in speech, he is a fluent talker.
Unlike most men of a literary turn of mind, he combines fine business acumen with his intellectual ability, and has accumulated property, real and personal, to the amount of ten thousand dollars, situated in Columbia, S. C., and Nashville, Tenn.