Jasper B. Chapin
Mayor from 1880-1882
Jasper B. Chapin was born January 7, 1822 in Genesee County, New York. He attended the school up to the age of 15, then he went off to manage a farm near Jamestown, New York. In 1852 he left home first going to Kansas, then to Colorado and then to Utah. He operated several different businesses in each location. In 1866 he moved to Virginia City, Montana where he operated the Planter's House hotel. It appears that this business went bankrupt in 1869.
In 1871 Mr. Chapin came to the Red River Valley, where he settled in Moorhead, Minnesota here he also operated a hotel. In April 1873, he moved across the river to Fargo where he took charge of the Headquarters Hotel. He also took up farming, and in 1874 had the largest parcel of land under cultivation in Cass County. He invested much of his money into the city of Fargo, building some of the earliest business blocks, including the Continental Hotel and the Opera house, also know as Chapin Hall. He served two years as Fargo's mayor at a time when Fargo was experiencing is initial boom.
In 1883, Mr. Chapin lost everything in the depression of 1883, and to add to his losses, his wife, the former Emma Jane Clark, died. Mr. Chapin lapsed into depression and his health failed. He attempted suicide on a visit to Grand Forks in the fall of 1895. His many friends took him under their care in an attempt to bring him back around, but on January 26, 1896, Mr. Chapin took his life while under medical treatment in St. Paul, Minnesota. Chapin was called the “Father of Fargo”, due to his many early contributions to the city.