DANIEL CHAPLIN. – The subject of this sketch was born in Niagara county, New York, in 1823. He was educated in his native place, and became a surveyor, removing to Michigan. Honest, upright and much respected, he was one of those men of broad ideas and indefatigable energy who create prosperity for any community in which they settle. Having heard much of Oregon, its boundless resources and delightful climate, he crossed the plains in 1854, settling near Champoeg in Marion county. From there he moved to where Sheridan, in Yamhill county, now stands, and thence to Dayton, Yamhill county. In the spring of 1862, he located in La Grande, Union county, and built the first house in that place.
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Through his efforts, he succeeded in having the land-office for Eastern Oregon located there, and for fifteen consecutive years held the position of receiver of the land-office, when he resigned on account of the accumulation of other business on his hands. The arduous duties of this office were conducted by him with admirable promptness and honesty; and the settlers who came to transact business with the office were always treated with great consideration. In 1864 he was elected to the legislature of Oregon, and gave entire satisfaction to his constituents. In 1865 he, in conjunction with Green Arnold, established the present water system of La Grande, and laid the first water pipes. He was the father of La Grande, was a very generous man, and always responded with a liberal hand to every call of charity, especially to the churches. He gave five acres upon which to build the Blue Mountain University, and also five hundred dollars toward the construction of the building, and also land to build a number of churches upon.
After leaving the land-office, he became deeply interested in railroad matters; and his efforts alone were the means of locating at this point the Oregon Railway & Navigation Company’s machine shop, round house and other buildings, and of making this station the end of a division, for which he gave to the railroad company one hundred acres of land, which were estimated in value, by the adjuster of the company, at sixty-five thousand dollars, as will show by their books. He was the only person who have anything towards securing to this place the benefits arising from railroad communication; and, had it not been for him, this town would never have attained the prominence it now possesses. He was always a great worker for the interests of La Grande, and labored with unabated zeal for its welfare and advancement; and, in his death, La Grande lost one of its most useful, generous and respected citizens. His death occurred on the 9th day of December, 1887.