A series of public hearings by the Nebraska Hall of Fame Commission was concluded on July 19 as members of that body heard testimony in three districts in support of 12 nominations for induction into the Nebraska Hall of Fame.
One of the candidates for induction has a strong Nebraska City tie. Calvin Chapman, a former prominent citizen  and a man who is thought to have been a significant participant in the Underground Railroad here, has been nominated by his great granddaughter, Teresa Teater.
Chapman’s nomination was discussed at the District 1 Hearing on Wednesday, July 12, in David City.
The commission will wrap up its process with a meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 2, at the State Capitol where the body could vote to induct one or more of the nominees.
Although there is a chance that the Nebraska Hall of Fame Commission could choose not to induct any of the 12 nominees, Bill Hayes, volunteer director of the Mayhew Cabin and Historic Village, said that wouldn’t mean this was a wasted effort and  also said it wouldn’t mean the end of the induction possibilities for Chapman or any of the other nominees.
Hayes, who attended the District 1 hearing and provided testimony in favor of Chapman’s induction, said the Nebraska Hall of Fame Commission told everyone this process is not the end of the line.
“Don’t be discouraged if your person doesn’t make it. Come back and nominate them again,” Hayes said in repeating the commission’s encouragement to District  1 attendees.
Part of the Hall of Fame process, Hayes said, was the discussion of great historic figures of Nebraska. Keeping this discussion alive continues the legacy of the nominees and gives people with a passion for history a chance to talk about it and share their information with the public.
All of the nominees have compelling stories, but Hayes, who is the great-great-great grandson of Brownville legend and former Nebraska Governor Robert Furnas, said he feels Chapman’s case for induction is strong.
Furnas is enshrined in the Hall of Fame alongside Nebraska City legend J. Sterling Morton.
During his time as the governor, Furnas worked with Morton to help create what we now celebrate as Arbor Day.
Lieutenant Calvin Chapman was born May 16, 1842, in Madison County, Ohio, and died at the age of 86 on     Aug. 28, 1928, in Otoe County.
In addition to being a prominent businessman in Nebraska City and a contributing member of Nebraska City city government both as a city council member and acting mayor, Chapman was a co-founder of the Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Hall in Nebraska City.
The Mayhew Cabin reports about Chapman’s contributions to the Underground Railroad by noting the following:
The affidavit given by Calvin Chapman describes his participation in the Underground Railroad, “I came out to Nebraska City, Nebraska, in 1859, when I was a little over sixteen years old. It was in the fall of that year, that I drove my brother Thomas’ wagon with negroes from the Black Den (that’s what they called the Mayhew Cabin) near South Table Creek, about where the log house still stands, north of the cemetery, to Lick Skillet over in Iowa, near where the settlement of Knox now is.” Chapman claims to have made at least ten of these trips always getting the word from his brother, Thomas Chapman, a United Brethren minister, when to pick up his human cargo at the Mayhew cave and ferry them across to the next site. Although Chapman was nearly eighty-two when he signed this affidavit, his story varies little from similar accounts.
Following his involvement in the Underground Railroad, Chapman served in the military.
He signed up with Nebraska’s 1st Military under Col. Robert Furnas and under General Sully in the 2nd Regiment Nebraska Volunteer Cavalry which was involved in a campaign against Indians in Western Nebraska and Dakota.
Other nominees being considered for the Nebraska Hall of Fame are sculptor and rancher Solon Hannibal de la Mothe Borglum (1868-1922); early legislator and University regent Charles Gere (1838-1904); O’Neill mayor, lawyer and newspaperman Thomas Vincent Golden (1853-1928); composer and music educator Howard Hanson (1896-1981); public power engineer George E. Johnson (1885-1967); Populist Congressman Omer Madison Kem (1855-1942); architect Thomas Rogers Kimball (1862- 1934); chemistry professor and early sugar beet advocate Rachel Abbie Holloway Lloyd, (1839-1900); USO founding director, Secretary of the Navy and Ambassador to Ireland Francis Patrick Matthews (1887-1952); Czech immigrant and character prototype for Willa Cather novel Anna Sadilek Pavelka (1869-1955); and pioneer aviator Matthew Savidge (1886-1916).
Members of the Nebraska Hall of Fame Commission are Rod Bates, rbates1@neb.rr. com; Dr. Sara Crook, scrook@peru.edu; Dr. Ron Hull, rhull1@unl. edu; Timothy Heller, timheller1@gmail .com; Dr. Ronald Naugle, rnaugle@earthlink.net; Jo Ann Smith, teacherscorner@allophone.com;  and Trevor Jones, trevor.jones@nebraska.gov.