Chapman in her natural habitat at the Gilead Town Office. submitted photo

GILEAD — Gilead Resident Lin Chapman said her late mother, Mildred McLain, instilled community involvement in her at a young age. It’s safe to say that instillment has never left.

Chapman was born in Berlin, N.H. in 1948 to Stephen and Mildred McLain, Sr., and an older brother, Stephen Jr.

Her family lived in Gorham, N.H. until she was six-months-old, before moving to Gilead, a town, that although small, has played an important role in her life.

Growing up in a small town, meant “creating your own fun,” as Chapman put it. A lot of her time was spent reading, doing picture puzzles and playing board games. Outside activities included bike riding, baseball and going swimming.

Chapman’s mother would round up the neighborhood children and take them to their favorite swimming hole, which they referred to as “second hole” at Wild River. Chapman said that her mother often did this all by herself and that it was most likely a “welcome break for the ones who got to stay home.”

Though her mother took on the challenge of watching many young children, she did make sure to get all of them back home in time so she could watch her favorite television show, General Hospital. A reward to herself for looking after the kids.


In 1957, Chapman lost her father, who had worked for the U.S. Forest Service, when she was just nine-years old. Two years after her father’s passing, her mother was elected town clerk, a position she would hold for 41 years.

After attending a one room schoolhouse in Gilead for elementary school, and Crescent Park School for grades seventh and eighth, she graduated from Gould Academy in 1966. She married Hugh Chapman in August of that year and lived in Bethel for the next three years before making the move back to Gilead. There, she had two children, Christopher and Timothy.

With a mother involved so much in both her kids lives and in the community, Chapman decided to emulate a lot of what she did.

When her children were young, Chapman volunteered at their school, made sure they could participate in sports, boy scouts and any other activities of interest.

Chapman was a member of the Gilead Women’s Club, which sponsored events and trips for Gilead children.

Her first taste of working in the town came in 1976, when she was elected Treasurer and Tax Collector.


Chapman would give up being Tax Collector in 1987, and also decided that being involved with the West Bethel Grange was too much, considering that she was too busy working at the Bethel-Edelweiss Country Store on Main Street in Bethel, which her and Hugh took over in 1985.

At Edelweiss, they sold fine wine and cheese, and served lunches every week day.

The store was sold to out of town buyers in 1989, so Chapman needed to find additional work to keep her busy. She started working at SAD 44 Adult and Community Education. Chapman worked there until 2013.

In 2004, Chapman was heavily involved with Gilead’s Bicentennial Celebration, and her efforts with that helped form the Gilead Historical Society.

“There was a lot of community spirit at the time. We had collected so much history about the town and there were two books published. It just seemed logical to form the historical society,” she said.

Chapman was president of the society for its first year, and said over the years she worked hard to keep the society going for her mother.


Three years later, Chapman was on the building committee for the acquisition and renovation of the Gilead Town Office. She has also been a member of the Oxford County Mineral and Gem Association, where she helped plan the annual show.

Up until last year, she wrote a weekly column for Gilead in the Bethel Citizen.

Between her years at SAD 44 came another opportunity – In 2000, her mother decided to retire as town clerk and told Chapman she would step down if her daughter would take over.

“She loved her job and wanted me to continue to do it,” Chapman said.

Chapman took the job, and was clerk until February of this year, when she resigned. Chapman resigned not only as town clerk, but also as Registrar of Deeds, and Treasurer, the latter of which she had been since 1976.

She said the best advice she got from her mother was that good record keeping is incredibly important. Her mother also told her that “you’re not always going to be popular with some people, but you are doing a job and that is what matters.”

Chapman’s favorite part of the job was the record books also, especially the older ones, which she enjoyed looking through.

She said she had an interest in genealogy and had several people contact the town looking for their ancestors that came from Gilead. Chapman would scroll through birth and marriage records from the 1700 and 1800s looking for ancestors and trying to connect them to these people.

“One of my greatest accomplishments besides being a wife, mother and grandmother, is the work I have done for Gilead over the years.”

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: