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OLD MEMBERS OF THE CALHOUN AND KALAMAZOO COUNTY BARS

BY A. D. P. VAN BUREN

From a returned Californian I got the following incidents connected with Chipman's life while in the land of gold: While digging for gold with some fellow miners lie learned that one of the miners had a claim that was valuable, but it needed a lawyer and money to carry it to the courts and substantiate it. Chipman, not known among his fellow miners as a lawyer, made arrangements with this claimant to secure this valuable property for him, on condition that he, if he succeeded, was to have half of it. He then began to work up the case; and soon found, that, in miner's phrase, "he had struck a rich lead. " He began the suit, carried it to the courts, and won it. His portion, says my informant, would have been called a fortune in Michigan^ but he, with his habits of dissipation, amid the temptations of California life*, soon lost it all.
S. C. Coffinbury says of him: Mr. Chipman was a remarkable man. In person he was tall and straight, above six feet high and slender. His head was large, complexion very dark, hair black, straight and thick, forehead low and broad; his eye dark and piercing; his appearance was that of an Indian sachem. You will see at once why he was universally called "Black Chip. '* He was a natural orator. His presence was commanding and impressive. His oratory was more forcible than pleasing; his metaphors and figures bold and clear, but coarse and impractical. He was apt to lash himself into a fury of eloquence, and, like an angry lion, lacerate himself and his auditors by his own violence of language, of which he had great command in contentious debate. He was quick tempered and impatient under antagonism. His words contained not only ideas but feelings likewise, consequently he was wont to inebriate himself, if not his listeners, by means of passionate language.

Michigan


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