Murder of Dr. Samuel Chapin

August 26, 1904
Clinton Register


Dr. Samuel L. CHAPIN, who was shot at Saybrook Thursday night of last week, died the next day. Geo. S. WILKINSON, the murderer, is claimed to be not of sound mind. The verdict of the coroner's jury was murder and Wilkinson is in jail in Bloomington. He expresses no regret for his deed, but rather glorified in his crime, saying soon afterward, "I fixed the old devil." He claimed Dr. Chapin had ruined his daughter, but it is thought he became insanely jealous of the Chapins because his daughter was so much attached to them, as they had been as kind to her as if she were their daughter during the several years she had made her home with them. No one believes his charge. Two or three times he had accused his daughter of thinking more of the Chapins than him and threatened to kill Dr. Chapin, but she always quieted him by talking to him, and he would promise not to harm him.

Following is the evidence of Miss Mary WILKINSON, daughter of the murderer, and cousin of Mrs. CHAPIN:

"Never did Dr. Chapin treat me in any manner otherwise than as a daughter," said the girl in her testimony. "He and his wife were good to me and I fully appreciate their kindness. There never was any trouble of any sort between us at any time. The children seemed to me like my brother and sisters. I always was well treated. At no time did I ever say or write to my father, or anyone else, reflecting on Dr. Chapin in any way, as I had no reason to do so. I am a member of the Presbyterian church.

The only reason I know of that father said he would shoot the doctor was because he, father, was extremely jealous of Dr. Chapin, believing that I cared more for the doctor and 'aunt' than I did for him, father. The Wednesday before the Thursday of the shooting I was with my father for some three hours, and again he told me he was going to shoot Dr. Chapin. I again talked to him and reasoned with him, till he again told me he would not do so, and I believed him. He never gave me any reason why he wanted to shoot Dr. Chapin, but I always supposed it was because father thought I cared more for Dr. and Mrs. Chapin than I did for him. He seemed jealous of them."

Father never had any trouble with Dr. Chapin that I ever heard of and do not believe they ever had any at all. Dr. Chapin never attempted in any way to alienate my affections from father. I always wrote to father addressing him as 'papa' and 'dear papa.' Recently father has seemed to have had hardly any control over himself and was extremely nervous."

Submitted by Judy Simpson


Saturday, December 8, 1906
The Decatur Review
Decatur, Illinois

Shooting of Dr. S. L. Chapin Remains Mystery.

George F. WILKINSON, the murderer of Dr. S. L. CHAPIN of Saybrook, is dead. He died at the asylum at Jacksonville, where he was taken from Bloomington and he died without making any sign of sanity or giving the attendants any reason to believe that he was not what he seemed to be—a man without mind or memory.


Wilkinson was the man who shot down Dr. S. L. Chapin of Saybrook without provocation as far as any one ever knew. The deed was committed in August, 1904. Wilkinson, as will be remembered, met Dr. Chapin on the street in front of the Chapin residence and fired at him. Wilkinson then walked down town and gave himself up. He admitted the killing and told a story of his reasons to the sheriff when he was first taken to the jail in Bloomington. Within a few hours after going to Bloomington he began to show signs of derangement and within a few days he was apparently a mental wreck. He did not seem to recognize any one and did not speak and never spoke from a time a few hours after his incarceration in the jail there.

He went to his death with no sign and the mystery of the murder of Dr. Chapin will remain unsolved.

Submitted by Sheryl Byrd