James Lincoln Chapman 282/1, grandson of Rhoda Cody Reed 92, created the interest and laid the foundation for the Directory by discovering the historical Beverly beginnings of the Cody family and reporting them to Benjamin Cody 130/3 for his book of Cody genealogy.

Benjamin Cody, a farmer and carriage maker living near Newmarket ON, was interested in family history and recorded genealogical data given by various family members in the "little book" that inspired compilation of the Cody Family Directory. Without this manuscript, the Directory would have been much more difficult, if not impossible.

Concerning the Work of James L. Chapman (1829-1909) in Behalf of the
Genealogical History of Our Cody Family

       The genealogical history of our Cody family which is soon to be completed was initiated and to a considerable degree furthered by the interest and work of the late James L. Chapman(1). Because of the numerous inquiries made by Mr. Chapman from various members of the family, and because of the data and records which had been sent to him in reply to these, it was thought by many of the family that his proposed book must have been practically ready for publication when, at eighty years of age, his death occurred. But how much of a book he had accomplished will probably never be known. At all events diligent inquiry(2), made a few years after Mr. Chapman’s death, failed to locate whatever portfolio he had made of the material which he collected and had doubtless compiled for his proposed book; and now after many years it has been concluded that his genealogical papers must have been inadvertently destroyed at the time of his death. Nevertheless, despite this loss, it may reasonably be claimed that it was as result of what Mr. Chapman sought to accomplish, that there came about and was forwarded the undertaking which, extending over a period of years, will soon be consummated in the publication of the long-looked-for book of our Cody Family. Certainly very helpful toward furthering this project, especially in preparing the way for it, was the interest in their genealogical history which many of the family had come to have as an inheritance from their parents in whom Mr. Chapman’s genealogical inquiries had inspired this interest to a lively degree(3). Moreover, even with this interest scarcely might this project have been begun in our generation, except for what Mr. Chapman had been able to discover concerning the American beginning of our family, which information was fortunately preserved in a little book by one who was of Mr. Chapman’s generation, Mr. Benjamin Cody(4) (1822-1906), to whom Mr. Chapman had reported it. For, lacking this basic information, the first task toward our book must have been a long drawn-out antiquarian one, involving research, now here, now there, through many and varied early American records, and the need for such, a task might easily have discouraged, or at least have long delayed any specific attempt toward the production of our family book. But, with this information right at hand, in the pages of the little book above mentioned, a presentation of our genealogical history seemed so far on its way that the project of working toward its accomplishment made a ready appeal to those of us who had hoped for it, but until then had not thought of attempting it. That this information, so necessary as a basis for our book, could scarcely have been discovered by any of our generation, except as above suggested, by a long process of antiquarian research, was due to the fact that there did not exist in our generation, nor indeed in the two preceding ones, any specific and unquestioned tradition concerning the American beginning of our family. That Mr. Chapman was able more or less directly to obtain information concerning this was due to his being one generation earlier than ours. In a letter from Mr. Chapman to one of his generation, who fortunately preserved it, he makes brief mention of having learned, by inquiry from certain ones of his grandparent generation, that the earlier generations of the family had lived at Hopkinton, Mass, and about this he comments that he will soon make inquiry for records there which he hoped would give light on

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the early generations of the family. Thus we know that it was under the guidance of this barely rescued family tradition that Mr. Chapman was led to make inquiry at Hopkinton where are records(5) in the light of which he turned to Beverly (Mass.) records of that time and by this acquired the information concerning the American beginning of the family, which Mr. Benjamin Cody so briefly reports in his little book. A summary of this we here present:
       “Our Immigrant ancestor settled in Beverly, Mass ‘about 1690’(6). His given name was Philip, and that of his wife Martha. Their children (whose names and birth-dates are given) were baptized in the Beverly church (dates of baptisms given) Philip’s various callings (with dates indicated) as per ‘official records’. The family finally removed to Hopkinton, Mass., at which place Philip’s will was made Aug. 10, 1739, and was probated Feb. 3, 1743. Brief mentions made concerning the children of Philip, chiefly in connection with their wills.”
       Before turning from Mr. Benjamin Cody’s little book, with its valuable but brief contribution toward the genealogical history of our family, we must take note of what it further reports concerning the results of Mr. Chapman’s researches in the interest of discovering the ancestry of our ancestor, this Philip of Beverly. By what is here written, and also by an extant ]etter(7) and by hear-say from our parents, it appears that Mr. Chapman primarily was led to believe that our family was of English ancestry; and accordingly from this point of view, Mr. Chapman turned to records of English families of the seventeenth century, with the thought of discovering there our family surname. As a result of this research he came upon the seventeenth century family of Code (the “e” being sounded gave a pronunciation like that of our surname), the seat of which family was in Cornwall. And turning to the genealogical records of this Code family he found the given name Philip there recorded several times, and that the birth-date of one of these might, as he figured it, be that of our ancestor, Philip of Beverly. Morevoer, finding no further record of this Philip Code, Mr. Chapman reasoned that “quite probably” he had in his youth emigrated to the new world and that he was the Philip who settled at Beverly and who was ancestor of our family. Upon reporting concerning this to various members of the family, Mr. Chapman seems to have spoken of it with such assurance that a number came to accept it as an established fact as Mr. Benjamin Cody practically seems to do in making his report of it: and some of the family were so far persuaded of their descent from this Code family that they obtained for themselves a copy of the Code coat-of-arms and a picture(8) of the Code manor-house. By these “evidences” those of our generation who had heard concerning this were, for a time persuaded that they were entitled to use this coat-of-arms. and that they were indeed descendants of this Code family. Accordingly when certain(9) of our generation, under the guidance of what the above mentioned little book reported concerning the American beginning of our family, turned to a personal reading of the Beverly records, indicated by this information, it was with no thought of questioning the “probable” ancestral origin of our family: for, the account there given concerning Mr. Chapman’s researches to determine this, seemed but an elaboration of the family hear-say. Nor did they question the correctness of the facts here so briefly reported from Mr. Chapman’s historical researches at Beverly and at Hopkinton. But, by the brevity with  which  these
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facts were reported, and also by the fact that, except in the case of the baptism records, there was no specific naming of the records which were the sources of this information, a suggestion easily presented itself that where so much had been learned something more might be discovered. And this is indeed what happened; for, by our reading of the Beverly records we soon came upon evidence that our Philip of Beverly could not be a descendant of the Code family. Also by this evidence and by certain other evidences, which this reading of the records disclosed, it became apparent not only that he was of French and not English ancestry, but that he had come to Beverly more or less directly from France where his youth had been spent.
       In the pages which follow we present from our reading of these records the evidences by which these conclusions seemed the only ones that can logically be accepted. Also, we present what the acceptance of this conclusion has, in the light of history, logically led us to conjecture concerning the life of our Philip of Beverly and of Hopkinton (1698-1743) during the years of his youth. Furthermore by our reading of the Beverly and Hopkinton records we can here add considerably to the knowledge we had gained from the briefly reported findings of Mr. Chapman concerning the American beginning of our Cody family.

  1. Mr. Chapman’s grandmother was Rhoda Cody, fourth generation from Philip I.
  2. This instigated by the late Mrs. Lindus Cody (1848-1928) and followed up by various members of the family for a number of years.
  3. It was doubtless due to this interest that the Cody Family Association was formed some fifteen years ago, and that the Cody Directory came into existence with its first publication shortly preceding this. For an account of this organization see Appendix A, and for an account of the Cody Directory see Appendix B. Some time after writing the above statement that nothing remained to us of Mr. Chapman’s collected work, I received from Mr. Hiram S. Cody (of 5th generation Hiram Cody branch) a copy of a chart made by Mr. Chapman of the Cody descendants which he had been able to trace. This chart had been preserved by the family of the late Miss Minnie Cody (of Chicago) who had given valuable genealogical help to Mr. Chapman. It was on the basis of this chart as I now learn, that our Cody Directory was started by Mr. Luther M. Cody (concerning see Appendix B). But while our above statement as to loss of the Chapman portfolio must be thus corrected, we may judge by the intimations from the few extant letters from Mr. Chapman, that he had received many interesting letters, and had collected considerable historical, biographical, and traditional material from descendants no longer living, and of this collection no trace remains. Some of this material doubtless has been recovered as we have questioned those whose memories still retain whatever they had learned of this from parents and grandparents.
  4. Mr. Benjamin Cody, born in Canada, lived at Newmarket, near Toronto. His little book, written chiefly concerning his immediate family, was privately printed in 1905, but was scarcely known by other branches of the family until a number of years after his death.
  5. The chief  of  these,  as  we now  know  was  a  record  in  the  Hopkinton  town-
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    book of that time noting  the  admission  of   Philip  and  Martha  Cody  from  the
    church at Beverly to the church at Hopkinton. See this at Hopkinton townhall.
  1. The precise date is still unknown to us. At all events he did not own a home there until 1698 as we now have learned.
  2. In an extant letter from Mr. Chapman we learn that upon questioning various ones of his parent and grandparent generation he found them for the most part to be of the opinion that our immigrant ancestor was of English ancestry and he had even found one who claimed he had been told this by his grandfather who was second of the generation. But scarcely would this scant tradition have carried weight with Mr. Chapman had it not been for finding a generally prevailing opinion that this was the case. Had Mr. Chapman found any grounds for questioning this, he doubtless would have explained the existence of the prevailing opinion, as we have come to do, by the fact that since our ancestor Philip’s descendants were from the very first generation, brought up in an entirely English speaking world, they by the fourth generation being without the evidence to the contrary which we since have obtained, may easily have come to assume for themselves an English speaking ancestry (had Mr. Chapman questioned the fifth generation in my line he would have been given a tradition that our immigrant ancestor was of Irish ancestry. In seeking an explanation for this tradition we find that the wife of the fourth generation Cody, in my line was of Irish ancestry, of “Irish nobility” as she told her children, and that as she talked of this proudly to her children she unwittingly conveyed to them the impression that their father was also of Irish ancestry; thus their children handed on a tradition that our immigrant ancestor was born in Ireland and of Irish ancestry.—L. S. C. (x)
    (x)—Just as this paper was about to be turned over to the publisher I received from Mr. Ernest W. Cody an extant letter from Mr. Chapman, written by him early in his genealogical inquiry, in which he says that from various Cody descendants in his line he had heard different traditions concerning the ancestry of our first American ancestor; some reporting a tradition that he had come from Scotland, others that he had come from Ireland, and still others that he came from France. As we have above presented, Mr. Chapman came to discredit these differing traditions because of obtaining what he considered to be definite evidence of an English ancestry. Quite likely, as in my line as above noted, ancestry was judged by what had been heard from ancestors other than the Cody side of the family. It is interesting, however, thus to learn that there did exist a tradition of French ancestry, since by our research we know that our Philip of Beverly was of French ancestry.—L. S. C.
  3. Obtained from Mr. Chapman.
  4. Those whose interest was especially enlisted by Mr. Benjamin Cody’s little book were Luther M. Cody, of Frostproof, Fla., and Lydia S. Cody, of Cleveland, Ohio.
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The International Cody Family Association