John Chappellsmith (1805-1895)
artist and writer

Born in Sheffield, England, John exhibited portraits in the Royal Academy of Arts in London from 1838 to 1842. He married the Owenite lecturer Margaret Reynolds in London in 1839. In 1850, they moved to New Harmony, Indiana. Until her death in 1883, they resided there in semi-isolation, leaving little trace except for an extensive series of radical articles published in The Boston Investigator.
In 1852, a tornado swept through Posey County, Indiana, leaving "a desolated track of one mile in breadth, on which trees, and among them the monarchs of the forest, were laid low at the rate of 7,000 a minute." These words are from John's account, as is his drawing shown here, one of the few of his surviving works of art. See

John Chappellsmith, Account of a Tornado Near New Harmony, Ind., April 30, 1852, With a Map of the Track, &c., Smithsonian Institution Contributions to Knowledge, vol. 7, 1855.

John's controversial articles in The Boston Investigator cover many topics. Several challenge anti-evolutionists such as the leading American scientist Louis Agassiz, and spiritualists, especially Robert Dale Owen, who resided in New Harmony and was a leading figure in early nineteenth century American political and intellectual circles.
Possibly no visual likeness of John Chappellsmith has survived. If you know otherwise, or if you know the location of any of John's paintings in England, or if you are in touch with source materials in London or Sheffield, please contact me at or the address atop my home page.
Margaret Chappellsmith
New Harmony Scientists, Educators, Writers & Artists
Clark Kimberling Home Page