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- - C. B. Sleeper (1838-1889) - -

Obituary for Chauncey Bedford Sleeper

 Brainerd Dispatch, Saturday January 4, 1889


He Passes Into the Unknown Beyond
on Tuesday Morning

Brainerd Mourns the Loss of a Valued
and Respected Citizen

"Leaves have their time to fall,
And flowers to wither at the north wind's breath,
And stars to set; - but all,
Thou hasn't all seasons for thine own, O Death"

Judge Sleeper passed away on Tuesday morning at 12:45 surrounded by his sorrowing family. His illness had been of some three weeks duration and during the last few days his friends had almost given up hopes of his recovery although all that skilled physicians could do was done. His disease was a complication of liver and stomach troubles which had annoyed him for some two or three years, but his constitution was such that he did not succumb to the disease until it had gained such a hold on him that recovery was impossible. He was hopeful of recovery to the last and was conscious until a short time before his death.

In the death of Judge Sleeper Brainerd loses a most valued citizen, a man who was esteemed for his charitable acts and public enterprise. He came to Brainerd some sixteen years ago, early in 1872, when the city was in its infancy, and cast his lot with the early comers to this city, firmly believing that in it there was a future, and his untiring efforts were devoted to building up and advancing its interests, and as monuments to his memory today stands the Sleeper opera house on Broadway, an elegant structure and a source of much pleasure to the people of this city; also the Sleeper block on Front street. He was instrumental in originating the Brainerd, Crookston & Northwestern railroad enterprise, now the B. & N. W. He acquired a large amount of real estate and platted Sleeper's Addition and Sleeper's Park Addition, and was connected with all enterprises which were to advance public interests. The beautiful summer resort on Long Lake, known as Lake View, some four miles from the city, was built by him.

To show with what esteem he was held by his fellow citizens it may be stated that he has held various offices of public trust, having been elected county auditor, clerk of district court, county attorney, and registrar of deeds. In March 1887, he was elected mayor of Brainerd, but resigned the office immediately after his election to accept the appointment of judge of the Fifteenth judicial district, which was tendered him by Gov. McGill. His official career as judge expired on Dec. 31st, the day on which his death occurred. In his judicial career his record was such as to give the greatest satisfaction, as he was a profound jurist, and close and observant student, and a learned man. He was at one time publisher of the Dispatch, but sold out shortly after he acquired his interest to his partner.

In politics Judge Sleeper was a staunch republican and his opinion of matters pertaining to the welfare of the party in state or local matters was eagerly sought by his political friends. No man in the whole state evinced more pleasure the the announcement of the success of his party on the National ticket at the recent election than he.

During all the years he practiced law in this place he was very successful, and his practice was extensive. He had one of the finest libraries in the state, or Northwest for that matter.

At the time of his death he was Most Eminent Commander of Ascalon Commandery No. 16, Knights Templar, and Sir Knight Captain of the U. R. K. P. The former society took charge of the remains while they laid in state at St. Paul's Episcopal church on Wednesday forenoon, and also of the funeral services which occurred on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. From 2 until 5 o'clock on Wednesday all businesses in the city closed in honor of his memory.

The funeral cortege formed on Eighth street, in front of the Masonic temple, and was escorted to the late residence of the deceased by the First Regiment U. R. K. P. band. In the procession were the members of Ascalon Commandery, K. T., Brainerd Bar Association, Uniform Rank K. of P., White Cross Lodge K. of P., Brainerd Board of Trade and the Fire Department. From his home the funeral procession marched to the church where the impressive ceremonies were conducted by the Rev. Geo. H. Davis. From the church nearly one thousand people followed the earthly remains to Evergreen cemetery where they were laid to rest, the Knights Templar performing the ceremonies which were as beautiful as they were impressive.

Judge Sleeper leaves a grief-stricken wife and two daughters, Mrs. Edward Hazen and Mrs. J. L. Smith, to mourn his death. The sympathy of the entire community goes out to them in their time of sorrow. He was a kind and loving husband and an indulgent father, and the sorrowing ones left behind can find solace in the fact that those who knew the deceased most intimately, placed the highest estimate upon his character as a man and citizen - his strict integrity was unquestioned.


Judge C. B. Sleeper was born at Holland, Erie county, New York in 1838. His father came from an old New Hampshire family that sent off a branch into Vermont. Nearly all the Sleepers in the country are of New England stock. His mother was of French ancestry, the family name being originally Bonpasse. The first of the name came to New England in the brig Fortune, in the year 1621. The name shared the fate of many fine and significant Franch names in this country, being corrupted first into Bumpas and then into Bump. Judge Sleeper was educated in Aurora Academy, studied law in Buffalo and was admitted to the bar in New York City in 1860. He raised a company during the civil war, and served in the Army of the Potomac under Gen. Slocum. After the war he went to Minneapolis, where he practiced law for two years. In 1871 he moved to Brainerd, one year after the first establishement of the town, the place having at that time about 1,200 inhabitants.

Additional Information

Evergreen Cemetery records show that Chauncey Bedford Sleeper was born January 11, 1838 at Holland, Erie county, New York to Rufus and Sally Sleeper, and died December 31, 1888.

Chauncey and his wife Sarah are buried side-by-side in Evergreen Cemetery. In the same plot, Maud and her husband Edward Hazen are buried side-by-side, and Blanche and her husband John Smith are also buried side-by-side. There is a ten foot tall monument in addition to the individual grave markers.

The Crow Wing Historical Society has about 12 pages on Chauncey, including a family tree descending from Chauncey for 4 generations that was provided in the 1930's by his granddaughter Edith Hazen, and another obituary from the other local newspaper of the time, the Brainerd Tribune.

According to this pedigree for Rufus Sleeper at WorldConnect, Chauncey's line is:

  1. Thomas Sleeper b. ~1616 - m. Joanna _____
  2. Aaron Sleeper b. 1661 - m. Elizabeth Shaw
  3. Moses Sleeper b. 1685 - m. Margaret Mary Sanborn
  4. Sherburne Sleeper b. 1734 - m. Hannah Clough
  5. Jacob Sleeper b. 1761 - m. Dorothy Clough
  6. Rufus Sleeper b. 1792 - m. Sally Bumpass
  7. Chauncey Sleeper b. 1838 - m. Sarah Louise Kingsley

Visit MnGenWeb    <http://crowwing.mngenweb.net/Sleeper_CB.html> May 27, 2009
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