Wilbur was born to Charles and Manie Chapman. When he was ten, missionary, William Mason Danner (1863-1952), the American Leprosy Missions' first secretary (1911-1937), visited Wilbur's church in northeast Kansas to tell them about leper colonies and how badly they needed help. Leprosy or Hansen's Disease is a contagious, disfiguring disease that is now thought to be spread by droplets of facial fluids between people in close and frequent contact or by handling infected armadillos. It can be cured by antibotics now, but back in 1913, they did not have the medicine necessary to cure their patients, however the medical care they could provide for one person with leprosy would only cost $25.00 for one year.
Wilbur's parents decided they wanted to provide care for ten patients and collected donations around their small town, but found they were short $25.00. When Danner got on the train to leave to go onto his next stop, he affectionately gave Wilbur three shiny silver dollars. Wilbur could have purchased something frivolous with that money, but instead he bought a pig, named him Pete, raised him, and sold him for the last $25.00. That money helped a boy named Al Sam.
The story was published in the "Sunday School Times" paper and inspired a Mrs. Harrison of Richmond, VA to create a fundraiser for the Mission. She said that children could feed a slot in the back of a pig bank to help raise funds for the leprosarium's as not all had the necessary space or equipment to raise a pig like Wilbur did. By 1938, the American Mission to Lepers had raised over $1,000,000 with the distribution of pig banks.
Wilbur grew up to become a successful draftsman in Minneapolis.
Friendly Schools Plus Teacher Resource: Middle Childhood (Ages 8-10). Hawker Brownlow Education, 2014.