Son of Samuel and Hannah (Austin) Chipman, Nathaniel Chipman (1752-1843) was born in Salisbury, Connecticut, November 15, 1752. He graduated from Yale in 1777, after which he served as Ensign in Col. Chas. Webb's Second Connecticut, Continental Line. He was promoted to 1st Lieut. at Valley Forge. Resigning his military appointment in October, 1778, Chipman went on to study law in Salisbury, Connecticut and was admitted to the bar in 1779. The same year, he began his own practice in Tinmouth, Vermont. From 1781-1785, he was State's attorney and served as a member of the State Legislature, 1784-1785, 1806-1809, and 1811.
He would hold many offices, including Assistant Judge of the Vermont Supreme Court, 1786-1787; Land Claim Commissioner, 1789; Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, 1789-1791, 1796-1797, and 1813-1815; Judge with the U.S. District Court of Vermont, 1791; Senior Commissioner for admission of Vermont into the Union, 1791; and member of the Committee to revise Statute Laws of Vermont, 1796. Chipman was elected to the U.S. Senate to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of future Vermont governor Isaac Tichenor and served from October 17, 1797, until March 4, 1803.
Chipman replaced his brother Daniel as Professor of Law at Middlebury College and held the post from 1816-1843. He was the author of Reports and Dissertations (in two parts), 1793; Sketches of Principles of Government, 1793; The Constitutionalist, 1814; and Principles of Government, 1833.
Chipman married Sarah Hill and with her had five children: Henry, Jeffrey, Edwin, Laura, and Evelina. Chipman died in Tinmouth, Vermont, on February 15, 1843.