Title character of the book The Rise of Silas Lapham by William Dean Howells. A Vermont-born paint industrialist, he becomes wealthy and migrates to Boston to live among the old aristocracy of New England. He also served as a colonel in the Civil War.
Lapham is a physically large man, round and red, where the other rich people in the novel are lithe and pale. Husband and father of two, he is a teetotaler, devoutly pious and a patron of the arts. His flaw, however, is his unyielding desire to imitate the Boston old guard. The amount of money he throws away doing so impoverishes him, sending him back to Vermont a poorer but wiser man.
Lapham represents in many ways a satire of the rags to riches hero popular in the time Howells wrote. He wins wealth, but ultimately becomes corrupted by it and returns to his original lifestyle.