William H. Upham

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William Henry Upham
William H Upham.jpg
Born(1841-05-03)May 3, 1841
Westminster, Massachusetts
DiedJuly 2, 1924(1924-07-02) (aged 83)
Marshfield, Wisconsin
Years of service
  • 1861–62
  • 1866–69
RankFirst Lieutenant
Other work18th Governor of Wisconsin

William Henry Upham (May 3, 1841 – July 2, 1924) was an American soldier, businessman and politician who served as the 18th governor of Wisconsin.[1]


Upham was born in Westminster, Massachusetts,[2] and moved to Niles, Michigan around 1852 and then Kenosha, Wisconsin, in 1853,[2] he enlisted in the United States Army in 1861 and served during the United States Civil War in Company F of the 2nd Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment, called the Belle City Rifles. He was wounded during the First Battle of Bull Run by a bullet passing through his shoulder strap that supported his cartridge box just at the shoulder blade. After going to the field hospital, he was captured by Confederate forces and sent to the converted tobacco barn, Libby Prison, along with privates of the Belle City Rifles, F. Lacy, James Anderson, John H. Anderson and Antle Henry. Congressman Alfred Ely from New York was captured along with them. At Libby Prison, he was attended by Dr. Lewis, the 2nd Wisconsin surgeon, his family back home was told that he was killed, because the captain of his company, William Strong, saw him shot and reported that he believed him to be dead. Thus back in his hometown of Racine, Wisconsin, a funeral was conducted for him. Upham was released in a prisoner exchange in 1862 and repatriated to Washington, D.C., where he was introduced to President Abraham Lincoln at a White House interview arranged by Wisconsin Senator James Doolittle. Soon after, Lincoln appointed Upham to the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York, from which he graduated in 1866, and served in the Army until 1869,[3] having risen to the rank of first lieutenant. While stationed at Fort Monroe, he was detailed as officer of the guard, overseeing the temporary quarters of the then-imprisoned president of the Confederate States of America, Jefferson Davis. In his memoirs, Upham related that he and Davis "usually ... past the hours until after midnight" in conversation, adding, "Mr. Davis was very pleasant and social ... full of reminiscences ... familiar with all parts of Wisconsin, he could tell me the meanings of all the Indian names of the [state]." Later in his life, Upham was a Grand Army of the Republic officer with the rank of major.

Upham was a businessman in the lumber industry, he served one term as the Republican governor of Wisconsin from 1895 to 1897, but did not seek re-election.[4]

Upham died of pneumonia in Marshfield, Wisconsin.[2]


Some two years after the death of his first wife, Mary Kelly, in 1912, Upham, then 73, undertook a voyage along the Atlantic coast, that was forced by storm to harbor at Beaufort, North Carolina. There he met and married his much younger second wife, Grace Mason, and begat two sons: William H. Upham Jr. (who was a member of Milwaukee Yacht Club until his death), and Fredrick M. Upham, who survived his older sibling, thus as of mid-2009, both of them were alive, meaning that between the father and his two sons, they lived all of the U.S. history save its first 65 years. [5][6][7]

On August 20, 2009, at age 93, William H. Upham Jr. died in his home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, due to pneumonia.

On December 30, 2018, at age 97, Frederick M. Upham died in Fort Collins, Colorado.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lawrence Kestenbaum (July 22, 2013). "Upham, William Henry". Retrieved October 8, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c "Ex-Governor Upham Dies at Marshfield Following an Illness of Many Weeks". Oshkosh Daily Northwestern. July 2, 1924. p. 1. Retrieved July 4, 2015 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  3. ^ "Wisconsin Governor William H. Upham". www.nga.org. Retrieved October 8, 2013.
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ JS Online: Son has a Civil War story to tell about dad
  6. ^ [2]
  7. ^ T. Pletkovich, Civil War Fathers: Sons of the Civil War in WWII (St. Petersburg: Vandamere 2007)
  8. ^ https://wsau.com/news/articles/2019/jan/11/frederick-upham-passes-away/
Political offices
Preceded by
George W. Peck
Governor of Wisconsin
1895 – 1897
Succeeded by
Edward Scofield