John Upham in 1640’s

In 1643 John Upham is mentioned as one of the selectmen ; and in 1644, power was given him by the General Court in connection with two others, to ” end small causes at Weymouth.”

His name is subscribed to the doings of the town, as one of the selectmen, for the years 1645, 1646, and 1647. The last entry of this kind to which his name is signed (p. 16, Weymouth Town Records, vol. I), is dated the 21st day of the twelfth month, 1647; and there is no doubt that he remained in Weymouth until the year 1648. Continue reading



I. John Upham was the first to bear his name in America, and so far as known, he was the ancestor of all who have since had the name in this country.* He was born in England, probably in Somersetshire; but of his origin, or ancestry, nothing is known.

He came to Weymouth with the Hull Colony, a record of which has already been given, and according to which, the family at that time consisted of the following members:

John Upham, age 35 ; John Upham, jr., age 7 ;
Elizabeth Upham, age 32 ; Nathaniel Upham, age 5 ;
Sarah Upham, age 26 ; Elizabeth Upham, age 3.

As will be observed, his age is given as thirty-five at that time, according to which he would have been born in the year 1600; the record on his gravestone would make his age three years more, but this is probably a mistake, for the age as given by himself, — as this must have been — in his early years, would without doubt be more reliable than one which was recorded after his death, and also the death of most of the members of his family. From other sources, we know that the name of his wife was Elizabeth, and so assume the Elizabeth above mentioned was his wife, per age at that time being thirty-two. Sarah Upham, age 26, was likely his sister; there is no further record of her in connection with the family, that has been discovered, John, Nathaniel, and Elizabeth were unquestionably his children, subsequent mention proves them to have been such. His wife, Elizabeth, was the there are some who have received this name through adoption, whom this does not in-clude of course mother of all his children, unless, which is not probable, and there is nothing: to indicate, there was an earlier marriage in England.

With regard to his wife: her name is assumed to have been Webb, for the will of Richard Webb has this : ” Also I appoint and design my loving friends, Deacon John Upham, of Maiden, Deacon Clapp and Lieut. Clapp, to be my executors,'”‘ etc. This dated July 21, 1659, while in the same record, and bearing the same date, is the following: “Joseph Webb being before me, the magistrate, declared that he chose his Uncle Upham, Lieut. Clapp, and Deacon Clapp, whom his father appointed executors of his will, to be guardians,” etc. John Upham, to have been the uncle of Joseph, the son of Richard Webb, must either have married the sister of the said Richard Webb, or Richard Webb must have married the sister of John L’pham. There is no record of the death of John Upham’s wife Elizabeth, though as will appear later, he contracted another marriage in his old age, in 1671.


William Arthur Upham

In 1881, William Arthur Upham, of London (Atlas Assurance Company, Fire Dept., 92 Cheapside), also wrote, saying he was born in Taunton;, in 1834 ; his father — then deceased — had been the town clerk at Taunton. He too was apparently quite interested in the origin of the family, and expressed a purpose to give the matter his attention, but nothing more has come from him.

In all probability the family has been located within twenty or thirty miles of Bath, for many generations. Edward Upham, bookseller, fellow of the Oriental Society, etc., was mayor of Bath, sometime about 1807; his obituary was in the Gentleman s Magazine about 1836. See, also, iVllibone’s Diet, of Authors. He was author of several works, an important one of which was his “Sacred Book of Ceylon,” in three octavo volumes. His brother was also a bookseller at Bristol. Continue reading


William George Upham

In 1877, William George Upham, who was in business at 75 High St., Hamstead, London, wrote that his father was Hugh Northam Upham, born in Taunton, Somerset ; where his father was also born, his name being AVilliam. William George had brothers in London: John Launcelot, Robert Northam, and Alfred Eugene Edward; all of whom were in business, or occupying positions of some kind. Hugh Northam — father of this family — said the family was probably originally from Devonshire. He also said there were but few of the name in England, so far as he was aware, and these he believed all came from the same original family. A George Upham was also mentioned, living at Russell House, South End Road, Hampstead, London, N. W.; he had been a bookseller and publisher in Bond St., had also been at one time connected with the British Museum, and was from Devonshire. Further mention was made of Edwin and William Upham, of Taunton, — relatives of the writer — the latter of whom was town clerk at Taunton. William George Upham manifested an unusual degree of interest in the subject of the origin of the Uphams, and expressed his intention to investigate the matter, but I am not aware that he has ever paid farther attention to it.