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Charles James Upham
 Charles James Upham, 1856-

From American Series of Popular Biographies. Massachusetts Edition. This Volume Contains Biographical Sketches of Representative Citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Boston: Graves & Steinbarger, 1891.


CHARLES JAMES UPHAM, of Dorchester, was born in that town (now a part of Boston), November 25, 1856, son of Charles A. and Eliza Ann (Kelton) Upham. He is a descendant in the eighth generation of John Upham, the first American progenitor of the family, who was born in England in 1597, and died in Malden, Mass., February 25, 1681. John's son, Lieutenant Phineas Upham, born probably in Weymouth, Mass., in 1635, died in Boston, October, 1676, at the age of forty-one years, from the result of a wound received in the war against the Indian chief, King Philip. The next in line of descent, Thomas Upham was born in Malden in 1668, and died in 1735. His son, Deacon Abijah Upham, of Weston, was born in 1698 at Malden, and died in 1775. The next in line, Lieutenant Phineas, was born in 1747 at Weston. He married Lydia Myrick. He was a Revolutionary soldier in the Weston militia company, 1777.

Amos Upham, eighth child of Lieutenant Phineas, was born at Weston, Mass., March 11, 1789, after the death of his father. He resided with his mother until a well-grown lad, when he was apprenticed to learn the baker's trade. In 1817 he came to Dorchester, purchased a tract of land and established a grocery store at the place now known as Upham's Corner, which he carried on for the rest of his life. He was prominent citizen. He was married December 28, 1819, to Miss Abigail Humphreys, daughter of Deacon James Humphreys, of Dorchester. They were the parents of four children: James H.; Charles Amos, born March 10, 1822; Abigail, who died at the age five and half years; and Amos, Jr., who died in Philadelphia when about thirty-two years old. Amos Upham, the father, was an active member of the old fire department. He was a Free Mason and member of the First Church of Dorchester. His death took place January 25, 1872. His wife died December 19,1878.

Charles Amos Upham was educated in the schools of Dorchester. When a boy he learned the trade of wheelwright; and he subsequently went into that business on his own account, and was successfully engaged therein for about thirty years, from 1850 to 1880, when he retired. He was a member of the First Church at Meeting House Hill. He married September 25, 1849, Eliza Ann Kelton, who was born in a house located at what is now the corner of Quincy Street and Columbia Road, Dorchester, January 30, 1828. Her parents, Thomas and Eliza Ann (Childs) Kelton, were married February 4, 1827, her father being a native of Dorchester. Her mother was a daughter of Benjamin W. and Mercy (Baker) Childs, the former of whom was from Wayland and the latter was born in Lincoln, Mass., in 1790. Thomas Kelton was a son of Ebenezer Kelton and grandson of Elihu and Thankful Kelton. Ebenezer was born January 15, 1762, and died June 16, 1823. (See History of Dorchester.)

Mr. and Mrs. Charles A. Upham were the parents of five children, namely: Thomas Edward, born February 17, 1851, who was a book-keeper and clerk and who died November 8, 1885; Abigail, born August 6, 1854, who died October 8, 1869; Charles J., whose name begins this sketch; E. Annie, born October 18, 1862; and James Amos, born January 12, 1870, who died August 9, of the same year. Charles A. Upham died May 28, 1894. His wife Eliza Ann, survived him four years and eleven months, passing away April 21, 1899.

Charles James Upham was educated in the grammar and high schools of his native town of Dorchester. His school days finished, he began to learn the trade of wood-engraving, which for many years has been followed by him. He also possessed abilities in the art of ventriloquism, and the many entertainments he has given have been witnessed and enjoyed alike by adults and children. He is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, belonging to Mount Pleasant Lodge. He was married March 12, 1890, to Miss Emma Eugenia Sellon, a native of East Boston and daughter of Andrew J. and Emma S. (Evans) Sellon. Of this union there were three children, namely: Andrew James, born January 12, 1891, who died January 16, 1891; Marion Emma, born December 10, 1892; and Charles Kelton, born May 13, 1899.

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Created: December 1, 2004   Modified: December 1, 2004