Albert Lewis Upham, Roy Davis Upham and Sumner Bruce Upham

No. 13082 Albert Lewis Upham

Photographs contained in an album at the Dorchester Historical Society of about 150 photos kept by Nathaniel R. Perkins, MD, who examined thousands of men who were going into the war, 1914-1918. Given by Mrs N. R. Perkins in accordance with instructions from her late husband, Dr. Nathaniel P. Perkins of 1122 Adams St, Dorchester. Index catalog has entries for the individuals.

Albert Lewis Upham 69 Temple St, 23rd Engineers Co G Enlisted Dec 1917 overseas April 1918

No. 13080 Roy Davis Upham

Roy Davis Upham 69 Temple St, 301st Infantry Headquarters Co Selected October 1918

No. 13081 Sumner Bruce Upham

Sumner Bruce Upham Regt Serg Headquarters Detch 85 division Home Michigan Selected Nov 1917 Overseas July 1918

Upham Brothers and Cousin.  Written by Camille Arbogast.

In 1916, as the United States entered the First World War, 96 Temple Street in Mattapan was home to three men who would serve in the conflict: Albert Lewis Upham, his younger brother, Sumner Bruce Upham, and their cousin, Roy Davis Upham. The Uphams were descended from an early settler of Weymouth, John Upham, who had been admitted as a freeman in the town in 1635. Their great-great grandfather, Richard Upham, a trader based in Salem, eventually helped to settle Onslow, Nova Scotia. A family history described this branch of the Upham family as “gentle in their manners, intelligent and given to the acquisition of knowledge.” In the late 19th century, members of the family immigrated from Canada back to the United States, including the fathers of Albert, Sumner, and Roy.

Albert and Sumner were born in Dorchester; Albert on January 19, 1888, and Sumner on December 22, 1895. Their parents, Annie Jane Plummer of Dorchester and Robert Upham, married in February, 1887. The couple also had a daughter, Marion Davis, born in 1889, as well as two children who died in infancy: Harold born in 1893 and Jessie born in 1905.

By 1900, Robert Upham owned 96 Temple Street. He was a foreman in a chocolate factory, probably Walter Baker Chocolate. Albert and Sumner attended the Gilbert Stuart School on Richmond Street. As a teenager, Albert competed in cross country and track races for the North Dorchester Athletic Association. By 1910, he had begun working as a surveyor for a steam railroad. In 1912, he moved for a time to Chicago, where he was a civil engineer on a viaduct project for the Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul Railroad.

Roy was the son of James Monroe Upham, Robert’s brother, and Mary Belle Grant, also from Nova Scotia. They married in 1889 and settled in Springfield, Massachusetts, where James worked at the Springfield Foundry Company. Roy was born in Springfield on March 2, 1895. He had two older sisters, Irene born in 1891 and Grace born in 1893.

In May 1899, James died in Springfield of perihepatitis, a liver disease. In 1900, Mary moved the family to Dorchester, to 2209 Dorchester Avenue. In March 1902, Mary died at the Cullis Consumptives Home in Grove Hall of pulmonary phthisis, or tuberculosis. Orphaned, Roy became a pupil at the Farm and Trades School on Thompson Island in Boston Harbor. The school, founded in 1833, was known earlier as the Boston Asylum and Farm School for Indigent Boys; students lived on the island which was accessible only by boat. By the time Roy attended, in addition to farming, students were prepared for trades including woodworking and printing. He graduated from the school in 1912, reading his essay “The Geology of Our Island” during the graduation ceremony. He was also a runner, competing in the 100-meter dash for the school.

In 1916, Roy was living with his cousins at 96 Temple Street, working as a helper at a business at 168 Purchase Street in Boston. A year later, when he registered for the draft in June 1917, he was still living at 96 Temple, but was now an ink mixer for the Geo. H. Morrill Company, which made printing and lithographic inks. Also still living at 96 Temple Street, Albert was an inspector of construction for the United States Government, Naval Department, in Hingham, Massachusetts. Sumner had recently moved to St. Clair, Michigan and was a stenographer for the city’s major industry, the Diamond Crystal Salt Company.

Sumner’s draft registration serial number was pulled during the draft lottery on July 20, 1917, making him one of the initial “Ten Million Young Men Called to Uncle Sam’s Aid by Lot.” At his physical he was found “physically fit and claims no exemption.” He was inducted into the Army on November 17, 1917, and trained at Camp Custer outside of Battle Creek, Michigan. On July 22, 1918, he sailed from New York on the RMS Carmania. In France, he served with the Headquarters Company of the 102 Infantry, 26th Division, and the Headquarters Detachment of the 85th Division, attaining a rank of Regimental Sergeant Major. On March 31, 1919, he sailed from Brest, France on the USS Agamemnon, arriving in Boston on April 7. He was discharged on April 22, 1919.

Roy was drafted and inducted into the Army in Mattapan on October 5, 1917. He served with F Company, 301st Infantry until March 19, 1918, when he was transferred to Headquarters Company, 301st Infantry. On April 1, he was promoted to Private First Class. He sailed for France from New York on July 8, 1918 on the RMS Cedric. He returned to the United States on April 18, 1919, sailing from Saint-Nazaire, France, with the St Nazaire Special Casual Company 658 on the USS Kroonland. He was demobilized and discharged on May 2, 1919.

Albert enlisted in the National Army at Camp Meade, Maryland on December 3, 1917, and was assigned to G Company, 23rd Engineers. He sailed for France on March 30, 1918, leaving from Hoboken, New Jersey on the USS George Washington shortly after making Private First Class. His engagements were at St-Mihiel and in the Defensive Sector. At the end of April 1919, he was transferred to C Company, Headquarters Battalion Army Service Corp. He returned to the United States with the Headquarters Detachment of the 23rd Engineers/Le Mans Casual Company, sailing from Le Mans, France on July 8, on the SS La Savoie. He was discharged on July 19, 1919.

After the war, Sumner returned to St. Clair and the Diamond Salt Company. On September 2, 1922, he married Frances Ellen Thompson, in what was “one of the prominent weddings of early fall.” A Michigan native, Frances had spent time in Massachusetts attending Pine Manor, then located in Wellesley, and Simmons School in Boston. After a honeymoon in Muskoka Lakes, Ontario, the couple lived in Nashville, Tennessee, where Sumner worked for the Ohio Salt Company. Later, he was a statistician with the Upjohn Company of Kalamazoo, Michigan, known for their easily digestible “friable pills.” Sumner and Frances purchased a home at 1444 Maple Street in Kalamazoo. They had two sons, Thompson Albert Edward born in 1928, and Jeremiah J. born in 1931.

Sumner became ill in November 1931, suffering for two months from “malignant endocarditis (sub acute), streptococcus viridans,” or an infection of the inner lining of the heart chamber and valves. He died on January 11, 1932, at New Borgess Hospital in Kalamazoo. He was buried in St. Clair’s Hillside Cemetery.

Roy married during the war. On June 7, 1918, about a month before he sailed for France, he wed Alice Constance Gordon of North Cambridge. Alice was a Red Cross worker and ambulance driver. After the war, they lived in Cambridge, where their son, Roy H., was born in 1920. They later lived with Alice’s family in the Allerton section of Hull. Alice died in August 1923, following an illness of three weeks.

After his wife’s death, Roy and his son continued to live with his in-laws in Hull. In the 1920s and 1930s, directories show Roy employed as a clerk and stenographer; on the 1930 census his occupation was reported as wool salesman. On September 9, 1936, he and his son were on the steamer New York when it collided with the steamer Romance, sinking it in outer Boston Harbor, near Graves Light.

In 1940, Roy married Mildred Leary McGrory, a widow with four children. Roy and Mildred lived at her home, 56 Chauncy Street in South Weymouth. On his World War II draft registration, Roy reported that he worked for the Norfolk Paint and Varnish Company of Norfolk Downs, North Quincy. Roy died suddenly on May 3, 1949. He was buried in St. Francis Xavier cemetery in South Weymouth.

In 1920, Albert moved to Hartford, Connecticut, then relocated to San Diego, California, where he worked as a civil engineer in the petroleum industry. In the early 1920s, he married Mary, originally from Washington, D.C., and in San Diego working for the Navy. During the war she had been a Yeoman (F) 3rd Class in the United States Naval Reserve Force. Called “Yeomanettes,” female Yeomen were enlisted in the Navy and received the same rate of pay as men. They generally served in clerical roles, though some held specialized positions.

Albert and Mary had three children: Robert, Alice, and Marjorie. In 1933, Albert and his family moved to San Anselmo, California. During this time, he was in charge of the Works Progress Administration program in Marin County. By 1943, Albert was working for Captain J.B. Lowell, United States Navy, Inspector of Naval Material in San Francisco. The Uphams moved to San Francisco in 1952.

After a long illness, Albert died in May 1969 in Fairfax, California. Some sources list his death as May 15, others as May 20. He was buried in Mount Tamalpais Cemetery in San Rafael, California.


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Posted on

April 11, 2022

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