WILLIAM H. UPHAM was born in Westminster, Massachusetts. After completing his education in Racine, Wisconsin, he enlisted in what ultimately became Company F of the Second Wisconsin Infantry in 1861. Critically wounded at the first Battle of Bull Run, he was hospitalized and later held prisoner of war by the Confederacy. His parole came as a great surprise to his family, who had believed that he was killed in action. Hearing Upham’s story, President Lincoln arranged for him to enter West Point, from which he graduated in 1866 as a Second Lieutenant, serving in the Army until 1869. He went on to pursue numerous business ventures in Marshfield, which met with disaster when the town burned to the ground in 1887. However, Upham put his credit behind rebuilding Marshfield, and sixty-two blocks of structures were rebuilt within a year. His political career began at the local level in Marshfield, where he was Alderman, Mayor for two terms, and clerk of the school board for thirteen years. Those experiences, combined with his business success and military background, were key in winning him the governorship in 1894. However, he did not seek renomination by the Republican Party in 1896, instead retiring to Marshfield to pursue his business interests. He retired in 1919, spending much of his time in Florida.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 4. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.
The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 12. New York: James T. White & Company.