beginning the research into Samuel Upson, it began as every one of the
biographies have, by enquiring into his military career. On June
11, 1861, Samuel enlisted into Company E of the 62d in New York City at
the age of 19. He was transferred to Company to H, with no date provided,
and received a promotion to Corporal on August 15, 1862. He was mustered out of
the Regiment at the end of his enlistment near Petersburg, on June 29, 1864.
was it. There was no additional information found anywhere. No Census
records, no death or wedding certificates, nothing. Now, this is not
uncommon at all. In my files are literally dozens of individuals who have
dropped off into historical oblivion after The Great Rebellion, because in this
era it was very easy to move, change names, desert families, or die without
leaving a paper trail.
not mentioned in the Adjutant General’s Report of Regimental Rosters for the
State of New York, but wasmentioned in the Ancestry.com files
alongside the name of Samuel Upson was that of Samuel Upjohn. This
reference occurred so often that investigation into Samuel Upjohn’s descendants
revealed that Samuel Upson and Samuel Upjohn was one and the same person.
All the pertinent military data were an exact match. They not only matched, but
Samuel Upjohn came from arguably one of the most prestigious families in New
York City. Therefore, let’s restart the introduction of Samuel Upjohn.
Upjohn was born in Brooklyn, New York on March 28, 1842 to Richard Upjohn and
Elizabeth Parry Upjohn. His father Richard was born in Dorset, England on
January 12, 1802 and his mother, Elizabeth Parry, was born in Denbigh,
Wales (date unknown). They were married at St. Gregory’s Church in London
on November 14, 1826 and the pair immigrated to New Bedford, Massachusetts,
arriving in 1830, becoming naturalized U.S. citizens in 1836. Richard
apprenticed as a carpenter and cabinet maker as well as qualifying as a Master
Mechanic. He eventually became an architect, and of such high repute that
he became the first President of the American Institute of Architects at 128
Broadway ,New York City and remained as such between 1863-1878. Richard
Upjohn specialized in Gothic churches and cathedrals, building over 40 of them,
including Trinity Church in New York City and several city court houses in the
Northeast, and private residences. Samuel’s elder brother Richard, became a
well recognized architect as well.
family included his siblings Richard (b. 1828), Elizabeth Ann (b.1830), James
Atchison (b. 1832), Joseph Francis (b. 1834), and Anna Coombs (b. 1837).
Federal Census of 1840 and 1850 shows the family residing in Brooklyn, New York
and by 1860 moving to Phillipsburg, New York which was located across the river
from West Point. Richard Upjohn died of a “softening of the brain (possible
stroke ?)” on August 17, 1879 and Elizabeth Upjohn followed him in death in
1882. Both were buried at Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York.
own story is as intriguing as his father’s, but arguably not as
glamorous. In 1860, he was a student of Divinity within the
Episcopal Church, but when the call to arms rang out he changed his name and
enlisted as a common soldier. Many illustrious families had members
enlist in the military during the conflict, but usually as a commissioned
officer. It was also not unusual for a highly religious person to take up arms
for his country to support the abolitionist cause. But generally, they
used their legal names and not a temporary alternative. Samuel served on
the line during the Peninsular Campaign, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville,
Antietam, Gettysburg, the Shenandoah Campaign, and The Wilderness Campaign
before his discharge at the end of his enlistment.
Upjohn (Upson) returned to his studies and was ordained a Reverend in the
Episcopal Church in 1866. In 1867, Samuel married Mary Louisa Pritz, born in
New York in 1845. The couple resided in Augusta, Maine between 1868 to 1882, where
he was the Rector at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. He and Mary had four
children; Mary Elizabeth (b.1868), Alice (b. 1870), Margaret (b. 1872), and
Charlotte Ethel (1876). He also became Vice-President of the Maine
Episcopal Missionary Society at this time.
and Samuel’s daughter, Mary Elizabeth, was married by her father in 1894 to
Jonathan Clinton in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and eventually would have five
children. Alice, unfortunately, would die at the age of 14 by causes not
listed. Margaret married Henry Riley Gumney in 1897 and they had two
children together. Charlotte Ethel never married and assisted her parents at
home and accompanied them on their various excursions and trips.
1883 the family relocated to Germantown, Pennsylvania where he was Rector at
St. Luke’s Church between November, 1883 to 1924. Samuel, Mary and
Charlotte made two trips to England in 1898 and again in 1902. Whether
these were for a personal pilgrimage or for a religious conferences is not
known. His passport describes him at this time as being 5’1” tall with Hazel
eyes and a dark complexion.
March 29, 1924 Reverend Samuel Upjohn died at 82 years of “Infirmity of Age” at
his home in Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia with Mary passing on May 15, 1932.