William Upham

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William Upham
United States Senator
from Vermont
In office
March 4, 1843 – January 14, 1853
Preceded by Samuel C. Crafts
Succeeded by Samuel S. Phelps
Member of the Vermont House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Born (1792-08-05)August 5, 1792
Leicester, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died January 14, 1853(1853-01-14) (aged 60)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Political party Whig
Spouse(s) Sarah Keyes (m. 1814)
Children William Keyes Upham (b. 1817),
Charles Carroll Upham (b. 1818),
Sarah Sumner Upham (b. ca1820),
Mary Annette Upham (b. 1825)
Profession Politician, Lawyer

William Upham (August 5, 1792 – January 14, 1853) was a United States Senator from Vermont.

Early life[edit]

William Upham was born in Leicester, Massachusetts to Samuel Upham and Martha (Livermore) Upham.[1] He moved with his father to Montpelier, Vermont in 1802. He attended the district schools and the Montpelier Academy, and was privately tutored. He attended the University of Vermont and then studied law with Samuel Prentiss.

Early career[edit]

Upham was admitted to the bar in 1811 and commenced practice in Montpelier. In addition to maintaining a successful practice, Upham also guided the efforts of several prospective lawyers who studied in his office, including Peter T. Washburn.

Upham was a member of the Vermont House of Representatives from 1827 to 1828 and was State's attorney for Washington County in 1829. In 1830 he again served in the Vermont House of Representatives.

United States Senator[edit]

In 1842 Samuel Prentiss resigned his seat in the U.S. Senate in order to accept appointment as United States District Court for the District of Vermont. Crafts was appointed to fill the vacancy, and served until the end of the term to which Prentiss had been elected, April 23, 1842 to March 3, 1843.

Crafts was not a candidate for a full term, and Upham was the successful Whig candidate for the seat. He was reelected in 1848 and served from March 4, 1843 until his death.

While in the Senate, he was chairman of the Committee on Agriculture (28th Congress) and the Committee on Pensions (29th Congress).

Death and burial[edit]

Upham died of smallpox in Washington, D.C.;[2][3] because he was believed to be contagious, his funeral was held quickly, and his remains were not returned to Vermont. He was buried at Congressional Cemetery.[4]


  • "...Slavery is a crime against humanity and a sore evil in the body politic." [5] [6] [7]


Upham was the son of Samuel Upham and Patty Livermore Upham. In 1814, he married Sarah Keyes; they were the parents of five children, four of whom lived to adulthood: William Keyes Upham, Charles Carroll Upham, Sarah Sumner (Upham) Langdon and Mary Annette Upham, who died in the 1899 Windsor Hotel fire.

Rice family and relations[edit]

Upham was a descendant of Edmund Rice, an English immigrant to Massachusetts Bay Colony, as follows:[1]

  • William Upham, son of
  • Martha Livermore (1768–1832),[8] daughter of
  • James Livermore, Jr. (1736–1825), son of
  • Elizabeth Rice (1713–1799), daughter of
  • Elisha Rice (1679–1761), son of
  • Thomas Rice (1626–1681), son of

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Edmund Rice (1638) Association, 2009. Descendants of Edmund Rice: The First Nine Generations.
  2. ^ Lowenthal, David (2000). George Perkins Marsh: Prophet of Conservation. University of Washington Press. p. 65. ISBN 978-0-295-98315-8. 
  3. ^ United States Senate (1989). Guide to the Records of the United States Senate at the National Archives, 1789-1989, Issue 7. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 192. 
  4. ^ Spencer, Thomas E. (1998). Where They're Buried. Baltimore, MD: Clearfield Company, Inc. p. 146. ISBN 978-0-8063-4823-0. 
  5. ^ Hamilton, Holman. Prologue to Conflict: The Crisis and Compromise of 1850. The University Press of Kentucky, 1964, 2005 p. 45.
  6. ^ Bordewich, Fergus M. America's Great Debate: Henry Clay, Stephen A. Douglas, and the Compromise of 1850. Simon and Schuster, New York, NY, 2012 p. 125.
  7. ^ Byrd, Robert C., Hall, Mary Sharon Senate, 1789-1989, V. 1: Addresses on the History of the United States Senate. US Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, 1988 p. 187.
  8. ^ "Edmund Rice online database". Edmund Rice (1638) Association. Retrieved Nov 10, 2009. 

External links[edit]

U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Samuel C. Crafts
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Vermont
March 4, 1843 – January 14, 1853
Served alongside: Samuel S. Phelps and Solomon Foot
Succeeded by
Samuel S. Phelps