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Biography of Peter Upton

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Peter Upton, son of Jonathan and Nancy (Whittemore) Upton, was born in Tyngsborough, Mass., October 1, 1816. He came to Jaffrey in October, 1837, and entered the store of Hiram Duncan as clerk. Two years later he was admitted to an equal partnership in the new firm of Duncan & Upton. Upon the death of Mr. Duncan, in 1840, the business was continued by Mr. Upton, to whom was also committed the settlement of the estate of his late partner. and the completion of many important trusts which Mr. Duncan had in charge. He continued actively-engaged in trade until 1851, retaining an interest in the business until 1861, when he was succeeded by his partner, Hon. Charles H. Powers, a gentleman well. known in New Hampshire political circles. Among many positions of trust and responsibility held by Mr. Upton, it may be mentioned he was postmaster from 1861 until he resigned the office, in 1884. He was town treasurer in 1860 and ’61, and represented the town in the legislature of 1848-’49 and ’50. From the outset he has been a director of the Monadnock R. R. Co., and untiring in his efforts for its construction and subsequent prosperity, and it is hardly too much to say that to Mr. Upton and Dr. Bradley, more than to any, or perhaps all others, is due the very existence of the road, upon which the present prosperity of the town of Jaffrey depends. It may not be out of place in this connection to remark the just pride with which Jaffrey recalls having voted-and paid-the railroad five per cent. of her valuation, while an equal amount in addition was pledged by individual citizens–every dollar of which was promptly and voluntarily paid-a record not equaled by all of her neighbors. Mr. Upton has always been closely identified with the improvement and building up of the East Village, from a mere hamlet called “Factory Village,” without even a postoffice, until to-day New Hampshire has no more thrifty and substantial village than East Jaffrey. The occupation of a life time with Mr. Upton has been banking. At the organization of the Monadnock bank, in 1850, he chosen cashier, and to an unusual degree was the management of its affairs entrusted to him, partly from the circumstances of the .case, but mainly from the peculiar talent he possessed to successfully handle the business. During its early history the institution suffered severe losses from the folly of its first president; but, nothwithstanding, the skillful management of Mr. Upton enabled it to recover, and to pay its shareholders an average annual dividend of over seven per cent. up to 1865, when its was re-organized into a nation bank, and its capital increased to $100,000. Since that time it has paid over nine pen cent. on an average, besides accumulating a handsome surplus, and meeting losses of over $10,000 by fire. In January. 1881, Mr. Upton elected president of the bank, his only son, Hiram D. Upton, succeeding him as cashier.

In 1870 the Monadnock savings bank was organized, and Mr. Upton, after three months, was chosen its treasurer, and is still retaining the position. careful, firm control of its affairs, with assets approaching half a million dollars, has secured its patrons an annual dividend in excess of the average paid by similar institutions in the state. In September, 1884, the Republican party made Mr. Upton its candidate for the office of councilor in the fourth district to which he was duly elected by more than the party vote. Commenting on the nomination, the New Hampshire Sentinel of September 17, 1884, said “Mr. Upton has been nominated for a responsible public position, and was elected, he will enter upon its duties with an established character, with tested ability, and with an intimate knowledge of public affairs. He is peculiarly fitted for the position, both by natural gifts and the discipline acquired in management of large pecuniary concerns. By nature and by habit he is cautious, assiduous in investigation, and reaches results with judicial impartiality If he is not first in arriving at conclusions, he seldom has occasion to retrace his steps or reverse his decisions. Few men who have been so thoroughly identified with affairs of the town in which they live, and brought into contact with so many business men, have enjoyed so fully the unlimited confidence and friendship of his associates. The characteristics of his life are candor and integrity. He never conceals his thoughts nor misleads by ambiguous expression. He is singularly exact in all he says and in all he does, and richly merits and receives the respectful friendship of all who know him.

Mrs. Upton is a daughter of Hiram Duncan, his first business partner, a Emeline (Cutter) Duncan, who was a daughter of the late John Cutter, “Tanner John,” as he was commonly known nearly a century ago. The have three children: Mary Adelaide, born November 4. 1856, graduate from Union High school, Lockport, N. Y., in 1877, married, December 24 1878, Walter L. Goodnow, who is engaged in mercantile business in East Jaffrey; Hiram Duncan, born May 5, 1859, graduated from Dartmouth college, class of 1879, married Annie F., daughter of Dr. Marshall Perkins, of Marlow, October 14, 1879, was elected cashier of the Monadnock Nationalbank, in January, 1881, and president of the Northwestern Trust Company of Fargo, Dakota, in May, 1883, both of which positions he still holds; and Alice Whittemore, born July 5, 1863, graduated from Wellesley college, in class of 1883.


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