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Biography of Almon P. Tupper

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A. P. Tupper
A. P. Tupper

TUPPER, ALMON P., was born in Middlebury, Addison county, Vt., April 24, 1825 ; the third in a family of four children, and the only son of Norman and Mary (Horton) Tupper. Darius Tupper, his grandfather, was born in Connecticut, moved from that State and first settled in the town of Chartotte, Chittenden county, Vt., and in the winter of 1704-95 moved to the town of Middlebury, where he built a tavern at the intersection of the present turnpike-road with the “old road,” leading from East Middlebury to Middlebury Village. This tavern was kept by him until his death, in 1828, at the age of seventy-four.

His children were Lyman, Elam Norman, Sally, Sylvia, Laura and Ruth. All but the latter were married and raised families. Norman Tupper, father of A. P., was born in Charlotte October 4, 1794; married Mary, daughter of Darius and Sarah (Harris) Horton. She was born May 29, 1797, in Mount Holly, Rutland county, Vt. He spent his youth at the tavern home of his father. He took naturally to learning and books and early in life became fitted for teaching, and taught the neighborhood district schools several winters, before and after his marriage. About the time of his marriage his father deeded him, from the south part of the original farm, about seventy acres, upon which a house had already been built, into which he moved and where all of his children were born. This house was located south of Beaver Brook, near the intersection of East Middlebury turnpike with the Salisbury road. This property he sold about the year 1828 and moved to East Middlebury, where he lived till 1863 or 1869, when he went to live with his son, Almon P., in the same village where he remained to the time of the death of his wife, which occurred August 14, 1868. He married for his second wife Adeline Lake. He died in East Middlebury February 22, 1880, aged eighty-six. His widow is still living in Wayne county, N. Y.

Norman Tupper had an inventive turn of mind and was a natural mechanic. He invented machinery for the manufacture of sash, doors and blinds, the first that were used in this or any other country. He was also the inventor and constructor of the first circular saw-mill. He could procure no circular saw of sufficient diameter for his purpose in this country, but succeeded in procuring one from England twenty-eight inches in diameter. In order to enlarge it he conceived the idea of enlarging it by an “inserted tooth,” which he constructed and ran successfully. This occurred in the year 1835. Mr. Tupper never took out a patent on any of his inventions, but the invention of the “inserted tooth,” above named, figured very largely, years thereafter, in deciding the great patent suit of Spaulding vs. American Saw Company, tried in San Francisco. Mr. Tupper was a man of great industry, yet was never hurried. He was a Jackson Democrat, and a member of the Middlebury Congregational Church for many years.

The children of Norman and Mary Tupper were Mary, Naomi, Almon P. and Eliza. Mary, born September 29, 1819, married Israel F. Enos September 30, 1840, died May 20, 1858 — children, Alonzo and Eliza; Naomi, born June 18, 1823, married Edwin B. Douglas September 19, 1848, a farmer living in Shoreham — children, Norman B., Elizabeth, Charlotte, Laura, Marcia and Frank; Eliza, born January 16, 1827, died February 15, 1848.

Almon P. Tupper received his primary education in the district school of East Middlebury; prepared for entrance to college in the Middlebury Academy, but on account of poor health did not enter. Inheriting from his father a natural aptness for mechanics, he was employed in the jewelry shop of Bliss Marshall, at East Middlebury, and subsequently with Charles R. Turrill, at Middlebury. He afterwards carried on the business by himself at East Middlebury, Rochester, Vt., and at Keesville. N. Y., until the summer of 1847. The occupation proved successful, but too confining for his health. From 1847 to 1852 was engaged in the manufacture of wool-working machinery. During all the time in which he was employed in the jewelry and machine business he had carefully read and studied Kent and Blackstone and other elementary works of law, and he had frequently been called upon to manage cases before the justice of the peace. In the spring of 1853 he began the regular study of the law with Ozias Seymour, of Middlebury, one of the ablest lawyers in that portion of the State. He was admitted as a member of the Addison county bar in the year 1857, and has ever since been in the active practice of his profession. In 1874 he moved from East Middlebury to Middlebury, where he now resides. Mr. Tupper is a man of great strength of will and a tenacity of power quite surprising to those who have perhaps long known him as a sunny and genial gentleman of the most affable manners, and a serenity never ruffled, and who for the first time detect the hand of steel beneath the glove of velvet. He is a keen student of human nature, and in his judgment of character is rarely at fault. As a lawyer, while he has always had to regret the lack of a broad and deep early culture, his practice has been large and lucrative, and his familiarity with case law and precedents very remarkable. Always studious and untiring for a client’s interest, shrewd and unwary in conflict, keen to perceive the weak points in his adversary’s cause and to conceal the vulnerable places in his own, he has had a large measure of success, and enjoys a well-earned reputation as a trier of cases. As a counselor he is sagacious and trustworthy; as a business man, thorough, careful and efficient; as a citizen, clear, upright and honorable, ever watchful for public progress, deeply interested in all that promotes the common well-being and helps to make the community prosperous, active against social disorders, and solicitous for the public morals.

Mr. Tupper married, November 5, 1848, Mary P., daughter of Luke P. and Mary (Abram) Richardson. Mrs. T. was born in Boston April 6, 1819. An adopted daughter, Helen M., is the wife of the Rev. Charles Markland, of Manchester, N. H., and is pastor of a large Congregational Church in that place.


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