John Henry Upshur (Nottingham)
Rear Admiral, United States Navy
December 5, 1823 in Northampton County, Virginia, he graduated from the
United States Naval Academy in 1848, having previously served on various
naval vessels in the Mediterranean, Brazil and the Gulf of Mexico. He was
present at the siege and capture of Vera Cruz, Mexico; he was promoted
to Master, 1855; Lieutenant, September 1855; served with the Perry Expedition
in the opening of Japan to commerce; was Flag Lieutenant of the African
He was an instructor at the Naval Academy when the Civil War began and served two years in the Atlantic Squadron. He was present at the siege and capture of Fort Hattaras and Port Royal, South Carolina, and minor actions and expeditions on the coast. He was commissioned as a Lieutenant Commander, July 16, 1862 and commanded the Flagship in the North Atlantic Fleet, 1864. He was preent in actions with and the final campaign of Fort Fisher, January 1865. He was promoted to Commander, July 25, 1866 and to Captain, January 31, 1872.
He was promoted to Commodore Commander, July
25, 1884. He comanded the Flagship of the Pacific Squadron, 1872-73; commanded
the Flagship of the Atlantic Squadron, 1875-76; commanded the New York
Navy Yard, 1882-84; he was promoted to Rear Admiral and ordered to command
U.S. Naval Forces in the Pacific. He retired in May 1885, after 44 years
os service, at his own application and resided in Washington, D.C. thereafter.
"Rear Admiral John Henry Upshur, U.S. Navy, retired, died at home here (Washington, D.C.) tonight (May 30, 1917) of heart disease at the age of 94. He was a native of Washington, a veteran of the Mexican and Civil Wars, and was the oldest living graduate of the Naval Academy at Annapolis. During the Mexican War Admiral Upshur participated in the siege and capture of Vera Cruz. He served in the Perry Expedition, which opened Japan to commerce in 1854, and shortly before his retirement in 1855, was placed in command of all American Naval forces in the Pacific. On entering the Navy, Admiral Upshur changed his name from Nottingham to that of his mother to gratify her wishes, the Upshur name being conspicious in Naval annals. He first commissioned the sloop St. Mary's in 1843 and during the Civil War was an officer of the brig Wabash at the capture of Port Royal."
He is buried with other family members in Section
3 of Arlington National Cemetery.
John Henry Upshur, naval officer, born in Northampton county, Virginia, 5 December, 1823, changed his name from Nottingham to that of his mother, Upshur, when he entered the navy to gratify her wish, as the Upshur family was conspicuous in naval annals. He became a midshipman, 4 November, 1841, and cruised in the sloop "St. Mary's" in 1843-'6, in which he joined the squadron in the Gulf of Mexico during the Mexican war. He served in the naval battery during the bombardment of Vera Cruz, 10 to 25 March, 1847, and after the fall of that city he attended the naval school, becoming a passed midshipman, 10 August, 1847. He was promoted to master, 18 July, 1855, and to lieutenant, 14 September, 1855, served in the frigate "Cumberland" on the coast of Africa to suppress the slave-trade in 1858-'9, and was an instructor at the naval academy in 1859-'61. When the war began he was assigned to the North Atlantic blockading squadron, and participated in the capture of the forts at Hatteras inlet and in the sounds of North Carolina in 1861. He was executive officer of the steam frigate "Wabash" at the capture of Port Royal, and commanded four boats in Commander C. R. P Rodgers's expedition in the inland coast waters in the vicinity of Port Royal and Beaufort, South Carolina He was in charge of the steamer " Flambeau," of the South Atlantic blockading squadron, in 1862-'3 in operations on the coast of South Carolina. He was promoted to Lieutenant Commander, 16 July, 1862, assigned to the steam frigate "Minnesota," of the North Atlantic blockading squadron, in 1863-'4, and had the steamer "A. D. Vance" (a blockade-runner whose name was changed to the "Frolic ") in 1864.'5, in which he took part in both engagements at Fort Fisher. He was promoted to commander, 25 July, 1866, and given the "Frolic," on the Mediterranean station, in 1865-'7. After promotion to captain, 31 January, 1872, he served as a member of the board of inspectors in 1877-'80. He had a leave of absence, during which he visited Europe, in 1880, and upon his return was a member of the board of examiners. He was commandant of the Brooklyn navy-yard in 1882-'4, and commander-in-chief of the Pacific station in 1884-'5. He was promoted to rear-admiral, 1 October, 1884, and was voluntarily placed on the retired list, 1 June, 1885.--A niece, Mary Jane Stith, poet, born in Accomac county, Virginia, 7 April, 1828, was educated entirely at home, and early began writing for the press. On the death of her father, in 1869, she removed from Norfolk, Virginia, to New York city, and on 2 July, 1870, married Josiah R. Sturges. Mrs. Sturges was one of the organizers and the first president of the Harlem free hospital and dispensary for women and children. She has contributed to southern periodicals both prose and poetry, commonly under the pen-name of " Fanny Fielding." Her principal work is "Confederate Notes," an historical novel, which appeared anonymously in 1867 in the "Home Monthly," published at Nashville, Tennessee.
John Henry UPSHUR- NOTTINGHAM Adm. was born on December 5, 1823. John Henry Nottingham had his last name changed to UPSHUR by 2 uncles - Judge UPSHUR and Captain George UPSHUR- neither of whom had sons. Admiral John Henry UPSHUR (Nottingham) was "Admiral UPSHUR" of the Navy. He was Dean at the Naval Academy at Annapolis for about 50 years and died over the age of 90. He was married to Katherine Alica WILLIAMS (daughter of William George WILLIAMS and America Pickney PETER) in 1851 in Northampton Co., Virginia, Katherine Alica WILLIAMS was born in 1834. She died on August 22, 1864.
John Henry UPSHUR-NOTTINGHAM Adm. and Katherine Alica WILLIAMS had the following children:
Custis Parke (UPSHUR) NOTTINGHAM b. August
He was married to Agnes MAXWELL in 1868. She
died on July 2, 1917.
UPSHUR, AGNES M W/O JOHN H
DATE OF DEATH: 07/02/1917
DATE OF INTERMENT: Unknown
BURIED AT: SECTION WS SITE 1883
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
WIFE OF JY UPSHUR - REAR ADMR USN
UPSHUR, CUSTIS P
UPSHUR, JOHN H
UPSHUR, HARRIE N S/O JOHN H
UPSHUR, KATE A W/O JNO H
Updated: 1 April 2001Updated: 18 August 2001 Updated: 19 January 2002 Updated: 10 August 2003 Updated: 6 September 2004 Updated: 13 December 2005
Photos By M. R. Patterson, 28 June 2003