Upham bedroom suite returned to mansion
By Kris Leonhardt
MARSHFIELD — The master bedroom set is once again whole at the Upham mansion. The set was personally made for Gov. William Upham at the Upham Manufacturing Company and, after a division of assets, was scattered about the state.
“The bed, chifforobe, and dresser were all pieces that Bill Upham Jr. had retrieved from the house when the house was sold to the North Wood County Historical Society (NWCHS),” said Upham House coordinator Kim Krueger. “He lived in Milwaukee, and after his death in 2009, they went to his youngest daughter, Darby. Darby and her sister Monie donated them back to the NWCHS.”
One other piece, a tall dresser, had been kept at the mansion in storage, which was quite likely a part of the set.
“The bedroom set was made in the late 1880s to 1890s by Gov. Upham for his personal use,” said Krueger. “To have the pieces return to the Upham House brings them back to their origins and helps recreate a visual of the governor’s personal life and tastes.
“It also gives an example the of the diversity in early styles that the Upham Manufacturing Company produced.”
The suite was restored by Shelby Weister and her grandson Tom Wagner. The pair was able to bring the pieces to their former glory without ruining the patina.
The items were then brought to the mansion, restoring them to their place in the house and Upham family history.
“Apparently, these were pieces Gov. Upham liked so well that, according to the family history, after he had married his second wife, Grace Mason Upham, in 1915, he had them replicated and sent to his in-laws’ home in Beaufort, North Carolina,” said Krueger.
The suite was a staple of the Upham home and was used by Grace Upham until she died in 1976.