A while back I posted this photo of Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Kate Upton. As if there could ever be a time when the posting of a photo of Kate Upton – weightless, by the way – would be anything less than appropriate, I mentioned in that post that I really had no idea what she had to do with the First Battle of Bull Run, or even with the Civil War. Egged on once again by Craig Swain and my own insatiable thirst for page-views for the sake of page-views, ten grueling minutes of online research bore ample fruit. Get out your notebooks.
The easiest and most obvious potential connection of Ms. Upton to the subject of this blog is through her name. A graduate of the U. S. Military Academy’s Class of May, 1861, Lt. Emory Upton served as an aide-de-camp to Brig. Gen. Daniel Tyler at the First Battle of Bull Run. Google search = Kate Upton Emory Upton.
I know Wikipedia is a bad word, but I also know it’s a great place to start. Per Wiki, Frederick and Louis Upton of Battle Creek, MI, along with their uncle, Emory, founded the Upton Machine Co. in 1911. This company incorporated an electric motor in a washing machine for the first time. At this site, I found the photos below:
Louis Upton (L) and Frederick Upton (R)
Upton Machine Co., 1920s, Benton Harbor, MI
I also found this unidentified image on the same page:
Who is this guy?
At Find-a-Grave I found an entry for an Emory Upton who is buried in Battle Creek, MI, who was the uncle of Louis and Frederick Upton, and co-founder with them of what would eventually become Sears appliance supplier Whirlpool Corp. Is the above photo Emory? I’m figuring yes, because the Find-a-Grave entry notes:
Besides being an inventor of machines, Upton loved music. He was an accomplished tuba, valve trombone and baritone player and performed with the municipal band in St. Joseph. A high point in Upton’s musical life was when John Phillip Sousa took his U.S. Marine Band on a U.S. tour and, right before a concert in St. Joseph, held auditions and chose Emory Upton to play with the band in that night’s concert (a story related by his grandson, Dr. Edward Atwood, to the Herald Palladium).
Whirlpool Corp, by the way, is still headquartered in Benton Harbor, MI. The neighboring communities of Benton Harbor and St. Joseph are served by the same newspaper, the Herald Palladium. Kate Upton was born in St. Joseph, MI. She is by many different accounts the great-great-granddaughter of Frederick Upton. I found out some other interesting things about Ms. Upton. For instance, did you know she is a world’s champion western style horseback rider? Think of that next time you see this:
So, I’ve connected dear Kate to Emory Upton. But if you know anything about the army officer Upton, you know that the 1911 founding date just doesn’t jive, because he took his own life in San Francisco in 1881. And Whirlpool Emory was born in 1865. But the Find a Grave entry also mentions that the tuba player was a nephew of Major General (his Civil War brevet rank – he was a regular army colonel at his death) Emory Upton.
Cadet Emory Upton, as he may have looked at the time of First Bull Run
Some of the other sites I visited, trying to confirm this, were unclear. Then I went to Ancestry.com, where everything clicked. This family tree explains things (the link will only work if you have an account, I think.) Colonel Upton was the son of Daniel and Electra Randall Upton. He was born in Batavia, NY. He had a brother, Stephen, also born in Batavia, who died in Battle Creek, MI. Stephen had sons Emory – the tuba/washing machine guy – and Cassius, both born in Battle Creek. And Cassius was the father of Louis and Frederick.
And there you have it. “Our” Emory Upton was the uncle of the uncle (tuba/washing machine guy Emory) of Kate Upton’s great-great-grandfather (Frederick, Louis’s brother.)
The Pittsburgh Pirates’ 2015 home opener is against Kate’s boyfriend Justin Verlander’s Detroit Tigers. I am a season-ticket holder. Kate, if you’d like to do a meet and greet with me before, during, or after the game, you can have your people get in touch with mine via the contact info over to the right. Or through the comments section of this post.
Kate, BJ, & Justin Upton
I sincerely hope this puts to rest the absurd notion that my earlier post on Kate Upton and her weightless romp was somehow frivolous.