William R. Northup is the senior member of the well-known real-estate firm of Northup & Benton, of
Escanaba, and a man who has the highest respect of all with whom he has been brought in contact, whether through business
or social interests.
A native of New York, he was born in Jefferson county October 17, 1823, and is a son of William and Hannah (Foster)
Northup. His father was a native of Rhode Island, and his death occurred in Washington county, New York; while his
mother was born in Maine and died in Jefferson county, of the Empire State. The former made farming his life work, and
his children were trained in youth to agricultural pursuits. There were four sons and two daughters, but the latter are
both now deceased. Lydia Ann died at the age of twelve years. Caroline O. became the wife of A. P. Mason and died
in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Of the sons, Wanton C. is engaged in farming near Herman, St. Lawrence county, New York; William
R. is the next younger; George W., a Baptist minister, was for over twenty years president of the Theological Seminary of
Chicago, and is still one of the teachers in the theological department of that institution; C. W. is probably living in
Kansas, but the exact location is not known.
The maternal grandfather of our subject was one of the heroes of the Revolution, valiantly aiding the colonies in their
struggle for independence; and William Northup, Sr., was a soldier in the War of 1812. On the maternal side of the
family is noted for longevity and an aunt of Mr. Northup, of this sketch - Miss Lydia Foster - is now living
in Chicago, at the advanced age of more than ninety years, and is in full possession of all her faculties.
In taking up the personal history of the gentleman whose name introduces this review, we present to our readers the life
record of one who is both widely and favorably known in Escanaba and the surrounding country. He acquired his literary
education in the schools of his native county and entered upon his business career as a teacher. He afterward studied law
and engaged in practice for only a short time. He was married in the State of his nativity in 1848, and shortly afterward
sought a home in the West, making his way first to Milwaukee, thence to Fond du Lac county. Three years were passed in
that place, and his next home was in Sheboygan, where he continued until 1880 - the year of his arrival in Escanaba, his
permanent place of residence. During those years he has been variously employed. For a time he engaged in teaching, also
carried on farming and dairying, but during the last ten years of his stay in Wisconsin he engaged in real estate,
insurance and loan business, which he has since followed with good success. The firm of Northup & Northup has had
an extended reputation as the leading insurance firm of northern Michigan, and at the present time, under the firm name of
Northup & Benton, is representing forty standard companies. Loans are carefully made for other parties and
the firm enjoys an enviable reputation for their honesty and integrity in the discharge of their business interests.
We have before alluded to the marriage of Mr. Northup, which was celebrated in the Empire State in 1848, the lady
of his choice being Miss Mary L. Warren, a native of Washington county, New York. Their union has been blessed
with a family of four children, a son and three daughters, namely: Alonzo R., Ida L., Rose B. and Mary E. There are also
five grandchildren. The daughter, Rose, is the wife of H. I. Benton, who is associated with her father in business.
Politically Mr. Northup has been a stalwart Republican since the organization of the party. During the late war he
volunteered for service but was rejected on the physical examination. He was afterward drafted, but was exempted on the
same grounds. His influence and support, however, were ever given to the Union cause and to upholding the President's
policy. The duties of citizenship are never slighted by him and true to the best interests of the community he labors for
all that will advance the general welfare. He has been honored with a number of local offices, having served as Township
Superintendent for some time while living in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, and while in Escanaba he has filled various positions
of public trust. He was Superintendent of the county poor for about seven years within which time the county hospital was
erected and the county poor farm purchased, improved and fitted up. He was chairman of the Board of Commissioners of the
Poor and has served as Justice of the Peace during at least half of his life. Long continuance in office is certainly the
highest testimonial that can be given of faithful service, and in this way his efficiency has certainly been complimented.
While in Sheboygan he served as chairman of the Board of Supervisors, and in all these offices he has proved true to the
trust reposed in him and faithful to the people he represented. His life has been well spent, and over his long business,
official and private career there is cast no shadow of wrong or suspicion of evil. He has lived so as to command the
respect and esteem of all who know him and his example is well worthy of emulation.
Copyright 1997 - 2009 by Debie Blindauer