CHARLES B. DUPEE

Source: Album of Genealogy and Biography, Cook County, Illinois with Portraits 3rd ed. revised and extended (Chicago: Calumet Book & Engraving Co., 1895), pp. 111-112

CHARLES BILLINGS DUPEE. Among the business men who helped to promote the growth of Chicago, both materially and morally, the subject of this sketch should receive honorable mention.  His ancestors were the devoted French Huguenots, whose love of liberty and freedom of religious thought induced them to leave old France and settle in the New World.   James, grandfather of Charles B. Dupee, was born in Walpole, Massachusetts.  He was among the most progressive of the citizens of the old Bay State.  (See sketch of H. M. Dupee for complete genealogy.)

Their son, Cyrus Dupee, was also born in Walpole, and learned the mercantile business in Boston.  For a long period he was engaged in the wholesale provision trade in Brighton, Massachusetts.  He married at Brighton (now Allston), Massachusetts, to Miss Elizabeth English, of that place.   He died there in 1841, leaving eight children.  Three of his sons, Charles B., Cyrus and Horace Dupee, became prominent business men of Chicago, where the last two are still engaged in active life.  He was a man of sterling character, devoted to his family and diligent in business.   The family has for many generations been noted in mercantile business, and has always maintained a high reputation for integrity.

Charles B. Dupee was born in Brighton, Massachusetts, May 12, 1823.  His first business undertaking was in the meat and ice trade at Fitchburg, Massachusetts, in which he was moderately successful.  In 1854 he became a resident of Chicago, establishing himself here in June of that year—his family, which at that time consisted of a wife and two children, following in September.  He continued in the meat business in Chicago, and after a time began putting up hams by a process of his own, which secured  for him an excellent reputation and trade, and he grew prosperous and extended the business by adding the wholesale provision trade.  He exercised great care in the preparation of his goods, which he insisted on giving his personal inspection, and the result was an ever-increasing trade and a high reputation for his wares, which continued to be popular on the market long after his demise.  He was industrious and economical, and his painstaking care provided him a handsome competence.  For many years he carried on a large trade in supplies for the United States Government.

Among his brother merchants, Mr. Dupee was known for his unswerving fidelity to those principles of true manhood that lift a man high above the rank of ordinary men and make for him a name in commercial centers that will forever be worthy of remembrance and emulation.  He was a shrewd, far-seeing business man, and his advice, often sought by friends, was safe and reliable.  For about twenty years he was a resident of Hyde Park, and was highly esteemed by the residents of that suburb for his many noble qualities.  He was identified with the Republican party, but was never connected with any office or political work, and was in every way a model citizen, and, above all, an honest man—the noblest work of God.

After retiring from business, Mr. Dupee made good investment in real-estate, and the rapid appreciation in value of his holdings added materially to his resources, so that his declining years were passed in the enjoyment of the competence which his long years of industry had earned.  He passed away at his home in Chicago August 12, 1887, and his last words were:  “I have been an honest man.”  He left the impress of his strong character upon the business world of Chicago, and a good name that will be ever cherished by family.

On the 7th of April, 1847, at Boston, Massachusetts, Charles B. Dupee was married to Miss Emmeline, daughter of Seth and Louise (Miles) Wellington, old and respected residents of Boston.  The Wellingtons were among the noted pioneers of the commonwealth of Massachusetts.  Mrs. Dupee’s ancestor, Roger Wellington, married Miss Foster, a daughter of Dr. Foster, who was the first settled physician in Charlestown, Massachusetts.  The Wellington monument, standing in the Watertown (Massachusetts) cemetery, was erected over two hundred years ago.  Three children came to bless the home of Charles B. and Mrs. Dupee.  Their names are, Charles Frederick, Elizabeth A. and Emma M.   The second is now deceased, and the last is the wife of Reuben D. Coy, of Chicago.  Her only child is a daughter, named Margaret Wellington Coy.  Charles F. Dupee came with his parents to Chicago in 1854.  His father admitted him to partnership in his growing business in order to have his aid in its conduct.  Since the business was closed out he has given his attention to the care of his large property interests.  He has two children, Elizabeth S. and Charles Edward Dupee.

In 1890 Mrs. Emmeline Dupee built one of the handsomest residences in Glencoe, Illinois, where her family now resides.

                                -- Submitted on March 26, 2000 by Sherri Hessick ( shessick@flash.net )