Jonathan T. Updegraff


HON. JONATHAN T. UPDEGRAFF, deceased, formerly a distinguished member of the congress of the United States, was born May 13, 1822, near Mt. Pleasant, Jefferson county, son of David and Rebecca Updegraff, His father, a son of Nathaniel Updegraff, one of the framers of the constitution of Ohio, removed to this state from Pennsylvania about the beginning of the present century. He was an elder, and his wife a minister, in the Society of Friends. Eight children were born to them, of whom two, Rev. D. B. Updegraff, and Sarah E. Jenkins, survive. The boyhood of Jonathan was passed upon his father's farm and he began his education in the common schools. He studied also in Franklin college, and then having chosen medicine as his profession, at the age of nineteen entered the office of Dr. Flamer, at Mt. Pleasant, and subsequently was graduated at the university of Pennsylvania. Beginning the practice at the age of twenty-one, he soon became an eminent and successful physician and added to his usefulness by completing his studies in 1851 and 1852 in the medical schools of Edinburgh and Paris, about which time he also traveled extensively through Europe, Egypt and the Holy Land. Toward the close of the war he served as field surgeon, with the rank of major, in the Union army. He became best known, however, by his long and useful political career. He was active in the organization of the republican party, and was its firm friends throughout life. In 1872 he was a presidential elector for Ohio, and cast his vote for Gen. Grant. During the same year and in 1873 he was a member of the state senate of Ohio. He was temporary president of the state convention in 1873 and in 1875 he served as chairman of the republican state central committee. In 1876 he was a delegate to the Cincinnati convention which nominated R. B. Hayes for president. He was first nominated for congress, and only a few weeks prior to his death he was elected a third time to the congress of the United States. On November 30, 1882, the day of national thanksgiving and of happy family reunions, his home was made sad and desolate by the death of the husband and father. His life was one that was most useful and honorable in every respect. His scholarly attainments, his extensive reading and travel, had given him breadth of thought; and his contact with men had added a knowledge of human nature that aided his judgement and made him quick to grasp an idea, and fertile in conception. His kindred were of the Friends society, and he was reared and died in that connection, having been converted in revival services held in the spring of 1864. In 1846 Dr. Updegraff married Phebe Underhill, of Indianapolis, Ind., who died shortly afterward leaving one son, Judge R. D. Updegraff of Cleveland. In 1856 he married Mary E. Evans, of Trenton, Ohio, who died in 1864, leaving two children, George T., of Helena, Ark., and Mary A., of Mt. Pleasant, Ohio. In 1866 he married Elizabeth W. Ricks; their children were Fred C., Charles T., and Walter M., the latter died in 1879 aged three years.

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