Roger Wellington Upton


Personal and Family Information

Roger was born on 15 Sep 1873 in Peabody, Massachusetts, the son of unknown parents.

He died on 9 Jan 1931 in Marblehead, Massachusetts.

His wife was Elizabeth Phoebe Key Lloyd, who he married on 25 OCT 1899 in Wye House, Talbot County, Maryland. Their four known children were Lloyd (1900-?), Edward (1902-1977), Dorothy (1903-1992) and John Cloutman (1910-1960).


Birth15 SEP 1873
Place: Peabody, Massachusetts
Death9 JAN 1931
Place: Marblehead, Massachusetts
Census9 MAY 1910
Place: Essex County, Massachusetts
Age: 36
Address: Marblehead Town, 122 Atlantic Ave, dwelling 463 family 596 Upton, Roger, head, mw age 37 married 1, 10 yrs, born Mass, f&m Mass, Pres?& Secretary, Glass? Co __ Elizabeth, K L wife, fw age 42 married 1, 10 yrs, mother of 4, 4 living, born Maryland, f&m Maryland __ Lloyd, sib nw age 9 single, born Mass, f Mass m Maryland __ Edward, son mw age 8 single, born Mass, f Mass m Maryland __ Dorothry, daughter fw age 6 single, born Mass, f Mass m Maryland __ John C son mw age 1/12 single, born Mass, f Mass m Maryland and 3 adult servants, all born Ireland
Census16 JAN 1920
Place: Essex County, Massachusetts
Age: 46
Address: Marblehead town, 122 Atlantic Ave, dwelling 181, family 201 Upton, Roger, head owns home with Mortgage, mw age 46, married, born Mass, f&m Mass, Manufacturer of Glue __ Elizabeth KL, wife fw age 51 married born Maryland, f&m Maryland __ Lloyd, son mw age 19 single born Mass, f Mass, m Maryland __ Edward, son mw age 17 single born Mass, f Mass, m Maryland __ Dorothy, daughter fw age 16 single born Mass, f Mass, m Maryland __ John G, son mw age 9, single born Mass, f Mass, m Maryland Duignan, Margaret A, servant fw age 32, single, immigrated 1907, born Ireland, father and mother Ireland
Census21 APR 1930
Place: Essex County, Massachusetts
Age: 56
Address: Marblehead Town, 160 Atlantic Avenue, dwelling 377, family 421 Upton, Roger, head, owns home $10,000 with radio no farm, mw age 56 married at age 25, born Mass, f&m Mass, corporation secretary, Glue factory __ Elizabeth K L, wife-H, fw age 61 married age 30m born Maryland, f&m Maryland __ Lloyd, son mw age 29 single born Mass, f Mass, m Maryland, agent Insurance __ Edward, son, mw age 28, married age 27, born Mass f Mass m Maryland, Lawyer in General practice __ Anna P, daughter in law, fw age 30 marrried age 30 born New Jersey, f Penn, m Mass __ John C, son mw age 19, single born Mass, f Mass m Maryland, salesman, electrical Drignan, Margart A, servant fw age 39 single born Ireland, f & m Ireland




Note 1

United States Power Squadrons Inc. History has been defined as the ideas, acts, and events, which shape the future. USPS has been shaped by its history and to understand our present more fully, we must first look back into our past. Seldom does the complete story of an organization's founding survive the passage of time. So we grope today for much of the story of our beginnings. The gaps in what remains to us in the minutes, manuals and magazines of the early era have had to be filled in with assumptions and the memories of early recruits.

This much is certain: in the list of founding fathers the name of Roger Upton of Boston and Marblehead, Massachusetts stands pre-eminent. The "power squadron" idea was the projection of his thoughts. The power squadron spirit was the reflection of his enthusiasm and early growth was the fruition of his labors.


To begin our story we must go back in time to the world of boating at the turn of the century. Recreational yachting in the early 1900s was largely confined to sailing craft and large steam yachts manned by professional crews. The commercial ships of the day were all steam-driven. Steam had become king by the dawn of the twentieth century and commercial sailing schooners were fast becoming relics of a bygone era. Gasoline-driven craft were coming into their own by 1909 but with little enthusiasm on the part of out-and-out sailors. Yacht clubs taught and promoted the sport of sailing and as motor yachts joined the fleet there were few activities for them. Yachting was still for sailors and the new breed of powerboat men found scant fun on club cruises and almost none in racing.


Roger Upton was a sailing member of the Boston Yacht Club in 1909 but, unlike so many other sailors, the newfangled powerboats captivated him. He owned a 50-foot ketch named Nirvana and often cruised up the coast to Maine. Because he was a businessman, and because wind power was so often unreliable, he bought a 35-foot motor launch with a gasoline engine to serve as tender for the ketch and to tow her when she was becalmed. The following year he installed a 20-horsepower convertible kerosene-gasoline engine in the ketch, making it possible for him to return to his business on time. The reliability of power appealed to him and he grew to love power boating.

How long the idea incubated in Upton's mind we'll never know but in the summer of 1911 he spread his thoughts before a small group of his colleagues at the Boston Yacht Club. Upton's idea was for a club-within-a-club, to embrace a select group of "gasoliners" who would develop such forms of cruising and racing as the new type of yachts allowed. To quote from one of his articles, "To my mind the organization can be of use to yachtsmen for three major reasons: first, improvement in navigating ability of power-boat owners; second, promotion of acquaintance and social intercourse by the power-boat owners; third, the fitting of power-boat owners to be of possible use to the Navy in time of war so that they might be received as volunteers should they so desire."

Upton was elected Rear Commodore of the Boston Yacht Club in 1912 and with the acceptance of his ideas was placed in charge of the unofficial Power Boat Division of the fleet. A self-taught navigator and stickler for doing things right, he soon kept the division's 36 members busy with studies, cruises, races and drills modeled after U.S. Naval maneuvers.

continue at