Uptegrove, William E.
- Existence: 1852-1935
William E. Uptegrove was born May 6, 1852 to Josiah Pierson Uptegrove and Mary Ann Horton. In 1871, Uptegrove arrived in New York City and was an employee at Rodman & Hepburn, a firm that imported logs and operated a sawmill. By 1875, Uptegrove and a partner had acquired the company and reorganized it as the Uptegrove & Gedney Company. Upon the retirement of William H. Gedney, Uptegrove was joined by his brother Jerome P. Uptegrove, and the company was renamed William E. Uptegrove & Bro. The company grew from a lumbar dealer to an import-export business that was known throughout the world.
By the early 20th Century, Uptegrove owned over 40,000 acres of virgin poplar and hardwood timber in East Tennessee and western North Carolina. The company heavily utilized the East Tennessee and Western North Carolina Railroad in their operations. In 1897, Uptegrove established an office and mill in Johnson City, Tenn. Here William Uptegrove established the American Cigar Box Lumber Company. Uptegrove’s operations along the East Tennessee and Western North Carolina Railroad were short-lived. Once the timber had been logged, the company hauled out the sawmill and railroad equipment and moved operations to more productive sites.
William E. Uptegrove eventually moved back to Brooklyn, New York, where he died June 26, 1935.