Alfred Galpin Family Papers, 1861-1966


This collection concerns three generations of Alfred Galpins. Alfred I (1813-1882) was born and raised in England, and was a draper by occupation. In his native town of Weymouth, Alfred married Mary Scott, who died in 1857. Soon afterwards he married a native of New York state, Frances M. Galpin, referred to among the family as “F.M.” Galpin or “the sainted Maria,” who died in 1877. In 1848 Alfred and his family emigrated to the United States and located on a farm in Eagle Township, Waukesha County, Wisconsin, and for the following eight years earned their living by farming. In July 1856 the family moved to Appleton, Wisconsin where Alfred ran a planing mill and later a hardware business.

Alfred II was seven years old when the Galpin family came to Wisconsin. After his primary school education, Alfred attended Lawrence University, Appleton for three years and then taught school for two winters at Onion River, Wisconsin. At the end of that time he began learning the drug business as a clerk in Farnsworth's drugstore in Sheboygan Falls, where he worked until September 16, 1861, when he enlisted in the Union army.

He was assigned to Company H of the First Wisconsin Volunteers, and was sent to Camp Scott in Milwaukee where he remained until approximately October 25, 1861. His young brother Harold also enlisted on August 15, 1862 as a drummer in Company D, 21st Wisconsin Volunteers, and was often in the same camp with his brother. Alfred's regiment was transported to Kentucky, and by February 6, 1862 it was in Nashville, Tennessee. Because of his knowledge of pharmacy Alfred was frequently detached from his regiment for service with other units, although he remained in the same area of operations as the First Wisconsin. For instance, after the battle of Perryville (September 1862) Alfred was assigned as steward to hospital number seven at Danville, Kentucky. He rejoined his Wisconsin regiment in December 1862, but the following February was detailed to the First Independent Battery of Kentucky Artillery, in which he served while stationed at Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Then in October 1863 he was detailed to the Fourth Indiana Battery in Chattanooga, remaining there until December 1863, when he rejoined his Wisconsin regiment, then in reserve in Chattanooga. In February 1864 Alfred became hospital steward for his own First Wisconsin Volunteers and served in various hospital capacities as the regiment moved south to Atlanta, which Alfred entered on September 4, 1864.

According to his diary he remained in Atlanta until September 21, 1864, when he left for Wisconsin. He was discharged October 12, 1864.

After leaving the service Alfred II entered the banking business, first as a bank clerk in Neenah, Wisconsin, and later as first cashier of the Manufacturers National Bank in Appleton, and was at the time of his retirement a wealthy financier.

Alfred III was born in Appleton on November 8, 1901, and his godfather was H. P. Lovecraft, an early 20th century author of tales of terror and the supernatural. When he was 18, Alfred served as an officer of the United Amateur Press Association, in which Lovecraft was also active. The association published a periodical The United Amateur to publish members' works and to stimulate constructive criticism among the membership.

In Appleton Alfred III attended the public schools and Lawrence College. He received a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin in 1923; an M.A. in French from the University of Chicago in 1926; an M.A. in music from Northwestern University in Chicago in 1930; attended the Sorbonne in 1931-1932; and received a Ph.D. in French from the University of Wisconsin in 1940. While completing his education Galpin taught French at Rice Institute in Houston, at Chicago's Northwestern University, and at Lawrence College. After receiving his doctorate, he accepted an appointment in the Department of Romance Languages at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. His wife Isabella is a lecturer in the same department.