Arthur Martin Montgomery Upshaw, Indian agent, military officer, farmer, and state legislator, son of James Upshaw and Molly Martin, was born in Richmond, Virginia, on December 21, 1803. On February 18, 1824, Upshaw married Martha Ann Jones in Davidson County, Tennessee. They had two sons. His wife died in 1828. On May 19, 1830, he married Nancy Ann Hamilton Crockett in Columbia, Tennessee. This couple had five sons and three daughters. In the 1830s Upshaw lived with his family in Pulaski, Tennessee. From June to December 1836, he saw action in the Seminole War with the Tennessee First Regiment Mounted Volunteers and held the rank of colonel and general. Upshaw was appointed superintendent for the removal of Chickasaw Indians from northern Mississippi and Alabama, pursuant to 1832, 1834, and 1837 treaties between the United States and the Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations, into present-day eastern Arkansas in March 1837. From 1843 to 1849 he was an agent to the Chickasaw Indian Nation and stationed at Fort Washita in present-day Oklahoma. In 1848 he played a key role in the establishment of the Chickasaw Academy, a school intended to educate American Indian boys and girls in accordance with an Anglo model. He was also president of the Union Temperance Society at Doaksville, Oklahoma.
Upshaw was removed from office by President Zachary Taylor in 1850, and he immigrated with his family to Texas and settled in Chappell Hill, Washington County. Here he established himself as one of the leading citizens of the community. In addition to maintaining a large farm with twenty-three slaves, he was elected representative for Washington County to the Seventh and Eighth Texas legislatures and served from 1857 to 1861. Upshaw died in Hermitage, Washington County, on May 19, 1877, and was buried at Prairie Lea Cemetery in Brenham, Washington County.