By Jared L. Olar
January 2013-November 2016
The English surname "Underwood" is a relatively common one, originating during the Middle Ages as a topographical designation, denoting families that resided "under," that is, near but downhill from, a forest or wood. Naturally, then, there are numerous Underwood families, and most of them are not related to each other at all. In Lucien Marcus Underwood's posthumously published work, "The Underwood Families of America" (1913), the work's editor, Howard J. Banker, discusses the origin of the Underwood surname as follows (pages xiv-xv, emphasis added):
"The name Underwood appears on the face of it to have arisen from some locality where the family lived and very probably originated independently in connection with different families who happened to live in similar surroundings. The origin of the name is even more apparent in some of the more ancient forms in which it appears. In old records it is written in several ways as Underwode, Underode, Underwoode, and even as Under-the-wode, and Under-the-wood.
"Where the name originated and with what particular 'wood' it is impossible to tell and it is very probable that more than one locality has supplied the families of Underwood with their name. The earliest trace of the name in documents is found as far back as 1177 in the Pedigree of Underwood of Bixley, Norfolk, in the Harleian MSS. in the British Museum. In 1476 Underwood from Hertfordshire is mentioned in the 'Visitation of London.' At the Herald's College, London, there is a Pedigree of Underwood from Weston, Hertfordshire, signed by Robert Underwood in 1634, who makes the following note: 'Vide Visitation of Hertfordshire where the family hath remained 300 years.' This would put the date of the Weston family back to about 1334.
"The principal families in England by the name of Underwood of whom there are more or less extensive pedigrees preserveare the Underwoods of Weston, Hertfordshire, of which there are several branches, the Underwoods of Hereford, a branch of an Oxfordshire family, and the Underwoods of Bixley and Hevringham, Norfolk. Besides these there is also an Irish family the extent of whose pedigree cannot be stated. The Duchess of Inverness, morganatic wife of the Duke of Sussex, uncle to Queen Victoria, was descended through her mother from the Irish line and assumed the name and arms of Underwood. Two of the above families, that of Weston, Hertfordshire, and that of Bixley and Hevringham, Norfolk, have their pedigrees registered at the Herald's College and bear arms presumably by prescriptive right since there is no record of a grant extant.
"The arms in all these families are strikingly alike and would seem to indicate a possible common origin. All are characterized by a fess ermine between three annulets, a lion passant gardant. The crest is usually a hind's head, but in the Irish families the crest is a lion's gamb holding a thistle or a lion passant gardant."
Despite being a century old, Lucien Marcus Underwood's work remains a foundational and often helpful resource for genealogical research of American Underwood families. At the time this work was compiled, genealogists had identified six distinct and probably unrelated Underwood families who had settled in New England during the 1600s, in addition to several other Underwood families who settled in the southern colonies. Four of the six New England families were descendants of colonists who had settled initially in Massachusetts, while the other two families settled in New Hampshire and Rhode Island. Lucien Marcus Underwood designated these Underwood families as the Watertown family, the Lincoln family, the Chelmsford family, the Boston family, the Newcastle, N.H., family, and the Rhode Island family. As for our own Underwood ancestors, genealogical research indicates that they are a branch of the Boston family (though Lucien Marcus Underwood proposed that our Underwoods may have belonged to the Natick-Sudbury, Massachusetts, branch of the Watertown family).
Lucien Marcus Underwood's 1913 Underwood Families of America necessarily provides the basic groundwork for the following account of our Underwood genealogy. This account also incorporates the work of Underwood researcher Sheri Nye, who descended from this line and is thus a distant cousin. Most of the material presented on the last four generations is the fruit of our own genealogical research.
1. JOHN UNDERWOOD, born in 1647 probably in England, died 13 Jan. 1706 in Boston, Massachusetts. John appears in the early records of Boston with his wife ELIZABETH and two sons, Anthony and Israel. Lucien Marcus Underwood's 1913 Underwood Families of America, pages 386-387, says the following of John:
"It is not known whence John Underwood came or when, but some time before 1680. He appears on the tax list in Boston in 1681 and again in 1687. In the latter year his tax amounted to 1s. 10d. He died 13 Jan., 1706, ae. 59, at Boston, Mass."
The two known sons of John Underwood were:
-- ANTHONY UNDERWOOD, 2 May 1680 in Boston, Massachusetts 2. ISRAEL UNDERWOOD, 13 Jan. 1682 in Boston, Massachusetts
2. ISRAEL UNDERWOOD, son of John Underwood, born 13 Jan. 1682 in Boston, Massachusetts. Lucien Marcus Underwood's Underwood Families, page 388, says, "It is probably the same man who was admitted freeman at Greenwich, R. I., in 1734, and probably rem. to the adjoining town of Plainfield, Conn." Continuing, Lucien Marcus Underwood noted that during the years from 1744 to 1770, three Underwood men and two Underwood women are known to have been living in Plainfield, Connecticut. These Plainfield Underwoods, most of whom had children or descendants, may have been siblings, and all of them may have been children of Israel Underwood.
The possible children of Israel Underwood are:
3. ISRAEL UNDERWOOD, born circa 1720 -- WILLIAM UNDERWOOD, born before 1740 -- JOSEPH UNDERWOOD -- SARAH UNDERWOOD, married 25 Nov. 1761 to Eliphalet Bingham of Plainfield, Connecticut. -- ANN UNDERWOOD, noted as unmarried in 1759.
3. ISRAEL UNDERWOOD, possible son of Israel Underwood, born circa 1720 probably in Plainfield, Windham County, Connecticut. Israel's wife was named RUTH. Israel and Ruth lived at Plainfield, Connecticut, and Israel is known to have had four sons and two daughters. Three of his sons -- Israel, Timothy, and Josiah -- are known to have been Revolutionary War soldiers. Underwood Families, page 388, notes that "Israel bought land of Jonathan Shepherd and of Jacob Johnson in 1752, of [his possible sister] Ann Underwood in 1759, and of Elisha Williams in 1764."
The children of Israel Underwood of Plainfield were:
-- ISAAC UNDERWOOD, born 29 Aug. 1744 -- PRIVATE ISRAEL UNDERWOOD, born 4 April 1746 -- ANNE UNDERWOOD, born 5 Feb. 1747 -- ELIZABETH UNDERWOOD, born 3 Sept. 1752 -- TIMOTHY UNDERWOOD, born 15 Sept. 1755 -- JOSIAH UNDERWOOD, born 9 Feb. 1757, died 7 Oct. 1836.
4. PRIVATE ISRAEL UNDERWOOD (or "Isreal"), son of Israel and Ruth Underwood, born 4 April 1746 in Plainfield, Windham County, Connecticut, died 15 June 1817 in Tompkins County, New York. Israel married DOROTHY BENJAMIN and, according to Underwood genealogical researcher Sheri Nye, Israel and Dorothy had five daughters and five sons, named Cynthia, Dorothy, Elizabeth, Mary, Phineas, William, Timothy, Gideon, Martha and Isaac. Israel and his brothers Timothy and Josiah all served in the Continental Army during the American Revolution. Underwood Families, page 388, says, "Israel Underwood of Plainfield, Conn., served seven days on the Lexington Alarm, 21 April, 1775, in the War of the Revolution." Also, The Record of Connecticut Men in the Military and Naval Service During the War of the Revolution 1775-1783 1889, edited by Henry P. Johnston, lists "Underwood, Israel, Private."
According to Underwood Families, page 389, Israel's brother Timothy, also of Plainfield, Connecticut,
"served 17 days on Lexington Alarm. He also enlisted 20 May, 1775, in Capt. Obadiah Johnson's company of the 3rd regiment, serving under Colonel, afterwards General, Israel Putnam. The company occupied Putnam's center division at Cambridge. Timothy was discharged with his company at the expiration of their enlistment, 16 Dec., 1775, and he re-enlisted in Jan., 1776, to Dec., 1776, in Capt. Wills Clift's Company of Col. John Durkee's Reg't. He took part in the battle of Trenton. He was a fifer and as musician appeared on the list of Revolutionary pensioners in the Act of 1818. He made application for pension 8 April, 1818."
Underwood Families, pages 389-390, goes on to say that Israel's younger brother Josiah Underwood of Woodstock, Connecticut,
"was a soldier in the War of the Revolution, enlisting first 29 May, 1775, in Capt. Obadiah Johnson's Company of Colonel, afterwards General, Israel Putnam's Regiment. This service was the same as his brother Timothy's above. He enlisted again, 1 May, 1776, in Capt. Asa Bacon's Company from Windham county, Conn., of Col. Chester's Regiment. These latter troops were raised to re-inforce Washington in New York. They were stationed at the Flatbush Pass on Long Island, 26 Aug., and were engaged in the battle of the following day, narrowly escaping capture. Soon after a select body of troops was organized for special service under the command of Lieut. Col. Thomas Knowlton and was known as Knowlton's Rangers. Josiah became one of these and took part in all their stirring service in and about Harlem and Ft. Washington, where Josiah was taken prisoner at the surrender of the fort, 16 Nov., 1776, and was detained for three months. He saw active service again in 1778 in Capt. Bowen's Company of Col. Chapman's Regiment of militia, which served under Gen. Sullivan in the attempt to dislodge the British at Newport and took active part in the Battle of Rhode Island, 29 Aug., 1778. He entered the service 4 Aug., and was discharged 12 Sept., 1778. He made application for a pension 18 July, 1832, which was granted. Josiah Underwood d. 7 Oct., 1836. His widow, Lucy Underwood, at the age of 80 years, made application for a pension 15 Aug., 1838, which was granted."
After the war, Israel and his family moved from Connecticut to the Wyoming Valley in Pennsylvania, where they were among the first settlers of Kingston Township in Luzerne County. The 1893 History of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania notes that in 1796, "Israel Underwood" and "Gideon Underwood" were listed among the "taxables" (i.e. property owners subject to taxes) living in the Kingston area. No doubt Israel is our Private Israel Underwood and Gideon is his son of that name. Underwood family tradition states that Gideon as a young boy rode in an ox cart when his family left Connecticut and came to the Wyoming Valley. Gideon was born in 1773, so based on that tradition his family must have come to Pennsylvania by 1780. Gideon and his children remained in Luzerne County, as did his sister Martha, who married Jonathan Slocum (1778-1842) in 1800 and settled in Wilkes-Barre. However, their father Israel later moved to New York, where he died in Tompkins County in 1817. Martha and Jonathan also later moved to New York, settling near Havana, Schuyler County. Israel is buried in Asbury Cemetery in Lansing, Tompkins County. On his gravestone, his name is spelled "Isreal," a common variant spelling of "Israel" in those days.
This photograph of Don Short's shows the grave marker of Israel Underwood in Asbury Cemetery, Lansing, Tompkins County, New York. The inscription reads, "In Memory Isreal Underwood who Died June 15 1817."
The 10 children of Israel and Dorothy Underwood were:
-- CYNTHIA UNDERWOOD -- DOROTHY UNDERWOOD -- ELIZABETH UNDERWOOD -- MARY UNDERWOOD -- PHINEHAS UNDERWOOD -- WILLIAM UNDERWOOD -- TIMOTHY UNDERWOOD 5. GIDEON UNDERWOOD, born 8 March 1773 -- MARTHA UNDERWOOD, married Jonathan Slocum -- DR. ISAAC UNDERWOOD
5. GIDEON UNDERWOOD, probable son of Israel and Dorothy Underwood, born 8 March 1773 in Connecticut, died 18 Dec. 1859 either in Forty Fort, Pennsylvania, or at the home of his son Dr. Gideon Underwood in Pittston, Pennsylvania. Underwood family tradition maintains that Gideon's father was named either Israel or Phinehas. However, in Lucien Marcus Underwood's 1913 The Underwood Families of America, pages 109, 124, Gideon was tentatively placed as a probable son of John Underwood of Sudbury, Mass., with a cautionary footnote on page 109 that says, "No reference to this son appears in the Sudbury records, but from the family traditions it appears probable that he belongs here." Further explanation of the Sudbury hypothesis, with commentary on some interesting family traditions of our Underwoods (though some of the traditions are fictitious or at least garbled), is provided in this lengthier footnote on page 124:
"There is considerable conflict regarding the name of Gideon Underwood's father. According to some of his descendants his father's name was either Phineas or Israel and he is said to have been a color-bearer at the battle of Bunker Hill. His wife and child (Gideon) clinging to her skirts are said to have watched the progress of the battle from a distance. It is also said that he had three brothers in the battle, or that at least they were soldiers during the Revolution. These are matters of pure tradition to which may be added the one which relegates the ancestry of the family to Lynn, Mass. It should be said that the war records of Massachusetts do not reveal so many Underwood brothers in the Revolution, and although there are persons by the name of Israel Underwood and Phineas Underwood in that war, none of them had a son Gideon which is a very unusual name in the family. It is barely possible, though not probable, that the ancestry of Gideon Underwood may be sought in the Underwood family of eastern Connecticut . . . The very strong probabilities are that the family belongs at this place. [i.e., with Gideon as a son of John of Sudbury, Mass.] Jonas Underwood (no. 198) believes Gideon to have been a brother of his grandfather, Jonas Underwood (no. 191). Further information on these points is greatly to be desired."
The Sudbury hypothesis does not really have much going for it, and it appears that Gideon's ancestry rather should be sought in the Underwood family of eastern Connecticut. There is no Underwood family tradition that Gideon's father was named John, but the family tradition that Gideon's father was named either Phinehas or Israel is likely not far from the truth -- Gideon's father apparently was named Israel (significantly, Gideon named one of his own sons Israel), and Gideon apparently had an older brother named Phinehas. The "Battle of Bunker Hill" traditions are obviously embellishments of the facts, probably due to a misidentification of Gideon's brother Phinehas with the Phinehas Underwood who did indeed fight at Bunker Hill. The truth seems to be that Gideon's father Israel was a private in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, and "served seven days on the Lexington Alarm, 21 April, 1775," as stated in The Underwood Families of America, page 388. Another family tradition about Gideon's origins and early life is related on page 125 of Underwood Families, where it says he "moved with his family from Connecticut in an ox cart where he was a small boy." U.S. Census records also say Gideon was born in Connecticut. Williams T. Blair's 1924 The Michael Shoemaker Book, page 520, also says Gideon was "doubtless a son of Israel Underwood, of Kingston Township . . .."
According to the Underwood settler biographies in H. C. Bradsby's 1893 History of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, vol. II, page 1419, Gideon was originally from New England, where he was a native of Massachusetts (a mistake for Connecticut). The 1893 settler biographies as well as The Underwood Families of America, page 124, agree that Gideon married in Feb. 1798 to SARAH BROWN, a native of Pennsylvania, and had 10 children (in fact they had 12 children). Gideon's wife Sarah, born Feb. 1780 in Berks County, Pennsylvania, died 25 May 1854 in Forty Fort, Pennsylvania, was descended from a family of Scottish Covenanters, being a daughter of Alexander and Mary (Tyler) Brown who settled in the Wyoming Valley of Pennsylvania in 1786. Gideon and Sarah were married in Pennsylvania, and after their marriage they settled in Wyoming County, Pennsylvania, where Gideon's father Israel also settled for a time. The 1893 settler biographies say Gideon and Sarah were "among the pioneers of the Wyoming Valley" and that Gideon "was among the pioneers of Forty Fort, where he engaged in farming, dying there." Gideon appears in the U.S. Census from 1800 to 1850 as a resident of Kingston, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. The Underwood Families of America, page 125, adds the following information:
"Gideon Underwood was a carpenter at Fortyfort, Pa., where he settled . . . The interior finishing of the old church near Wyoming monument is his handiwork. He lived the latter part of his life with his son, Dr. Gideon Underwood, in whose family he d. 18 Dec., 1859."
In Williams T. Blair's 1924 Michael Shoemaker Book, page 810, the following land transaction in Kingston Township, Luzerne County, is mentioned: "Fourth Division Lot No. 7, Benjamin Smith, administrator of the estate of Timothy Smith, sold Aug. 22, 1803, to Gideon Underwood, describing it as a lot he had found."
Gideon was buried in Forty Fort Cemetery, Forty Forty, Pennsylvania. The 12 children of Gideon and Sarah Underwood -- all born in Forty Fort, except the youngest, who was born in Kingston -- were:
6. WILLIAM BROWN UNDERWOOD, born 30 May 1800. -- SARAH ANN UNDERWOOD, born 7 Aug. 1801, married (NN) Van Buskirk. -- TIMOTHY UNDERWOOD, born 8 Dec. 1803, died 10 July 1865. -- LYMAN UNDERWOOD, born 15 Jan. 1806, died 12 Jan. 1831. -- ISRAEL UNDERWOOD, born 13 April 1808, died 26 Dec. 1847. -- ALEXANDER UNDERWOOD, born 10 Oct. 1810, died 7 June 1890. -- JESSE Z. UNDERWOOD, born 10 Aug. 1813, died 26 Oct. 1846. -- CAROLINE UNDERWOOD, born 29 Aug. 1815, died 4 Nov. 1850. -- DR. GIDEON UNDERWOOD, born 3 Dec. 1819, died 30 Jan. 1896. -- JAMES B. UNDERWOOD, born 28 Aug. 1832, died 9 Aug. 1847. -- JANE UNDERWOOD, born 28 Aug. 1832 -- HARRIET ANN UNDERWOOD, born 1837
6. WILLIAM BROWN UNDERWOOD, eldest child of Gideon and Sarah Underwood, born 30 May 1800 at Forty Fort, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania; died 5 Oct. 1871 in Painesville, Lake County, Ohio; buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Painesville. William reportedly was a veteran of the Mexican-American War (1846-1848). According to The Underwood Families of America, William was born 13 May 1799, but William's gravestone says he was born 30 May 1800. The two dates are close enough that the later tradition can be easily understood as a misremembering of the date shown on the gravestone. According to the biography of William's son Emanuel Lewis Underwood found in the 1893 History of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, page 1419, William "was a native of Forty Fort, was a carpenter by trade, and resided at his native place until his death." The statements regarding William's place of birth and occupation are correct, but William certainly did not reside in Forty Fort until his death. That tradition apparently came from Emanuel Lewis Underwood, but as we shall see, he may not have known the facts concerning his father's fate, or perhaps he preferred that the facts not be recorded for posterity.
On 9 April 1824, William married MARGARET SWETLAND ("Peggy"), born 27 June 1807 probably on the Luke Swetland Homestead, Kingston Township, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, died 18 July 1896 probably in Luzerne County, the ninth of 12 children of Belding and Sally (Gay) Swetland. The Rev. Benjamin Bidlack was the minister who performed the wedding ceremony. (See The Michael Shoemaker Book, 1924, by Williams T. Blair, page 21) William and Margaret lived at Forty Fort and, according to the 1893 History of Luzerne County, they had two daughters, Sarah and Melissa, and two sons, Emanuel Lewis and Frank.
On page 354 of Williams T. Blair's 1924 Michael Shoemaker Book, William B. Underwood is mentioned in the following two land transactions in Kingston Township, Luzerne County:
"The William Goodwin Blacksmith Shop. Feb. 4, 1823, Captain Samuel Brees sold to William Goodwin one acre of Lot No. 35, adjoining the fulling mill property on the north. About 1827-8 William Goodwin sold the land to William Henderson, who, July 4, 1828, sold it to William B. Underwood."
"April 1, 1846, James Jenkins sold to Jedediah Schooley 12 acres of [Lot No.] 35, the line of which was situated 32 rods from the southwest corner of William Underwood's lot. It adjoined lands of the heirs of Isaac Shoemaker and Christian Miller."
It was apparently in the late 1830s, or around 1840, that William and Margaret separated and divorced. I have not yet found a record of, or even any explicit reference to, their divorce, but all available records show that William and Margaret separated and both soon remarried, having children with their new spouses. Margaret and her children that she'd had by William remained in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, where Margaret married JOSEPH SPENCE, born circa 1803 in England, died perhaps circa 1855 probably in Luzerne County. The U.S. Census returns for 7 Sept. 1850 show Joseph as a miner living in Exeter Township, Luzerne County, with his wife "Margaret," age 47 (sic), and their sons "Joseph," age 4, and "David G.," age 6 months. The U.S. Census returns for 24 Aug. 1860 show "Margaret Spence," age 53, as a resident of Kingston Township, living with "Belldine Spence," age 20, a laborer. "Belldine" no doubt is a mistake for "Belding" -- he obviously was a son of Margaret and had been named after her father. That her husband Joseph and her sons Joseph and David do not appear with her in the 1860 U.S. Census indicates that they had probably died, though the son Joseph may have been boarding with a family in the area. (Could Private Joseph Spence, Company M, 2nd Pennsylvania Artillery, who was killed in action on 29 Sept. 1864 in the Battle of Chapin's Farm near Richmond, Virginia, have been Margaret's son Joseph?) Margaret is buried in Forty Fort Cemetery, Forty Fort, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, where many of her ancestors and kin are also buried.
After his divorce, William headed west to Michigan, where he married circa 1842 to ELMINA S. HALL JACKSON, born 9 Sept. 1815 in New York State, died 5 Jan. 1898 in Painesville, Lake County, Ohio, widow of James Orlando Jackson. During the 1840s, William reportedly served in the Mexican-American War. Afterwards, he and Elmina moved back east to Painesville, Ohio, where they lived the remainder of their lives. In Kalamazoo, Michigan, William and Elmina had three sons, named Charles S., George William, and Almon Brown. The 1850 U.S. Census shows "Wm B Underwood," age 50, living in Oakland County, Michigan, with his wife "Elmina," age 36, and three sons. (Notably, the 1850 census says William B. Underwood was born in New York, not Pennsylvania. It's probable, however, that the census is mistaken about William's place of birth. New York is where Elmina was born.) Later in 1850, William and Elmina moved to Ohio, and their fourth son Gideon Brown was born that year in Wood County, Ohio. The 1860 U.S. Census shows "Wm B Underwood," age 60, living in Painesville, Ohio, with his wife "Elmina," age 44, and sons Charles, 17, George, 16, Almon, 12, and Gideon, 1 (sic). The 1870 U.S. Census shows "Wm B. Underwood," 70, born in Pennsylvania, a carpenter living in Painesville, Ohio, with his wife "Almina H.," 55, born in New York, and their sons Gideon B., 19, born in Ohio, a hostler, and Charles, 27, born in Ohio (sic), a sailor, with William's granddaughter Edith, 9, born in Michigan.
William died the following year in Painesville, Ohio, where he is buried. According to his death record, William died of "congestion of lungs." The death record also says his mother was named Sarah Brown, and that William was born in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. The 1880 U.S. Census shows William's widow "Elmina Underwood," 64, living in Painesville, Ohio, with her divorced granddaughter "Nellie E. Curtis," 19, evidently the "Edith Underwood" who was living with her grandparents at the time of the 1870 U.S. Census. Elmina survived until 1898, when she died in Painesville and was buried with her late husband William.
This photograph of Sheri Nye's shows the gravestone of William Brown Underwood and his second wife Elmina S. Hall Jackson Underwood in Evergreen Cemetery, Painesville, Ohio. The inscription says, "WILLIAM B. UNDERWOOD MAY 30 1800 - OCT 5 1871 ELMINA HALL JACKSON HIS WIFE SEP 9 1815 - JAN 5 1898."
Notably, although Underwood Families of America correctly places the death of William in Painesville, Ohio, in 1871, that volume does not identify any wife or wives of William, but does say he had four sons, in the following order: "Charles V." of Cleveland, Ohio; Gideon of Painesville, Ohio; George of Pennsylvania; and "Almond" of Cleveland, Ohio. In comparison, Underwood genealogical researcher Sheri Nye names the same four sons of William as Charles S., born 1843; George William, born 1845; Almon Brown, born 1848; and Gideon Brown, born 1850. Nye mentions both wives of William, but does not list any children of William by his first wife Margaret. In comparison, the 1893 History of Luzerne County lists the four children of William and Margaret, but breathes not a word of William's second wife and his four sons of his second marriage. Similarly, Oscar Jewell Harvey's A History of Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, 1908 vol. II, page 1085, mentions Margaret Swetland's marriage to Joseph Spence, but says nothing of her first marriage to William Underwood.
As mentioned above, judging from the dates of birth of the children of William, Margaret, and Elmina, most likely William and Margaret divorced around 1840 -- and it is probably not a coincidence that William's son Emanuel Lewis is reported in the 1893 History of Luzerne County to have been reared in Scranton from the age of 7, that is, from the year 1840. The move to Scranton in 1840 probably was related to the break-up of the family. The author of the 1893 settler biography in The History of Luzerne County apparently was entirely unaware of William's second marriage and his later adventures in Michigan and Ohio, since William is said in that source to have died in Forty Fort. Or if he was aware, he chose to cover it up. (Was Emanuel Lewis Underwood raised to believe that his father had died when in fact he had abandoned them? Or was the story of his father's death in Forty Fort intended to cover up the shame of his parent's divorce? Or did he know, or believe, that his father had abandoned them, and considered that his father was as good as dead to him?)
By the same token, Lucien M. Underwood, author of Underwood Families, did not know about the children of William's first marriage in eastern Pennsylvania. As a matter of fact, Lucien Underwood mentions in a footnote (page 125), "Many years ago the compiler received a letter from F. L. Underwood of Wilkesbarre, Pa., in which the writer stated that he was a grandson of William B. Underwood. He was doubtless a son of George Underwood, but no further trace has been found." On the contrary, F. L. Underwood of Wilkes-Barre was almost certainly the same as Frank L. Underwood of Wilkes-Barre, eldest son of Emanuel Lewis Underwood of Wilkes-Barre, son of William Brown Underwood. Alternatively, F. L. could have been Frank's younger brother Frederick L. Underwood, who also lived in Wilkes-Barre but predeceased his older brother Frank. But because Lucien Underwood did not know of William's children from his first marriage, and knew of only one son of William, George, who had lived in Pennsylvania, he could only assume that George was the father of F. L. Underwood. It seems that William's two families may not have known each other, and perhaps did not even know that they had half-siblings living a few hundred miles away.
Of the four children of William and Margaret, their eldest daughter Sarah is named as the wife of Thomas Hale in the 1893 settler biography of her brother Emanuel Lewis Underwood. Sarah appears in the U.S. Census returns of 23 Aug. 1870 as "Sarah Hale," 42, wife of "Thomas Hale," 37, a carpenter. The 1870 census shows that Thomas and Sarah then resided in Scranton Ward 5, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, with their daughter "Alice," 13, and son "Robert," 6. Significantly, the settler biography of Sarah's brother Emanuel Lewis says he was reared in Scranton from the age of 7 (1840). All four members of the household of Sarah and Thomas are listed as having been born in Pennsylvania. Ten years later, in the U.S. Census returns of 2 June 1880, Sarah appears as "Sarah J. Hale," 51, wife of "Thomas A. Hale," 47, a carpenter, with children "Robert J. Hale," 14, and "Maggie Hale," 9, residents of Scranton, Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania. The dates and places of death of Sarah and Thomas are not yet known.
According to her gravemarker, Melissa Underwood, Sarah's younger sister, was born 18 March 1831. Melissa appears in the 1850 U.S. Census as "Malissa Underwood," 19, born in Pennsylvania, a resident of Kingston, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, one of five people who were lodging with the Isaac C. Shoemaker family, presumably as servants or farm workers. Melissa was still living with the Isaac C. Shoemaker family at the time of the 1860 U.S. Census, in which she appears as "Malissa Underwood," 29, one of eight lodgers with I.C. Shoemaker, 49, his wife Caty A. Shoemaker, 44, and the Shoemaker children, all residents of Wyoming, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. According to the 1900 U.S. Census, Melissa married John Hufford in 1863. At the time of the 1880 Census, she appears as "Melissa Hufferd," 49, born in Pennsylvania of parents who were both born in Pennsylvania. The 1880 census says Melissa lived in Fishing Creek Township, Columbia County, Pennsylvania, with her husband "John Hufferd," 51, and a young man named Charles White, 16. Melissa appears in the 1900 U.S. Census as "Memisa (sic) Hufford, 69, wife of John Hufford, 70, residents of Fishing Creek Township, Pennsylvania. Melissa died 27 April 1904 and was buried in St. James United Church of Christ Cemetery, Bendertown, Columbia County, Pennsylvania. Her husband John died 27 March 1907 and was buried with Melissa. John and Melissa apparently had no children who survived infancy or early childhood. An unnamed infant is buried with them in St. James Cemetery.
The eight known children of William Brown Underwood were:
-- SARAH J. UNDERWOOD, born 10 April 1828, died 12 March 1893, married Thomas A. Hale. -- MELISSA UNDERWOOD, born 18 March 1831, died 27 April 1904, married John Hufford. 7. EMANUEL LEWIS UNDERWOOD, born 17 Nov. 1833. -- FRANK UNDERWOOD -- CHARLES S. UNDERWOOD, born 5 Jan. 1843 in Kalamazoo, Michigan, died 12 April 1921. -- GEORGE WILLIAM UNDERWOOD, born 1845 in Kalamazoo, Michigan. -- ALMON BROWN UNDERWOOD, born 1848 in Kalamazoo, Michigan, died 21 June 1931. -- GIDEON BROWN UNDERWOOD, born March 1850 in Wood County, Ohio.
7. EMANUEL LEWIS UNDERWOOD ("E.L.," "Lewis," "Louis"), son of William and Margaret Underwood, born 17 Nov. 1833 at Forty Fort, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, died 18 Sept. 1915 at Nesbitt West Side Hospital, Dorranceton, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. Emanuel Lewis, eldest son of William Brown Underwood, lived at Forty Fort until the age 7. Around that time, his parents separated and divorced, and that disruption is probably why Lewis, when only 7 years old, moved to Scranton, where he grew up. An informative and mostly accurate account of his life and genealogy was published in the 1893 History of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, as follows:
EMANUEL LEWIS UNDERWOOD, dairyman, Wilkes-Barre, was born at Forty Fort, this county, November 17, 1833, and is a son of William and Margaret (Swetland) Underwood. His paternal grandfather, Gideon Underwood (formerly of New England) was among the pioneers of Forty Fort, where he engaged in farming, dying there. The father of our subject was a native of Forty Fort, was a carpenter by trade, and resided at his native place until his death. His children were as follows: Sarah (Mrs. Thomas Hale), Melissa (Mrs. John Hufford), Emanuel L., and Frank. Our subject was reared in Scranton from seven years of age, was educated at Wyoming Seminary, Kingston, and after attaining his majority taught school fourteen consecutive years. He then embarked in the milk business at Wilkes-Barre, at which he still continues. He was twice married, his first wife being Harriet W., daughter of Alvah and Ann (Pierce) Phillips, of Wyoming, this county, and by her he had four children: Frank L., Fred, Orran and Eva (Mrs. Penn Spencer). Mr. Underwood's second wife was Mrs. Mary Becker Hay, widow of Peter H. Hay, of Wilkes-Barre. Mr. Underwood has been a resident of Wilkes-Barre since 1879. In politics, he is a Republican.
Emanuel Lewis Underwood appears in the U.S. Census returns of 9 Aug. 1850 as "Lewis Underwood," age 16, one of six young men and women then living in the household of the Isaac Tripp family in Providence, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. As noted in the biographical sketch, upon reaching adulthood Lewis became a schoolteacher and taught for several years in the public schools of Luzerne County. A reference to his teaching appears in an essay on "The Island School House, Luzerne Borough, Luzerne County, Penn.," that was published in The Historical Record — A Quarterly Publication Devoted Principally to the Early History of Wyoming Valley and Contiguous Territories, 1893, vol. IV, edited by F. C. Johnson, pages 4-5. On page 5, the essay mentions that "Miss Lucinda Terry taught the summer school of 1871 . . . . , E. Lewis Underwood that of 1876, . . . ."
Around 1858 or 1859, Lewis married HARRIET W. PHILLIPS, born 19 Nov. 1833 in West Wyoming, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, died June 1874 in Wyoming Borough, Luzerne County, seventh child of Alvah Clesson and Ann (Chapin) Phillips of West Wyoming, Pennsylvania. Lewis and Harriet appear in the U.S. Census returns of 28 July 1860 as "E.L. Underwood," 25, a farmer, and "Harriet Underwood," 25, residents of Northmoreland Township, Wyoming County, Pennsylvania. Lewis and Harriet had but three sons and one daughter, Frank L., Frederick L., Oran, and Eva. According to Williams T. Blair's 1924 Michael Shoemaker Book, page 413, in 1865 "Manuel Lewis Underwood" (sic) worked as a salesman for Isaac C. Shoemaker's woolen products business -- and it is no doubt significant that Lewis' older sister Melissa appears in the 1850 and 1860 U.S. Censuses as a lodger in the home of Isaac C. Shoemaker. Five years later, in the U.S. Census returns of 27 June 1870, Lewis and his family appear in Northmoreland Township as "E.L. Underwood," age 36, a farmer, "H.W. Underwood," age 36, "F.L. Underwood," age 9, "Fred Underwood," age 7, "Oran Underwood," age 5, and "Eva Underwood," age 3, with a farm servant named E. Cranfield, age 28.
After Harriet's death in 1874, Lewis moved to Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, in 1879. Emanuel Lewis Underwood has not yet been located in the 1880 U.S. Census, but presumably he was living in Wilkes-Barre at the time. Also around that time, in or about 1880, he married MARY ANN BECKER HAY, born 15 Jan. 1845 in Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, died 25 Feb. 1920 in Wilkes-Barre, widow of Peter H. Hay of Wilkes-Barre and daughter of Joseph and Adelia Becker of Wilkes-Barre. The U.S. Census returns for 14 June 1870, show Peter Hay, age 31, born in Pennsylvania, a butcher living in Wilkes-Barre Ward 3 with his wife "Mary Hay," age 25, and children "William Hay," age 6, "Adelia Hay," age 4, and "Grace Hay," age 1. Ten years later, the U.S. Census returns for 12 June 1880 show "Mary A. Hay," age 55, widowed and living in the household of her parents at 329 Main Street, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, along with her children "Wilford A. Hay," age 16, "Adda Hay," age 14, and "Grace Hay," age 11. Now, the 1920 U.S. Census says Lewis had been married for 20 years, which would mean he and Mary were married in 1880 -- but she was still a widow as of 12 June 1880, so their marriage must have taken place later that year.
Interestingly enough, however, Lewis' children from his first marriage were not living in Wilkes-Barre in 1880. The U.S. Census returns for 19 June 1880 show his eldest son "Frank Underwood, 19, single and living alone as a store clerk in Wyoming Township, Luzerne County. The census returns for 22 June 1880 show "Fred L. Underwood," 17, single and a laborer, living in the household of Elizabeth Tyler, 30, with her daughter Jennie Tyler, 4, in Dallas, Luzerne County. Also living in Dallas were "Orin Underwood," 15, a farm laborer, and "Eva Underwood," 13, who are shown in the U.S. Census returns of 12 June 1880 both living in the household of William C. Ronshey and his family, along with a schoolteacher named Fally C. Brunson, 23. Emanuel Lewis Underwood's sons joined him in Wilkes-Barre by 1882, as shown by the old Wilkes-Barre city directories.
The 1882 Wilkes-Barre city directory shows "E. Lewis Underwood" as an "agent" living on Main Street above Ash. Also living there were Frank and Frederick Underwood, laborers, while Oran Underwood was living on Main below Sullivan. "E. Lewis Underwood," occupation "milk," is listed at the same location in the 1884 Wilkes-Barre city directory. The 1886 and 1887 city directories give his address as 58 N. Main Street and list his occupation as "dairyman." The 1888 Wilkes-Barre directory shows "E. Underwood" as a dairyman at 37 N. Main Street, with his home at 46 N. Main. The following year, the 1889 city directory shows him as "E. Lewis Underwood," proprietor of the Farmers' Dairy Company, 37 N. Main Street, with his home at 46 N Main.
Interestingly, Lewis appears in the 1890 city directory as "Emanuel L. Underwood," clerk, 46 N. Main Street, rather than a dairyman. He again appears as a "clerk" in the 1891 and 1892 Wilkes-Barre city directories, with home address of 276 S. Main Street and a work address of 33 N. Main. He is listed the same way in the 1894, 1896, and 1897 city directories, but in the 1895 directory his occupation is "laborer" rather than clerk. In 1899, he is again listed as a clerk, but his address is given as 382 S. Main Street. It appears, however, that his actual business did not change during those years. Also during the 1890s, his sons continued to live in Wilkes-Barre. For example, in the 1894 city directory, Frank L. Underwood appears as a "blindmaker" working at 13 N. Canal and living at 174 Madison, while Oran Underwood is listed as "removed to Luzerne boro." In the 1895 and 1896 city directories, Frank L. Underwood appears as a "yard foreman" working at 13 N. Canal and living at 174 Madison. In 1899, Frank appears as a "carpenter" working at 184 Madison and living with his father at 382 S. Main. Frank's brother Fred died around these years, as is shown by the 1895 and 1896 Wilkes-Barre city directories, which list Jennie H. Underwood, widow of Frederick, living at 99 S. Canal.
It appears that Lewis and his wife Mary separated at some point during the 1890s. The reason for their separation is unknown, but in any case it is remarkable that the 1893 History of Luzerne County uses the past tense in referring to the marriage of Lewis and Mary. Based on the evidence of the Wilkes-Barre city directories and the U.S. Census, at some point in 1899 or 1900 Lewis moved out to Ross Township, Taylor County, Iowa, where he lived for a while with his daughter Eva and her husband William Penn Spencer. The U.S. Census returns of 26 June 1900 show "Louis Underwood," age 66, born Nov. 1833 in the State of Wyoming (an error for Wyoming Borough, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania), living in Ross Township with "William P. Spencer," age 38, and his wife "Eva Spencer," age 33, and their four children. The census says "Louis" had been married for 20 years, but his wife is not listed with him. But in the U.S. Census returns of 9 June 1900, his wife "Mary A. Underwood," age 55, "married," is shown living at 382 S. Main Street, Wilkes-Barre, Ward 11, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, with her mother "Adelia Becker," age 75, widowed.
Puzzlingly and very remarkably, the 1904 Wilkes-Barre city directory lists "Mary A. Underwood," widow of "Emanuel Underwood," residing at 382 S. Main Street. Lewis, however, had not died -- presumably he was then still living in Iowa with his daughter Eva and her family. Did the compiler of the city directory mistakenly assume that he had died when in fact he had separated from his wife and moved to another state? Or could Mary have believed that her husband had died? Were his whereabouts unknown to Mary, so that she came to think that he had died?
Be that as it may, Lewis later returned to Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. The 1910 U.S. Census shows "Louis Underwood," age 76, living in Luzerne Ward 1, with his son "Frank Underwood," age 49, and Frank's wife "Sarah Underwood," age 46, and their children "Harette Underwood," age 17, "Louis Underwood," age 15, and "Ruth Underwood," age 12. According to the 1910 census, Lewis was then a widower. But as a matter of fact, his wife Mary was still alive in 1910. The U.S. Census returns for 19 April 1910 show "Mary Ann Underwood," age 65, still residing at 382 S. Main Street, Wilkes-Barre, with her son "Wilford A. Hay," age 45, her daughter "Grace Holden," and six of her grandchildren. Mary is identified in the 1910 census as a widow. Did Lewis and Mary not know that they were both living in the same county, and were Lewis and his children not aware that Mary was still living at the same address where Lewis had previously lived? Wouldn't Lewis and his son Frank surely have known their own former address in Wilkes-Barre?
Whatever the solution to that mystery may be, five years later Mary did in fact become a widow. According to the 1924 Michael Shoemaker Book, and corroborated by his death certificate, Emanuel Lewis Underwood died 18 Sept. 1915 at Nesbitt West Side Hospital in Dorranceton, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, and was buried two days later in Forty Fort Cemetery in Luzerne County. The death certificate says Lewis died of "R. Side Hemoplegia, (sic - hemiplegia) complicated by embolism of popleteal (sic - popliteal) artery which caused gangrene of R. leg." The death certificate's informant was Lewis' son Frank Underwood, who reported that Lewis was the son of William Underwood and Margaret "Sweatland" of Pennsyvalnia. Once again, however, we find Lewis erroneously identified on his death certificate as "widowed," even though his second wife was then still alive. Interestingly, his published obituary in the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, Monday, 20 Sept. 1915, page 23, does not mention his wife or say anything at all about his marital status, and also says he had always lived in the Wilkes-Barre area, failing to mention the time he lived in Iowa in and around 1900:
"E. Lewis Underwood, aged 82, died at 12:30 o’clock today at the Nesbitt West Side Hospital of paralysis. He had been ill about six weeks. Deceased was born in Wyoming and was a descendant of the Swetland family. He has always lived in this vicinity and for several years has resided with his son Frank L. Underwood, 88 North Dorrance street, Dorranceton. Besides the son with whom he resided, he is survived by one other son, Oran, of South Eaton, Wyoming County, and one daughter, Mrs. W. P. Spencer, of Iowa; also seven grand children, Hattie, Lewis and Ruth Underwood; Paul, Leland, Lela and Howard Spencer."Lewis' widow Mary survived until early 1920. The U.S. Census returns of 3 Jan. 1920 show "Mary Underwood," 74, widowed, residing at 382 S. Main St., Wilkes-Barre, Ward 11, with her son "Wilfred A. Hay," age 55, her daughter "Ada H. Bean," age 53, and her grandson "Chas. F. Hay," age 19. Her death certificate says she died just a few weeks later, on 25 Feb. 1920, at her home, 382 S. Main St., Wilkes-Barre, with the cause of death listed as "Valvular Heart Disease." She was buried four days later in Hollenback Cemetery, Wilkes-Barre. The death certificate's informant was her son William Hay.
The children of Emanuel Lewis Underwood were:
-- FRANK L. UNDERWOOD, born 4 Aug. 1860, married Sarah Harding. -- FREDERICK L. UNDERWOOD, born 18 Aug. 1862, married Elizabeth "Lizzie" Carpenter. -- ORAN UNDERWOOD, born Sept. 1864, married Anna M. Smith. 8. EVA UNDERWOOD, born 4 July 1866
8. EVA UNDERWOOD, daughter of Emanuel Lewis and Harriet Underwood, born 4 July 1866 in Centermoreland, Wyoming County, Pennsylvania; died 22 March 1943 near Bedford, Ross Township, Taylor County, Iowa; buried in Hopkins Cemetery, Hopkins, Nodaway County, Missouri. Eva grew up in Northmoreland Township, Wyoming County, where her parents farmed. Her father also was a school teacher in Wyoming and Luzerne counties in Pennsylvania during Eva's childhood. The U.S. Census returns of 27 June 1870 show "Eva Underwood," age 3, living in Northmoreland with her parents and brothers "E.L. Underwood," age 36, a farmer, "H.W. Underwood," age 36, "F.L. Underwood," age 9, "Fred Underwood," age 7, and "Oran Underwood," age 5, along with a farm servant named E. Cranfield, age 28.
The U.S. Census returns of 12 June 1880 show "Eva Underwood," age 13, living in Dallas, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, with her brother "Orin Underwood," 15, a farm laborer, in the household of William C. Ronshey and his family, along with a schoolteacher named Fally C. Brunson, 23. Significantly, living nearby in Dallas -- and recorded on the same page of the U.S. Census -- was the family of John W. and Irene M. (Hall) Spencer. It must have been around this time that Eva met her future husband. John and Irene's eldest son was WILLIAM PENN SPENCER ("Ziba P.," "Penn"), born 17 Aug. 1861 in Dallas, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania; died 8 May 1934 in Taylor County, Iowa. Penn headed out to Iowa in 1889, but returned to Dallas, Pennsylvania, two years later so he could marry Eva. Penn and Eva were married on 26 March 1891 in Dallas. They then returned together to Iowa, settling in Taylor County, where their first child, ANDREW PAUL SPENCER ("Paul"), was born 26 Jan. 1892. Paul's obituary mentions a period of about a year when he lived in Pennsylvania as an infant, so Penn and Eva must have returned to Pennsylvania in 1892 before settling down in Taylor County, Iowa, where they remained for the rest of their lives. (Did they return to Pennsylvania to help tend the Spencer farm in Dallas Township while Penn's parents were living in California?) Penn's uncle David Andrew Spencer, known as Uncle Andy, also settled in Taylor County, Iowa -- Penn and Eva apparently named their first child after him.
In Iowa, at first Penn worked as a carpenter, then acquired a farm in Polk and Ross Townships in the general vicinity of Bedford, Iowa. Penn and Eva had four sons and one daughter -- the daughter and one of the sons were fraternal twins. The U.S. Census returns for 26 June 1900 show "William P. Spencer," age 38, a farmer, and "Eva Spencer," age 33, residents of Ross Township, Taylor County, Iowa, with their children "Paul Spencer," age 8, "Lelund Spencer," age 6, "Lela Spencer," age 6, and "Fred Spencer," age 3. The census says William and Eva had been married for nine years. Also living with them at that time was Eva's father "Louis Underwood," age 66, a landlord.
A genealogical account of our Spencers was published in the 1981 History of Taylor County, Iowa, written by the people of Taylor County and compiled by the Taylor County Historical Society, Bedford, Iowa. The following is on page 382, along with a small old black-and-white photo of William Penn Spencer and his wife Eva and three of their little children:
"William Penn Spencer, the son of John and Irene Spencer, was born August 17, 1861 at Dallas, Pennsylvania and passed away May 8, 1934. His wife, Eva Underwood Spencer, was born July 4, 1866 at Dallas, (sic) Pennsylvania and passed away March, 1943. They were married March 26, 1891 at Dallas, Pennsylvania. Penn came to Iowa in 1889, then returned to Dallas where they were married, and then returned to Iowa to live the rest of their lives. They bought a farm in Taylor County, Polk and Ross Townships after he had done carpenter work building barns, houses, and other buildings. He had to clear all the land he bought so he could farm it. Also, he had to build himself a house and barns. They lived on the same farm for 38 years or more before he passed away. They did all their farming with horses as no one had tractors then. They had five children, four boys and one daughter: Paul, Lee and Lela (twins); Freddie, who burnt to death while his father was burning corn stalks when 3 1/2 years old; and Howard. All the family is gone now except the daughter, Mrs. Lela Spencer Blake, who is in the Bethesda Nursing home at Clarinda as of December, 1980. Penn's family (mother, father, two sisters, and three brothers) lived on a ranch which had a coal mine on it, and all lived off the royalties of the mine until it closed in the late 1800's. Eve, Penn's wife, used to raise lots of chickens and churned lots of butter to sell. She and her children would drive ten miles to Bedford every week or so to sell the eggs and butter for 10 cents a dozen and maybe 10 cents a pound for butter. They drove a team of horses to a wagon to deliver the produce. Penn was a Mason of Siam Lodge and both were Eastern Star members for many years. Their farm is now owned by the Paul Brummett family. Submitted by Helen Spencer, as told to her"
As mentioned in the above genealogical sketch, on 16 Oct. 1900 Eva and her family suffered the heart-breaking loss of little Freddie, then Eva's youngest child. Freddie's death was reported (with a few slight errors) on page 4 of the Thursday, 18 Oct. 1900 Bedford Free Press as follows:
"Tuesday morning the little four year old son of Pen Spencer, living seven miles southeast of Bedford, while playing around a brush fire made by his grandfather, was burned to death. When found, the little fellow was dead. The funeral was held yesterday. This was indeed a sad occurrence for the loving parents."
It should be noted that the transcription of Freddie's death record in the Taylor County, Iowa Death Record, Book 1, Part 4 also has some errors. The transcribed record says Freddie Spencer was "male, white, 1yr, died 24 Jul 1894 Ross twp, born Iowa, buried Bedford Fairview cemetery." On the contrary, Freddie was 3 1/2 years old and wasn't even born until three years after the date in this transcription, and was buried in Hopkins Cemetery, Nodaway County, Missouri.
The U.S. Census returns for 12-13 May 1910 show "William P. Spencer," age 49, a farmer, residing in Ross Township, Taylor County, Iowa, with his wife "Elva U. Spencer" (sic), age 43, and children "Paul A. Spencer," age 18, a farm laborer, "Leland Spencer," age 16, a farm laborer, "Lela Spencer," age 16, and "John H. Spencer," age 5. Five years later, on 6 March 1915 in Maryville, Nodaway County, Missouri, William and Eva's son Leland, age 20, married Clara Faith Florea, age 15. The fathers of Leland and Clara had to give their consent to the marriage because Clara was still a minor. Also in 1915, Leland's twin sister Lela married William Edward Blake, age 28. The U.S. Census returns of 8 Jan. 1920 show "William E. Blake," age 33, a farmer, living in Ross Township, Taylor County, Iowa, with his wife "Lelia Blake," age 25. The census returns on that date also show "William P. Spencer," age 58, a farmer, living in Ross Township, with his wife "Eva Spencer," age 53, and sons "Paul Spencer," age 27, farmhand, and "John H. Spencer," age 15.
The Iowa State Census returns of 1 Jan. 1925 shows "Lee Spencer," age 30, a farmer, living in Clayton Township, Taylor County, Iowa, with his wife "Clara F. Florie Spencer," age 25, and their daughters "Helen R. Spencer," age 9, and "Margret E. Spencer," less than a year old. Five years later, the U.S. Census returns of 4 April 1930 show "Lee Spencer," age 35, a farmer, living in Clayton Township with his wife "Faith C. Spencer," age 30, and their children "Helen Spencer," age 14, "Margaret Spencer," age 5, and "William P. Spencer," age 3. The U.S. Census returns of 7 April 1930 show Lee's younger brother "Howard Spencer," age 25, a farmer, living in Ross Township, Taylor County, Iowa, with his wife "Helen E. Spencer," age 21, and their children "Howard Jr. Spencer," age 2 years 3 months, and "Mary R. Spencer," age 1 year 1 month. The U.S. Census returns of 11 April 1930 also show the parents and brother of Lee and Howard, "William P. Spencer," age 68, a farmer, "Eva Spencer," age 63, and "Paul Spencer," age 38, a farmer. Finally, the U.S. Census returns of 21 April 1930 show "William E. Blake," age 43, a farmer, living in Jefferson Township, Taylor County, Iowa, with his wife "Lela Blake," age 35, and their son "Robert L. Blake," age 7.
Eva's husband Penn died in 1934. I have not yet found 1940 U.S. Census returns for Eva and her son Paul, but the 10-12 April 1940 returns show "Lee Spencer," age 45, living in Benton Township, Taylor County, Iowa, with his wife "Faith Spencer," age 40, and their children "Margaret Spencer," age 15, "William Spencer," age 13, "Doris Spencer," age 3, and "Dean Spencer," age 3. Also, the U.S. Census returns of 10 April 1940 show Eva's youngest son Howard and his family renting a farm in Polk Township, Taylor County, Iowa. The census lists "Howard Spencer," age 35, a farm laborer, as the head of household, with his wife "Helen E. Spencer," age 32, and their children "Howard J. Spencer," age 12, "Mary R. Spencer," age 11, "Ivan P. Spencer," age 9, "Raymond D. Spencer," age 8, "Clyde A. Spencer," age 6, "Donald G. Spencer," age 2, and an as yet unnamed infant son who was then less than a month old (i.e., their youngest son ROY ELDON SPENCER, born 31 March 1940).
This photograph shows the gravestone of Penn and Eva Spencer in Hopkins Cemetery, Hopkins, Nodaway County, Missouri.
Eva survived her husband Penn by about nine years. Her obituary, which was published on page 4 of the 25 March 1943 edition of the Bedford Times-Press, is as follows:
"Mrs. W. P. Spencer Dies March 22nd"
"Mrs. W. P. Spencer died at her home southwest of Bedford Monday, March 22, 1943. The funeral services were held at the Walker & Shum Funeral Home Wednesday afternoon, conducted by Rev. G. L. Hufstader. Burial was in the Hopkins cemetery. Eva Underwood, daughter of Lewis and Harriett Underwood, was born July 4, 1866, at Center Moreland, Wyoming County, Pennsylvania, being aged 76 years, 6 months and 18 days at the time of her death. On March 26, 1901, (sic) she was married to W. P. Spencer. To them were born five children: Freddie, who died at the age of three years; Paul Spencer of the home, Lee Spencer, Mrs. Lela Blake and Howard Spencer, all of Bedford. Mr. Spencer died May 8, 1934. Surviving with the four children are 14 grandchildren and two great grandchildren. She united with the Baptist church about 27 years ago."
The children of Penn and Eva Spencer were:
-- ANDREW PAUL SPENCER ("Paul"), born 26 Jan. 1892, died 9 Feb. 1958. -- LELAND SPENCER ("Lee"), born 11 April 1894, died 2 Nov. 1953, married Clara Faith Florea -- LELA SPENCER, born 11 April 1894, died 15 Jan. 1983, married William Edward Blake. -- FREDERICK SPENCER ("Freddie"), born 9 Jan. 1897, died 16 Oct. 1900 -- JOHN HOWARD SPENCER ("Howard"), born 11 June 1904.
Underwood Genealogy Resources:
The Underwood Families of America Underwood Family Genealogy Forum Underwood Genealogy Message Board Ryk Brown's Family Database (Gideon Underwood and his descendants, with the Natick-Sudbury hypothesis) Alexander Brown descendants (Including our Underwoods)
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