WILLIAM H. UNDERWOOD is a descendant of a family of Quakers of that name who came to America with William Penn, and made a settlement in what is now the State of Pennsylvania. The paternal grandfather of William H., a tailor by trade, was a resident for a time of Fayette county, this State, whence he moved to Monongahela, where he died about the year 1843, at the age of seventy-seven years.
George Washington Underwood, father of our subject, was born February 22, 1814, at Red Stone, Fayette Co., Penn., and was reared to the tailor's trade. In Monongahela he married Elizabeth Jay, a native of this county, and this union being outside of the Quaker faith, his name was dropped from the list of Society of Friends, as was then the custom. When William H. was seven or eight years of age the family returned to Fayette county, whence, after a stay of some years they came, in 1850, to Washington, where the father followed tailoring in partnership with George W. Deiver for several years, but is now living retired in Erie county, at the age of seventy-seven years; the mother was called to her long home in 1856, aged forty years.
William H. Underwood is a native of Washington county, born in Monongahela, June 4, 1839, and was consequently eleven years old when the family came to Washington, the common schools of which city he attended in his boyhood and early youth. He then commenced clerking in a store in the borough, continuing in that capacity until 1861, when, in response to Lincoln's call for troops he enlisted in Company E, Twelfth P. V. I., which was ordered to the vicinity of Baltimore, Md. At the end of the three months' term he returned, invalided with camp fever. In January of the following year he re-enlisted for three years, in Company A, One Hundredth P. V. I. ("Round Heads"), and participated in the memorable expedition to South Carolina. His war record in this regiment is as follows: Mustered in January 1, 1862; promoted first sergeant May 12, 1865; mustered out with the company at Harrisburgh, Penn., July 24, 1865. Prior to the expiration of his term he veteranized, in East Tennessee. He was twice wounded, first November 29, 1863, at the siege of Knoxville, Tenn., a minie rifle ball breaking his jaw. Declining to go to hospital, he tied his face up with his handkerchief, and remained on the field. The second wound he received June 2, 1864, at Cold Harbor, where he was struck by a minie ball in the right shoulder, which necessitated his going to hospital, where he remained until September following. After that he was present at the siege of Richmond, etc. At the close of the war he returned to Washington, and again took up clerking, which he followed four years, at the end of which time he bought the news-stand now occupied by McKay & Co., selling out the same in 1881. In the meantime, in the fall of 1878, he had been elected register of wills, in which office he served three years. After selling out his news business, he remained in Washington, engaged in various occupations, until the spring of 1884, when he bought a grocery store, carrying it on alone until his appointment in 1890 to the postmastership of Washington, a position he has since filled with credit to himself and satisfaction to the public. At the time of his appointment he sold an interest in his grocery business to R. B. Dougherty, the firm being now Underwood & Dougherty. On April 29, 1869, Mr. Underwood married, in Washington, Penn., Miss Emma, daughter of Silas Clark, whose family (now almost extinct) came to the county at an early day. They were for the most part stock dealers, and the village of Clarksville was named after them. Two children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Underwood, viz.: Owen Clark (who is a graduate of Washington and Jefferson College, class of 1891, in classics, and is now assisting his father in the postoffice), and Homer Krepps. Mr. Underwood is a member of the M. E. Church, and of William F. Templeton Post No. 120, G. A. R., Department of Pennsylvania.
Text taken from page 696 of:
Beers, J. H. and Co., Commemorative Biographical Record of Washington County, Pennsylvania (Chicago: J. H. Beers & Co., 1893).
Transcribed June 1997 by Dale E. Enlow of Lake Havasu City, AZ as part of the Beers Project.
Published June 1997 on the Washington County, PA USGenWeb pages at http://www.chartiers.com/.
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