William Underwood IV

Leedstown, Westmoreland County, Virginia, USA
Death 21 Feb 1726 (aged 48–49)
Leedstown, Westmoreland County, Virginia, USA
Burial Non-Cemetery Burial
Memorial ID 175712025 · View Source
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William UNDERWOOD, IV, was born c.1677 and died 21 Feb 1726 (1725/26), the 2nd son and heir of "Major" William UNDERWOOD, III. William IV and his younger sisters Mary, Elizabeth, & Sarah, were probably also the children of his father's 2nd wife Joane, rather than their father's 1st wife Mary. Mary (BUTLER) was the mother of William IV's older brother John UNDERWOOD (c.1670-c. Jan 1723).

William UNDERWOOD, IV, was born and died probably at the Underwoods' Claymont farm, northwest of Leedstown, in the current bounds of Westmoreland County, VA. The plantation houses that used to be on this land were located near where Claymont Road forks away from Kings Highway (Route 3), then runs south to where the Bristol Mine Road branches off back to the west. Claymont Road continues on south to Leedstown, down the Rappahannock. The last plantation house which sat on this spot was torn down some time between the Civil War and WWI (?), and was probably at least the third house (or third major add-on) to have been built on the same spot since roughly 1660. The county boundary lines in this area have changed several times over the decades, placing this huge estate and whatever legal records exist successively in Lancaster Co., [Old] Rappahannock Co., Richmond Co., King George Co., and finally Westmoreland Co.

William UNDERWOOD married 22-year-old Jael SHIPPE, on 16 Dec 1714, according to a contemporary family Bible record. This ceremony would have likely been performed in the bounds of Richmond County at that time.

According to the same Bible record, William and Jael UNDERWOOD had the following children (with their birthdates):
1) Sarah UNDERWOOD, b: 6 Mar 1716.
2) Thomas UNDERWOOD, b: 12 Nov 1717.
3) William UNDERWOOD, b: 25 Jul 1720.
4) Ellen UNDERWOOD, b: 9 Mar 1723.
5) Lott UNDERWOOD, b: 25 Jun 1724.
6) Zachariah UNDERWOOD, b: 5 May 1726.

William UNDERWOOD died on 21 Feb 1726 (1725/26), over two months before the birth of his youngest son. This death date is also recorded in the same family Bible record. Although the cause of his death is unknown, he describes himself as "very sick and weak" in his Last Will, made six days before he died, on 15 Feb 1726 (1725/26). It was probated on 2 Sep 1726, in King George Co., VA; the several month's interval was possibly due to a couple of clauses in the Will that may have had to be worked out before Probate.

After only 11 years of marriage, 34-year-old Jael was a widow with five young children between the ages of 1 and 9, with their 6th child on the way. She would be raising them by herself, probably with the help of her own mother Ellenor, who was widowed less than two years earlier.

Last Will of William UNDERWOOD (IV) (1677-1726)

King George Co., VA, Will Book A-1, 1721-1752 {George Harrison Sanford King}; Page 44-45

In the Name of God Amen. I William UNDERWOOD of Sittenbourne Parish in the county of King George being very sick and weak though of perfect Mind and memory do make ordain and appoint this my last Will and Testament In manner and form following.

Item: I give and bequeath to my loving son Thomas UNDERWOOD all the Peninsula whereon I now dwell after the same manner and on the same condition that my father by his last Will & Testament gave it to me on condition that if my said son Thomas get that hundred acres of land which was promised to his Mother by his grand mother Ellen SHIPPY then and in that case I give the aforesaid peninsula unto my loving son William UNDERWOOD on the condition granted by my father as aforesaid.

Item: It is my Will & Desire that my Loving wife Jael UNDERWOOD have the use of all my personal estate during the time of her natural life and after the time of her death my said personal estate be equally divided among my children.

I do hereby appoint my loving wife Jael UNDERWOOD whole and sole Executrix of this my last will and testament, hereby revoaking all former wills by me at any time made, do acknowledge this my last will & Testament as witness my hand and seal this 15th day of February 1725.

It is my will and desire that my Estate be not appraised.
Signed Sealed and acknowledged William UNDERWOOD seal
In the presence of

At a court held for King George County on Friday the second day of September Anno Dom 1726.
This last will and Testament of William UNDERWOOD, deceased, was presented into Court by Jael UNDERWOOD his widow and Executrix who made oath thereto and the same was also proved by the oaths of William PULLEN and James SMITH two of the Evidences thereto subscribed, is admitted to record.
Copy Test, T. TURNER, Cl: Cur:

The 4th WILLIAM in a direct line of WILLIAM UNDERWOODs who---going backwards in time---lived in Fauquier Co., Prince William Co., King George Co., Westmoreland Co., Richmond Co., and Lancaster Co. in Virginia's "Northern Neck" between the Rappahannock and Potomac Rivers.

WILLIAM UNDERWOOD IV and JAEL SHIPPE (related to Pres. Harry S. Truman and William Barrett Travis of the Alamo, and also to the Hackley family just mentioned). William IV was the son of:

WILLIAM UNDERWOOD III and JOAN UNDERWOOD---she was apparently an Underwood, but unrelated to our main line [one researcher suggested her maiden name may have been HURLEY]. "Major William Underwood" is sometimes found in records. William III was the son of:

WILLIAM UNDERWOOD II ("Colonel") and MARY MOSELEY. Col. William II was the son of:

WILLIAM UNDERWOOD I ("Captain") and MARGARET DEW / DEWE. William was a tobacco merchant and planter, but Margaret's identity regarding her origins and surname has been elusive until recently. There has long been the idea that this Margaret was a ROBERTS or a MASON. This is mainly due to the fact that a marriage record exists for the marriage to Margaret ROBERTS, pairing a couple in the right period with the right first names. The MASON marriage was proffered as an alternate possibility, due to the fact that later UNDERWOOD family documents and even business entanglements include at least one member of the MASON family (one Josiah MASON) in such as way as to imply a familial relationship; hence, an assumption that that this could be the point of connection. (It has later been seen that the Josiah MASON in question was an in-law, rather than a true cousin.)

When more data is uncovered in England, we see more clearly that the DEWE family documents and wills from that period indicate that both Margaret and her sister Elizabeth married UNDERWOOD men, and that Margaret's husband was William, and that they and their young family moved from London to Isle of Wight County Virginia, via Bermuda, in the 1630's---in fact probably before 1632. The family connections of neighbors, friends and other associates and relatives all fit this scenario in London, Hertfordshire, Kent, and Isle of Wight County Virginia, as does later connections in Virginia's Northern Neck. Margaret's DEW / DEWE family connections include her in-laws the BENNETT family, the same as that of one of the Colonial Governors of Virginia. Captain WILLIAM and MARGARET UNDERWOOD were the parents of at least 1 son and upwards of 5 daughters. This ordinary couple were the direct ancestors of U.S. Presidents JAMES MADISON and THEODORE ROOSEVELT, First Lady ELEANOR ROOSEVELT, General GEORGE SMITH PATTON, JR., and General-of-the-Army GEORGE CATLETT MARSHALL.

Prior to our line settling in eastern Culpeper County and southern Fauquier County in the early-to-mid 1700's, the main family properties were:
1) "Claymont": Held by the family since its patent by WILLIAM UNDERWOOD II in 1658, it was about 10,000 acres in its original total, being held until about 1720. The old manor house is gone, but its location can be traced by satellite image. Claymont is in modern Westmoreland Co., at its far N/W border with King George Co., where is now the Ingleside Winery and the Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge. The old house site is just about 5 miles due West of GEORGE WASHINGTON's birthplace and 3 miles S/W of JAMES MONROE's birthplace.
2) Land in Richmond County is the first land that WILLIAM UNDERWOOD II patented on Virginia's Northern Neck in about 1650. Between Richmond County Courthouse at Warsaw and the Tappahannock Bridge which crosses over to Essex County, there is a magnificent 1730's plantation house called "Sabine Hall" built by Landon CARTER at the edge of UNDERWOOD's original land.
3) Land in Isle of Wight Co., VA, on the James River, was acquired by WILLIAM UNDERWOOD I and settled in the 1630's.

The 1st WILLIAM UNDERWOOD in America---our immigrant ancestor---has been difficult to distinguish from other William UNDERWOODs in the same time period in England and Virginia. It would seem, however, from Wills and Probates in England, and from genealogies on file in the College of Arms in London and other public records, that our WILLIAM UNDERWOOD I was apparently the 2nd son of:

EDMUND UNDERWOOD (Sr.) (1576-1631) and ROSE FAIRCLOUGH (1580-1656). Edmund was a Grocer in London and in full business partnership with his younger brother ROBERT UNDERWOOD (1580-1638) who married Rose's younger sister DOROTHY FAIRCLOUGH (1584-1531). They owned "The Woolsack" in Bucklersbury [a lane in the geographic center of the old City of London], which was a grocery, apothecary, warehouse, and dual dwelling house which consisted of two huge houses that adjoined, with business and warehousing on the street level, more warehousing in the multiple cellar levels below, and several stories high of dwelling space in the upper floors. Both Underwood brothers had huge families, as was common, and technically each family had their own house. On the business side, the apothecary area also served as a sort of small medicinal clinic, and temporary overnight boarders with medical needs were apparently common in the Underwood houses.

ROSE & DOROTHY FAIRCLOUGH were the daughters of JOHN FAIRCLOUGH and ANNE SPENCER of the very famous SPENCER family (ancestors of Winston CHURCHILL, Princess Diana, and several famous Americans). The FAIRCLOUGH family (also seen as FAIRCLOTH, and countless other odd spellings) had a manor house at Fairclough Hall a mile or so S/E of Weston, Hertfordshire, and also had a 2nd home in Goldington, just across the county line into Bedfordshire. They originally came from Lancashire sometime before c.1430.

EDMUND & ROBERT were born at their ancestral home in Weston, Hertfordshire, about 40 miles North of London, where, according to a 1634 pedigree, the family had resided since about the early 1300's. They were sons of:

GEORGE UNDERWOOD (Sr.) (1541-1597) and ALICE PAPWORTH (c.1543-after 1600; dau. of William PAPWORTH of Hitchin). George was the son of

WILLIAM UNDERWOOD, Constable of Weston (c.1502-1560) and JOHANNA CLARKE (c.1515-aft.1572; dau. of John CLARKE of Stevenage, and sister of the earlier Sir Edward CLARKE of Berkshire). William was the son of:

THOMAS UNDERWOOD (c.1475-1561) and ISABELLA _______. Thomas and his son William and HIS son George all had many children, including many sons with the same names from one generation to the next. Lots of these men found work in London and nearby areas, and leads to the tangle of duplicate names among 1st- and 2nd-cousins who very obviously are related to one another, but often it is difficult to say from which father and grandfather they descend. Other contemporary documents exist, but are expensive to have researched, as it must be done by a herald of the College of Arms or some wealthy and hopefully knowledgeable family member who could travel to London and Hertfordshire to do the research in person. Thomas was apparently the son of:

WILLIAM UNDERWOOD, JR. (c.1445-c.1500) and ALICE ______. William Jr. was the son of:

WILLIAM UNDERWOOD, SR. (c.1420-_____) and JOAN _______. William Sr. was the son of:

JOHN UNDERWOOD (c.1396-_____), who was the son of:

WILLIAM UNDERWOOD (Sr.) (c.1360-aft.1428), beyond which it is difficult to tell from the local land records. These manorial court records (of Weston Manor, compiled by the PRYOR family a century ago and donated to the Hertford County records office) helped with these earliest 4 generations of UNDERWOOD names and dates.

The actual extended pedigrees apparently exist in the College of Arms in London, which would take this line back at least 2 more generations and maybe more. It is supposed that most of the older Underwood families in the Counties of Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Kent, Surrey, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Dorsetshire, Devonshire, Shropshire, and so forth, are all descended from the main trunk of the family which would probably prove to be centered around Leicestershire in the 1200's and Nottinghamshire from the 1100's on back. An Underwood family in Roxburghshire on the Scottish border appears to also have origins in the early 1600's much further to the south, possibly even to our London family.

The families in Weston Hertfordshire, and those in Bedfordshire and possibly Warwickshire and Buckinghamshire are believed to all be linked from the late 1200's and early 1300's onward. There is a branch in Dorchester Dorsetshire which seems to be fairly closely connected to our Hertfordshire and London family. Our London family also owned property in Shorne and Greenwich parishes in County Kent (London's S/E suburbs and connected routes to the S/E); as well as property in the South Riding portion of County York in northern England. There is also a branch in Cambridgeshire/Huntingdonshire and another in Northamptonshire which seem to be part of the Hertfordshire branch.

The UNDERWOOD family in Bermuda in the Atlantic Ocean is proven to be of our London family origin, and actually may account for some of the seemingly unconnected UNDERWOODS (at least one Thomas U. for example) that show up in Virginia in the latter 1600's and early 1700's. Lastly, it is proved that during the 1640's and 1650's, our UNDERWOOD family in London purchased land in County Tipperary in Ireland, and there may have been some family members actually move there and settle.

The UNDERWOODS that settled in Maryland, Delaware and Pennsylvania seem to mostly come from our London family. The New England branches of the family have multiple origins which suggest about half belong to the Dorsetshire branch, which is closely connected to our London and Hertfordshire group. The other half seems to come from the Suffolk branch (includes counties Norfolk and Essex), which is almost certainly an old branch of the family that connects with the Hertfordshire group before 1400.

Those in London before 1600 seem to have three origins: 1) that of our Hertfordshire branch which also includes one branch in Surrey/Berkshire; 2) an older Surrey/Kent branch; and 3) the Suffolk branch.

[This biography is a work in progress.]

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  • Created by: Underwood-Hart-Siweck-Ozee Group
  • Added: 25 Jan 2017
  • Find a Grave Memorial 175712025
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for William Underwood IV (1677–21 Feb 1726), Find a Grave Memorial no. 175712025, ; Maintained by Underwood-Hart-Siweck-Ozee Group (contributor 47992157) Non-Cemetery Burial.