Ralph Underwood

Ralph Sidney Underwood (1889 - 1986)

Privacy Level: Public (Green)
Ralph Sidney Underwood
Born in Gaston County, North Carolina, United Statesmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married in Mecklenburg County, North Carolinamap
Descendants descendants
Father of , [private son (1920s - unknown)], , [private daughter (1920s - unknown)] and [private daughter (1930s - 2010s)]
Died in Gaston County, North Carolina, United Statesmap
Profile last modified | Created 19 Apr 2018 | Last significant change: 14 Sep 2018
12:41: Pip Sheppard edited the Biography for Ralph Underwood. (Added source) [Thank Pip for this]
This page has been accessed 231 times.

Biography

Ralph was born in the Riverbend Community north of what is now Mt. Holly, Gaston County, North Carolina the son of Confederate veteran Jacob Underwood and Esther Lawing. The house where he was born stood for well over a hundred years before being torn down for business development in the 1980s. For a period of time, Ralph and his parents and siblings lived in the house known as the Mulligan Place.

The Mulligan Place

Ralph moved from Gaston County to the Paw Creek Township of Mecklenburg County about 1900. The home his father built also stood for over a hundred years before being torn down about 2014 for the building of a nursing home. Ralph attended the McGee School and old Long Creek School until 8th grade. He wished he could have completed his schooling at the Boiling Springs High School (now Gardner-Webb University), but there were no funds to do so.

McGee School about 1901

Ralph was musically inclined, and learned to play the banjo and trumpet. In 1909, he was a member of the Mt. Holly Band, an ensemble of men from the area, many of whom were related (or would become related) through marriage.

Mt. Holly Band, 1908

In 1910, Ralph worked helping to lay track for the Piedmont & Northern Railroad near his father’s farm, part of which line was being built through property he would one day own, the farm of his future father-in-law, George Luther Neal. Luther was Ralph’s second cousin.

The money that Ralph made laying the railroad line was used by Ralph to fund his move to Houston, Texas, where his brother, John Underwood, was living at the time. While working several different jobs during the time he lived there, Ralph went to night school and took classes in architectural drawing and accounting.

Also while living in Houston, Ralph was a consistent member of a local Baptist church, eventually rising to the leadership of the Baptist Young People’s Union (B.Y.P.U.). He attended retreats at Palacias on the Gulf Coast near Houston. Ralph also visited his Aunt Margaret Underwood McGee and her family in nearby New Boston, Texas.

In December 1916, Ralph felt the filial call to home where his aging parents lived. He returned to farming there. It was during this time that he got to know his future wife, Beatrice Reamer Neal, who lived about a mile or so from his home. She and Ralph were second cousins, once removed, by virtue of their common descent from John and Jane Reid Moore.

Ralph registered for the draft on June 5, 1917, in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. He gave his address as Rt. #10, Paw Creek, North Carolina, and his occupation as a farmer. Ralph claimed an exemption from the draft due to his parents being soley dependent on him. According to his daughter, Betty Underwood, Ralph was criticized in the community for not going to war.

Reamer and Ralph Underwood, his 90th Birthday

Ralph continued to farm after being employed by the Duke Power Company in Charlotte, North Carolina. In 1923, Ralph and his wife bought the the Neal farm and house. In the 1940s, Ralph bought a tractor for the farm. Though he often used this tractor for winter turning and spring preparation of his fields. He often used a mule for the actual plowing of rows.

In the late 1960s, Ralph borrowed a young mule from a neighbor, Troy Harkey. Troy told Ralph to keep the mule, and Ralph named him Jack. By the early 70s, Jack was smart enough to know when Ralph needed him for work and would walk away from him. Ralph would get his grandson, Pip Sheppard to go get Jack for him.

They would live there, birthing and raising their children, farming and mentoring their grandsons, until they moved to a nursing home in Stanley, Gaston County, North Carolina, in 1984.

Ralph was a much esteemed member of the community and patriarch of his five children and 16 grandchildren. When he died in 1986, his funeral at the First Baptist Church of Mt. Holly was attended by over 300 people. His eulogy was delivered by his great-nephew, the Reverend John Sherman Farrar of Virginia, the grandson of Ralph's eldest sister Laura Underwood

Research Notes

United States Census, 1900

Name: Ralph Underwood; Event Place: Township 12, Paw Creek, Mecklenburg, North Carolina, United States; Gender: Male; Age: 11; Marital Status: Single; Race: White; Relationship to Head of Household: Son; Birth Date: Apr 1889; Birthplace: North Carolina; Father's Birthplace: North Carolina; Mother's Birthplace: North Carolina; Household: Jacob S Underwood, Head, M, 54, North Carolina; Hettie C Underwood, Wife, F, 51, North Carolina; Jacob W Underwood, Son, M, 25, North Carolina; Eva Underwood, Daughter, F, 20, North Carolina; Rosa Underwood, Daughter, F, 18, North Carolina; Fannie Underwood, Daughter, F, 16, North Carolina; Matthew Underwood, Son, M, 13, North Carolina; Ralph Underwood, Son, M, 11, North Carolina

1910 United States Federal Census

Name: Ralph S Underwood; Age in 1910: 20; Birth Year: abt 1890; Birthplace: North Carolina; Home in 1910: Paw Creek, Mecklenburg, North Carolina; Street: Old Salsbury Road; Race: White; Gender: Male; Relation to Head of House: Son; Marital Status: Single; Father's name: Jacob S Underwood; Father's Birthplace: North Carolina; Mother's name: Hettie C Underwood; Mother's Birthplace: North Carolina; Native Tongue: English; Occupation: Farm Laborer; Industry: Home Farm; Employer, Employee or Other: Wage Earner; Able to Read: Yes; Able to Write: Yes; Out of Work: N; Number of weeks out of work: 0; Household Members: Jacob S Underwood, 64; Hettie C Underwood, 60; Eva B Underwood, 29; Mathew D Underwood, 23; Ralph S Underwood, 20


United States Census, 1920

Name: Ralph Underwood; Event Place: Paw Creek, Mecklenburg, North Carolina, United States; Gender: Male; Age: 31; Marital Status: Single; Race: White; Relationship to Head of Household: Son; Birth Year (Estimated): 1889; Birthplace: North Carolina; Father's Birthplace: North Carolina; Mother's Birthplace: North Carolina; Sheet Letter: A; Sheet Number: 5; Household: Jacob S Underwood, Head, M, 72, North Carolina; Hettie C Underwood, Wife, F, 70, North Carolina; Matt D Underwood, Son, M, 32, North Carolina; Ralph Underwood, Son, M, 31, North Carolina; John J Jones, Grandson, M, 14, North Carolina

1940 United States Federal Census

Name: Ralph S Underwood; Age: 50; Gender: Male; Race: White; Birthplace: North Carolina; Marital Status: Married; Relation to Head of House: Head; Home in 1940: Paw Creek, Mecklenburg, North Carolina; Street: Mt Holly Road; Farm: No; Inferred Residence in 1935: Paw Creek, Mecklenburg, North Carolina; Residence in 1935: Same House; Resident on farm in 1935: No; Sheet Number: 16A; Number of Household in Order of Visitation: 264; Occupation: Bookkeper; Industry: Utility Co; House Owned or Rented: Owned; Value of Home or Monthly Rental if Rented: 3000; Attended School or College: No; Highest Grade Completed: High School, 4th year; Hours Worked Week Prior to Census: 40; Class of Worker: Wage or salary worker in private work; Weeks Worked in 1939: 52; Income: 2150; Income Other Sources: Yes; Household Members: Ralph S Underwood, 50; Reamer N Underwood, 42; Mildred B Underwood, 18; Ralph S Underwood, 16; Doris E Underwood, 15; Betty J Underwood, 13; Laura N Underwood, 3; Matthew D Underwood, 52


Sources

Jacob Sidney Underwood Family Bible in the possession of Pip Sheppard of Brevard, North Carolina.

  • Several conversations over time between Ralph Sidney Underwood and Pip Sheppard in the 1970s and 80s.
  • "United States Census, 1900," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MSBQ-ZFX : accessed 13 September 2018), Ralph Underwood in household of Jacob S Underwood, Township 12, Paw Creek, Mecklenburg, North Carolina, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 64, sheet 11A, family 180, NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1972.); FHL microfilm 1,241,206.
  • Personal observations of Pip Sheppard
  • Interview with Betty Underwood Sheppard, April 23, 2018.
  • Ralph Sidney Underwood Family Bible in the possession of Pip Sheppard of Brevard, North Carolina.
  • "United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KZD3-ZTM : 13 March 2018), Ralph Sidney Underwood, 1917-1918; citing Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, United States, NARA microfilm publication M1509 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,765,690.
  • "United States Census, 1920," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MZVX-568 : accessed 13 September 2018), Rolph Underwood in household of Jacob S Underwood, Paw Creek, Mecklenburg, North Carolina, United States; citing ED 176, sheet 5A, line 4, family 72, NARA microfilm publication T625 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1992), roll 1310; FHL microfilm 1,821,310.
  • 1940; Census Place: Paw Creek, Mecklenburg, North Carolina; Roll: m-t0627-02945; Page: 16A; Enumeration District: 60-103B. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1940. T627, 4,643 rolls. Image at: https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/2442/m-t0627-02945-00339?pid=152410725
  • "North Carolina Deaths, 1931-1994," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FGHN-J8Z : 18 July 2017), Ralph Sidney Underwood, 07 Feb 1986; citing Stanley, Gaston, North Carolina, 006449, State Department of Archives and History, Raleigh; FHL microfilm 1,991,201.


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DNA Connections
It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Ralph by comparing test results with other carriers of his Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA. However, there are no known yDNA or mtDNA test-takers in his direct paternal or maternal line. It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share DNA with Ralph:

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Images: 5
Ralph Sidney Underwood
Ralph Sidney Underwood

McGee School about 1901
McGee School about 1901

Mt. Holly Band, 1908
Mt. Holly Band, 1908

The Mulligan Place
The Mulligan Place

Reamer and Ralph Underwood, his 90th Birthday
Reamer and Ralph Underwood, his 90th Birthday

Collaboration

Ralph is 17 degrees from SJ Baty, 17 degrees from Orville Redenbacher and 19 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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