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William Henderson Underwood (1779 - 1859)

Judge William Henderson Underwood
Born in Culpeper, Virginia, United Statesmap
Ancestors ancestors
[spouse(s) unknown]
[children unknown]
Died in Marietta, Cobb, Georgia, United Statesmap
Profile last modified | Created 18 May 2020
This page has been accessed 159 times.

Biography

William Henderson Underwood[1] was born in 1779 Culpeper, Virginia.[2][3][4][5] He was the son of Joseph Underwood and Nancy Henderson. (1749-1781). After his mother passed his father married his aunt, Winifred Henderson. He was a young child and claimed her as his mother.[6] At an early age he moved with his family to Elbert county, Georgia.[7][8]

He was married to Virginia Nancy O'Ferrell and their children were:[9][10][11][12][13][6]

  1. Martha m a Mr Davis and moved to Arkansas before 1827
  2. James Banks Underwood.
  3. Gaston McCager Underwood. b 26 Sept 1815
  4. John William Henderson Underwood, b 20 Nov 1816
  5. Milton Underwood died at age 22
  6. Elizabeth Underwood married Steelman, a lawyer, member of the Ga legislature & had 4 children. Mr Steelman d and Elizabeth m Mr Wilson, no children. Mr Wilson d and Elizabeth m Mr Humphries no children. Elizabeth d in 1871 or 1872 at Fairburn, Ga.
  7. Nancy F Underwood m Henry Milner and had four children
  8. Sarah Underwood, b 17 June 1827 in Cassville, Cass Co.,, Ga M Lemuel Jackson Standifer, b 21 July 1817 and had 8 children.

His second marriage was to Mrs Cone in 1854, widow of Judge Cone of Va.[14]

His education opportunities were limited. He became a teacher and taught for several years for teaching himself the law.[3][5] In 1810 he was admitted to the Georgia bar. He worked as an attorney until the War of 1812. He joined the army and rose to the rank of captain.[15] After the war he resumed his law practice spending most of his as a resident of Rome, Georgia.[16]In 1825 he was elected judge of the Western Circuit of Georgia.[17][2][5]

In the Georgia Courts he argued that treaties between the United States and the Cherokee Nation expressly recognized the Cherokee's right of self-government. He cited Article VIII of the 1785 Treaty of Hopewell, which acknowledged the right of the Cherokee to declare war against the United States, and described the article as providing evidence that the United State recognized the Cherokee as a sovereign, foreign state. He also argued that Georgia's laws violated international law as well as the U.S. Constitution and that his client's arrest had been completely illegal. Georgia felt that national law should be understood in new ways. The Court reinterpreted the cited Treaty's wording, ignoring Federal laws and a United Supreme Court ruling, instead deciding to side with President Jackson's stated opposition to tribal governance.[18][19] When the state of Georgia found gold on the Indian reservation they petitioned the President in order to annex the land into Georgia. During this controversy he was one the leading counsel for the Cherokee Indians in the Supreme Court of the United States. He won commendation from the Court for the manner in which he conducted the case. He became famous for his ability to advocate in such a manner that the Supreme Court was able to understand the plight of the Cherokee.[20][7][2][3][5] On March 1, 1836 he witnessed the New Echota Treaty between the Cherokee leaders and the United States Government. In this treaty the Cherokee Nation agreed to relinquish all their land east of the Mississippi to the United States for the sum of 5 million dollars. [21] He was so revered by the Indians for defending their interests against the United States Government in the various courts that when sister Elizabeth Underwood Norwood was living in "Vaughn Valley" at the time of the Indian Massacre some of them hid her from the rest of their tribe.[22]

William filed a handwritten copy of his will with the Probate court of Fulton county, Georgia on February 9, 1856.[23] On the same day it appears that his attorney filed a bare bones typewritten copy of the will.[24]

"The Judge was considered one of the greatest wits in the South. He is said to have given his son who desired an appointment under the governor of that state the following letter of recommendation: "This will be handed to you by my son, John, who has the greatest desire for office of any one of my acquaintance -- and the least capacity for filling the same." The son presented the letter and when asked if he had read it, replied, yes. The governor said that any man knowingly presenting such a letter could have any office in his power to give." One of the stories related to him that he once said he expressed a desire to die in Marietta, Ga., and when asked the reason why he replied that he could leave that place with fewer regrets than any other place on Earth. [25][26] His wish was granted when on August 4, 1859 he died while sitting at the dinner table in the Kennesaw House in Marietta. The hotel is still standing today.[27][2][28][29][7][3][5] The Judge was 80 years old and buried on August 6, 1859.[4]

Sources

  1. Underwood. Page 564. Slide 344/850
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Ancestry.com., Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 1997, Provo, UT, USA., Encyclopedia of American Biography, 1800-1902. Page 952. https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&dbid=3128&h=28068&ssrc=pt&tid=151688234&pid=322047233208&usePUB=true
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Ancestry.com., Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016, Lehi, UT, USA., Appletons' Cyclopedia of American Biography, 1600-1889, Volume: Vol. VI. Free Ancestry Image
  4. 4.0 4.1 Ancestry.com. U.S., Select Deaths and Burials, 1867-1961 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc, 2014., United States, Deaths and Burials, 1867-1961. Salt Lake City, Utah: FamilySearch, 2013. FHL Film Number: 194343. Ancestry Record 60365 #2438
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Genealogy Trails History Group. Genealogy Trails. Comprising Sketches of Counties, Towns, Events, Institutions, and Persons, Arranged in Cyclopedic Form Transcribed by Kristen Bisanz. Genealogy Trails History Group
  6. 6.0 6.1 Ancestry.com. North America, Family Histories, 1500-2000 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016. Lineage Book of the Charter Members of the DAR Vol 053. Free Ancestry Image
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Ancestry.com. Virginia, Biographical Encyclopedia [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2000., Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography. VIII--Prominent Persons. Richmond, VA, USA: n.p., 1915. https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&dbid=4646&h=12579&ssrc=pt&tid=151688234&pid=322047233208&usePUB=true
  8. Underwood. Page 567. Slide 350/850.
  9. Underwood. Page 565. Slide 346/850.
  10. Ancestry.com., Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 2005, Provo, UT., Ancestry.com., "The Underwood families of America". Pages 564-566. Free Ancestry Image
  11. Ancestry.com. North America, Family Histories, 1500-2000 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016., "The genealogy of the Cleveland and Cleaveland families An attempt to trace, in both the male and fe...".Free Ancestry Image
  12. "United States Census, 1820," database with images, FamilySearch Wm H Underwood, Whites, Elbert, Georgia, United States; citing p. 178, NARA microfilm publication M33, (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 8; FHL microfilm 175,767.
  13. "United States Census, 1830," database with images, FamilySearch William H Underwood, Franklin, Georgia, United States; citing 222, NARA microfilm publication M19, (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 17; FHL microfilm 7,037.
  14. Underwood. Page 567. Slide 350/850.
  15. Ancestry.com., Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 2000, Provo, UT, USA., Georgia Cherokee Land Lottery, 1832. Name: William H. Underwood, Number: 105, District: 25th DISTRICT, SECOND SECTION, CHEROKEE, Residence: Price's, County: Hall, Comment: soldier. Ancestry Record View
  16. Ancestry.com., Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011, Provo, UT, USA., Georgia, Property Tax Digests, 1793-1892, Militia District Number: 1026. Name: Wm H Underwood, Year: 1859, District: Atlanta, District Number: 1026, Place: Fulton, Georgia, USA. Free Ancestry Image
  17. Underwood. Page 567. Slide 350/850.
  18. Norgren. Page 61-62.
  19. Norgren. Appendix 1. Pages 155-164.
  20. Underwood. Page 567. Slide 350/850.
  21. Starr. Page 95. Slide 94/680
  22. Underwood. Page 564. Slide 344/850.
  23. Ancestry.com. Georgia, Wills and Probate Records, 1742-1992 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015., Georgia County, District and Probate Courts., Probate Place: Fulton, Georgia. Name: William H Underwood, Probate Date: 9 Feb 1856, Probate Place: Fulton, Georgia, USA, Inferred Death Year: Abt 1856, Inferred Death Place: Georgia, USA, Case Number: 30. Free Ancestry Image
  24. Ancestry.com. Georgia, Wills and Probate Records, 1742-1992 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015., Georgia County, District and Probate Courts., Probate Place: Fulton, Georgia. Name: William H Underwood, Probate Date: 9 Feb 1856, Probate Place: Fulton, Georgia, USA, Inferred Death Year: Abt 1856, Inferred Death Place: Georgia, USA. Free Ancestry Image
  25. Underwood. Page 564. Slide 344/850.
  26. Various. Page 162.
  27. Ancestry.com., Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 2005, Provo, UT., "The Underwood families of America" Page 567. Free Ancestry Image
  28. Underwood. Page 567. Slide 350/850
  29. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 17 May 2020), memorial page for Judge William Henderson Underwood (13 Sep 1779–4 Aug 1859), Find A Grave: Memorial #149184191, citing Oak Hill Cemetery, Rome, Floyd County, Georgia, USA ; Maintained by Pat Millican (contributor 46618020).

See also:

  • Ancestry.com. Georgia, Wills and Probate Records, 1742-1992 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015., Georgia County, District and Probate Courts., Probate Place: Fulton, Georgia. Free Ancestry Image
  • Ancestry.com. Georgia, Wills and Probate Records, 1742-1992 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015., Georgia County, District and Probate Courts., Probate Place: Fulton, Georgia. Free Ancestry Image
  • Norgren, Jill. The Cherokee Cases: Two Landmark Federal Decisions in the Fight for Sovereignty.
  • Starr, Emmet. History of The Cherokee Indians And Their Legends and Folk Lore. Oklahoma City, OK: The Warden Co., 1921. Online Book Available
  • Underwood, Lucien Marcus, 1853-1907; Banker, Howard James. The Underwood families of America. Lancaster, PA: New Era Printing Co., 1913. Volume 2. Online Book Available


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