William Harry Diggs

b. December 1849, d. 1918
Family Background:
Underwood and Allied Families
     William Harry Diggs was born in December 1849 in Virginia (1848 according to his gravestone).1 He married Laura Jane Underwood, daughter of Ammon Underwood and Rachel Jane Carson, on 1 January 1873 in Brazoria County, Texas.2 He died in 1918.3 He was buried in Old Columbia Cemetery, West Columbia, Brazoria County, Texas.3Click to view image
     William Harry Diggs descended from a prominent Virginia family whose earlier members spelled their name "Digges." When he came to Texas, and in particular to Brazoria County, is not known to the writer, but it was probably after the War for Southern Independence. He does not appear in the federal census of Texas until 1870, when on 27 July, 21 year old Harry Diggs, a store clerk, was living in [East] Columbia. Though it's possible he was clerking for his future father-in-law in the Underwood store, a more obvious conclusion is that he was working for John Brooks, a retired merchant, in whose family he was living at the time.

     Soon after the War had ended, Ammon Underwood made his son Joe Underwood a partner in his mercantile firm in Columbia. After Harry's 1873 marriage to Ammon's daughter Laura Jane, and before 1886 when Ammon made his will, Ammon took Harry as a partner as well, and the firm was renamed Underwood and Diggs. After Ammon died, Joe and Harry remained partners.

     The Diggs family lived next door to the Underwoods in Columbia in half of the original Underwood home. Twice before 1900, the house had to be moved back from the Brazos because of eroding river bank. It was at the time of the second move that the house was "cut in half" and the two structures were situated on adjacent lots nearer the avenue. A 1915 hurricane completely destroyed the Diggs home.

Additional Data
William Harry Diggs appeared on the 1870 U.S. Census on 27 July 1870 in Columbia, Brazoria County, Texas, in the household of John Brooks.4Click to view image

W.H. and Laura Diggs appeared on the 1 June 1880 Federal Census of Brazoria County, Texas, enumerated 5 June 1880. Their children Ella, Carrie and William were listed as living with them.5 Click to view image

W.H. Diggs was mentioned in Ammon Underwood's will dated 3 December 1886 in Columbia, Brazoria County, Texas. Click to view image A special provision was made
. . .in view of the long Services of J.P. Underwood and W.H. Diggs, husband of Laura Diggs, it is hereby provided that the property heretofore deeded to each of said parties shall be considered in the final division as of the Value of One thousand dollars to each, and no more, and in the final division Ella H. Borden and John C. Underwood Shall recieve one thousand dollars worth of property of the said estate after which all property and assets of said Survivor Shall be Equally distributed among our Said children Share and Share alike. . .6
William H. and Mrs. Laura U. Diggs appeared on the 1 June 1900 Federal Census of Columbia, Brazoria County, Texas, enumerated 1 June 1900. Their children Carrie and William A. were listed as living with them.1 Click to view image He was a merchant.1

William H. Diggs appeared on the 15 April 1910 Federal Census of Angleton, Brazoria County, Texas, in the household of Ella D. Harris, his daughter, with his wife Laura U. Diggs, and son William A.7 Click to view image

Children of William Harry Diggs and Laura Jane Underwood


  1. [S51] William H. Diggs household, 1900 U.S. Census, Brazoria County, Texas, population schedule, Justice Precinct 2, village of Columbia, enumeration district (ED) 2, sheet 20A/2, dwelling 26, family 29; National Archives micropublication T623, roll 1614.
  2. [S2] Brazoria County Marriage Book 2: 91, no. 269, County Clerk's Office, Angleton, Texas.
  3. [S8] W.H. Diggs tombstone, block 18, lot 9, site 4, Old Columbia Cemetery, West Columbia, Brazoria County, Texas; photographed by the writer on 31 July 1997.
  4. [S53] John Brooks household, 1870 U.S. Census, Brazoria County, Texas, population schedule, Columbia, page 187/587, dwelling 1690, family 1690; National Archives micropublication M593, roll 1576.
  5. [S52] W.H. Diggs household, 1880 U.S. Census, Brazoria County, Texas, population schedule, Precinct No. 2, enumeration district (ED) 18, sheet 52/172A, dwelling 525, family 525; National Archives micropublication T9, roll 1292.
  6. [S94] Ammon Underwood, Probate file no. 1159, County Clerk's Office, Angleton, Texas.
  7. [S50] Ella D. Harris household, 1910 U.S. Census, Brazoria County, Texas, population schedule, Precinct 1, Angleton, enumeration district (ED) 4, sheet 1A-B/1-2, dwelling 13, family 13; National Archives micropublication T624, roll 1534.