Joseph Patterson Underwood

b. 26 February 1845, d. 1 February 1925
Joseph Patterson Underwood|b. 26 Feb 1845\nd. 1 Feb 1925|p66.htm|Ammon Underwood|b. 13 Feb 1810\nd. 17 Nov 1887|p72.htm|Rachel Jane Carson|b. 4 Feb 1820\nd. 14 Feb 1896|p73.htm|Asa Underwood|b. 30 Aug 1754\nd. 3 Oct 1834|p135.htm|Mercy Durant|b. 1770\nd. 10 Oct 1850|p136.htm|William C. Carson|b. 9 Jan 1790\nd. a 8 Dec 1830|p76.htm|Catherine J. Patterson|b. c 1795\nd. 1 Jul 1875|p77.htm|

Father of Louise Underwood.
Great-grandfather of Laura Jane Munson.
Family Background:
Underwood and Allied Families
Appears on charts:
Pedigree for Louise Underwood
Click to view thumbnails
Joe Underwood
     Joseph Patterson Underwood was born on 26 February 1845 in the Columbia, Brazoria County, Republic of Texas,2,3 (now East Columbia, Texas). He was the son of Ammon Underwood and Rachel Jane Carson.1,2 He married Louisa Amanda Barnes Hanks, daughter of John Armstrong Hanks and Euphemia Matthias Morris, on 23 July 1867 in the Underwood home, Columbia, Brazoria County, Texas.4,5 He died of double pneumonia on 1 February 1925 in Columbia at age 79.1,2,6,3 He was buried on 2 February 1925 in Old Columbia Cemetery, West Columbia.2,3,1 Click to view image His estate was probated on 9 June 1925 in Angleton, Brazoria County.7
     Joe was born in the Underwood home only ten months before Texas was admitted as the twenty-eighth state. He grew up in what Creighton in his History of Brazoria County calls the "Golden Decade," the period of Brazoria County's greatest prosperity between its beginnings and the War Between the States. During this period, 1850-1860, Joe's father was well on his way to accumulating a large fortune as a merchant and cotton factor, and the Underwood family was not unique in their success. Joe's boyhood friends were surely the sons of other prosperous Columbia families and the boys must have enjoyed a carefree lifestyle. A passage in Creighton's history relates an event in the lives of Joe and his friends on the occasion of the initial run from Columbia to Houston late in 1859 of the Houston Tap and Brazoria Railroad :
On the historic occasion of this train's first run, a group of Columbia boys with Bob Faickney as captain formed themselves into a company to share the excitement of the maiden trip. Joe Underwood, then about fourteen years old, never forgot that trip. He didn't say, when he reminisced about it years later, but one gathers, considering its military organization, that the company was "loaded for bear." At any rate, the train was met in Houston by a gang of "city boys," who were apparently also ready for action, and a "chunking" battle ensued. The exchange of clods of dirt was hot and heavy, and things were touch and go for awhile. In the end the Columbia boys were victorious and succeeded in running the Houston boys off.8
It must have seemed during those years that the good times would never end. Little did they know what lay in store.

     1860 was an election year. There were four major political parties and the Democrat party had split down the middle and had two candidates. The Republicans were distinctly a Northern sectional party whose candidate was Abraham Lincoln. As election day drew near it became reasonably clear that the split in the Democrats would mean the election of a Republican. South Carolina had threatened secession with the election of any Republican, and when the final vote was tallied, secession was pushed over the brink. "The tea has been thrown overboard, the revolution of 1860 has been initiated," stated the Charleston, S.C., Mercury in commenting on the election.9

     On 1 Feb 1861, just shy of Joe's sixteenth birthday, the Convention of the State of Texas voted 166 to 7 in favor of secession. In a popular election on February 11, Texas voters approved with only two Brazoria Countians voting not to secede.10 On March 2, 1861, twenty-five years to the day that Texas had declared its independence from Mexico, Texas officially became the seventh state to secede from the Union.9 It is easy to imagine that the Columbia boys were once again "loaded for bear," anxious to join the fray. Some of the older boys joined early on and the younger ones perhaps hoped in a naive but patriotic way that the war wouldn't pass them by before they were old enough to volunteer. Two years later, for state's rights, for patriotism, and to preserve the only way of life he had ever known, Joe Underwood entered the service of the Confederate States of America as a member of Gibson's Battery of Light Artillery. He was never changed, wounded or captured. He was promoted from private to corporal and was in the Battle of Mansfield and several skirmishes.11 With him was his slave boy, Bill Underwood, who, on a partial roll for Gibson's Battery found in Joe's journal , appears as a cook. Joe was apparently assigned to mess duty and is listed under the heading "Mess 14."12

     Joe arrived home on 31 May 1865 from Louisiana where he had been stationed with Gibson's Battery. He wrote in his journal that he found that everyone seemed "despondent and disheartened." On a visit to the family plantation he was gratified that "the darkies all seemed glad to see me." In an entry made 1 July 1865, Joe reported that on June 19, Major General Gordon Granger had assumed command of the District of Texas, and on the same day had issued an order to free the slaves. He goes on to say that his father had told his Negroes who were in town of their freedom, but that "None of our negroes have left us yet."13

     Soon after returning home from the War, Joe entered the mercantile business with his father. At some point, he went into partnership with his brother-in-law, W.H. Diggs, and the business was renamed Underwood and Diggs.14

     Louisa Hanks, Joe's future wife, arrived from North Carolina in May 1866. Joe was immediately smitten because later he said that when he saw her step off the steamboat at Columbia, he vowed she would be his wife. His pet name for her was "Loulie" as evidenced in a letter he wrote her a few weeks before they married.15

     Of Joe and Lou's four children, only Louise married and had children. Their seven grandchildren were probably closer to the Underwood family than to any of their other relatives. By Joe Munson's own statement, he was. Joe was named for his grandpa and always spoke of him with reverence. In his last years, Grandpa Underwood was often confined to bed, and one of Joe Munson's fondest memories was reading to him during those times.

     In 1922, Joe could boast of the oldest business in Texas run continuously by the same family at the same location . He continued in the business until shortly before his death in 1925.

Additional Data

Joseph P. Underwood appeared on the 1 June 1850 Federal Census of Brazoria County, Texas, in the household of his parents, Ammon and Rachel J. Underwood.16 Click to view image

Joseph P. Underwood appeared on the 1 June 1860 Federal Census of Columbia, Brazoria County, Texas, in the household of his parents, A. and Rachel Underwood.17 Click to view image

Joe Underwood enlisted in the Confederate Army in January 1863 at Quintana, Brazoria County, Texas, CSA, as private in Bates' Regiment, Walker's Division, Taylor's Corps, Trans-Mississippi Department; Gibson, first Captain, and J.O. Bates, first Colonel, 13th Texas Infantry (Gibson's Battery of Light Artillery).18

On 31 July 1865 at Columbia Joe P. Underwood signed a Confederate Parole of Honor promising that he would never again take up arms against the United States or render aid to her enemies.18

Joseph Underwood appeared on the 1 June 1870 Federal Census of Columbia, Brazoria County, Texas, in the household of his parents, Ammon and Rachel Underwood, with his wife Louise Underwood and their daughter Kate Underwood.19 Click to view image

Between 26 June 1871 and 1 February 1881, he was the Columbia Postmaster.20 Click to view image The post office was almost certainly located in the Underwood store as it was common at that time for merchants to also serve as postmasters.

Joseph Patterson Underwood was named in Catherine J. Borden's will dated 9 January 1872 in Columbia, Brazoria County, Texas.21 Joe was named assistant executor to his mother, but only if the first named executor, Ammon Underwood, could not serve.

As a Christmas present on 25 December 1875, Ammon and Rachel Jane Underwood conveyed by gift of deed "to our beloved Son Joseph Patterson Underwood" their home in Columbia. Click to view image

J.P. and L.A.B. Underwood appeared on the 1 June 1880 Federal Census of Columbia, Brazoria County, Texas, enumerated 3 June 1880. Their children Katie, Laura and John H. were listed as living with them.22 Click to view image

J.P. Underwood was named in the will of his parents, Ammon Underwood and Rachel J. Underwood, dated 3 December 1886 in Columbia, Brazoria County, Texas. The surviving parent was made sole heir and executor, and J.P. Underwood, W.H. Diggs and J.C. Underwood, assistant executors. Upon the death of the second parent, the estate was to be divided equally among the four children, Joseph Patterson Underwood, Laura Jane Underwood Diggs, Ella Harriet Underwood Borden and John Carson Underwood. 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. . .23
In the will of Louisa B. Underwood dated 26 February 1891 in Brazoria County, Texas, J.P. Underwood was named as sole heir and executor, but provided that should he predecease her, their children would inherit equally.24 Click to view image

J.P. and Louise Underwood appeared on the 1 June 1900 Federal Census of Columbia, Brazoria County, Texas, enumerated 4 June 1900. Their children Katie, John H., Laura and Louise were listed as living with them, as was Louisa's brother John W. Hanks.25 Click to view image

Joe P. Underwood was a member of the United Confederate Veterans, and on 3 Oct 1904, he was commissioned "Chief of Ordanance" of the First Brigade of Texas United Confederate Veterans and promoted to the rank of Major.13 When Joe Munson was a boy, he attended a Confederate Veteran's reunion at Herman Park in Houston with his Grandpa Underwood and spoke of the intense pride these old soldiers had in their service.14

Joe P. and Lou A. Underwood appeared on the 15 April 1910 Federal Census of Columbia, Brazoria County, Texas, enumerated 15 April 1910. Their children Kate, Laura and John were listed as living with them, as were their daughter Louise with her husband George Munson and their children George and Cathern.26 Click to view image

J.P. Underwood was listed as the next of kin on the World War I draft card of his son John Hanks Underwood 12 September 1918 at Angleton, Brazoria County, Texas.27

Joseph P. Underwood appeared on the 1 January 1920 Federal Census of Columbia, Brazoria County, Texas, enumerated 2 January 1920. His children Laura and John H. were listed as living with him.28 Click to view image

Joseph P. Underwood made his will 28 April 1920 in Brazoria County, Texas, and in it named his three surviving children co-executors of his estate. His daughter Laura Underwood was to inherit the bulk of his estate including the home, store, other miscellaneous properties, and all of the money that remained in the estate after debts and specific bequests were made; son John H. Underwood a parcel of land in Columbia; daughter Louise Underwood Munson a $2000.00 note he held against George P. Munson and any other money owed him by George at the time the will was executed; to Laura Horne (sister of Louisa Hanks Underwood), $300.00, or in the event she was not living, the same to Maggie Horne or else it revert back to his estate if both were deceased. Anything remaining in the estate was to be divided equally between the children. Mentioned in the will was a parcel of land previously given to George and Louise which adjoined the house property.7 Click to view image An inventory and appraisal of his estate was returned on 9 Jun 1925 and was signed by John and Louise before a notary in Brazoria County. Laura's signature was notarized in Chatham County, North Carolina, where she had probably gone to deliver Joe's bequest to either Laura or Maggie Horne. The estate was appraised at $11,625.85 and did not include the home which had probably been deeded to Laura before his death.7

Children of Joseph Patterson Underwood and Louisa Amanda Barnes Hanks


  1. [S49] Joseph Patterson Underwood entry, Brazoria County Deaths, certificate 699, County Clerk's Office, Angleton, Texas.
  2. [S1209] Joseph Patterson Underwood, death certificate 5124 (11 Feb 1925), Texas Department of Public Health, Austin.
  3. [S8] Joseph P. Underwood tombstone, block 18, lot 16, site 2, Old Columbia Cemetery, West Columbia, Brazoria County, Texas; photographed by the writer on 31 July 1997.
  4. [S2] Brazoria County Marriage Book 1: 327, no. 516, County Clerk's Office, Angleton, Texas.
  5. [S8] Louisa Hanks Underwood tombstone, Old Columbia Cemetery, West Columbia, Brazoria County, Texas.
  6. [S1132] Texas Department of Health, Texas Death Indexes, 1903-2000 (Austin: Texas Department of Health, State Vital Statistics Unit, unknown publish date), Joseph Patterson Underwood entry citing Certificate 5124.
  7. [S48] J.P. Underwood, Probate file no. 2100, County Clerk's Office, Angleton, Texas.
  8. [S40] James A. Creighton, A Narrative History of Brazoria County, Texas (Angleton, Texas: Brazoria County Historical Commission, 1975), 210, 214-215.
  9. [S41] Everette B. Long, The Civil War Day by Day, an Almanac, 1861-1865 (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1971), 31.
  10. [S40] James A. Creighton, Narrative History of Brazoria County, Texas, 230.
  11. [S42] Mamie Yeary, Reminiscences of the Boys in Gray, 1861-1865 (Dallas: Smith and Lamar Publishing House, 1912), 761.
  12. [S40] James A. Creighton, Narrative History of Brazoria County, Texas, 449-451.
  13. [S44] "Diary of Joe Underwood," (MS, 1864-1865; Columbia, Texas), Brazoria County Historical Museum; Angleton, Texas.
  14. [S22] Interview with Joe Munson (Joe U. Munson Sr.; Downing St., Angleton, Texas), by Laura Munson Cooper. Transcript held in 2003 by Cooper (1804 Holm Oak St.; Arlington, TX 76012-5608).
  15. [S46] Letter from Joe Underwood (Columbia, Texas) to Louise Hanks, 30 June 1867; held in 2003 by Mrs. Virginia M. McGee (Houston, Texas).
  16. [S55] Ammon Underwood household, 1850 U.S. Census, Brazoria County, Texas, population schedule, page 396, dwelling 225, family 225; National Archives micropublication M432, roll 908.
  17. [S54] A. Underwood household, 1860 U.S. Census, Brazoria County, Texas, population schedule, Columbia, page 19/63A, dwelling 163, family 150; National Archives micropublication M653, roll 1289.
  18. [S43] Joe Underwood file; Compiled Military Service Records, War Department Collection of Confederate Records; RG 109, National Archives, Washington.
  19. [S53] Ammon Underwood household, 1870 U.S. Census, Brazoria County, Texas, population schedule, town of Columbia, post office Columbia, page 186, dwelling 1674, family 1674; National Archives micropublication M593, roll 1576.
  20. [S47] Postmasters and Post Offices of Brazoria County, Texas, 1846-1930, online <>.
  21. [S97] Catherine J. Borden will (1872), Brazoria County Will Book, County Clerk's Office, Angleton, Texas.
  22. [S52] J.P. Underwood household, 1880 U.S. Census, Brazoria County, Texas, population schedule, Precinct No. 2, Columbia, enumeration district (ED) 18, sheet 5B, dwelling 41, family 41; National Archives micropublication T9, roll 1292.
  23. [S94] Ammon Underwood, Probate file no. 1159, County Clerk's Office, Angleton, Texas.
  24. [S57] Louisa B. Underwood will (1891), Brazoria County Will Book U: 605, 606, County Clerk's Office, Angleton, Texas.
  25. [S51] J.P. Underwood household, 1900 U.S. Census, Brazoria County, Texas, population schedule, Justice Precinct 2, village of Columbia, enumeration district (ED) 2, sheet 5A/23, dwelling 99, family 103; National Archives micropublication T623, roll 1614.
  26. [S50] Joe P. Underwood household, 1910 U.S. Census, Brazoria County, Texas, population schedule, Precinct 2, Columbia, enumeration district (ED) 5, sheet 1A/13, dwelling 6, family 6; National Archives micropublication T624, roll 1534.
  27. [S918] World War I Selective Service Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, (National Archives Micropublication M1509, roll 1927369). Original images published online by, Provo, UT, 2002-2005.
  28. [S38] Joseph P. Underwood household, 1920 U.S. Census, Brazoria County, Texas, population schedule, J.P. 2, East Columbia township, Columbia (unincorporated), Main Street, enumeration district (ED) 3, sheet 2A, dwelling 33, family 37; National Archives micropublication T625, roll 1774.
  29. [S1168] Kate Underwood, death certificate 15292 (no file date), Texas Department of Public Health, Austin.
  30. [S1210] John Hanks Underwood, death certificate 41664 (5 Oct 1937), Texas Department of Public Health, Austin.