William Underwood1

b. circa 1615, d. 12 August 1697

7th great-grandfather of Louise Underwood.
9th great-grandfather of Laura Jane Munson.
Family Background:
Underwood and Allied Families
Appears on charts:
Pedigree for Louise Underwood
     William Underwood was born circa 1615 in England.1 His marriage to his wife Sarah is not recorded, but it probably took place in New England.2 His first wife Sarah having died in Chelmsford on 5 November 1684, William Underwood married second Ann Kidder, widow of Ensign James Kidder of Billerica, on 17 March 1684/85 in Chelmsford.3,1 He died on 12 August 1697 in Chelmsford.1,2
     It is believed he crossed the Atlantic several years before 1639.1 The record of his first child's birth at Concord in 1639/40 is the first mention of him in Massachusetts.1 On 22 May 1650, William Underwood took the Freeman's Oath at Concord.4,1

     He and his family stayed in Concord until 1654 when they moved inland to the new settlement of Chelmsford where he was present at the first town meeting on 22 Nov 1654.1 He served Chelmsford as selectman in 1654, 1667, 1669-1682.1 William Underwood and "Brother Underwood's wife" joined the church in Chelmsford on 18 November 1655.1 He signed petitions to the General Court to grant to Chelmsford land which would give it a three mile frontage on the Merrimac River in 1656, and to be allowed to trade with the Indians in 1658.1

     His farm lay on the Stony Brook path near the foot of Francis Hill.1 He, John Burge and Thomas Chamberlain were, at the outbreak of King Philip's War in 1675, a committee to urge the Colony's magistrates to consider the danger the town was exposed to because of the Wamesit Indians.1 Because of the war he later claimed that he had sustained a loss of £3 : 16 : 0.1 In 1678 he was a member of the committee entrusted with the duty of seating the people in the meetinghouse, and in 1679 he and John Fiske laid out thirty acres of town land for the use of the ministry.1

     When the threat of renewed Indian hostilities became immediate in Chelmsford in 1691 William Underwood and his family took refuge at the garrison of Andrew Spaulding.1

     The will of William Underwood of Chelmsford was made 14 March 1693/94. His will was proved 30 August 1697. He left to his son Samuel the lands and meadows at Great and Little Tadmuck which he had formerly given him, to be his full portion of the estate, but added his best greatcoat, a great chest and the corn owed him by Joshua Fletcher. "What I promise to Ann Underwood, my beloved wife, upon marriage with her, Shall Stand," and she shall make her choice of and improve those lands and meadows that lie next his barn, if she please, for her proportion. Also to his wife "for her tender care of me in my weak and afflicted condition," a feather bed, a bolster, an iron kettle and a pair of old oxen, his grandsons Nathaniel and William Blodgett to have the improvement of the oxen until it may be judged by discreet persons that it will be convenient to turn them to fatting. To wife Ann, all his barrels. To his daughter Remembrance Richardson, the feather bed he had in his house before he last married. To his grandsons Nathaniel and William Blodgett, an acre of land each. To grandson Edward Spalding, all the land adjoining his father's land. To his grandson Samuel Richardson, cattle and corn equal to the value of the land given to Edward Spalden. To his three grandsons, Nathan Blodgett, William Blodgett and Joseph Butterfield, all the remaining lands and meadows, Joseph to live with him and his wife until he reaches twenty-one, but, after his death, his wife may free Joseph from the obligation. Executors: his wife, Nathaniel and William Blodgett. Residue of his estate to Nathaniel and William Blodgett and Joseph Butterfield. Witnesses: John Bates, Joseph Peram, Moses Keyes. The principal item in the inventory, which was taken 24 August 1697 by Thomas Parker, John Peram and Solloman Keyes, senior, was "housing, lands, orchards, fences, meadows," valued at £126. There was little else of interest mentioned and the total value was only £190 : 08 : 0.5

Children of William Underwood and Sarah (—?—) (Underwood)


  1. [S181] Walter Goodwin Davis, "Underwood, of Chelmsford," Massachusetts and Maine Families in the Ancestry of Walter Goodwin Davis (1885-1966): A Reprinting in Alphabetical Order by Surname, of the Sixteen Multi-Ancestor Compendia, (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1996), Vol. III, 3: 512, originally published in The Ancestry of Sarah Hildreth (1958).
  2. [S111] Essex Institute, Vital Records of Chelmsford, Massachusetts to the End of the Year 1849 (Salem: Newcomb & Gauss, Printers, 1914), 452.
  3. [S111] Chelmsford VR (published), 338.
  4. [S183] Lucius R. Paige, "List of Freemen", New England Historic and Genealogical Register (NEHGR) 3 (1849): 192, citing C.R. 4: 1.
  5. [S181] Walter Goodwin Davis, "Underwood, of Chelmsford," Massachusetts and Maine Families, Vol. III, 3: 512, 513, originally published in The Ancestry of Sarah Hildreth (1958).
  6. [S161] Town of Concord, Concord Registers, Concord, Massachusetts, Births, Marriages, and Deaths 1635 - 1850 (Concord: Printed by the Town, 1891), 6.
  7. [S111] Chelmsford VR (published), 158.