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  • An Underwood Connection

    Helen S. Ullmann

    Published Date : April 1984

    When William Shattuck married Hannah Underwood 19 March 1687/8, he was of Groton and she of Watertown according to Middlesex, Mass., Court vital records (IV:164) as transcribed and published by Dr. Samuel A. Green in the Groton Historical Series, vol. 13, p. 25.

    Who was this Hannah Underwood? The only Hannah identified early enough in Lucius Underwood's Underwood Families in America (1913) is the daughter of Joseph born about 1654. But she married John Gibson 14 Oct. 1680 at Watertown. If William Shattuck's wife was not Joseph's daughter, she was also not the daughter of Martin or of the Thomas who died in 1668 as both were childless. Joseph's eldest son Joseph had a daughter Hannah born in 1690. This leaves two more Thomases who were discussed in the genealogy. The conclusion seems to be that the Thomas who died in 1668 left a widow Magdalen who married 7 Sept. 1669 a recently arrived second Thomas Underwood! The third Thomas was Joseph's seventh child, too young to have married Magdalen and who married Mary Palmer in 1679 before Magdalen died.

    Magdalen at her death, 10 April 1687 aged 80, left a will dated 29 May 1686 in which she mentions her "kinsman John Gibson his wife Hannah Gibson" but also give "all those goods that was my husband Underwood's unto my Daughtr in Law Hanah Underwood" and entrusts their delivery to John and Hannah Gibson (Suffolk County).

    So there was another Hannah Underwood. "Daughter-in-law" probably meant stepdaughter, so this Hannah would therefore be a daughter of Magdalen's second husband Thomas, born in England and probably still living there in 1679 when be made his will. Lucius Underwood says that this Thomas came from London about 1660 and quotes a letter from Robert Atkyn of England, 18 March 1672: "There is one Mr. Thomas Underwood sometimes wollen drapr -- in London who I think lives in Boston and has beene there 10 or 12 yeares, that marryed old Mr. Tilson's daughter one of them, but she is dead and since he went to New England has marryed again..." (p. 318).

    Middlesex Deeds add some further information about Magdalen's two Thomases. On 28 Jan. 1669 Thomas and Magdalen of Watertown sold two parcels of land to William Parry (6:432) and on 3 April 1669 Magdalen Underwood, "relict widow of Thomas Underwood" guaranteed an agreement her husband had made with Nathan Fiske regarding a division of land and "ingress" etc. (6:36). On 1 Oct. 1673 it was the second Thomas and his beloved wife Magdalen who deeded 220 acres bounding partly on Martin Underwood to Nathan Fiske (7:18). On 20 July 1678 they deeded 20 acres to Enoch Sawtell (7:14) and on 8 Nov. 1678, 2-1/2 acres of meadowland to Joseph Underwood (7:12).

    In his will of 19 July 1679 (probated 5 Oct. 1680) Thomas Underwood of Watertown, "gentleman," mentions only his wife Magdalen and "my son Thomas Underwood now in old England" (Middlesex Probate, file 23189). Given the evidence from Magdalen's will it seems justified to suppose that he simply did not name his daughter Hannah who, if her father came to New England around 1660, must have been left a young child. That Hannah's last child with William Shattuck was born about 1696 suggests that she was between 40 and 45 in that year, making her birth date fall between 1651 and 1656. This fits in nicely.

    The conclusion, therefore, seems reasonable that Hannah (Underwood) Shattuck was the daughter of Thomas and ____ (Tilson) Underwood of London, England.

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