Hillsborough County, Florida


1795 - c.1881

Joseph Underhill, a son of William and Spisa Underhill, was born in Duplin County, North Carolina, about 1795. William had served in the Revolution as a private in the North Carolina Militia.

About 1810, Joseph Underhill moved to Bulloch County, Georgia and during the War of 1812, he served as a second lieutenant in the Georgia Volunteer Company of Captain Lemuel Tippins.

On April 13, 1815, in Bulloch County, Georgia, Joseph Underhill was married to Nancy Hilliard, daughter of Silas and Abegail (Bulloch) Hilliard. Nancy was born about 1797 in Georgia.

Their children:

1. Mary "Polly" Underhill, born April 10, 1816; died April 7, 1904; married Benjamin Guy.

2. William Underhill, born May 20, 1821; died February 13, 1905; married Samantha Chandler, April 25, 1865.

3. John Underhill, born 1823; married Keziah Tucker, September 11, 1854

4. Thomas Underhill, born 1825; died February 20, 1864; married Rebecca Thompson, November 2, 1852

5. Spicy Underhill, born 1832; married 1st, George Jones, February 9, 1852; married 2nd, Bennett Whidden, October 28, 1858.

6. Barbara E. "Barbary" Underhill, born 1834; died November 28, 1914; married 1st, Francis A. Ivey, November 1850; married 2nd, James Thomas in November of 1877

7. Levicy Underhill, born March 16, 1838; died October 17, 1902; married 1st, Jeremiah Underhill (1st cousin), March 13, 1859; married 2nd, Noah Whidden, March 3, 1864; married 3rd, Thomas Sullivan, October 24, 1867.

8. Matthew Underhill, born December 4, 1840; died March 16, 1918; married 1st, Elizabeth Catledge, September 25, 1873; married 2nd, Isabella Surrency, November 19, 1879.

Joseph Underhill served in his local militia unit while a resident of Bulloch County and in 1820 he participated in the Georgia Land Lottery. By 1838, Joseph was living in Ware County, for on June 9th of that year he was mustered into Captain James Sweat's company of militia in order to repel the invasion of Indians. He served until August 19, 1838. He then reenlisted, serving until December 21, 1838, being mustered out at Fort Floyd, Georgia. The 1840 census shows Joseph and family residing in Ware County.

Prior to 1850, Joseph Underhill and family moved to Hillsborough County, Florida, and are shown living there on the 1850 census. Also moving to Hillsborough County about the same time were Joseph's wife's sister, Annie (Hilliard) Willingham, her husband William, and Benjamin Hilliard, brother of Joseph's wife.

A United States land map, prepared in 1855, of Township 31 South, Range 25 East, shows an Underhill family residing in Section 13, on the east side of Peas Creek, about 3 miles north east of Fort Meade. This same Underhill homestead can also be found on Ives' 1856 military map of south Florida. It was the home of Joseph Underhill and his bachelor son William.

During the Third Seminole War, Joseph Underhill served in Captain Durrance's company, Florida Mounted Volunteers, joining December 29, 1855 and serving until August 22, 1856. He later served in another company commanded by Captain Durrance from March 11, 1858 until May 10, 1858.

After the close of the Indian war in 1858, Joseph's brother-in-law, William H. Willingham, moved into the Kissimmee Island section of eastern Hillsborough County. About the same time, Joseph Underhill and son William also moved to Kissimmee Island. The Underhills and Willinghams do not appear on the 1860 census for Hillsborough County. Obviously, the census taker did not travel to the isolated Kissimmee Island area to record the few families who had settled there. In 1861, Hillsborough County was divided, the eastern portion becoming Polk County. A tax list compiled for Polk County that year lists Joseph Underhill, William Underhill and William Willingham as taxpayers.

During the Civil War, Joseph's four sons all served the Confederate cause. William and Matthew were members of Munnerlyn's Cattle Guard Battalion, John served in the regular Confederate army in Company E, 7th Florida Infantry, and Thomas was a Confederate leader in the Peas Creek area and was killed by Union troops in 1864.

Joseph Underhill continued to appear on Polk County tax lists in 1862, 1867, 1869, 1870 and 1877. In the 1880 census he is show residing in Manatee County living next to his daughter, Barbary (Underhill) Thomas. The census shows him as 85 years of age and a veteran of the War of 1812. On April 3, 1880, Joseph applied for a U. S. pension based upon his service in the War of 1812, and gave his post office address as Pine Level, Manatee County. A letter written in support of the application by P. T. Tucker of Pine Level to the Commissioner of Pensions on December 4, 1880 says "The claim of Joseph Underhill for Pension and Land Warrant for War 1812-1815 is a good claim the old man is now helpless and 85 years old and is living on the charity of his connexion (sic) and if any body needs it, it is him please push this up, . . . ." The plea was to no avail for the claim was rejected March 23, 1881. Joseph Underhill must have died soon after this for he does not appear on the 1885 state census for Manatee County.

SOURCES: Huxford Gen. Society Qtrly, Vol. 2, #4, p. 244; Census: 1820 Bulloch Co., Ga., 1840 Ware Co., Ga., 1850 Hills. Co., Fl., 1880 Manatee Co., Fl.; marriage records of Hills. Co.; U. S. Govt. Map, 1855; Ives' map, 1856; Polk Co., Fl. tax lists & marriages; military records of 2nd & 3rd Seminole Wars; pension application of Joseph Underhill for War of 1812 service. Compiled by Kyle S. VanLandingham.

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