Texas Archival Resources Online

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Collection Summary

Creator Sketch

Scope and Content Note

Arrangement

Restrictions

Index Terms

Related Material

Administrative Information

Bibliography:

Description of Series

Personal Papers

Business Papers

Albert and Ethel Herzstein Library, San Jacinto Museum of History

Underwood Family Papers

Manuscript Collection: MC039



Collection Summary

Creator: Underwood family
Title: Underwood family papers
Dates: 1834-1924
Dates: (Bulk: 1880-1924)
Abstract: Financial records, correspondence, diaries, legal documents, newspaper clippings, a scrapbook, and two photographs document the personal and business lives of two generations of the Underwood family in Columbia, Texas, 1834-1924.
Identification: MC039
OCLC Record No. 48846526
Quantity: 5 boxes (2 linear ft.) and 128 volumes
Language Materials are in English.
Repository: Albert and Ethel Herzstein Library, San Jacinto Museum of History, La Porte, Texas

Creator Sketch

Born in Dracut, Massachusetts, on February 13, 1810, Ammon Underwood arrived in Texas in 1834 with the intention of finding partners and establishing a business. For the next year and a half he traveled and worked for several businesses in Texas. In October 1835 Underwood joined the Texas army and participated in a skirmish in Bexar. On November 4, he went on furlough, thereby missing the siege of Bexar. He was acting post commissary at Columbia during the spring of 1836 and after the Runaway Scrape returned there to live. For a time, John P. Coles and David H. Milburn joined Underwood as partners in a mercantile business. In addition to his store, Underwood served as postmaster for Columbia from 1836 to 1845 and became prosperous by growing and investing in cotton. By 1860 he owned 34 slaves and several plantations. The Civil War brought financial ruin to Ammon Underwood. In 1881 he joined his son, Joseph P., in a mercantile business in Columbia. In 1884 he served one term in the Texas State legislature. Ammon Underwood married Rachel Jane Carson in 1839 with whom he had four children. He died November 17, 1887, in the house he built and lived in for fifty years.

Joseph P. Underwood was born on February 26, 1845, in Columbia, Texas. After spending one year at Austin College in Huntsville, Texas, he joined the Confederate Army where he served for three years in Texas and Louisiana. After the Civil War, Joseph P. returned to Columbia and attempted to resume his interrupted studies. By 1870 he set up his own mercantile business and traded in cotton and cattle. His father joined him in 1881 to establish A. and J. P. Underwood. This partnership ended in 1887 with the death of Ammon Underwood. In 1888 W. H. Diggs joined Joseph P. Underwood in running the store. It seems likely that the two men engaged in business together before also becoming partners. In October 1898 Underwood and Diggs failed and W. L. Moody assumed ownership. Underwood worked as Moody's agent in Columbia from 1898 until 1902 when he again became an independent businessman. He operated a small general store until 1923.

Joseph P. Underwood married Louise Hanks in 1867. The couple had three children: Laura, Mrs. Louise Mimson, and John H. Underwood. As of 1925, Underwood continued to live in the house built by his father.

Born April 4, 1863, in Columbia, Texas, John C. Underwood grew up in the family business and received his business education by clerking for Ammon and J. P. Underwood. He later established his own mercantile store and operated it until 1902 when he entered the oil business. In 1905 he moved his family to Houston. John C. Underwood married Lucy Harris in June 1886. They had five children.

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Scope and Content Note

Financial records, correspondence, diaries, legal documents, newspaper clippings, a scrapbook, and two photographs document the personal and business lives of two generations of the Underwood family in Columbia, Texas, 1834-1924. The Personal Papers include Letter Copy Books containing primarily personal correspondence sent by John C. Underwood (1883-1884) and Joseph P. Underwood (1879-1880). The Journal of Ammon Underwood (1834-1836) reveals the experiences of a young immigrant attempting to establish himself as Texas gains her independence. J. P. Underwood's diary (December 1864-July 1865) illustrates the uncertainty facing Confederate soldiers during the last six months of the Civil War and comments on the events of the day including the emancipation of the slaves. The diary also includes a muster roll of Gibson's Battery and financial accounts. Three newspaper clippings, one from the Texas Times,"Col. Colwell and His Band," 1842, and two concerning Texas history from the Texas Democrat published in Columbia, Texas, 1853, demonstrate the interest of the young republic and state in its short history. May Day Scripts (1868-1874, 1898) in the Scrapbook contain cast lists in addition to the complete plays. One of the two photographs is of Ammon Underwood.

The Business Papers of the Underwood Family Papers forms the bulk of the collection. Arranged by subgroups according to business entities and then series, the documents record a large percentage of the business dealings of one family for almost a century. The financial records (1836-1875) including a Book of Receipts, Journals, Ledgers and a Storage Book of Ammon Underwood contain the names of customers, merchandise ordered and sold, prices, shipping, payments, and possibly names of business partners. Of particular interest, the Storage Book details the storage and shipment of hides, cotton, and miscellaneous articles from 1855-1875. Contracts between Underwood and U. J. Cash (1860) and Thomas N. Williford (1861) to oversee Underwood's plantation reveal the relationship between owner and overseer and are appended at the back of the book. The Storage Book also includes pages of notes concerning the management of the plantations between 1857 and 1861.

Journals and Ledgers (1870-1879) record the early business dealings of Joseph P. Underwood. An A/C Inventory Book, Cash Books, Daybooks, Journals, and Ledgers (1882-1888) offer a nearly complete financial record of the partnership of Ammon and Joseph P. Underwood (A. & J. P. Underwood). Letter Copy Books (1881-1885, 1887) contain business related correspondence with some personal correspondence. Of interest are letters written to the editor by Ammon Underwood in 1884.

It is highly probable that definite boundaries did not exist between one business venture and another. Three sets of records contain a chronological overlap between A. & J. P. Underwood and Underwood and Diggs mercantile firms: correspondence in the form of the Letter Copy Books (1884?-1891, 1898-1899), financial records in the form of Cotton Books (1884-1887, 1889-1893), and legal records with Collection Accounts, Claims, Notes, and Drafts (1879-1887). It is likely that Underwood and Diggs were business associates prior to operating the mercantile store together. Cash Books (1890-1898), Daybooks (1890-1897), Journals (1888-1899), and Ledgers (1888-1899) comprise the financial records of Underwood and Diggs (the mercantile business) and provide a nearly complete record of a seemingly prosperous business that was destined to fail. The legal records of the firm include a List of Claims Conveyed to W. L. Moody in 1898 and a Book of Contracts (1888-1891) which was used later as a scrapbook with illustrations cut out of magazines and newspapers pasted on some of the pages.

The three years Joseph P. Underwood worked as W. L. Moody's agent in Columbia are documented in Letter Copy Books (1898-1901), Ledgers (1899-1902), and Journals (1898-1902). The Letter Copy Books also contain contracts. Of interest is correspondence written by Underwood as the Treasurer for the Columbia Relief Committee detailing the destruction wrecked on Columbia in the wake of the Great Storm of 1900.

Journals (1903-1923) and Ledgers (1903-1924) record the final years of business conducted by Joseph P. Underwood. A Letter Copy Book with correspondence written by John W. Hanks, A. T. Mecham, and G. W. Mecham is arranged at the end of the Business Papers.

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Arrangement

Organized into two groups: Personal Papers and Business Papers; arrangement is alphabetical, chronological and by subject within subgroups.

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Restrictions

Restrictions on Access

None.

Terms Governing Use

Open for research by appointment.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to the San Jacinto Museum of History. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Library Director. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the San Jacinto Museum of History as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.

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Index Terms

Names:
Moody, William Lewis, 1828-1920
Underwood, Ammon, 1810-1887--Archives
Underwood, John C., b. 1863
Underwood, Joseph P., b. 1845--Archives
Organizations:
Confederate States of America. Army. Texas Artillery. Gibson's Battery
A. and J. P. Underwood (firm)
Underwood & Diggs
Subjects:
Business records
Businessmen--Texas
Hurricanes--Texas
Places:
Columbia (Tex.)
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Personal narratives, Confederate

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Related Material

The original copy of the Journal of Ammon Underwood (1834 - 1836) is located at the Center for American History, the University of Texas, Austin, Texas.

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Administrative Information

Citation

[Identification of Item], Underwood Family Papers, MC039, San Jacinto Museum of History, Houston, Texas.

Acquisition

Laura Underwood, 1954.

Processing Information

Processed by Sarah Canby Jackson, 2001.

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Bibliography:

"UNDERWOOD, AMMON." The Handbook of Texas Online. http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/UU/fun1.html

Davis, Ellis A. and Edwin H. Grove, eds. "John C. Underwood," The New Encyclopedia of Texas, 1602-1603. Dallas: Texas Development Bureau, 1925.

Davis, Ellis A. and Edwin H. Grove, eds. "Joseph P. Underwood," The New Encyclopedia of Texas, 1910-1911. Dallas: Texas Development Bureau, 1925.

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Inventory

 

Personal Papers

Personal Papers
location
17.2C.B7 Correspondence Sent: John C. Underwood: Letter Copy Book 1883, 02/26-1884, 05/23
location
17.2C.F3 Correspondence Sent: J. P. Underwood: Letter Copy Book 1879, 01/04-1880, 12/08
box folder
57 1 Diaries: Ammon Underwood Journal of Ammon Underwood Typescript 1834-1838
2 Diaries: J. P. Underwood Joe Underwood / Gibson's Battery / Squire's Battalion / December 31, 1864 Typescript 1864-1865
3 Printed Materials: Newspaper Clippings 1842, 1853
4 Scrapbook: May Day Celebration Scripts 1868-1874, 1898
5 Scrapbook 1873
6 Photographs: Ammon Underwood, Laura Brooks n.d.

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Business Papers

Ammon Underwood: Financial
location
17.2A.F6 Book of Receipts 1842, 05/27-1861, 07/24
location
16.3B.F4 Journal 1854, 01/01-1855, 01/25
location
16.3C.F1 Journal 1857, 01/01-1860, 08/30
location
16.2B.B5 Ledger: (Ammon Underwood) 1836-1849
location
17.3C.F3 Ledger 1841-1845
location
17.3C.F2 Ledger 1855-1856
location
16.2B.B1 Storage Book (Cotton) 1855-1875
J. P. Underwood: Financial
location
15.3C.F3 Journal 1877, 10/10-1879, 11/18
location
17.3B.B4 Ledger 1870-1871
location
17.3B.F4 Ledger 1871-1872
location
17.3C.F1 Ledger 1873-1876
location
16.2B.B3 Ledger (J. P. Underwood) 1877-1879
A. & J. P. Underwood: Correspondence Sent
location
17.1C.B2 Letter Copy Book 1881, 11/10-1883, 02/24
location
17.2C.F7 Letter Copy Book 1881, 11/22-1884, 01/03
location
17.2C.B1 Letter Copy Book 1883, 12/15-1884, 07/07
location
17.2C.F4 Letter Copy Book 1885, 01/01-1885, 11/30
location
17.1C.B1 Letter Copy Book 1887, 08/10-1888, 11/14
location
17.1C.B4 Letter Copy Book (A. & J. P. Underwood) 1887, 10/18-1887, 12/29
A. & J. P. Underwood: Financial
location
17.2A.F5 A/C Stock Inventory Book (A. & J. P. Underwood) 1886-1888, 1904-1907
location
16.2A.F2 Cash Book (A. & J. P. Underwood) 1885, 01/01-1886, 12/31
location
16.2B.B4 Cash Book 1888, 01/01-1888, 12/31
box folder
57 8 Daybook (A. & J. P. Underwood) 1885, 03/10-1885, 07/28
location
16.2C.F6 Daybook (A. & J. P. Underwood) 1887, 02/03-1888, 10/18
location
16.3C.F2 Journal 1882, 05/01-1883, 08/31
location
16.3B.F3 Journal 1884, 07/01-1884, 12/31
location
16.3B.F2 Journal 1885, 01/01-1885, 10/23
location
17.3B.B2 Ledger 1883-1884
box folder
57 9 Ledger (A. & J. P. Underwood) 1883-1887
location
17.3B.B3 Ledger (A. & J. P. Underwood) 1885
location
17.2B.F2 Ledger (A. & J. P. Underwood) 1887
Underwood & Diggs: Correspondence Sent
location
17.1C.B3 Letter Copy Book 18_4, 01/01-____, 06/06
location
17.2C.F2 Letter Copy Book 1886, 11/03-1887, 02/23
location
17.2C.B6 Letter Copy Book 1888, 11/14-1889, 06/21
location
17.2C.F6 Letter Copy Book 1890, 12/12-1891, 06/01
location
17.2C.B5 Letter Copy Book 1898, 03/09-1899, 03/31
Underwood & Diggs: Financial
location
16.2A.F1 Cash Book 1890, 01/01-1890, 12/30
location
16.2A.B5 Cash Book 1891, 01/01-1891, 12/31
location
17.2B.F4 Cash Book 1892, 01/01-1892, 10/11?
location
16.2A.B4 Cash Book 1893, 01/01-1893, 10/26
location
16.2A.B3 Cash Book 1894, 01/01-1894, 12/31
location
16.2A.B2 Cash Book 1895, 01/01-1895, 12/31
location
17.2B.F3 Cash Book 1896, 01/01-1896, 09/11
location
16.2A.B1 Cash Book (Underwood & Diggs) 1897, 01/01-1897, 12/31
location
16.2C.F1 Cash Book 1898, 01/01-1898, 10/21
location
17.2A.B1 Cotton Book 1884-1887
location
16.2B.B2 Cotton Book 1889-1893
location
16.2B.F3 Daybook (Underwood & Diggs) 1890, 11/07-1892, 11/23
location
16.2B.F4 Daybook (Underwood & Diggs) 1894, 01/01-1894, 05/23
location
16.2B.F2 Daybook 1896, 02/18-1896, 07/10
location
16.2C.B7 Daybook 1897, 01/06-1897, 04/23
location
16.3B.F1 Journal 1888, 01/02-1889, 03/09
location
16.3B.B3 Journal 1889, 01/01-1889, 12/31
location
16.3B.B2 Journal 1890, 01/01-1890, 12/31
location
16.3B.B1 Journal 1891, 01/01-1891, 12/31
location
16.3A.F3 Journal 1892, 01/01-1892, 12/31
location
16.3A.B4 Journal 1893, 01/01-1893, 11/08
location
16.3A.F2 Journal 1894, 01/01-1894, 12/31
location
16.3A.F1 Journal 1895, 01/01-1895, 12/31
location
16.3A.B3 Journal 1896, 09/29-1896, 12/24
location
16.3A.B2 Journal 1896, 01/01-1896, 09/28
location
16.3A.B1 Journal 1897, 01/01-1897, 12/28
location
16.2B.F1 Journal 1898, 01/01-1898, 08/08
location
17.2B.F1 Journal 1898, 08/08-1899, 03/30
location
17.3B.F2 Ledger 1888
location
17.3B.F3 Ledger 1889
location
17.3A.B2 Ledger 1891
location
17.3A.B3 Ledger 1892
location
17.3A.B4 Ledger 1893, 01-1893, 10
location
17.3A.B5 Ledger 1893, 10-1893, 12
location
17.3B.F1 Ledger 1894
location
17.3A.F1 Ledger 1895
location
17.3A.F2 Ledger 1896
location
17.3A.F3 Ledger 1897
box folder
57 10 Ledger (Underwood & Diggs) 1898, 09-1898, 10
11 Ledger (Underwood & Diggs) 1898-1899
location
17.3B.B1 Ledger (Underwood & Diggs) 1898
location
17.3A.B1 Ledger (Underwood & Diggs) 1890
Underwood & Diggs: Legal
location
17.2A.F4 Book of Contracts 1888, 01/28-1891, 05/12
location
17.2A.F2 Collection Accounts, Claims, Notes, Drafts 1879-1887
location
16.2B.F5 List of claims conveyed to W. L. Moody 1898 1898
J. P. Underwood, Agent: Correspondence Sent
location
17.2C.B2 Letter Copy Book 1898, 10/28-1899, 04/01
location
17.2C.B3 Letter Copy Book 1899, 04/03-1900, 01/03
location
17.2C.B4 Letter Copy Book 1900, 08/04-1901, 08/29
location
17.2C.F1 Letter Copy Book 1901, 03/08-1901, 11/13
J. P. Underwood, Agent: Financial
location
16.2C.F2 Journal 1898, 10/31-1899, 08/30
location
17.3C.F4 Journal 1899, 09/07-1900, 06/30
location
16.2A.F4 Journal 1900, 07/04-1900, 12/18
location
16.2A.F3 Journal 1901, 01/04-1902, 01/03
location
16.2A.F5 Ledger 1899-1900
box folder
58 1 Ledger 1900-1902
location
17.2A.B4 Ledger 1901-1902
J. P. Underwood: Financial
box folder
58 2 Cash Book 1906, 01/01-1907, 02/26
3 Cash Book 1907, 09/02-1908, 06/02
4 Journal 1903, 04/07-1904, 03/31
5 Journal 1904, 04/02-1905, 08/15
6 Journal 1905, 08/17-1905, 12/30
box folder
59 1 Journal 1906, 01/04-1907, 01/17
2 Journal 1907, 09/02-1908, 08/31
location
17.2A.F1 Journal 1908, 09/01-1909, 12/06
box folder
59 3 Journal 1909, 12/13-1910, 05/23
location
16.2C.B1 Journal 1910, 01/01-1911, 12/30
location
16.2C.B2 Journal 1912, 01/01-1912, 12/31
location
16.2C.B3 Journal 1913, 01/01-1913, 12/31
location
16.2C.B4 Journal plus Stock Inventory 1914, 01/01-1914, 12/31
box folder
59 4 Journal 1915, 01/02-1915, 12/31
5 Journal 1916, 01/01-1916, 12/30
6 Journal 1917, 01/01-1917, 09/24
7 Journal 1917, 09/25-1917, 12/31
location
16.2C.B5 Journal 1918, 01/01-1918, 12/31
location
16.2C.B6 Journal 1919, 01/02-1920, 09/30
box folder
59 8 Journal with Stock Inventory, 1921-1923 1920, 10/02-1920, 12/27
location
17.2A.B6 Journal 1921, 01/22-1923, 12/31
box folder
60 1 Ledger 1903-1904
2 Ledger 1903-1904
3 Ledger 1904-1905
4 Ledger 1904-1905
location
17.2A.F3 Ledger 1906-1907
box folder
60 5 Ledger 1907
location
17.2A.B5 Ledger 1907-1909
location
16.2C.F4 Ledger 1910-1911
box folder
60 6 Ledger. Small label "Mrs. J. P. Underwood" inside cover 1912
location
17.2A.B2 Ledger 1913
box folder
61 1 Ledger 1914
2 Ledger 1915
3 Ledger 1916
4 Ledger. No. 1 1917
location
16.2C.F5 Ledger 1918
location
17.2A.B3 Ledger 1919-1920
box folder
61 5 Ledger 1921
location
16.2C.F3 Ledger 1922
location
16.2C.B8 Ledger 1923
box folder
61 6 Ledger 1924
General
location
17.2C.F5 Correspondence Sent: Letter Copy Book: John W. Hanks, A. T. Mecham, G. W. Mecham 1887, 04/19-1889, 06/17
box folder
61 7 Financial: Fragment n.d.

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