Underwood Brothers

    1917 October 4: The twins, Elbert and Albert, and Frank, bought 230 acres along Red River from J. E. Spies. Two other brothers, Fletcher and John, were also in Mulberry. The Underwoods could trace their line to England and the year 1635 when Joseph, a “dweller in the woods,” came as an indentured servant to the New World. He served seventeen years and is listed among the religious founders of Watertown, Massachusetts.
    The Underwoods made their way by clearing land, farming and moving again. In 1800 a fourth generation Underwood living in Illinois was Cyrus. Born in Montgomery County, New York, he was scalped by Choctaw Indians in February 1845 at Iron Ore Creek in Grayson County, Texas. A son, Elias (1821-77), became a farmer and Indian fighter with Joseph Sowell in Fannin County.
    Elias married three times and had children by each wife. Son Fletcher (1856-1900) was father of the Underwood men who came to Mulberry. Raised in Grayson and Cooke counties, he moved to Hopkins County where he married Lattie Thomas (1860-1947). She had come to Texas from Mississippi at age ten, and was always proud of her Southern heritage. They had eleven children.
    In 1909 Lattie moved with her children (via Delta County) to Gober in Fannin County. In Mulberry she preferred to live with her son Fletcher, but moved “with her traveling trunk” from son to son. Lattie Underwood died at Mulberry and was buried at Pecan Gap, back in Delta County.

Lattie Underwood with six of her children (about 1945)
John, Frank, Janie, Fletcher, Elbert, Albert


Underwood Family Reunion  (1929)
front, from left: Weldon, Beada, Willie Kennedy
second row: [by horse, ?], Adel, Rose, Dorothy, Sid, Evelyn, Franklin, A.B. Kennedy, Dub Neathery
third row: [?], Otha, Estel, Lattie [in flowered dress], Mandy Walls, Maggie, Florence (holding Virgle),
Ora Mae (with Bernice in front), Ruby 
back row: Elbert,  Albert, Fletcher, Arthur, John, [?], Albert Kennedy, [?]

“The Underwoods were a close-knit clan.” 

    Three Underwood brothers—Frank, Elbert and Fletcher—married three sisters. The twins, Albert and Elbert, born in 1896, died in 1955 within two weeks. They each called the other “Buvy”.  When Elbert died first “Aunt Myrtle” was notified. She went to tell Albert, but before she could speak he said, “Buvy was here. He said he’d be waiting.”
    For years after the Underwood families had all left Mulberry, Weldon, a son of Elbert, leased a place along Caney Creek called the Clark place, from a trustee representing an injured World War II veteran, and he came in his pickup truck, passing my house almost daily, to “see about” his cows. I came to appreciate his old-time wisdom and distinctive manner of speech when emphasis was called for. One day he said, “Me and your dad had many-a-good conversation up there along the creek, when he was out on his horse of a morning. He thought about you a lot and I could tell he was concerned.” I didn’t ask Why? because I supposed we both knew.
    When the veteran died and the land Weldon had leased so many years passed to Austin College, I had a chance to buy it, and let Weldon know. He was able to keep some of his cows, and was satisfied with the way the college settled about his lease. Later, when I was taking “oral history” interviews for the county’s historical commission, I asked Weldon if he would tell some of his stories on the machine, but he declined: “No, some in the family get ill when I do that.”
    I have a memory of my mother telling how it was when she started teaching school at Mulberry. One of the “Mr. Underwoods” told her, “If you have any trouble with one of my boys, you just let me know.” Whether connected, I don’t know, but another story (told by Weldon’s sister, Raynell) was about the Underwood boy who rode his horse into the schoolhouse, and the teacher taking shelter in the “book room”. I miss my talks with Weldon because, more than anybody, he puts me in mind of  J. K. Johnson’s 1908 elegy in the Bonham News:

Well do I remember my first home on Caney Creek.... I often think of the ones...one of whom...has drifted here for a few days stay. Our talks carried me back to the time when.... A great many of the old friends are gone, too many have been taken to their eternal home, and I am now growing old....