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Provincial Archives of New Brunswick

Dictionary of Miramichi Biography

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UNDERHILL, THOMAS WARD (1803-1873)

UNDERHILL, THOMAS WARD, lumber operator, JP, and militia officer; b. Maugerville, 17 May 1803, s/o British Nathaniel Underhill and Abigail (Balch) Christey; m. 1828, Mary Ann Sutherland, of the Nashwaak; d. Nelson, 2 Dec 1873.

Thomas W. Underhill's father was a Loyalist from Westchester County, N.Y., who settled at Maugerville in 1783. In 1806 he moved to the Miramichi and established a home near the mouth of Cains River. He and his family later resided in that part of Blackville which came to be known as Underhill, and the surname multiplied rapidly in the parish.

In the early 1840s Thomas W. Underhill acquired the sawmill on the Sabbies River which was previously owned by Francis Peabody and his heirs, and which was supplied by lumber cut on an 8,000-acre mill reserve. He moved his family to the site in 1843 and carried on an extensive lumber business. He became indebted to Gilmour, Rankin & Co., however, and lost the mill around 1858. He then returned to Underhill to farm and lumber on a more modest scale.

Underhill was a leading figure in the militia on the Southwest Miramichi. He entered the militia as an ensign in 1827 and was promoted to captain in 1836 and major in 1846. In 1867 he was acting as commanding officer of the 3rd Battalion, as successor to Lieut. Col. William Salter.

Underhill was appointed a justice of the peace in 1838 and was recommissioned in 1855. As the senior magistrate in Blackville parish he was often referred to as 'Squire' Underhill. He was the most active school trustee in the parish in the 1830s and 40s and was secretary of a committee formed in 1840 to erect the first Anglican church at Blackville. In 1861 he was president of the Blackville and Derby Agricultural Society.

Underhill and his wife, Mary Ann Sutherland, had at least seven sons and two daughters. Their son British Tarletan Nathaniel ("B. N. T") Underhill was a large lumber contractor at Blackville. Their daughter Mary Ann Underhill was the wife of John Flett.

Sources

[b] Underhill family data [m] official records [d] Advocate 10 Dec 1873 / Facey-Crowther; Gleaner 18 Sep 1838, 29 Sep 1840, 11 Aug 1855, 9 Feb 1861; JHA 1846 (re. crown lands)


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