Mary Underwood Life Sketch

( 1763 - 1846)

Mary Underwood was born in Reading, Middlesex County, Massachusetts Bay Colony on August 15, 1763. Mary married Thomas Miles on July 13, 1785 in Reading, Massachusetts. Mary Underwood Miles died near Hartford City, Blackford County, Indiana in 1846.


Mary Underwood was born August 15, 1763, the eldest child of Joseph Underwood and Mary Pool. She grew up in Reading, Massachusetts, with her 4 sisters. Her father was a cordwainer.

On July 13, 1785 at the age of 22, Mary married Thomas Miles. Thomas was also a cordwainer and likely worked in her father’s shoe shop in Reading. Mary and Thomas had the following known children:

  1. Joseph Miles
  2. Polly Miles
  3. Rebecca Miles
  4. William Miles
  5. Lorenzo Miles
  6. Frances Miles

Mary and Thomas’ first child Joseph was born in 1785 followed by the births of Polly and Rebecca. The family lived near Reading where Joseph, Polly and Rebecca were all baptized at the same time in 1794 in the Congregational Church located in south Reading, present day Wakefield.

Mary’s sister Rebecca married Elias McIntire 2 years after Mary’s marriage. Rebecca and her husband moved shortly after their marriage 50 miles west to Fitchburg, Massachusetts. Mary’s 3 other sisters never married.

By 1793, Mary’s father decided to join Rebecca’s family in Fitchburg, selling all his property in Reading and purchasing a 68 acre farm near Rebecca and Elias. Mary and Thomas and their family followed, likely the next year.

In Fitchburg in June of 1795, Mary gave birth to William. Three days later, Mary’s father died. When Joseph Underwood’s estate was probated, it was found to be insolvent. After the widow’s dower, or one third, was portioned from the estate, the remaining two thirds was sold. When the estate was finally settled, Mary received £15..7..3.

In 1801 another son, Lorenzo, was added to the Miles family. In 1803, Mary and Thomas sold Mary’s right and claim to her portion of her father ‘s estate, the widow’s third, likely in preparation for a move to Bolton where by 1804, Thomas owned a Cape Cod cottage attached to a shoe shop.

In December of 1804, Mary and Thomas’ daughter Polly married Daniel Fletcher in Bolton. In 1806, Mary gave birth to another daughter, Frances. Mary’s mother died the same year.

In 1807, Thomas’ business dealings placed him in debt and apparently he spent several weeks in the county jail unable to pay. The situation was resolved when the house and shop were sold to satisfy the debt. After the sale, it is not known where Mary, Thomas and the family lived for the next 5 years. There are several documents which record Thomas and also Rebecca, their daughter, as witnesses to transactions in Bolton.

By 1813, the family moved to New Jersey. Mary left behind her sisters and her daughter Polly, and at least 4 grandchildren. It is not known what became of Joseph, Mary and Thomas’ son. Most likely daughter Rebecca moved with them and may have married Henry Craft in New Jersey in 1817. William, Lorenzo and Frances, all minors at the time, made the trip with their mother and father.

The family located in northern New Jersey and remained for 12 years. Mary and Thomas’ son William Miles married Keturah Casterline around 1819. By 1825 the Miles family, including William and his family, moved to Steuben County New York, where son Lozenzo Miles married Phoebe Wass.

The Miles families relocated again in 1836. Mary was 73 years of age when she made the 6 week journey from New York to Indiana in carts and wagons pulled by oxen. They first settled in Fayette county then several years later moved northward to Blackford county. William’s family remained in Fayette county while Lorenzo’s family and Frances moved with their parents. A few years later, William joined the rest of the family in Blackford.

In Blackford County, Frances at the age of 38 finally married a widower, Peter Benedict.

Mary died in 1846 near Hartford City at the age of 83. She had lived in Blackford county for about 8 years at the time of her death. Mary Miles was buried on the Miles farm in the family Cemetery.

Genealogical Research and Life Sketch updated: March 2022


Sources:

"Massachusetts, Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records, 1626-2001," database with images, FamilySearch, Mary Underwood, 15 Aug 1763; citing Birth, Reading, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States, Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth, Boston; FHL microfilm 007009686.

"Massachusetts Births and Christenings, 1639-1915", database, FamilySearch, Mary Underwood, 1770.

"Massachusetts Marriages, 1695-1910, 1921-1924", database, FamilySearch, Mary Underwood in entry for Thomas Niles, 1785.

Thomas W. Baldwin. “Vital Records of Wakefield, Massachusetts to the Year 1850”, Wright & Potter, Boston, MA, 1912. FHL.

"Massachusetts Births and Christenings, 1639-1915", database, FamilySearch, Polly Miles, 1794.

"Massachusetts Births and Christenings, 1639-1915", database, FamilySearch, Rebecca Miles, 1794.

The Old Records of the Town of Fitchburg, Massachusetts: Vital statistics (from ms. v. 2, 4, and 5, bringing record down to 1843) and miscellaneous records. 1900. N.p.: Sentinel printing Company, 1900.

“Probate Records, 1648 - 1924,” Worcester County Massachusetts, Probate Court. Probate estate files 60481-60545. Family Search, FHL microfilm 101448211.

“Massachusetts Land Records, 1620-1986," images, FamilySearch, Worcester Co., Deeds 1803-1804 vol 154-155, image 422 of 686; county courthouses and offices, Massachusetts.

"Massachusetts, Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records, 1626-2001," database with images, FamilySearch, Daniel Fletcher and Polly Miles, 29 Dec 1804; citing Marriage, Bolton, Worcester, Massachusetts, United States, Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth, Boston; FHL microfilm 007009655.

“Massachusetts Land Records, 1620-1986," images, FamilySearch, Worcester Co., Deeds 1803-1804 vol 154-155, image 422 of 686; county courthouses and offices, Massachusetts.

“Massachusetts Land Records, 1620-1986," images, FamilySearch, Worcester Co., Deeds 1803-1804 vol 171, Folio 487; county courthouses and offices, Massachusetts.

John A. Bonham, “Revolutionary War Heroes Buried in Blackford County, Indiana”, Hartford City Times Gazette, Hartford, Indiana, June 17, 1933.

“Blackford and Grant Counties, Indiana, A Chronicle of their People Past and Present with Family Lineage and Personal Memoirs, Vols 1 & 2”, The Lewis Publishing Co., Chicago, IL, 1914.

Mary Underwood Life Sketch genealogy research