The Underwood Settlement

The Russell - Underwood Family

In the early 1800s, the United States government began a systematic effort to remove Indian tribes from the southeast. The Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee-Creek, Seminole, and original Cherokee Nations—referred to as the "Five Civilized Tribes" by Anglo-European settlers in reference to the tribes' adoption of aspects of colonial culture—had been established as autonomous nations in the southeastern United States.

The Indian Removal Act was signed into law by President Andrew Jackson on May 28, 1830, authorizing the president to grant unsettled lands west of the Mississippi in exchange for Indian lands within existing state borders. A few tribes went peacefully, but many resisted the relocation policy. The removal became known as "The Trail of Tears" where 4,000 Cherokee people died of cold, hunger, and disease on their way to the western lands.

The State of Mississippi was home to the Chickasaw, and Choctaw tribes, and home to Mary Underwood., and her children. They moved to Richmond County, North Carolina right before the Indian Removal Act was enacted. It was in Richmond, where she married James Russell. Their children migrated to Vigo County, Indiana in the early 1840's, and founded the "Underwood Settlement" in Linton Township.

The final Dawes Rolls were taken, starting in 1898, and ending in 1907. The Dawes Roll is a list of those members of the Five Civilized Tribes who were removed to Indian Territory (Oklahoma) during the 1800's and were living there during the above timeframe. Those listed, included members of the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Creek Tribes. Those who migrated to Indiana, were not included in the roll.

Instances of Underwood Settlement surnames listed in the Dawes Rolls
Surname Cherokee Chickasaw Choctaw Creek
Underwood 30 145 95 2
Russell 233 34 131 8
Bell 286 29 312 33
Allen 351 55 508 55
Batton 0 0 5 0
Manuel/Emanuel 6 1 16 63

Several descendants of Mary Underwood have taken DNA tests, and the majority of those tests indicate that they have Native American ancestry. While the DNA tests can indicate that the Native American gene is present, it can not ascertain which tribe the match is to. It should be noted that while only a few Batton's are included in the Dawes Rolls, the current Chief of the Choctaw Nation is a Batton.

There have been several stories printed about the Underwood Settlement, one of which appeared in a local newspaper, "Life on the Underwood Settlement"

Mary Underwood was born on 28 Jul 1788 in North Carolina. She is found in the 1810 US census for Richmond County, North Carolina as head of a household of 3. She died on 11 Nov 1872 in Terre Haute, Vigo, Indiana. The maternal DNA (mtDNA) test results of 3 straight line matrilineal female descendants of Mary. is haplogroup H, which means that Mary's maternal ancestor was from western Europe. One tested as Haplogroup H, another as Haplogroup H1m, and the 3rd as Haplogroup H1m1. The difference in the individual test results can be attributed to the testing company.

Mary Underwood had the following children:

John Underwood was born on 18 Nov 1804 in Richmond County, North Carolina. He died on 16 Dec 1891 in Indiana. He married Louisa Kennihorn in Dec 1826 in North Carolina. She was born about 1802 in Virginia. She died on 02 Feb 1887 in Linton, Vigo County, Indiana. John is credited with the founding of the Underwood Settlement in Linton Township of Vigo County. John set aside an acre of ground to be used as a family cemetery, which is now known as the Underwood Cemetery.

JOHN UNDERWOOD, farmer, Pimento, was born in Richmond county, North Carolina, in November 1803, and when about twenty-three years old moved to Mississippi and there resided nine years. During his long life he has engaged entirely in farming; in fact, he has been a plow-boy since 1812. April 30, 1841, he moved to Vigo county, locating in Linton township, where he has lived since. At the close of the war he returned to North Carolina on a visit, and brought his aged mother back to Indiana with him. In December, 1826, he married, in North Carolina, Miss Louisa KENNIHORN, who is a native of Virginia, and has had a family of eleven children, only one of whom is now alive, Richard, who was born in this township, October 25, 1844. The youngest daughter died March 30, 1880. He owns over 100 acres of land, and has given a good deal of real estate away to his children, and has obtained all his property by his own hard work and energy. He is a prominent member of the Honey Creek Old Baptist church, and has been connected with that congregation for many years. In politics he is strongly republican.

HISTORY OF VIGO AND PARKE COUNTIES, Together With Historic Notes on the Wabash Valley H.W. Beckwith - 1880 Linton Twp. - p. 439

Henry Underwood was born in 1805 in Richmond County, North Carolina. He married Sarah Underwood. She was born in 1815 in North Carolina.

Rhoda Underwood was born on 16 Sep 1809 in North Carolina. She died on 13 Apr 1872 in Vigo County, Indiana. She married Jeremiah Joseph Anderson, son of George Anderson and Morning Taborn, in 1827 in North Carolina. He was born on 26 Dec 1806 in North Carolina. He died on 17 May 1889 in Vigo County, Indiana.

James Russell was born about 1792 in North Carolina. He married Mary Underwood before 1820 in Richmond County, North Carolina. He is found in the 1820 US census for Richmond County, North Carolina as head of a household of 7. He is found in the 1830 Richmond County census, living next to his brother Major Russell. In the 1830 census, James is head of a household of 11. He died between 1860 and 1870 in Richmond County. The Lumbee Tribe has this bio on the Russell family:

RUSSELL The name Russell, apparently Lumbee, appears on Bladen tax lists of 1761, 1768, and 1769. Wm. Russell patented 130 acres east of Saddletree Swamp 20 Oct. 176l. Thomas Russell lived on five Mile Branch of Saddleltree Swamp in 1773 (Bladen County Deeds, 1738-1779, 419-420). Thomas Russle and Thomas Ivy sold land they jointly patented on Saddletree Swamp to Phillip Blount 27 Sept. 1787 (Deed Book A, 147-149). Thomas Russell lived near Thomas Butcher adjacent to a grant made to Augustin Willis 26 Nov. 1789 on Wilson's Great Branch (Deed Book B, 102). There were several land dealings with other Lumbees such as the sale of 100 acres by Major Russell to Edmond Revel 12 June 1790 for land east of Drounding creek and northeast of Jacob Swamp (Deed Book B, 185-186) adjacent to a 200 acre tract patented by Thomas Russell. There was a Joseph Russell who witnessed a deed in Robeson 13 Nov. 1792 (Deed Book C, 303- 304). The names James, Sampson, Thomas and William Russell appeared on Robeson deed records up to 1800 and later. The surname does not appear in the 1850 census of Robeson.

Excert from Britt9 by Morris F. Britt 2007

James Russell and Mary Underwood had the following 6 children:

Brinkley Russell was born on 17 Apr 1813 in Richmond, North Carolina. He died on 07 Nov 1906 in Terre Haute, Indiana. He married (1) Martha Capps. She was born on 01 Jul 1821 in North Carolina. She died on 13 May 1894 in Terre Haute, Indiana. He married (2) Anna Mariah Johnson, daughter of Momma Estell, on 24 Oct 1896 in Vigo, Indiana. She was born in Mar 1835 in Kentucky.

Anna Russell was born in 1816 in North Carolina. She died on 03 Oct 1874 in Vigo County, Indiana. She married Wiley Batton. He was born on 01 Apr 1812 in North Carolina. He died on 02 Feb 1909 in Vigo County, Indiana.

Walden Russell was born about 1825 in North Carolina. He died in Indiana. He married Sarah Green. She was born about 1830 in North Carolina.

Berry Russell was born in 1827 in North Carolina. He married Hannah Russell. She was born in 1827 in North Carolina.

Martha Russell was born in 1832 in North Carolina. She died on 01 Oct 1884 in Richmond County, North Carolina. She married Alexander Jackson on 19 Jan 1850 in Richmond, County North Carolina. He was born on 18 May 1825 in North Carolina. He died on 07 Sep 1886.

Elizabeth Russell was born in Sep 1833 in North Carolina. She married Daniel Jackson. He was born in 1828 in North Carolina. He died in Richmond, North Carolina.





The 1895 map of Linton Township shows the properties owned by John Underwood and his son Armstead, in dark blue. In light blue are the properties owned by Brinkley Russell and son John.


The Bell Family

The Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina has this bio on the Bell family:

A Thomas Bell owned a square mile of land next to Col. William Eaton in Granville County in 1754. His son Samuel Bell enlisted there in 1761. There was a Samuel Bell whose Revolutionary War Service reported that he was born in Surry County, Virginia in 1749. He lived in Sampson County, N.C. from 1782 to 1807 and lived in Robeson from about 1807 until 1832. John Bell, listed as white in Capt. Abram Barnes' district of south Robeson and probably Lumbee, appeared in the 1776 and 1786 tax lists of Bladen and in 1786 was listed with a wife and daughter. The Bell name appears in Robeson records of 1780 and 1784 and in Sampson County in 1790. Robeson grantee and grantor deeds show John Bell with 200 acres on Turkey Branch in 1787 and 10 acres additional in 1789. John Bell left a will dated 1788 (Will Book I, 16). Mary Bell left a will dated 1804 (Will Book I, 88). Cheraw County, S.C. had William, Frederickson, Levi, Thomas and William Bell with land grants between 1785 and 1797 (Royal Land Grants, Craven, Cheraw and Chesterfield Counties, C.C.). Some Bells in the 1850 Robeson census reported being born in Robeson by 1800. Mary Bell had 50 acres on Bridge Branch in 1803 and 150 acres on Hogg Swamp in 1808. Samuel Bell had 223 acres south of Ten Mile Swamp in 1807. This tract went from Samuel to Hardy H. Bell in 1819. Hardy H. Bell (1790-1866), a powerful landowner and Lumberton storeowner who married Sarah Parker c1820, had eighteen deeds on Ten Mile, the Stage Road, Saddletree Swamp, Great Marsh and along the Lumber River filed between 1840 and 1865. The surname was listed in S1. Pauls Township in 1880. Bell was self-identified as Indian in the 1900 Census of Robeson and listed on the 1900 Indian Schedule. The Directory of Robeson County, 1900, lists the "Croatan" name of Bell in the Rozier community The name was listed as Indian in the 1930 census of Pembroke Township. Death records of Robeson of 1916 and 1936 show the Indian name Bell as primarily in Saddletree but a numerous name allover Robeson, in Lumberton, Lumber Bridge, Pembroke, Saddletree and Union townships. Cited at Bethel Hill Church cemetery and numerous other locations by Jane Blanks Barnhill, Sacred Grounds, 2007, a listing of 162 Lumbee cemeteries in Robeson County. Those named Bell were attending Pembroke State College by the 1940s. The name Bell is not found in any other tri-racial isolate groups (DeMarce, 1992).

Excert from Britt2 by Morris F. Britt 2007


John Bell was born in 1784 in Richmond, North Carolina. He died in 1860 in Vigo County, Indiana. He married Elenore Bell in 1814 in North Carolina. She was born in 1784 in North Carolina. She died in Indiana. John Bell lived in Cumberland, North Carolina in 1820. He lived in the Lumbee Tribal land base of Sampson County, North Carolina in the 1830's and 1840's. John and Elenore lived in Linton Township, Vigo County, Indiana in 1850 (Age: 66).
John Bell and Elenore Bell had the following children:

Henry J Bell was born about 1815 in Sampson County, North Carolina. He died on 18 Nov 1880 in Coles County, Illinois. He married Helen Mariah Clark on 18 Feb 1837 in Johnston County, North Carolina. She was born about 1818 in North Carolina. Henry J Bell lived in Sampson County, North Carolina on 01 Jun 1840. He lived in Linton, Vigo County, Indiana in 1850. He lived in Wabash, Clark County, Illinois in 1860.
Henry J Bell and Helen Mariah Clark had the following children:

John Bell was born about 1839 in North Carolina. He died on 04 Dec 1912 in Terre Haute, Indiana. He married Louisa Mariah Underwood, daughter of John Underwood and Louisa Kennihorn, on 25 Oct 1866 in Vigo County, Indiana. She was born in 1850 in Indiana. She died in Apr 1880 in Edgar County, Illinois.

Rebecca E. Bell was born in May 1841 in North Carolina. She died in 1922. She married Thomas A Manuel. He was born in Aug 1835 in North Carolina. He died on 07 Oct 1913 in Linton, Hancock County, Georgia.

Curtis Bell was born about 1845 in North Carolina. Curtis Bell lived in Wabash, Clark County, Illinois in 1860.

Franklin Nelson Bell was born on 14 Feb 1846 in North Carolina. He died on 24 Aug 1948 in Terre Haute, Indiana. He married first, Paulina J. Russell, daughter of Eli Russell and Mary Polly Harris, on 14 Nov 1867 in Vigo County, Indiana. She was born about 1846 in Indiana. He married next, Nancy E. Allen, daughter of Arthur Allen and Rebecca Bass, on 28 Feb 1905 in Vigo County, Indiana. She was born in 1854 in Indiana.

Mary J. Bell was born on 24 May 1846 in North Carolina. She died on 25 May 1931 in Vigo County, Indiana,(Age: 86). She married Joseph B. Manuel, son of John Manuel and Sarah Anderson, on 22 Dec 1867 in Clark County, Illinois. He was born on 23 Mar 1840 in North Carolina. He died on 20 May 1926 in Linton, Vigo County, Indiana (Age: 86). Mary J. Bell lived in Linton, Vigo County, Indiana in 1850. She lived in Wabash, Clark County, Illinois in 1860. She lived in Linton, Vigo County, Indiana in 1870-1930. Joseph B. Manuel lived in Linton, Vigo County, Indiana in 1870-1926.

Francis Bell was born about 1847 in North Carolina. Francis Bell lived in Wabash, Clark County, Illinois in 1860.

Rutha E. Bell was born about 1849 in Indiana. She died on 28 Oct 1875 in Vigo County, Indiana. She married Daniel T. Batton, son of Wiley Batton and Anna Russell, on 19 Dec 1870 in Vigo County, Indiana. He was born on 07 Sep 1836 in Richmond County, North Carolina. He died on 30 Jan 1917 in Terre Haute, Indiana (Age: 80).

Samera Bell was born about 1852 in Indiana.

Rachel Bell was born in Aug 1854 in Indiana. Rachel Bell lived in Wabash, Clark Clark, Illinois in 1860. She lived in Mattoon, Coles County, Illinois in 1880-1910.

David Bell was born about 1856 in Indiana.

Hetty Bell was born about 1858 in Illinois.

Rebecca Bell was born in 1822 in North Carolina. She died between 1862-1869 in Indiana. She married Nelson Freeman, son of Isaac Freeman and Euphanie Jane "Effie" Chavis, on 04 Oct 1842 in Cumberland County, North Carolina. He was born about 1820 in Fayetteville, North Carolina. He died in 1874 in Vigo County, Indiana. Nelson Freeman lived in Honey Creek, Vigo County, Indiana in 1850 (Age: 34). He lived in Linton, Vigo County, Indiana in 1870-1874.
Nelson Freeman and Rebecca Bell had the following children:

Mary J. Freeman was born in 1846 in Fayetteville, North Carolina. She died in St. John, Stafford, Kansas, and was buried in Fairview Park Cemetary, St. John, Stafford, Kansas. She married John W. Thomas, son of William B. Thomas and Evaline Artis, on 19 Jan 1870 in Vigo County, Indiana. He was born in Sep 1848 in Linton, Vigo County, Indiana. He died in St John, Stafford, Kansas.

Sarah A Freeman was born in Jun 1849 in Indiana.

Amanda Eliza Freeman was born on 15 Jul 1851 in Linton, Vigo County, Indiana. She died on 06 Apr 1925 in Terre Haute, Indiana (Age: 23). She married first Stephen Brady on 09 Jan 1868 in Vigo County, Indiana. He was born in 1844 in Illinois. He died on 23 Aug 1895. She married next Martin Van Buren Russell, son of George Russell and Elizabeth Larter, on 05 Nov 1908 in Vigo County, Indiana. He was born on 26 May 1836 in North Carolina. Amanda Eliza Freeman lived in Linton, Vigo, Indiana in 1870. She lived in Honey Creek, Vigo, Indiana in 1880. She lived in Sugar Creek, Vigo, Indiana in 1900. She lived in Terre Haute, Vigo, Indiana in 1906. She lived in Terre Haute, Indiana in 1910. She lived in Terre Haute, Indiana in 1920. Stephen Brady lived in Honey Creek, Vigo County, Indiana in 1880. He lived in Vigo County, Indiana in 1890. Martin Van Buren Russell lived in Glade Creek, Alleghany County, North Carolina in 1880. He lived in Terre Haute, Indiana in 1900-1920.

Caroline Freeman was born in 1855 in Indiana. She married Nathan Russell. He was born in 1850 in Terre Haute, Indiana. Caroline Freeman lived in Linton, Indiana in 1870. Nathan Russell lived in Terre Haute, Indiana in 1850. He lived in Marion, Owen County, Indiana in 1860. He lived in Linton, Vigo County, Indiana in 1870.

Jeremiah M. Freeman was born on 29 Jan 1856 in Vigo County, Indiana. He died on 07 May 1926 in Paris, Illinois.

Eliza Alice Freeman was born on 22 Jun 1859 in Honey Creek, Vigo County, Indiana. She married first, George E Hucle, son of Malindia Hucle, on 10 Nov 1878 in Vigo County, Indiana. He was born on 15 Mar 1856 in Paris, Illinois. He died on 04 Aug 1918 in Terre Haute, Vigo, Indiana, USA (Age: 62). She married next, Charles S. Simpson on 17 Oct 1920 in Vigo County, Indiana. He was born on 22 Mar 1853 in Indiana.

Wilbur Freeman was born in Aug 1861 in Illinois.

Henry Clifford Freeman was born on 05 May 1862 in Vigo County, Indiana. He died on 03 May 1944 in Oblong, Illinois. He married Permelia Anna Mitchell, daughter of Levi Mitchell and Catharine Finley, in 1885. She was born on 05 Aug 1865 in Worthington, Indiana. She died on 28 Jan 1921 in Oblong, Illinois (Age: 55).

Ellen Bell was born on 04 Jul 1824 in North Carolina. She died on 24 Sep 1910 in Paw Paw, Van Buren County, Michigan. She married Macom Underwood, son of John Underwood and Louisa Kennihorn, on 21 Oct 1849 in Vigo County, Indiana. He was born about 1831 in North Carolina. He died on 07 Aug 1880 in Indiana. Ellen Bell lived in Linton, Vigo, Indiana, USA in 1850. She lived in Van Buren County, Michigan in 1880. She lived in Paw Paw, Van Buren County, Michigan in 1900. She lived in Paw Paw, Van Buren County, Michigan in 1910. She was buried on 26 Sep 1910 in Almena, Van Buren County, Michigan. She lived in Michigan. Macom Underwood lived in Linton, Vigo, Indiana in 1850.
Macom Underwood and Ellen Bell had the following children:

Charles Underwood was born in 1848 in Indiana.

Rebecca Ada Underwood was born in 1850 in Vigo, Indiana.

Thomas Dowling Underwood was born on 13 Sep 1852 in Terre Haute, Indiana. He died on 15 Dec 1945 in Michigan. He married first Sarah A Hucle, daughter of Malindia Hucle, on 08 Nov 1874 in Vigo County, Indiana. She was born about 1854 in Illinois. He married second, Annie Mitchell on 13 Mar 1884 in Vigo County, Indiana. He married third Emma C. Morris, daughter of John Henry Morris and Ann E. Daniels, in 1886 in Vigo County, Indiana. She was born on 28 Aug 1867 in Illinois. She died on 10 Feb 1944 in Almena, Van Buren County, Michigan (Age: 76).

Asberry W Underwood was born in 1855 in Vigo County, Indiana. He died on 08 Mar 1937 in Paw Paw, Van Buren County, Michigan. Asberry W Underwood lived in Paw Paw, Michigan in 1880-1937.

Chauncey R. Underwood was born on 18 Dec 1875 in Indiana. He died on 18 Aug 1910 in Paw Paw, Michigan.


Dr. Gregory C. Bell is one of The Underwood Settlements more famous and successful descendants. Greg is the son of Curtis E. Bell and Essa Manuel. He is an author, a poet, a dentist, an Olympic Gold Medal winner, and a motivational speaker.

Biography

Gregory C. Bell was born November 7, 1930 on a 36 acre truck farm 10 miles south of Terre Haute, Indiana.

Third from the youngest of nine children, he spent the first 12 years of his life living in a chicken house after the house built by his father was destroyed by fire. With no fire insurance and no money, the family was forced to make do with what was available.

He attended elementary school at Pimento School in Pimento, Indiana, and , only the second of his family to do so, he graduated from Garfield High School in Terre Haute in 1948.

He participated in Track & Field while at Garfield and culminated his high school athletic career with a second place finish in the long jump at the State Track and Field Championship Meet.

Not having prepared for a college career, he worked at such odd jobs as presented themselves to him until his induction in the Armed Forces of the United States in 1950. It was during this time period that he discovered that he had not lost his athletic ability and, indeed, it had improved. He won the European Armed Forces championship in the long jump and that proved the impetus for his later interest in resuming participation in the sport.

After discharge from the Army, he obtained a job at a local plant and soon began working out on the same high school track that had seen the beginning of his athletic career. As he contined to improve, he attracted the attention of a local physician who was determined that the raw talent he had observed should not be wasted and was instrumental in enrolling Greg at Indiana University in the Fall of 1954.

After trying and discarding several suggestions as to what course he should pursue, Greg was convinced that he should try his hand at Dentistry. He found this to his liking and received his doctorate in dental surgery in 1961. Along the way he managed to go through his three varsity years of competition in Track & Field without a loss in his specialty, the long jump. A listing of his major athletic honors is on another page.

After graduation from the Indiana University School of Dentistry, Greg spent the following year as a clinical instructor in the Crown and Bridge department of Howard University in Washington, D.C.. In 1962 he returned to his hometown of Terre Haute, Indiana and began his private practice of dentistry. In 1969 he accepted a position of staff dentist at the Logansport State Hospital and for the next 25 years he conducted a part time evening practice in his profession as well as his primary staff duties. He is still actively pursuing his career of dentistry as the Director of Dental Services, Logansport State Hospital.

Greg has 3 children, a daughter, Valinda who is a nurse with two sons, a son, Gregory Kent, an engineering technician for Rolls Royce in Indianapolis, s daughter, Shari, managing attorney in contract law for HUD. Gregory Kent has a son and a daughter, Shari has two sons.

On December 26, 1990 Greg was married to Mary Lawrie who also has four children, son, Chuck, daughter Becky, twin daughters, Kelly and Shelly and five grandchildren. Mary is taking a well deserved hiatus from work as Greg's dental assistant to pursue her many and varied interests including cooking, herbs, gardening and antiques.

One of Greg’s avocations is presenting programs in which he delights audiences with his remarkable delivery of the works of Paul Laurence Dunbar. He specializes in recitations from memory the dialect pieces which are inimical to Dunbar. His presentations are from 30 to 45 minutes and there is a comparative sampling of Dunbar’s more contemporary style of poetry which are equally captivating. Greg’s delivery of Dunbar’s poetry will transport the listener to the times places and moods of a lowly people of which Dunbar writes. He also includes a sampling of his own poetry when delivering motivational presentations. He has presented to all the elementary schools in the area, addresses poetry classes at Logansport High School on a yearly basis and has delivered commencement address to two other area high schools.

Dr. Bell's hobbies include ameteur radio, computers, poetry, landscaping, and woodworking.

Excerpt from Greg's webpage www.gold56.org


The end of the Underwood Settlement

Excerpt from "Life on the Underwood Settlement"

As with other black settlements, the Underwood Settlement slowly emptied of its inhabitants over the decades after the Civil War. Crop failures, the lure of a better life in the city and a lack of interest in farming among younger generations contributed to the out-migration, Thornbrough wrote. “By 1900, most of the agricultural settlements had almost disappeared.”

But not all black families left Pimento by 1900 or even by World War II. Unfortunately, the tale of the Underwood Settlement’s final years includes an unsettling story.

The Bell family’s departure from the Underwood Settlement in 1942 was not voluntary. The U.S. government wanted the Bell’s farm as part of a plan to build an ammunition depot. The family was given 30 days to leave the land it had farmed for generations. The government paid the Bells $1,500, Greg Bell said, adding he recalls armed men on horseback coming to the family farm each day to ensure they were making preparations to leave.

“It was really a traumatic time for us,” Bell said. “My father was 65 with a fifth-grade education. So where do you go with that?”

The final resident of the Underwood Settlement, Mack Underwood, died in 1958. With his death, the last of the Underwood Settlement ceased to exist.