Friday, November 11, 2016

Friend of Friends Friday: John Underwood

Lowell Daily Citizen and News (Lowell, Massachusetts)
2 June 1859

JOHN UNDERWOOD, a magistrate of Prince William county, Virginia, was indicted some months ago for speaking too freely on slavery.  He was tried and fined, but the decision was reversed by the higher court.  Some of his neighbors, at the late election, insisted upon voting for him for the legislature, and the following is the vote in the town of Occoquan, where he has always resided:

For Governor.

Letcher, dem., 48
Goggin, opp., 70

For House of Delegates

Underwood, rep., 56
Lynn, dem., 42
Merchant, dem., 9

Very well for Occoquon, which is the first town below Mount Vernon, on the Potomac.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Alexandria Gazette
4 May 1859

At a meeting of the Justices of the County of Prince William, convened in the Jury Room, on the 1st day of April Court, for the purpose of expressing our protest against sitting as Justices in connection with John Underwood as a justice of this county, 14 out of the 16 Justices being present, viz: B. E. Harrison, W. L. Carter, J. C. Weedon, L. C. Lynn, Z. A. Kankey, C. A. Nelson, E. Nelson, W. W. Thornton, H. Love, L. B. Butler, E. Gaines, J. Ewell, A. F. Woodyard, and J. B. Grayson, B. E. Harrison was called on to preside, and J. B. Grayson to act as Secretary.

On motion of W. W. Thornton, B. E. Harrison, L. C. Lynn, H. Love, and L. B. Butler were appointed a committee to wait on Mr. Underwood and ask his determination, whether he persists in sitting as Justice. 

This committee withdrew and after a brief absence returned and by their chairman, Mr. Harrison, reported that they had conferred with Mr. Underwood, and that he adhered to his determination to sit as a Justice of Prince William County, when on motion Resolved, That the Chairman appoint one from each Magisterial District to report resolutions expressive of the sentiments of this meeting, to be place on the  minutes of the Court.

The chairman appointed W. W. Thornton, J. Ewell, Z. A. Kankey and E. Nelson, who withdrew and in a short time reported the following:

Whereas John Underwood had been charged and convicted of a misdemeaner by a Jury of this county, in uttering abolition sentiments, in contravention of law and repugnant to public opinion, and having been requested by a committee of Justices to waive his right to a seat on the bench of this Court, or to retract said sentiments, and having refused to do either: Therefore we unanimously resolve that in view of our duty to the public, we will organize this Court and place upon its minutes this our protest against the conduct and sentiments of said Underwood.

The Court being then opened, the foregoing preable and resolution were unaimously ordered to be entered on the minutes of this Court.

B. H. Harrison, Chairiman
J. B. Grayson, Secretary

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