JOHN T. UNDERWOOD. - John T. Underwood, superintendent of the Springfield Paving Brick Company, was born in Sheridan, Indiana, May 12, 1860. The Underwood family is of English origin and the family was founded in this country at an early day. The grandparents of John T. Underwood became pioneer settlers of Greene county, Ohio, and the grandfather died in that state at the advanced age of ninety years. John Underwood, the father, removed from Ohio to Indiana. He was a brick maker by trade and for some years lived on a farm near Sheridan. He married Catherine Thomas, who was born in Ohio, where their wedding was celebrated. In 1840 they became residents of Indiana and Mr. Underwood began farming on government land. Later he engaged in the manufacture of brick, which was molded by hand. He did not sell the farm, however, and it is still in possession of the family. He died in Indiana, at the age of seventy-five years, and his wife passed away in 1897, at the age of seventy-six. They were the parents of three sons and four daughters living, while two died in infancy. Mrs. Lydia Kassabaum, seventy-seven years of age, resides in Hamilton county, Indiana, where her husband is engaged in merchandising. Mrs. Josephine Thistlewait is the wife of a banker of Hamilton county. Priscilla is the wife of Professor Hutchins, county superintendent of schools of Hamilton county; Amos, formerly a farmer is now an undertaker of Pendleton, Indiana. Mrs. Harriet Reagan is also living in Hamilton county and her husband is a minister of the Quaker church. John T. is the next of the family. Hannibal resides upon a part of the old homestead in Hamilton county. The children all settled in that county where the father had located in pioneer times. He was the first man to make brick there and was active in the development of his locality in many ways. He had one of the finest farms of the county, improved with all modern equipments, and his enterprise was one of his salient characteristics. All the children attended the public schools and Priscilla was a college student and taught school for a time.
John T. Underwood remained upon the home place and assisted in the manufacture of brick until seventeen years of age, when he went to Chipewa Falls, Wisconsin, where he began manufacturing brick on his own account. In 1885 he sold his interests there and removed to Menomonie, Wisconsin, taking charge of the plant of the St. Paul Brick & tile company, remaining in charge until 1888, when he began working for W. A. Eudaly, of Cincinnati, Ohio, constructing kilns and paving brick plants. He worked in that way all over the country for five years and then came to Springfield to build a plant. When it was completed he was offered the superintendency on the solicitation of Dr. Converse and has since remained in charge. The plant is equipped with modern machinery of superior make and is one of the most up-to-date brick manufactories in central Illinois. Under the management of Mr. Underwood the business has steadily grown and has long been upon a paying basis.
In July, 883, in Wisconsin, Mr. Underwood married Miss H. May Cartwright, a descendant of Peter Cartwright, the noted circuit rider, and of Judge Cartwright of the supreme bench. Bryant Cartwright was born on Martha's Vineyard in 1708 and his son, Bryant Cartwright, jr., was born there in 1738. He removed to Rhode Island and served with the Continental army in the Revolutionary war. He had eight sons: Bryant, Jabez. James, Theodore, Cyrus, Samuel, Davis and Jonathan, and two daughters, Elizabeth and Phenelopha. Judge Cartwright was descended from James Cartwright and Jonathan Cartwright was the great-grandfather of Mrs. Underwood. David Warren Cartwright was born in March, 1814, and his son, David Jonathan Cartwright, was the father of Mrs. underwood. He was born in Allegany county, New York, and died in Cartwright, Wisconsin, aged sixty-one years. He was a lumberman and spent nearly his entire life in the town which was named in his honor. His wife, Martha Jane Putnam, was a direct descendant of General Israel Putnam. By her marriage she had six children: Helen May, who was born August 12, 1862, and is now the wife of J. T. Underwood; Stella Belle, who was born October 13, 1864, and is the deceased wife of W. H. Landon, of Menomonie, Wisconsin; Paul, born August 27, 1866, a traveling salesman residing at Cartwright, Wisconsin; Frank, who was born January 15, 1868, and is deceased; Etta, wife of William Cunningham, of Chicago; and John, who was born August 31, 1879, and resides in Milton, Wisconsin. The father was well to do and provided good educational privileges for his children, who attended both public and private schools.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Underwood has been born a son, Rex Paul, whose birth occurred September 10, 1884, and who is a graduate of the Springfield high school of the class of 1903. The family home at No. 704 South Fifth street was erected by Mr. Underwood in 1899 and is attractively and tastefully furnished. He is a member of the Elks Lodge, Knights of the Golden Eagle, Modern Woodmen of America, Court of Honor and the American Home Circle. He votes with the Republican party and he and his wife are members of the Central Baptist Church, in the work of which Mrs. Underwood takes a very helpful part. Their home is a hospitable one and a favorite resort with their many friends, whose acquaintance they have formed during the eleven years of their residence in this city.