Books (3)

John Torboss Underhill


Portrait of John Torboss Underhill


August 17, 1842 New York City


May 26, 1924 (aged 81) Brooklyn, New York

Place of burial

Underhill Burying Ground


United States of America Union


Union Army




American Civil War

Col. John Torboss Underhill was an American politician in Westchester County, New York. He had distinguished himself in service during theCivil War, and following the war was elected Colonel of the 27th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment in 1873. He served as president of theRifle Association of Mount Vernon, and president of the Underhill Society of America. While president of the Underhill Society, he was instrumental in efforts to place a memorial to honor his colonial forebear Captain John Underhill at his burial site in the Underhill Burying Ground.


Captain John Underhill and Elizabeth Feake

Nathaniel Underhill and Mary Ferris

Nathaniel Underhill and Mary Hunt

John Underhill and Ann Elizabeth Bowne

Peter Underhill and Ann Schureman

Lancaster Underhill and Effie Maria Torboss

John Torboss Underhill


Underhill was born August 17, 1842, in New York City, the son of Lancaster Underhill (1805-1872) and Effie Maria Torboss (1814-1896). After serving three enlistments in the Civil War, he was brevetted Lieutenant Colonel and, after the war, commanded the 27th Regiment Infantry of New York State’s National Guard. [1]

John T. Underhill was elected Colonel of the 27th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment in 1873. The paraded at Morrisania in a line formed by Brig. Gen. Ryder. Upon his appointment it was written: "Col. Underhill then took command, and it is to be hoped will soon be enabled to put the regiment in something like working order."[2]

The regiment assembled at Morrisania for fall inspection by Brig. Gen. Blauvelt's Chief of Staff, Col. Jackson. The muster of 320 muskets was commanded by Col. John T. Underhill.[3]

While in encampment at Martha's Vineyard in July 1878, so much criticism was made about behavior of the regiment in camp, that Col. John T. Underhill responded publicly. In defense of his men, Col. Underhill said: "The men behaved liked gentlemen, as every islander is ready to testify, and the constant saluting of officers by them was almost tiresome."[4]

Documents from the State Senate of New York in 1881 show an unpaid claim of John Boylan for uniforms provided to the 27th Regiment New York Army National Guard while Underhill was commanding it in 1877 and 1878.[5]

During his professional life Underhill held various political offices in Westchester County while remaining active in several Masonic chapters. In 1874 he was elected President of the Rifle Association of Mount Vernon.[6] Underhill married Anna Maria Wood of New York City in 1866, and after her death in 1876, married his second wife, Lydia Emma Thompson of Great Falls, New Hampshire.

Joining the Underhill Society of America in 1895, he became its third President ten years later and held the office until his death. At the fourteenth annual meeting of the Underhill Society of America where he presided, he "presented the report of the Monument Committee, which has charge of the project for a monument to Capt. John Underhill."[7]

Underhill was personally responsible for making the invitation to invite Theodore Roosevelt to the dedication of a monument to honor Captain John Underhill at the Underhill Burying Ground in Lattingtown, New York. The dedication took place on July 11, 1908.[8]

Underhill died in Brooklyn on May 16, 1924. He is buried in the Underhill Burying Ground on Long Island.


  1. ^ "John Torboss Underhill Papers". Underhill Society of America. 3 September 2010. Retrieved 23 December 2011.
  2. ^ "City and Suburban News". The New York Times. 26 October 1877. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  3. ^ "Military Gossip". The New York Times. 2 November 1873. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  4. ^ "The Twenty-Seventh's Encampment". The New York Times. 12 August 1878. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  5. ^ "Documents of the Senate of the State of New York, Volume 2". New York (State). Legislature. Senate. 1 January 1882.
  6. ^ "Westchester County". The New York Times. 13 December 1874. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  7. ^ "Underhill Society Meets". The New York Times. 13 May 1906. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  8. ^ "Roosevelt Attacks Socialist Ideal". The New York Times. 12 July 1908. Retrieved 24 December 2011.