Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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UNDERWOOD, John Curtiss, jurist, born in Litchfield, Herkimer County, New York, in 1808; died in Washington, D. C., 7 December, 1873. He was graduated at Hamilton in 1832, and removed to Clarke county, Virginia, where he engaged in farming, and in 1856 was a delegate to the convention that nominated John C. Fremont for president. Being proscribed for his political sentiments, and especially for his opposition to slavery, he removed to New York, where he became secretary to a company that was formed to deal in southern lands. In 1861 he was nominated consul at Callao, Peru, but he accepted instead the office of fifth auditor in the treasury department, and while there was appointed judge of the district court of Virginia. Early in the civil war he affirmed the right of the United States government to confiscate the enemy's property, and also maintained the civic rights of colored citizens. In his district Jefferson Davis was indicted for treason, and he refused in June, 1866. to admit the prisoner to bail, on the ground that he was in custody of the military authorities. He still presided in May, 1867, when the Confederate leader was released. Judge Underwood was bitterly assailed for his maintenance of the rights of colored citizens and for his zeal in enforcing the Federal laws, and was forced into litigation on account of his decree sanctioning confiscation. UNDERWOOD, John William Henry, jurist, born in Elbert county, Georgia, 20 November, 1816; died in Rome, Georgia, 18 July, 1888. He studied law under his father, Judge William H. Underwood, in Hall county, was admitted to the bar, practised in Habersham county for many years, and removed to Rome, Georgia, in 1851. He was elected solicitor-general for the western circuit in 1843, but resigned in 1846, and was appointed chief justice of the supreme court of Nebraska by President Buchanan, which post he declined. He was elected to the legislature of Georgia in 1857, was made speaker of the house of representatives, and was then elected to congress, serving from 5 December, 1859, till 23 January, 1861, when he resigned on the secession of his state. In 1867 he was appointed judge of the Rome circuit by Governor Charles J. Jenkins, but went out with the reconstruction act in 1868. In 1874 he was reappointed to the same office, and he was re-elected in 1878. He resigned in 1882, to take his place on the tariff commission, to which he was appointed by President Arthur.
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