John Underhill's family was from England; his father was a mercenary in Dutch service. John was born possibly in Holland and received little formal education. In Holland he became a member of the Puritan church, although not of great conviction, and there he was married in 1628 while serving as a military student in the house of the Prince of Orange.
In 1630 Underhill went to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in America, where he organized the militia as one of its captains. He became a selectman of the town in 1634. The Puritans had little love of the military, however, and Underhill constantly had to fight for supplies. The Indian Wars came in 1637. Underhill fought in Massachusetts and in the Pequot wars in Connecticut. Returning to Boston in 1638, he became embroiled in a religious dispute and was branded an antinomian, disfranchised, disarmed, and discharged. He returned to England and wrote a book dealing with the Pequot wars.
By 1639 Underhill was in Boston again, where he was arrested and tried before the General Court for making contemptuous speeches. Found guilty, he was banished and fled to Dover, N.H., just in time to avoid trial for adultery. At Dover he became governor of the colony and stoutly resisted Massachusetts' claims to the region. However, he begged forgiveness of the Boston church for adultery and even returned to make a public confession; but he was adjudged insincere and excommunicated. Finally he was reinstated in the church, and in 1641 the sentence of banishment was removed.
At the invitation of the New Haven Court, Underhill moved to Stanford, Conn., in 1643 as captain of militia but quickly resigned to take employ with the Dutch in New Amsterdam (New York) to fight the Native Americans in that region. He settled on Long Island and became a member of the Council of New Amsterdam, but when he denounced Governor Peter Stuyvesant as a tyrant, he was almost tried for sedition. Moving to Rhode Island, he was commissioned a privateer in 1653 and seized the property of the Dutch West Indies Company at Hartford, Conn.
During the Anglo-Dutch War of 1665-1667, Underhill fought with the British to conquer New Amsterdam, and there in 1665 he became surveyor of customs for Long Island. Later he served as high constable and undersheriff of North Riding, Yorkshire, Long Island. He died on Sept. 21, 1672.
For details of Underhill's early activities see his News from America (1638). Biographies include two favorable treatments, J. C. Frost, Underhill, General (4 vols., 1932), and H.C. Shelley, John Underhill (1932). Less favorable is L. E. and A. L. de Forest, Capt. John Underhill (1934). Also valuable is John Winthrop, Winthrop's Journals, edited by J. K. Hosmer (2 vols., 1908). □
"John Underhill." Encyclopedia of World Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 18, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/john-underhill
"John Underhill." Encyclopedia of World Biography. . Retrieved November 18, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/john-underhill
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.
John Underhill, c.1597–1672, military commander in the American colonies, b. England. In 1630 he accompanied John Winthrop (1588–1649) to Massachusetts Bay, and in 1637 he distinguished himself as a commander with John Mason (c.1600–1672) in the Pequot War, of which he wrote an account in Newes from America (1638). Because of his ardent support of Anne Hutchinson in the antinomian controversy, he fled (1638) to Dover, N.H., where he was briefly governor, opposing Massachusetts's claims to authority over the area. He returned to Massachusetts, was reinstated (1640) in the church, then moved to Stamford, Conn. Later in New Netherland he commanded (1644) for the Dutch against the Algonquin; he opposed Peter Stuyvesant and had to leave (1653) the colony but returned after the British conquest of 1664.
See biography by H. C. Shelley (1932).
"Underhill, John." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 18, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/underhill-john
"Underhill, John." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved November 18, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/underhill-john