Martin Underwood was born 1596 in Great Bentley, Essex, England to John Underwood (1588-1631) and Rachel Edwards (1586-1650) and died 7 November 1672 Watertown, Middlesex County, Massachusetts of unspecified causes. He married Martha Fiske (1602-1684) 11 May 1629 in Weeley, Essex, England.


1634 Voyage to America


He was a passenger on the 1st Voyage of the English ship Elizabeth, which sailed from Ipswich in April, 1634, bound for New England. The ship arrived safe at Massachusetts Bay. Passenger list information was transcribed in the 19th century by Michael Tepper from records found in London, the Public Rolls Office, formerly at Carleton Ride. Note the ship sailed in April 1634, but the passeger listed is dated six months later to November 1634. Do not confuse this list with the second voyage of the Elizabeth made in 1635.

Martin and his family sailed on the Elizabeth: : 1634 on the Elizabeth of Ipswich (on 30 April 1634, “Martin Underwood,” aged 38, and “Martha his wife,” aged 31, were enrolled at Ipswich as passengers for New England on the Elizabeth [Hotten 281]). (Bond inadvertently entered this information under the name “Martin Townsend,” but soon corrected his mistake [Bond 604, 958].)

Watertown Founders Monument

Watertown Founders Monument

He is listed on Watertown Founders Monument, commemorating the first settlers of Watertown, Massachusetts. The town was first known as Saltonstall Plantation, one of the earliest of the Massachusetts Bay Colony settlements. Founded in early 1630 by a group of settlers led by Richard Saltonstall and George Phillips, it was officially incorporated that same year. The alternate spelling "Waterton" is seen in some early documents.

This monument lists David Fiske (1601-1662), his step-brother Nathaniel Fiske (1615-1676), cousin John Fiske (c1629-1684) and two brother in-laws, Gregory Stone (1590-1672) and Martin Underwood (1596-1672).

They settled immediately at Watertown, where he was made a freeman on 3 Sept 1634. He was granted several plots of land 1636-1642 and held eight parcels by the time of the Watertown Composite Inventory. He received two acre parcels in both the Beaverbrook Plowlands and the Remote Meadows, indicating a household of two persons.

Marriage and Family

No known children see household records above and last will below.


Vital Records

Last Will of 1672

Martin's will makes mention of kinsmen Nathan Fiske, who was actually a cousin of his wife Martha. No children mentioned.

In his will, dated 23 August 1663 and proved 10 December 1672, “Martaine Underwood dwelling in Watertowne” declared that “as for my temporal estate I do bequeath it all unto my dear and beloved wife and do make her sole executor of all my estate whether lands, chattels or moveables and after her death I do give and bequeath my house and homestall and barn with all my lands in Watertowne, and all my rights belonging to me now or may be hereafter unto my kinsman Nathan Fiske”; “in case my cousin Nathan Fiske should die without heirs, executors or assigns then it is my mind and will that my cousin John Fiske his brother shall enjoy all that I have bequeathed unto my cousin Nathan Fiske”; “in case any of my sister’s children should after my decease come over into this country to lay claim to any part of my estate before bequeathed and given, then it is my mind and will that so many of them as shall come over shall have twenty shillings apiece”; “whatever of my estate shall be left undisposed by my wife and not given by her shall all fall into the hands of my cousin Nathan Fiske” [MPR 4:40-41; Rodgers 2:166-67].


  • Martin Underwood of Watertown - GENI
  • Great Migration Newsletter. (Boston, Massachusetts: Great Migration Study Project), [1] (subscription required). BIRTH: About 1596 (aged 38 on 30 April 1634 [Hotten 281]). DEATH: Watertown 7 November 1672 [WaVR 1:35]. MARRIAGE: By 1629 Martha Fiske, baptized St. James, South Elmham, Essex, 9 September 1602, daughter of Jeffery Fiske [NEHGR 88:268-70]. She died at Watertown on 6 May 1684 “aged 82, or 83” [WaBOP 54]. CHILDREN: None recorded.


Footnotes (including sources)