The life of Aunt Maggie (McGinnis) Underwood

Margaret McGinnis, also known as "Maggie" was the sister of my 2nd great grandmother, making her my second great grand aunt. She was born in June of 1867 and when the census was taken in 1870 and 1880, she was counted in Cincinnatus, in the home of her parents, William McGinnis and Catherine (Smith) McGinnis, as follows:

1870 U.S. Federal Census, Cincinnatus, Cortland, NY

1880 U.S. Federal Census, Cincinnatus, Cortland, NY

The only personal knowledge I have of Margaret is what was printed in the local newspaper. The earliest mention found was in 1886, when she was attending the Normal School at Cortland while her older sister, Mary McGinnis, was teaching in Texas Valley. Mary was my 2nd great-grandmother.


Around 1891, Margaret married Adelbert, better known as "Dell" J. Underwood or "D. J. Underwood". He was born in June of 1868 (or 1869) in Freetown (Cortland County, New York), a son of Joseph and Mary J. (Grant) Underwood. The following year, in 1892, Dell and Maggie were living in Freetown with or near his mother's family:

1892 New York State Census, Freetown, Cortland, NY

In 1900, when the census was taken, they were counted in McGraw, still with no children. He was working as a blacksmith, making carriages and she was working as a corset maker.

1900 U.S. Federal Census, McGraw, Cortland County, New York

In 1910, when the census was taken, Maggie was still living with her husband of 19 years, in McGraw. They were about 42 years old at the time and report having no children. He was self-employed as a carpenter and she worked as a "Trimmer" at a "Corset Factory".

1910 U.S. Federal Census, McGraw, Cortland County, New York

In 1920, she was counted on the census in the home of her sister, Grace Dunbar, in McGraw, Cortland County, New York. Her marital status was divorced.

1920 U.S. Federal Census, McGraw, Cortland County, New York

Maggie died a few months after the 1920 census was taken, but before we get to that, here are some newspaper clippings pertaining to Maggie. From these clippings, we learn that the year after she was married, she was teaching at Freetown Corners. If we relied solely on the census, we might never have known she was a school teacher at all!

Despite all these news clippings pertaining to Margaret, the last twenty years of her life are a bit of a blur. It appears that she and Dell were divorced before 1915. According to data contributed on Findagrave, Dell married widow Elizabeth S. (Bice) Mack in 1912. She was the widow of Jay B. Mack, who had died in 1910, at the age of about 41. Elizabeth died on Sept. 2, 1930 and about seven months later, on April 27, 1931, Adelbert married widow Mae E. (Titus) Elliot, in Montrose, Susquehanna, Pennsylvania. Mae's former husband, Jay M. Elliot, had died in May of 1830 - eleven months before she married Adelbert. Adelbert's birthplace was given as Freetown, New York, on the marriage certificate. He died in 1943 and is buried in McGraw.

I believe this is the same building still standing at the corner of Clinton Street and Route 41 in McGraw today, shown here on Google Maps: (Click and drag to look around!)

From those clippings, we also learn that Maggie was seriously ill from stomach trouble from 1914 until she died on May 10, 1920. The Cortland Standard and Homer Republican, Wed., May 12, 1920, supplies her obituary as follows:

*Notice, her age was incorrect in the obituary. She was born in June, 1867, making her 52 years old at the time of her death in May of 1920. (New York Death Cert #31101).


Margaret rests in McGraw Rural Cemetery, in McGraw, Cortland County, New York. You can view her grave at Findagrave here. Rest in peace, Aunt Maggie.


Click here to learn more about this branch of my family.


Click here for more Cortland County resources and relatives.


#margaretmcginnis #mcginnis

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