Underwood Home - Methodist Church - Town Hall
The photograph above (above left on desktop devices) shows the home of John Underwood. Underwood was a wheelwright, carpenter, and boat builder in Occoquan. On July 4, 1860, at the age of 32, Underwood participated with other local Abraham Lincoln supporters in erecting on the property of Joseph T. Janney (at Rockledge) a pole adorned with banners containing the names of Abraham Lincoln and his running mate Hannibal Hamlin. The Prince William Militia chopped the pole down on July 27, 1860. In the presidential election the following November, Abraham Lincoln received 55 votes in Prince William County, all of which came from Occoquan. Once the Civil War began, Confederate forces held Underwood in suspicion. On one of two raids into Occoquan in December of 1862, Confederate forces took captive the “noted abolitionist and traitor.” To reward his loyalty after his release in 1863, Abraham Lincoln sought a position for Underwood, who became a U.S. marshal.
Underwood’s residence burned down in the fire of 1916. The congregation of the Occoquan Methodist Episcopal Church, whose original structure on Commerce Street had also been destroyed in the fire of 1916, in December of 1926, dedicated a new structure on the old Underwood property. The congregation continued to worship in this new church until 1958, when they merged with the Woodbridge Methodist Episcopal Church to become St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, and moved to their current location on G Street in Woodbridge. In 1963 the town of Occoquan purchased the former church on Mill Street to serve as the Occoquan Town Hall, a use which continues today (photograph below on mobile devices and above right on desktop devices).