About the author
Esther Elda Underwood was born February 23, 1914, on land that her father, Josiah Nathaniel Underwood, had homesteaded outside of Willard, New Mexico. The family, which grew to five children, moved into Willard--a bustling rural town--and her father had an auto garage where he was the first one to sell and repair cars. Esther was a keen observer of life as she grew up in Willard, which she vividly describes in her book. She married Virgil Lee Gregory in 1939 and lived with him first in housing furnished by the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad, as he worked maintaining a railroad section. During World War II, they moved to a farm rented from Esther's parents. They had three children: Tom, Lura, and Ted. Esther loved being a farm wife, but the marriage failed and she moved herself and the children to California, where her sisters lived. She began college at the age of forty and became an elementary school teacher. She taught for twenty years. She was always learning new things and making life better for the children and herself. After retirement, genealogy became a second career, and she published a substantive book about the Underwoods. She loved making quilts and dolls, gardening, and spending time with friends. She died at the age of ninety-three in 2007.