The family of Asberry Underwood reached out top us after seeing the story of The Paw Paw Man Who Could Breath Fire

While doing a Wikipedia search on Paw Paw, the name A.S. Underwood came up. I was fascinated by what I read so I wrote about it. The story was shared with members of his family and I was able to meet with his great great niece, Robyn Gibson.

John Mason/TSM

I met with Robyn at the Almena Township Cemetery where Asberry is buried. She shared some of the family history with me as well as a couple photos that I could not find online. Along with some family history, there was a story taken from an original Ripley's Believe it or not paper back.

It was headlines for a day in 1927 when Vice President of the United States, Charles Dawes, personally investigated the case of a man who reportedly had the uncanny knack of setting combustible material afire by simply breathing upon it. Dawes and his associates decided there was no hoax involved. -Ripley's Believe it or not

Photo courtesy Robyn Gibson


Robyn also shared a leaflet from a carnival that Underwood traveled with for some years before settling permanently on Drew Street in Paw Paw. Sometime in early 1937 he began to suffer some abdominal pain and was sent to U of M hospital in Ann Arbor for a medical procedure that according to the death certificate I received, was known as a "Trans-urethral Prostectomy". Three days after the surgery he succumbed to Broncheopneumonia and was subsequently buried near his hometown two days later.



I would like to offer a special thank you to Robyn for meeting with me and sharing some of the history of her family.

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