“HISTORY OF THE WATSON FAMILY IN AMERICA 1760-1914”
by Clayton Keith
CONTINUED FROM PAGE ONE
EARLY HOME LIFE
In those days, and for a generation afterward, home life in Pike county was simple and natural. Time passed and young people grew up, formed attachments, married, selected. a suitable tract of land and with the aid of friends and neighbors built a humble cabin of logs in which to begin life.
"They cleared a patch for a garden, had a few chickens, the gift of the old folks, a pair of pigs, a heifer or a cow and calf and perhaps a pony and a woman's saddle, this constituted the bulk of their personal property. In the kitchen was a three-Iegged griddle to cook corn hoe cake on, a sauce pan; a common frying pan and a small oven to bake in. For chairs they used a bench and a few three-legged stools until the head of the house could do better.
There were no allurements beyond their simple homes to abstract their minds from their chosen vocations in life. Here was love in its primeval purity, strengthened by mutual confidence, and buoyed up by "the hope of better days".
All this may seem very simple to those of us who have known only the comforts and luxuries of life. But the reader of this sketch, be he rich or poor, whose ancestors belong to America's past history, sprang from just such people, who lived under just such conditions, as did these.
The 'possum and the coon hunters, the bear trailers and trappers and the men who, like the one already mentioned by his daughter, grappled with the wolf and the catamount and the tiger cat, men who sprung from those hardy and brave men and women, whose names adorn the pages of this sketch, are "on the roll", to tell the world, along down through the ages who it was that gave to the pages of Pike County History, and to their country's history as well, a sort of golden glitter.
"Biography is history teaching by: example", said one of old. Shall we -learn the lesson?
And now, to resume our sketch:
David Watson and his wife, Mary McCord, were the parents of five children - Mary, Hannah, Jeane, Rowana and James Houston - all born in South Carolina. Mary, born in 1786, married William Fullerton; Hannah, born in 1788, married Thomas Dodds; Jeane, born in 1790, married Joseph Montgomery; James Houston, born July 21, 1792, married Elizabeth Carr, and Rosanna, born March 27, 1797, married David Guernsey, Jeane died leaving an infant daughter, Mary, who was reared by her aunt, Mrs. Guernsey. Mary married William Igo and lived at the old home place. Among her children are Miss Jane Igo and her brothers, Rufus and Warren, of this city. She died in 1892, at the Igo place. Her husband preceded her in 1881.
Mrs. David Guernsey had no children of her own, but reared three orphan children of her brother, James H. Watson, and Mary Montgomery, her sister, Jeane's daughter.
David Guernsey was one of the executors of David Watson's estate, Samuel Watson, Jr., being the other. Both are mentioned in the will, which was probated by Cyrus Lewis Watson, their cousin. David Watson died in August, 1822, aged 57 years and 10 months. A document just received gives a copy of the record at Columbia, S. C. It shows that David Watson served with his father in the American revolution, and, here is a copy of the receipt for their services in Continental money, pounds, shillings and pence. The paper is entitled 'Claims against South Carolina, Growing out of the Revolution". Here also, is a claim allowed to David's brother:
"Samuel Watson, Jr., Nov. 2, 1784, for 95 pounds; six shillings and five pence, sterling, for sundries, for militia use, with five years annual interest amounting to 6 pounds, 13 shillings and 5 pence. Account audited and paid."
There can be no question of the fact that David Watson and his father, served in, and Samuel Jr., furnished supplies for, the American army in 1780 and 1781. They were in the battle of Cowpens, in the northern part of York county, S.C., on January 17, 1781, one of the severest and best fought engagements of the whole war. The British were entirely defeated with a loss of 800 while the Americans lost only 12, and had 60 wounded. Gen. Morgan was in command, as the wiley Tarleton well remembered.
James Houston Watson, the only son of David Watson was born in South Carolina, July 21, 1792. Came to Missouri by way of Kentucky, where he was married Oct. 15, 1812, to Elizabeth Carr. They "landed on horseback" with their two little girls, at his father's cabin on Grassy Creek, near Louisiana, on Christmas day, Dec. 25, 1817. Their children were:
(1) Mary Houston Watson, known familiarly as Polly Watson, born July 25, 1813. She was never married: Her death occurred in 1878 at her home in this city, where she had lived for several years with her younger maiden sister.
(2) Cynthia Elizabeth, born February 22, 1820. She was never married. These sisters lived together, and had complete record of the family from the time the first Watson landed in America from Scotland. The name Houston was a family name prior to the landing of the Watsons in the United States, and has been perpetuated since. The Houstons and the Watsons were closely related in Scotland and members of both families settled in South Carolina. Cynthia Watson was a walking encyclopedia of the history of the family, and the early settlers of Pike county. She died at Jonesburg, Mo., in 1883, and since her death the family records were scattered and some were destroyed by fire. These sisters are buried, the former in Buffalo cemetery, the latter at Montgomery City, Mo.
Their father, James H. Watson, had located in their early childhood on Noix Creek near his father. He lived but three years and eight months after his arrival. He died August 23, 1821, and his wife, Elizabeth Carr Watson, died just two days later, August 25, 1821, at their home on Noix Creek, leaving three little orphan girls. David Watson administered on his son's estate, but died before the work was completed August 15, 1822, leaving that and his own estate to be settled up by his son-in-law, David Guernsey, and Samuel Watson, Jr., his brother.
(3) Margaret Ann. was the third daughter of James H. and Elizabeth Carr Watson, who grew to woman-hood. She was born October 29, 1817, in Kentucky. On June 15, 1836, she became the wife of Rev. Thomas Thornton Johnson, a Baptist minister, who lived on a farm on Noix Creek now occupied by Archibald B. McQuie. On the northwest corner of this farm stood the old Noix Creek Baptist church, a hallowed spot for many Christian people. This church was organized in the year 1831. The old frame building, large and commodious for that day, stood on the bank of Noix Creek - a veritable Jordan for the Baptists-near the Paris road. Rev. .Johnson's residence was south of the road and about 200 yards from the church. For several years, in the forties and early fifties, Rev. Johnson conducted a Sunday school of which he was superintendent, at the old church. In this department of church work he was recognized as a master workman. It was his delight to have the people come on Sunday with their dinners and Bibles and readers and "Blue-back Spellers" and spend the greater part of the day in studying the Bible and learning to read and spell. He said: "You must learn to 'read before you can understand the Bible". This was a famous school. People from eight and ten miles around came. They had none of our modern S.S. literature to guide them. They were dependent on their leader for instruction. He taught and lectured and they all sang and prayed. And one day Rev. J. F. Smith, a noted evangelist, came to his aid and together they held a protracted meeting that will be remembered as long as one of the participants lives; there were 120 conversions at that meeting, two-thirds of them were from Rev. Johnson's s.s. pupils, two of his own children among that number, Mrs. Mary S. Chapin and Thos. T. Johnson, Jr., who entered the church together at that meeting, in the early fifties and who recently passed away at their homes in Montgomery City, Mo., within two days of each other. Mrs. Chapin died on Sunday, February' 16, and her brother, on the following Tuesday, the 18th. Both had lived long and useful lives and died beloved and respected by the entire community. Each left a good name and a Christian character as a heritage to their children.
The remaining children of Margaret Ann (Watson) Johnson are Judge Houston Watson Johnson of Montgomery City, Mo., and his two brothers, George E. and Henry S. and their sister, Mrs. Martha A. Faulconer, wife of Dr. Faulconer of Montgomery City. Thos. T. Johnson, Jr., who recently passed away, left a wife and three children, two sons and a daughter, Oscar T. and Clarence W. Johnson of Montgomery City, Mo., and Mrs. R. M. Dyer of Moberly; Mo.
Mrs. Chapin left four married children - Lilly May, now Mrs. W. S. White, Harry A., Margaret, now Mrs. Edward Vandeveer, and Charles Chapin, all of Montgomery City, Mo.
Judge Houston V. Johnson.
This sketch would be incomplete without a brief notice of this gentleman and his good wife, who was formerly Miss Honey, and with whom he has lived in sweetest harmony during the period of their married life. While urging a full and complete write-up of the pioneer Watsons, he has studiously avoided contributing a single sentence in regard to himself. We think him rather too modest for biography.
Like two well remembered citizens of this city, Dr. Wm. C. Hardin, and Capt. George Barnard, when approached for an interview in 1882, for publication in our Pike County History, were silent, having not a word to communicate in reference to themselves. "It seems," said one," too much like getting ready to write my obituary, for which I am not prepared just yet."
Judge Johnson belongs in a class with these two gentlemen. He is a lawyer well-known throughout North Missouri, having served as judge of the 11th judicial circuit. Always cheerful, frequently bubbling over with good humor. Unlike the late Judge A. H. Buckner, he has seen the funny side of life, and lives largely on that side of the road. As an optimist he leads the procession. No higher encomium can be pronounced upon him than to say that in the county in which he lives he and his wife are regarded as the salt of the earth.
The third pioneer of the Watson family to record his deed in Pike county was John Watson. He was the third son of James Houston Watson Jr., of revolutionary fame - the others being David and Samuel, Jr. I transcribe a page from his old family Bible, now in possession of his grandson, Benj. F. Watson, of this county. "John Watson, his book. God grant him grace therein to look, and not to look but understand. He was born July ye 30, 1766, and married April ye 12, 1791, to Margaret Byers, who was born November ye 30, 1770."
Born in York District, South Carolina, he came to Pike county, Mo., in 1808. In company with the rest of the colony, in 1813, he fled to Illinois for safety from the Indians. As soon as the war with Great Britain closed and peace was restored in 1815, he returned and made permanent settlement on Noix Creek, and in January, 1817, entered a tract of land on which Watson Station is now located. He is remembered as an industrious thrifty farmer and miller. In 1819, he built a horse-mill, the second mill built in the county, about a hundred yards east of the house now occupied by James Edwards. The spot is easily identified today. "I often went to that mill," says Mrs. Elizabeth Jane Smith, "when I was a little girl, in company with my father, James Smith. I rode one horse because it wouldn't lead, and he rode the other, with a sack of corn on its back. This was in the 30's, for I was born in 1827."
As a citizen of the territory, and later, of the state of Missouri he took an active part in the affairs of Pike county, as an examination of the records show. He had married Margaret Byers in 1791, in South Carolina. She was born November 30, 1770. Their family consisted of eight living children, four sons and four daughters; not including two unnamed children that died soon after their birth. Here is the list of his children as recorded by him on the same page already quoted from under the head of births:
Elizabeth Watson, born February, ye 29, 1792.
James Meek Watson, born April ye 17, 1794.
William Byers Watson, born June. ye 17, 1796.
Levina Houston Watson, born November ye 5, 1799.
Patsy Watson, born August ye 24, 1801.
________, born 1803.
________, born 1804.
Cyrus Beaty Watson, born February Ye 19, 1806.
Zenos Hamilton Watson, born March ye 28, 1809.
John Franklin Watson, born July ye 24, 1813.
Elizabeth, his first born child, was never married. She died at the age of 75 years. Her grave may be seen beside that of her father in Buffalo cemetery. A beautiful marble shaft adorns the head of her grave, likewise that of her father's grave. Her mother's grave, for some cause, is not marked.
James M. Watson, known as "Meek" Watson, was county surveyor and a justice of the peace for several years, in the '30's. His beautiful pennmanship is in evidence in every deed and public document executed by him, that the writer has been shown. He is remembered also for his accuracy as an official as well as his honesty and probity of character. He died October 25, 1855, aged 61 years and six months. His wife, Elizabeth C. Watson, was born March 12, 1792, in South Carolina, and died March 3, 1847, aged 49 years. Their family consisted of only one son; James B. Watson, born August 18, 1829, who died August 9, 1844, aged almost 15 years.
William Byers Watson and his descendants have left no records for the biographer. Tis said that he never came to Missouri.
Levina Houston Watson married Jacob Baxter of Buffalo, and her only living descendant today is Edward Baxter, a citizen well known in Louisiana. His beautiful home on Eighth street is yet without a housekeeper. Perhaps he never read that beautiful stanza, that runs thus:
"The heart, like a tendril, accustomed to cling, let it grow where it twill, cannot flourish alone; but 'twill [cling to the nearest and loveliest thing, that can twine with itself and make sweetly its own."
We omit the date of his birth. It is sufficient to know that he is yet in his prime. This scribe is indebted to him for many little favors in the writing of this sketch.
CYRUS BATES WATSON.
The most generally known of the four brothers, and the name most frequently mentioned In speaking of this branch of the Watson family, is Cyrus B. Watson. He was born February 19, 1806, in South Carolina, came as a babe with his parents in 1808 to Pike county. He is yet spoken of as being a boy nine years old when his father made permanent settlement in 1815 on Noix Creek. He lived at home and labored during his young manhood. In connection with his father, John Watson, he entered several tracts of land in the fertile Noix Creek valley. By purchase and entry he became the owner of several hundred acres. Like the mother mentioned in the "Hoosier School-master" who said to her boy, ambitious for his education, as she started him to school: "Now, my son, while you are a gittin', git a plenty," he also believed in getting a plenty of land, as his numerous entries, covering a period of nearly 30 years, from 1825 to 1853, show. After the death of his father, John Watson, in 1840, he purchased the interest of all his brothers and sisters, in the old homestead whereby his farm became one continuous tract of over 500 acres. It was for him that Watson Station was named.
The original letters patent; known as land warrants, from Presidents J. Q. Adams, in 1825; Andrew "Jackson, in 1835; Martin Van Buren, in 1838; John Tyler, in 1841. and Franklin Pearce, in 1853, are still in possession of his grandson, Benj. F. Watson, preserved in a little trunk 8 inches wide by 20 inches long and 6 inches deep, covered with undressed deer-skin, an heirloom in the Watson family. One of these land warrants for 80acres, was “assigned to Cyrus B. Watson by James E. Glenn, a private in Captain Kendrick's company, South Carolina Militia; war of 1812". He was also the owner of “that tract of land lying on the Mississippi River and just north of Little Calumet Creek, containing 205 acres, a fractional quarter section," on which Arthur Burns in 1808 built the first house in Pike county. The deed as preserved In that little trunk at B. F. Watson's home shows this to be true.
A few years before his death which occurred July 12, 1887, Cyrus B. Watson divided his landed estate among his five children, giving to each a comfortable home. To four of them he gave farm land, and to his unmarried daughter, Nancy Watson he gave a home and other rental property in the town of Bowling Green, where she lives and enjoys life as the years roll by. When we see how well his children were provided for by him, we can readily believe that he had read with profit that passage of Holy Writ which says: "He that provideth not for his own, is worse than an infidel, and hath denied the faith". Like his father, the miller, he was a man of untiring industry-always at work, either on the farm, or as on rainy days in the shed. "At sunrise in winter; his axe could be heard ringing in the timber, and In summer, under the burning sun of July and August he could be seen, scythe in ,hand, cutting out his fence corners", said a venerable neighbor. "The only, man," said he, "to whom I can compare Cyrus Watson was the late Julius Jackson. In industry, rugged honesty, thrift, and straightforwardness of character they belonged in the same class. And I may add that both alike are held in memory by their descendants. He died July 12,1887.
CYRUS BATES WATSON'S CHILDREN.
(1) Martha, who died in childhood;
(2) James Meek, born Sept. 25, 1836;
(3) John L. Watson, now at Pilot Point, Texas;
(4) Amanda Watson;
(5) Benjamin F. Watson and
(6) Nancy A. Watson.
James Meek Watson married Texanna McMillin, Nov. 23; 1860. Their children are (1) Robert Siegel; (2) Edward Bates, (3) Dazarene; ( 4) Tillie, (5) Clara and (6) Willie. Mrs. Watson died a few years ago. The father and several children live one half mile west of Watson Station.
Amanda Watson married James Edwards and lives at the old home place - "close by the mill" site. Mrs. Edwards is the mother of three children. One son, Mike, aged 30 years, is working on the farm. She has in her possession a small rocking chair, in which her grandfather, John Watson, as a little boy was rocked. It is over 100 years old, yet money could not buy it. She also has the cane that her grandfather used, supposed to be almost 100 years old.
Benjamin F. Watson, born Nov. 25, 1845, married Mary B. Wilsnack, March 16, 1892, in Pike county, Mo. They have two sons - Emmett and Ira Watson. Both are unmarried. But they are young bachelors, therefore there is the more hope. I said to a mother, "I have heard it said by a young bachelor that the wise young man of today does not get married." "He'll never say that when he once falls in love," was her prompt reply. "I am not anxious for my sons to get married too early."
When the writer called at the home of B.F. Watson, it was near 2 o'clock p.m. Mrs. Watson, much younger in appearance than her venerable looking husband with his long flowing beard, said: "Mr. Watson is at home, but is taking his afternoon nap, and I do not wish to disturb him until he wakes up." "Certainly not, Mrs. Watson." said I. ''It is a pleasure for me to meet a lady who believes in and practices the Rest Cure." Continuing, she said: "For years I have been in the habit of putting him to bed at 1 o'clock every day and allowing him to sleep until he awakens.” And so I had the pleasure of getting the genealogy of this particular branch of the family from his wife. At the conclusion of the interview I said: "Madam, will you be kind enough to tell me where Mr. Watson found you?" "Right here in Pike county. I am of German extraction". "Well. Madam, I must say without intending any flattery, that any woman who will thus treat her husband, by having him rest in bed, and stand guard over him every afternoon while he sleeps for two hours is a woman of superior intelligence, and deserves historical recognition.” Just as I was leaving, he awakened and came in and confirmed all that his wife had told me. He also brought out the little trunk in undressed deer-skin and, loaned me all the documents that were of service in this write-up.
He walked as erect as an Indian and with as elastic a step as if but 40 years of age. Truly has he discovered the secret of a long life. And may his good wife be spared many years to aid him in practicing that secret.
Mary A. Watson, unmarried, lives in the western part of Bowling Green and was in a happy state of mind on the day of our interview, (Oct. 1912.)
Zenos Hamilton Watson, the fourth son of John Watson sold his farm to his brother, Cyrus B., several years ago and moved to the state of Illinois, where I am told his descendants live.
John Franklin Watson, of this, the youngest son of John Watson, the biographer knows nothing, having received no data in reference to him.
The pioneer to be mentioned in the next chapter will be Samuel Watson, Jr., known in this community as “Bunty Sam" Watson, the founder of the Watson Seminary fund.
This chapter is incomplete without the following paragraph, which corrects an error and supplies an omission:
Cyrus B. Watson's first child was (1) Angeline, born in 1832, died in 1836. The headstone that marks the little grave of this child in Buffalo cemetery was the key which led to the identification of the unmarked graves of David Watson of Noix Creek and that of his son, James Houston Watson, and the graves of their wives, grandparents and great-grandparents of Judge H.W. Johnson. (2) Martha, born in 1834, lived to be over 70 years of age. Was never married. (3) James Meek Watson, born Sept. 25, 1836. lives on his farm west of Watson Station. (4) John L. Watson lives at Pilot Point, Texas. (5) Amanda. (6) Benj. F. and (7) Nancy A.
Cyrus B. Watson's fifth child, Amanda was twice married. First to Thomas Sutton. Mary T. Sutton, now Mrs. Thomas Moore, is the only living child by that union. Thos. Sutton was a Union soldier and died at Vicksburg, Miss., during the siege. In 1874 Amanda Watson Sutton married James Z. T. Edwards. To this union three children were born. (1) Cyonia, who lives at home, unmarried; (2) Elizabeth, who died in childhood, and (3) Mike Edwards at home with his parents. The daughter, Mary T. Sutton, married Thomas R. Moore, January 4, 1874. Their children are, (1) Ivie Lee, who married ________ Edwards and lives in Louisiana, Mo.; (2) Esque who lives near Watson Station; (3) Dazie May, who married J. W. Parsons, and lives near Watson Station; (4) Wiley J. Patrick Moore, born Oct. 4, 1884. In 1904 he left home for St. Louis, where he enlisted in the U. S. navy, was taken to Charleston Navy Yard, and transferred. to the battleship Illinois where he remained three years and a half. During this period of service he made the trip with Robley D. Evans - "Fighting Bob", “round the Horn".
In 1908 he enlisted again. He was transferred to the Pacific Station on the cruiser California, and went on a six months' cruise. He served in the Asiatic station for two and a half years, as first sergeant. In April, 1913, he enlisted for a third time. He is now at the Marine Recruiting Station in St. Louis.
In chapter III, attention was called to the lack of full information in reference to this branch of Uncle Jimmie Watson's descendants. The desired information has been received. And in justice to all concerned that section of this sketch is cheerfully rewritten. Mrs. Sarah Watson Hamilton, a granddaughter of James Watson, the pioneer of 1808, in her poem " A Pioneer of '53", says :
"The pioneers who came across the plains
Were no creations of a wild impulse."
"They -were distinguished for brawn and brain,
And came to share dominion with the Indian".
After reading this little volume, Mrs. Mary I. Collins of this city, remarked: "I remember very distinctly hearing my mother speak of the parents of Mrs. Hamilton, the author, James Watson, Jr., and Emily Franklin, both were reared here in Pike county, Mo. Emily Franklin was reared from childhood by Aunt Jennie Byers at her home on Buffalo Creek. Soon after she was married her husband moved to Iowa, near DubuQue and a few years later crossed the plains to Oregon, in 1853. I was 21 years old then and remember the talk we had about that trip."
The following letter from Mrs. Winnie Gantenbein, a great-granddaughter or Uncle Jimmie Watson, like the Lord's prayer, is so clear, concise and comprehensive, that It is printed just as she wrote it:
1524 Hawthorne Ave.,
Dear Sir: At the request or my father's cousin, Mr. William C. Watson, of San Francisco, I am sending you a brief account of the Oregon branch of the Watson family, whose history you are tracing.
I believe my grandfather, James Watson, was a son of the James Watson who settled on Noix Creek in 1808, as he (my grandfather and Wm. Finley Watson, father of Mr. William C. Watson of San Francisco, were brothers). My grandfather married Emily Franklin and they became the parents of thirteen children. They seem to have always lived on the frontier In Missouri, Iowa, and later in Oregon, whither they came with ox-wagons in 1853, settling on the north bank or the Umpqua at Mount Scott, a few miles from the mountain bearing that name. "There was a tribe of several hundred Indians about the settlement, with whom my grandfather managed always to have kept on good terms, even when there was hostility in that part or the state. I remember two or three of them who lived to be old men, and were often about the ranch when I visited it as a child. They seemed very much attached to the family, and were excellent guides to fishers and hunters.
Of my grandfather's family, the following members grew to be men and women: (1) Sarah, who married Dr. Salathiel Hamilton, and became the mother of eight children. Dr. Hamilton was for years the leadIng physician or Roseburg, and for some time regent or the State University of Eugene. Their sons and daughters all married. The oldest, James Hamilton, is a judge of the state circuit court for his district, and while a democrat in politics, has been elected to many successive terms of office in a strongly republican county. The other sons are Frank Hamilton, a lawyer of Astoria, Oregon; Walter, a physician at Roseburg; Charles, a druggist at Roseburg; and Luther Hamilton, a leading physician of this city, Portland. The daughters are Mrs. Frank Macelli, Mrs. William Washburn, and Mrs. Henry Richardson. Mrs. Sarah Watson Hamilton died in 1909. Dr. Hamilton, her husband, is still living and is over 90 years of age. Aunt Sarah was something of a writer. Her poem called "A Pioneer of Fifty-three" is published in book form, and throws much light on early Oregon history. Another poem, "The Angel of the Covenant" has been printed.
(2) James Finley Watson, my father, was born in Iowa, in 1840, and died in Portland in 1897. He held several judicial offices, among them that corresponding to chief justice of this state, and was appointed U.S. district attorney by President Arthur, which office he held till sometime after the election of President Cleve- land. I am his only living child, his other daughter having died very young. My mother's name was Isabel Flint, and through her line I was admitted to the Daughters of the American Revolution. My husband is Calvin U. Gantenbein, a judge of the circuit court of this (Multnomah) county. He also holds the position of dean of the law department of the University of Oregon, and holds a certificate of eligibility as a Colonel of Volunteers, in case of war. We have four children - James Watson; Mary Ellen; Calvin Edward, and John Flint.
(3) David Lowry, my grandfather's next son is a lawyer of Coos City, Oregon. He has held the office of county judge and has a large family. Several of his sons having entered the profession of the law.
(4) Edward Byers Watson, Is a lawyer of this city. He has held the office of judge of this county and supreme courts, and a few years ago received several thousand votes for the U. S. senate, running against Mr. Jonathan Bourne, who was elected and two other unsuccessful candidates. He and my father were partners for a number of years in the firm of Watson, Beekman and Watson.
After my father's death in '97, the firm was succeeded by that of Watson and Beekman. My uncle, Edward, has two children - James, a lawyer, and Gertrude, who is now Mrs. Rufus Holman or this city, Portland.
(5) My father's sister, Emma, married Mr. Silas Hazzard, a lawyer of Coos Bay. She died a number of years ago.
(6) Kate, the third daughter, married Mr. John L. Floyd, and has lived for many years in Southern California. Her husband has an orange orchard.
(7) Florence, the youngest daughter, is the wife of Mr. A. M. Crawford, attorney general of this state.
(8) Robert, married and located on a ranch near the old place. He has two children.
(9) Charles is also a farmer near the old homestead at Mount Scott. He has a large family.
(10) John, the only unmarried member of the family, was for many years a clerk in the land office at Roseburg. He is now a farmer.
Any more definite information I shall be glad to send you, should you desire it. Very truly yours, (Signed)
WINIFRED WATSON GANTENBEIN.
The Great Teacher, in one of his parables, represents two brothers - only sons - as quarreling and going to law over their father's estate; and the father looking back from the Spirit World with a heart filled with sadness at the unwise course his sons are pursuing. This parable furnishes foundation for the following observation, an opposite picture: With what feelings of satisfaction and pleasure can Uncle Jimmie Watson from his home in the Spirit World view the careers of so many of his descendants who belong to the Oregon branch, as they have filled, and are today filling, places of honor, trust, and responsibility to which they have been elevated by their fellow-citizens of the state of Oregon.
Robert J. Watson was born Nov. 9, 1808 in the District of York, South Carolina, and died February 28, 188.7, in Warren county, Missouri. His first wife was Sarah McQuie, a sister of Langley McQuie and Mrs. William Finley Watson. They had three children - Sarah J., Cornelius and Emma. Sarah married a Mr. Learn, but had no children. Cornelius died before he had fully grown to manhood. Emma married Mr. L. H. Barnard and had one son, now living in Oakland, Cal. All three are now dead. His second wife was a widow, Mrs. William Kirk (nee Earnest) whom he married October 10, 1860. They had one daughter, born in Sangamon county, Illinois, September 12, 1861, named Jessie. On May 6, 1885, she married Edwin M. Schultz, in Warren county, Missouri. They are living at Citronelle, Alabama, and have seven children, five sons and two daughters, as follows:
(1) Grace Alletta, born July 23, 1886, in Warren county, Mo. She teaches in the high school in Citronelle, Alabama. (2) Robert Watson, born October 4, 1888, in Springfield, Ill. He has charge of a large orchard farm in Lawrence, county, Penn., belonging to Mr. J. B. Johnson. On June 11, 1813, he married Mr. Johnston's daughter, Marian Elizabeth: They live near New Wilmington, Penn. (3) Helen Houser, born Dec. 27, 1890, in Springfield, Ill. She is principal of a school in Chunchula, a village on the Mobile & Ohio R. R., midway between Citronelle and Mobile. (4) Edwin Frederick, born February 25, 1893, in Springfield, Ill. On January 22, 1913, he married Miss Frances Ellen Brown, daughter of Will. T. Brown of Jacksonville, Ill. They are now in "La Barre", a suburb of Tampico, Mexico, where he has charge of the office of the lumber department of the El Aguila Oil company. (5) Lester Kirk, born July 12, 1895, in Springfield, Ill. He entered the navy February 5, 1913, and is hospital apprentice on the U.S.S. Franklin, at Norfolk, Va. He has finished his preliminary training and is expecting to be appointed to some outgoing vessel at any time. (6) Roger Ernest, born Oct. 7, 1897, in Springfield, Ill. He is with his brother, Watson, at New Wilmington, Penn. (7) Adrian Hubert, born February 16, 1890, in Springfield, Ill. He is at home with his parents, and is in the second year of high school work.
The mother of the above seven children, Mrs. Jessie E. Watson Schultz, in a letter dated August 15, 1913, says: "Our family came here (Citronelle, Ala.) from Springfield, Ill., in September, 1908. We lived on a farm four miles west of Citronelle for four years, but last fall we moved nearer to town. We rent a 20-acre place just inside the town limits. We left Springfield to get away from the severe winters. Lester's health was quite poor when we came here, and several others of us found Illinois did not agree with us. Lester has entirely recovered, as well as the others. We like the south very much and don't feel as if we ever wanted to go north to live again. If there is anything else you would like to know, that I can tell you, I will be glad to do so. When you have the 'History' finished, I would like very much to have a copy of it."
The Last of Her Family.
The following sketch of Mrs. Electa Fisher appeared in the Press in July, 1898:
At 4 o'clock p. m., of July 17, 1898, at her home three miles southeast of Bowling Green, Mrs. Electa Fisher, the oldest female citizen of Pike county, passed into her long sleep full of years and honors. Her age was 82 years, 10 months and 22 days. She was the widow of William W. Fisher, to whom she was married Dec. 13, 1838, and who died January 9, 1892. She removed with her husband to Rails county near New London, where they lived until 1848, when. they removed to Pike. Her maiden name was Watson and she was the daughter of James and Sarah Watson. She left four children, namely, Barnett W., Sarah E., wife of R. W. Campbell, Joseph A. of Texas and John J. Fisher. Two are dead, Eliza Jane and James L. Fisher.
The funeral services were conducted at Antioch C, P. church of which she had been a member for fifty years, on Monday, July 18, by Rev. R. 0. EImore, and the remains were interred in Antioch cemetery.
There is but one other person who antedates Mrs. Fisher in length of residence in the county and that is I. N. Bryson, Sr., of this city, and to his wonderful memory of the old days we are Indebted for these recalling events which date back almost to the beginning of the century. They were companions in childhood and many a time has he carried Electa in his arms. Their parents were neighbors and friends in old Carolina before they came to Pike county.
Her father, James Watson, came to this county in 1808, and settled on Noix Creek just south of where the Fritz house now stands. He was one of the first settlers and helped to build the old Buffalo fort on the Isgrig place two miles south of this city. After the murder of Robert Jordan and his son by the Indians in 1813, the colony went back to St. Louis and Mr. Watson crossed the river into Illinois, where on the 25th of August, 1815, Electa was born. The family returned to their old home on Noix Creek in the spring of 1817. In the meantime, in the fall of 1816, John Bryson and his family who had been neighbors of the Watsons in South Carolina, arrived here and occupied a cabin built on the site of the old fair grounds in the west end by John Turner, one of the earlier settlers "who had returned to St. Louis, until they built a cabin of their own where Eighth and Tennessee streets now cross each other. "
Here on the site of' this city they reared their families together and a
friendship was cemented which lasted through life. Mrs. Fisher had five brothers and one sister all of whom preceded her to the grave. They were Mrs. Gillum who never Game to Missouri but who died in Illinois, Cyrus Lewis, John Barber, James, David, Robert J. and William F. Cyrus and John were Presbyterian preachers who left in an early day and settled in Illinois. David was a blacksmith who moved to RaIls county and died at New London. He learned his trade with Gen. Johnson, father of the late Capt. Harry Johnson of this city. Robert J. moved to ForisteI in St. Charles county, James went to Dubuque and from there to Oregon where some of his sons have reached prominence.
William F. was a Cumberland Presbyterian preacher and removed to St. Louis to labor in the cause.
On September 18, 1893, the old settlers of Pike county held a reunion at Buffalo church and offered two chairs as prizes, one for the oldest male citizen and the other for the oldest female citizen. The chairs were made by George McLoed of Grassy Creek from cherry timber cut from a tree which grew on the old Wm. Brysoll homestead on Grassy Creek. The prizes were awarded to I. N. Bryson and EIecta Fisher, and the venerable couple were seated in the chairs on the pulpit platform and the presentation speech was made by the late Ed. B. Hicks, in an address which for beauty and eloquence has never been surpassed in Pike county. Mrs. Fisher was a noble specimen of the "mothers in Israel" who side by side with their husbands braved the hardships of the wilderness to found the civilization which we now enjoy, and her memory will live ever green in the hearts of her posterity.
The fourth pioneer of this family to record his deed in Pike county, was Samuel Watson, Jr. He was known as "bachelor Sam” - or “Bunty Sam” to distinguished him from Samuel E. Watson of Buffalo Creek, who was a tall slender man, and the brother of “Uncle' Jimmie” Watson. He was known as Samuel Watson Jr., in his native county in South Carolina, where in 1790, the first census was taken in the United States, and in his will, made in 1833, he says: "I, Samuel Watson, Jr., do make and ordain this, my last will etc.” He was the second son of the Revolutionary soldier, James Houston Watson, Jr., and brother of David and John Watson, already mentioned.
Born in York county, S. C., in 1766, he came with his brothers to Pike county, Mo., and made permanent settlement as early as 1817 at the big spring 2 miles northwest of Louisiana on what is now the Frankford road, at the Spence Norvell place, now occupied by his son, John Norvell.
"He had married in South Carolina," says Mrs. Elizabeth Jane Smith.
"My father, James Smith, helped to move him and his brothers from South Carolina, through Kentucky to Missouri more than ten years before I was born. I was born in 1827.” My mother, Miss _____ Finley, was a daughter of Bunty Sam's sister, Mrs. Alexander Finley, and she was very intimate with her Uncle Sam and his wife, and from my mother, I learned the following: 'Mrs. Samuel Watson died in her first confinement and the child also and both were buried in the same grave, very soon after they come to Missouri. He lived the life of a bachelor ever afterward. He had a colored woman, Esther, to keep house for him, and a colored boy, Marsh, to do the chores.' Although I was only 8 or 9 years old when Uncle Sam died, I remember him and Esther and Marsh well. He made his will two or three years before he died and I remember how the neighbors and my mother talked about that part of his will where he made provision for the free education of the children of the poor. People, then, thought that was a strange and wonderful thing. He was a good man and was noted for his kindness to everybody. He was also a very economical, saving sort of a man. Some people after his death reported that he had a large sum of money buried in the ground on the bank of Grassy creek, and I have known men who said they had hunted for it."
The writer of this sketch is indebted to his friend, Mr. Doug Wells, the present clerk of probate of Pike county, for a copy of Samuel Watson's will, as recorded at Bowling Green. As Samuel Watson, Jr., died childless, the space that would otherwise have been devoted to his descendants will be used to present his will in full. Here it is:
LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF SAMUEL WATSON, JR.
Know ye, that I, Samuel Watson, Jr., of the county of Pike, and state of Missouri, being now (October, 1833) in perfect health, mind and memory and knowing that I must die, and in order that my pecuniary matters may be the more easily settled when I shall be called out of time into eternity, do make and ordain this my last will and testament, hereby revoking all other and former wills and testaments by me made, and utterly setting aside all other dispositions of my property, that is to say:
First: I give my soul to God who gave it and my body to the dust from which it sprung.
Second: It is my will and desire that all my property (excepting my two slaves, Esther and Marsh) should be sold at a credit of 12 months, and the purchaser of my land not to have deed for the same until the purchase money shall have been paid.
Third: It is my will and desire that my estate be disposed of as follows:
I give and bequeath to my brother, John Watson, $20.00. To his son, Cyrus Watson, $30.00. To David Guernsey, the husband of my niece, Rowena Guernsey, late Rowena Watson, $10. To Polly Watson, Margaret Watson and Cynthia Watson, grand-daughters of my late brother, David Watson, the sum of $10.00 each. To my brother-in-law, Alexander Finley, and his wife, the sum of $30.00. To their son, Milton Finley, the sum of $1.00. To their son-in-law, James Smith, $30.00. To my brother-in-law, Robt. Hemphill, and his wife, the sum of $150.00. To my brother, Aaron Watson, all the money which he owes me, for payments made by me for some of his debts. To my brother-in-law, Robert Barber, and his wife, Jane, the sum of $50.
Fourth: I give and bequeath to my slave Esther, her personal freedom from me and my heirs, forever. I further give and bequeath the sum of $500 for the purpose of supporting her free from any public charge. Should she become too old and infirm to support herself, the said sum of $500 to be paid into the treasury of said Pike county under the direction of the county court of said county, and to be loaned out from time to time, under the direction of said court, and the interest thereof to be applied to the support of said Esther, as she may need the same. And it is furthermore my desire that (after the death of the said Esther) $200 of the said sum be set aside and the same is hereby bequeathed to the said county of Pike for the purpose of supporting a free school for the poor of said county. And it is my will that the other $300 of the said sum of $500, be equally divided among the above named legatees.
Fifth: I give and bequeath to the said county of Pike the further sum of $100 for the purpose of supporting a free school for the poor of said county, and direct my executor to pay the same into the county treasury of said county under the direction of the county court. This, (with the before mentioned sum of $200) making the entire sum of $300 for the support of a free school for the poor, it is my will and desire, shall be loaned, under the direction of the county court of said county, and the interest to be added to the principal from year to year until there shall be some legal provision for free schools in this state and whenever there shall be some legal provision for free schools in this county by law, then it is my desire that the interest that thereafter may accrue on the sum total of principal and interest (up to the time of establishing such school) shall be annually appropriated toward defraying the expense of said public school, reserving the said $300.00 and the interest which may have accrued thereon, before the establishment of such public free school as a permanent fund.
Sixth: (Disposition of his slave, Marsh).
Seventh: It is further my will and desire that all the rest and residue of my property not before mentioned and disposed of shall be equally divided among my several legatees mentioned in the third clause of this will.
SAMUEL WATSON, JR, July 15th, 1833.
WM. C. HARDIN,
Proven and admitted to probate February 2nd, 1836.
Mr. Doug Wells adds: "Among the files of the estate of Samuel Watson, Jr., deceased, I find two receipts (Nov. 20, 1836 and February, 1839), aggregating $600 together with interest, $67.50, total $667.50, from Levi Pettibone, county treasurer of Pike county, to the administrators of said estate: This amount, I take it, was the original capital of the Watson school fund. It now amounts to about $3500.
The grounds known as the “Watson Seminary" lands, in Ashley, Mo. were conveyed by Lemuel Wells and wife on February 9, 1855.
Truly a remarkable will, in some respects, and so beautifully expressed, written by himself, said Mrs. Smith. He seems to have remembered all who were near of kin to him, and while making ample provision for the education of the poor for all time to come, he made no provision for the care and recognition of the spot where his body was "given back to dust".
The writer of this sketch made diligent inquiry for his grave and visited neighboring cemeteries with no practical result. He sat down and reasoned thus: It must have been the wife of Samuel Watson Jr., who was buried on Christmas day, 1817, as the wives of all the other brothers of David Watson were still living when that little autobiography of Miss Polly Watson was written. And she must have been buried in Buffalo cemetery as there was no other cemetery in this part of the county for 25 years after her death (in 1817), and naturally we suppose that the friends and relatives and executors of the last will of Samuel Watson, Jr., would bury his body, in 1836, beside that of his wife.
A few months ago, in company with Mr. M. Rosengreen, a monument dealer of this city, we made a careful search of all the old headstones in Buffalo cemetery and among those that had fallen to the ground, Mr. Rosengreen turned one over with his crow-bar and, after removing the mould from the letters, we read 'as follows:
Samuel Watson, Jr.
Born ____ Died____
all the rest of the inscription was illegible - the letters were entirely gone - so that our magnifying glass was of no service. No other Samuel Watson. Jr.. is known to have lived in this county, so we conclude that we have found Samuel Watson, Jr's. grave and that of his wife - an unmarked grave, lying immediately south of his, with fragments of a head stone lying near.
I conclude this chapter with a query: Would the good people of Pike county censure the honorable county court, the custodians of the Watson school fund, if they should deem it the proper thing to expend the sum of $25 for a plain granite headstone to mark for all time the spot where rests the dust of Samuel Watson, Jr.. and his companion?
This spot of ground, the Buffalo cemetery, is a sacred and historic spot. It should be held by the county of Pike in perpetua (as the law books say) "for all time". Around it cluster some glorious stories from the date of its fixture as a cemetery site - March 30, 1813, a century ago, to the present day. The history of Pike County is indissolubly-interwoven with it for one hundred years. Here, at least three of the heroes who risked their lives in defense of their country in the field of battle, viz: Roland Burbridge, James Mackey and David Watson; and others, viz: Robert and James Jordan, who gave their life blood in their effort to prepare homes for their families and their descendants, lie buried.
The next chapter will be devoted to David Watson of Buffalo, father of Bascom Watson.
The fifth pioneer of this family to record his deed in Pike county was Samuel Watson of Buffalo Creek, the only brother of "Uncle Jimmie,” of whom we have any knowledge.
This was on January 7, 1819. Edwin Draper, who lived in Louisiana in 1818, is authority for the statement that this "Samuel Watson settled on land which is now (1876) the farm occupied by Andrew Scott on Buffalo Creek". Mrs. Mary I Collins, a daughter of the late Judge Samuel Watson Findley, probate judge of Pike county, in 1855 and ‘56, says: "I have often heard my mother say that my grandfather, James Findley, and his wife, Mary Watson Findley, (who was a sister of 'Uncle Jimmie' Watson) spent the first night after they landed in Missouri from Kentucky, at the home of Samuel Watson on Buffalo Creek, since known as the Andy Scott place, on the Prairieville gravel road, just south of Buffalo cemetery.
"He settled and lived there all his life. He was my grandmother's brother. I know very little about him, further than that he was prominent in the affairs of Pike county in his day. He was a member of the first grand jury empaneled in the county in 1819, of which James Watson, his brother, was foreman. He and his wife were among the early members of the Buffalo C.P. church, which was organized by Rev. John Matthews, in 1818 as an 0.S. Presbyterian church. I have a copy of the church record given me by the late Wm. H. Carroll. It was kept by Elder McElroy up to 1839. As a specimen of beautiful penmanship, it is hard to equal even in this day. I wish Judge H.W. Johnson and Mr. Wm. C. Watson, could see it. I do not know that Samuel Watson and his wife had any children. I never heard my mother speak of any of his descendants, if indeed he had any."
The writer has failed in his efforts to gain any further information relative to this Samuel Watson.
John Barber Watson's Branch.
At the request of other members of the Watson family, namely Wm. C. Watson of San Francisco, Mrs. Caroline E. Smith of Pittsburg, Penn., and Mrs. Catharine W. Austin of Indianapolis, Ind., additional space is devoted to the family and descendants of their uncle, John Barber Watson. And now that the data and photographs of several members of that branch of the family are in possession of the writer, the task is an easy one and very cheerfully rendered.
Here is "a copy of the original family record of Births, Marriages and Deaths as kept by John B. Watson in the old Family Bible", says his daughter, Miss Anna L. Watson, of Springfield, Illinois, and she adds: "My father was a very excellent penman and I value the original beyond expression.”
John Barber Watson, son of James and Sarah Watson was born in York District, South Carolina, February 10. 1800.
Mary Gillis, daughter of James and Elizabeth Gillis, was born in Wilmington, Delaware, January 31, 1814.
John Barber Watson was married to Mary Gillis by Rev. John Matthews in Kaskaskia. Illinois. April 2, 1829.
Sarah Elizabeth Watson, first daughter of John B. and Mary Watson, was born in Springfield, Illinois, December 7,1830.
Margaret Watson, second daughter of John B. and Mary Watson, was born in Rushville, Illinois, May 28, 1833.
Mary Louisa Watson, third daughter of John B. and Mary Watson was born in Springfield, Illinois, June 30, 1836.
Jane Eliza Watson, fourth daughter of John B. and Mary Watson was born in Springfield, Illinois, November 10, 1838.
Anna Letitia Watson, fifth daughter of John B. and Mary Watson was born in Springfield, Illinois, September 11, 1842.
Ellen Caroline Watson, sixth daughter of John B. and Mary Watson, was born in Springfield, Illinois, April 25, 1845.
James Gillis Watson, first son of John B. and Mary Watson, was born in Springfield, Illinois, April 29, 1848.
Sarah Elizabeth Watson, daughter of John B. and Mary Watson died in Rushville, Illinois, August 30, 1832.
Jane Eliza Watson, daughter of John B. and Mary Watson, died in Springfield, Illinois, April 24, 1844.
(The record, in a different hand continues):
John Barber Watson died in Springfield, Illinois, August 11, 1852, at 9:30 o'clock p.m.
Margaret Watson, daughter of John B. and Mary Watson, died in Springfield, Illinois, August 11, 1852, at 7: 30 o'clock a.m.
Ellen Caroline Watson, daughter of John B. and Mary Watson, died in Springfield, Illinois, August 11, 1852, at 1:30 o'clock a.m.
(Three deaths in this family within a few hours. from cholera.-K.)
I quote the remainder of the record:
Mary Gillis Watson, widow of John B. Watson, was married to Hon. S. W. Robbins in Springfield, Illinois, December 16, 1853, by Rev. Albert Hale.
James Gillis Watson, son of John B. Watson, was married to Alice L. Montgomery in Springfield, Illinois, Sept. 2, 1875, by Rev. Mr. Clark.
James Gillis Watson was married to Mary B. Harrison in Springfield, Illinois, December 21, 1887.
Alice May Watson, daughter of James G. and Alice Watson was married to Charles Edward Ralph, September 15, 1897, in Hot Springs, North Carolina, Rev. Francis McGaw, officiating.
The following are the only living grandchildren of John B. Watson:
Alice May, daughter of James, G. and Alice Watson, born July 19, 1876.
Florence G. B., daughter of James G. and Mary Watson, born Sept. 27, 1888.
Mildred Alice, daughter of Charles E. and Alice M. Ralph, born September 3, 1898, in Springfield, Illinois.
Caroline Montgomery, daughter of Charles E. and Alice M. Ralph, born July 11, 1901, in Springfield, Illinois.
Here is the record of the death of my mother, says Miss Anna L. Watson:
Mary Watson Robbins, daughter of James and Elizabeth Gillis, died at "Rocky Bluff", on the Sangamon River, near Springfield, Illinois, January 29, 1874, at 5 o'c'lock p.m. aged sixty years, less 2 days."
The following pictures were received from Mrs. Caroline E. Smith - the first represents Mrs. John B. Watson, afterwards the wife of Hon. S. W. Robbins, of Springfield. Illinois. The second picture is that of Miss Mary Louisa Watson, and the third that of Miss Anna L. Watson, daughters of John Barber Watson. Mrs. Catharine W. Austin, or Indianapolis, Ind., says:
"Cousin Louisa has been greatly admired for her literary ability as a writer and correspondent, as well as for her skill in art, especially in painting. Her sister, Anna L., excels in music. For many years she was organist at the Presbyterian church in Springfield and formerly the organist at _____ church In Peoria, Illinois."
Both have retired from active labor and are living in retirement in Springfield, Illinois. Mrs. Austin adds:
"Among the Watsons descended from James and Sarah Barber Watson, his wife, I have never known one, male or female, of whom I was not proud. Today my daughter and I have examined bundles of letters written many, many years ago by the Watson brothers, Cyrus L. and John B., and they are filled with religious enthusiasm. I never could comprehend how they could be so devoted to church work. Perhaps it was due to the age in which they lived."
The last picture is that of James. G. Watson.
Miss Anna L. Watson of Springfield. Ill. adds: "I enclose a picture of my brother, James Gillis Watson, as I remember hearing it said that he had more friends that any man in Sangamon county. His home for several years has been in Denver, Colorado."
The distinguished American historian, Reuben Gold Thwaites once said: "In earlier days history was thought to be simply the doings of monarchs and the conduct or campaigns; but Maculey and Green have shown us that the history of the people is what benefits us most - how John and Mary lived in their wayside cottage; how Peter and Paul bargained in the market place, and how the literati tolled in Grub street," As a further illustration I quote a few pages from the diary of Rev. Cyrus Lewis Watson.
"While assisting my brother in his school at Springfield, Ill., I labored as a missionary in the military tract, which included all that part of Illinois between the Mississippi and the Illinois rivers, from their confluence up to the tier of counties known as Peoria, Knox and Warren. I carried a pocket compass and obtained from the surveys a knowledge of the courses I had to travel and took observations from one point of timber to another, for in many places there was not so much as a pathway. Sometimes I encountered terrific thunderstorms when far from any place of shelter. Often the prairie flies were so annoying to my horse in the day time that I was compelled to tie by during the day and travel at night, serenaded by wolves and owls. I was often followed by day and more frequently by night when I could not see them, for miles by inquisitive wolves, who seemed anxious to know what I was, and why I was invading their domain. In December, 1829, while returning home, when near the middle of the prairie, twenty miles wide, my horse suddenly started and looked back. On glancing in that direction I saw two mounted men only a few rods behind me. The morning was very cold, but their horses were wet with perspiration from fast traveling. Their eyes were fixed on me, and each had a heavy hickory club in his hand. Evidently they were determined to overtake me, and what could those clubs mean but violence and robbery? I jogged on quietly furtively glancing back and eyeing their horses, observed that they were inferior to mine and somewhat jaded. As they had clubs, I judged they had no fire arms and decided that my safety consisted in keeping out of the reach of their sticks. I determined to wait until the foremost one came up and to keep a sharp lookout for further developments. Soon he was alongside of me, and without changing my gait, I gave him his full share of the road. I said. "Good morning, sir. He looked at me very sternly and answered gruffly, eyeing me from under a dark and angry brow. ‘A cold morning: said I. glancing at the other man, intending, if he came up on the other side, to make that the signal for commencing the race. He then demanded where I had staid the night previous. I told him, Didn't I see you at Pekin?' "No sir, for I was not there. After answering a few more questions, as to where I lived, whither I had been, my name, occupation, etc., he explained their singular conduct.
"They had been taking the numbers' of certain government lands with a view of entering them, on some of which "squatters' had made improvements, and when the citizens detected these squatters, they were ordered to leave instantly or take the penalty of lynch law. The clubs were for self defense on the prairie in case they were attacked. Seeing me at a great distance ahead, soon after they entered the prairie, and supposing that I was trying to reach the land office at Springfield ahead of them and disappoint their intentions, they had determined to get there first or kill their horses.
"My greatest peril was from swollen streams which I was often compelled to cross by swimming my horse. I mention a specimen or two of my risks thus incurred. Once when the streams were very high, I knew that the creek a few miles before me must be out of its banks and I made inquiry at a cabin which I passed, and was told that a short distance above the ford at a very narrow place, there was a bridge which I could find by following a path. When I came to the place, seeing no bridge, I concluded that my informant was in error, and prepared to cross without a bridge. The water was muddy and deep. I took off my boots and outer clothing as was my custom in all such cases, remounted and rode carefully in to test the depth of the water, and was surprised to find it scarcely reached my saddle skirts. After making this discovery, I returned, put on my clothing and crossed over. I noticed each time that my horse trod upon wood, but supposed it to be poles, fastened down at the bottom of the creek to keep horse from sinking in the quicksands. A week afterward, on my return, the water had fallen, and to my astonishment I saw a rude bridge spanning the creek where I had crossed. It was about 8 feet high and covered with poles pinned down to logs, spanning the stream. Three of the poles had been washed away by the flood and left open spaces. Had my horse unconsciously stepped into one of these, he must have fallen and I should have been thrown into the stream, perhaps crippled and been drowned, for with all my heavy clothes on and boots, I could not have swam and must have perished. In crossing this stream three times amid such peril of which I was wholly unconscious nothing short of a special Providence could have prevented a fearful accident.
"Several years afterward I was making a trip to the village of Louisiana, Mo., in a buggy, in March, 1838. When I started from Bloomington, Ill., the ground was frozen hard, and covered with several inches of snow. There was a sudden change in the weather, the snow melted away and the frost passed out of the ground. On returning on the 23d of March, I came to a creek which I knew was too deep to be forded; because of back water from the Illinois river. It was not wide but the banks were high and steep and the place of exit was some distance above that of entrance. I was led to suppose that the current was reversed by the water from the swollen river. I could not cross elsewhere without making a detour of ten miles over intolerably bad and muddy roads. I hoped that the current being reversed, my horse could swim up stream and the buggy could float, I determined to risk an attempt to cross. I put myself in swimming trim and started in. Before reaching the lower end of the bank my horse was swimming, and I headed him well up stream. In another moment the buggy floated around with the current and sank, drawing my horse entirely under water. Instantly the thought flashed in my mind that without my weight he might make his way .out with the empty vehicle. I sprang to my feet with purpose of plunging into the stream and swimming ashore. At the same instant my horse's hind feet reached the bottom and he made a desperate lunge upward and forward; being a powerful animal he gained perhaps his length in the distance and went down again, while I dropped back on the seat and steered him. Three times he went entirely under, gaining a little at every plunge. The fourth time his head remained above water, and, spouting like a whale, he reached and ascended the bank. Before entering the deceitful stream, I had dropped my boots, leggins, gloves, horse blanket and halter behind the seat in the buggy. My coat and overcoat I hung over the back of the seat and placing my carpet-bag on the skirts, sat down upon it. After stepping on terra firma; I stepped around to the end of the vehicle to put on my boots, but, lo! they were not there - boots, leggins, gloves and blanket had all gone on a voyage in the direction of New Orleans. It was about two o'clock p.m. and I was far from any human habitation, had been thoroughly submerged in water, about as cold as melted snow usually is - except from the top of my shoulders upward - and was without any dry clothes. I should have cared little for this mishap, had my boots been forthcoming for I could then have kept myself warm by walking; but my feet were tender and soon became very sore, with nothing but my stockings between them and the rough ground. I made a virtue of necessity and by walking briskly up every hill produced a temporary glow which stilled from time to time the chattering of my teeth. Meanwhile my clothes dried on me and by 6:30 p.m. I arrived at a cabin where I spent the night, but could get not even a pair of old shoes to cover my aching feet. I rode all the next day in my stockings, but my clothes were dry and I did not need to walk any part of the time to keep myself warm. About sunset I arrived at Rushville, Ill., where I succeeded in obtaining a pair of heavy, cowhide boots. The next day was the Sabbath and I preached three times with no other inconvenience than the soreness of my feet and a general stiffness in my joints."
As previously stated, Rev. Cyrus Lewis Watson's death occurred March 1, 1881, at his home in Peoria, Ill., at the age of eighty-one years and 21 days. .
A newspaper clipping recently received, contains the funeral sermon by Rev. Cyrus 0. Thompson, pastor of the Presbyterian church, Peoria, Ill., from which we quote the following:
His text was 2 Timothy 4:7: "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the, faith."
The life of our brother, as a retired minister is well known to all of us. It has been spent in our midst. Only five years of repose were given this good man; and they were not years of inactivity and retirement. Who more faithful than he to attend our prayer meetings and church? You remember his walk and conversation; his prayers and exhortations; his social visits and his kindly interest in all the pursuits of life; his friendly sympathy and judicious counsels; his reminiscences of an active life; his quiet humor and good sense, his pure life and deep sincerity. His life among us has been a blessing and a source of inspiration. His example has always preached a sermon upon Christian duty. With him, it was more than duty - it was a pleasure and a privilege. At our prayer meeting recently, he enumerated so many things for which he praised God, and was devoutly thankful. You remember, he I said: "I love the house of God, and I delight to meet with his people. I am glad and thankful that I have been permitted to labor so long in the Master's service. I am thankful for devoted children, who are attentive to me in my old age." His career marks as great a transition in the history of the world as is allotted to but few men. When he came west with his father, James Watson in 1810, Illinois was a territory, with a total population of 12,282 souls, including 917, negro slaves. Marion Edwards was Territorial Governor. Today (1881) our city of Peoria alone contains three times as many people as the entire territory did in 1810.
What marvelous changes from pioneer wilderness, and even savag6 life-for the territory abounded with red men-did he witness as he saw the territory become a state! Its population increased from twelve thousand to three millions; two hundred and fifty times as many souls.
He saw the state of Illinois increase in education, wealth and refinement, until today it ranks fourth in a resplendent galaxy of thirty-eight states. His life connects the old with the new; pioneer with modern life; travel by foot, on horseback or in stage, with that of steamboat, railway and palace car; tracklesh prairies and tangled woods with well made thoroughfares running every whither, and beautiful farms. It connects the age of the sickle and the scythe, with that of the reaper and the mower; the needle with the sewing machine. His life witnessed all these stirring changes, and connects the past with the present age of invention and progress."
President Woodrow Wilson said at the Princeton sesquicentennial: "The world's memory must be kept alive, or we shall never see an end of its old mistakes. We are in danger of becoming infantile in every generation. This is the real menace 'under which we cower in this age of change."
Now for an illustration of this very sentiment. I contrast the feelings and statements of Grandmother Sallie Barber Watson in 1820, with those of her granddaughter, Sallie Watson Hamilton, in 1853 - thirty-three years or one generation apart:
"Mrs. Julius C. Jackson is my authority for the truth of the following Indian story as related to her by her neighbor, Mrs. James Watson, in 1831:
“Coming in one day from the spring, where she had been washing, with a kettle of clothes in her hand, Mrs. Watson walked well into the room before she saw an Indian squatted on the floor, holding the fowl, she had left cooking, impaled on a sharp stick, and the gravy dropping from the hearth to where he sat eating it, with a pool of gravy on the floor by him. Her first impulse was to flee, but knowing he could prevent her escape by a single bound, she only said, "How!" and went about her work as best she could. The Indian grunted, ate all the chicken, and then wrapped the three large pones of bread - all she had cooked for her family for dinner - in his old blanket, got up and stalked out.
"The fright, her greasy floor, the loss of her dinner and the thought of disappointing her husband and sons when they came in hungry, was too much for her, and Mr. Watson found his wife in tears when he came in from the field nearby.
"Why SaIlie, what's the matter?' Her reply, 'Too much Indian! Too much Indian.'
"On another occasion," said Mrs. Jackson, "my neighbor, Mrs. Watson. was stooping over at the spring, in the act of getting a bucket of water; without hearing any noise, but feeling the presence of some one, she suddenly turned and stood face to face with a huge Indian. He only pointed to the bucket of water, and after a good drink, took up the trail for Buffalo Creek. She somehow felt that it would not have ended as pleasantly had she not turned suddenly and faced the Indian, for he was creeping noiselessly upon her."
In 1853, her granddaughter, Mrs. Hamilton, referring to the pioneers, wrote:
"They were distinguished for brawn and brain. And came to share do- minion with the Indian."
What a change!
Perhaps one was only poetry and the other real life.
JOHN BARBER WATSON.
Biography is history teaching by example. The abstract principles of right and wrong are presented in the concrete - the individual to be seen and read of all men.
Because of this fact the following tribute appears in, this sketch. It is by one who knew him best:
"My brother, while teaching at Vandalia, Illinois, was compelled to suspend his studies for a time and finally came to the conclusion that he should never be able to make the requisite preparation for the pulpit from week to week, and determined to accept a calling less sedentary and requiring more physical exercise.
"In the spring of 1828, he went to Springfield, then a small but rapidly growing village. He opened a school which was designed to grow into a higher institution of learning. After two or three years he obtained the position of county surveyor of Sangamon county. To this, after a few years he added civil engineering. In the spring of 1849, he crossed the plains and over the Rocky Mountains to California, where he spent three years and four months. When he was ready to commence business he was told by other traders that unless he should sell intoxicating liquor and make the Sabbath his principal day of trading he would not succeed. He replied that if he could not be successful without violating the principIes of Christianity he would return home as poor as he came. He fully expected to lose largely by adhering to his religious principles, but he cheerfully resolved to make the sacrifice. At first he was annoyed by persons coming in from the mines around on the Lord's day to get supplies of provisions, etc., for the week, but he was unyielding and to his surprise soon found that his principles were a decided source of gain. Even profane and ungodly men concluded he was honest, and feared not to trust him as a fair dealer. They gave him their trade and recommended him to others. Thus his business constantly in- creased as long as he staid, his character remained after his departure and the religion of Christ was honored:'
The sixth pioneer of the Watson family to record his deed in Pike county was David Watson of Buffalo creek. He was not a brother to either of the other pioneers, but was a cousin to David Watson of Noix creek and his brothers, Samuel and John Watson. He was also a cousin to "Uncle Jimmie" Watson and his brother, Samuel Watson of Buffalo.
Our subject was born April 12, 1785, in York District, South Carolina. He was twice married - first to Sallie Jordan, in South Carolina, July 5, 1809. She was born in York county, S: C., July 1, 1790, and died May 30, 1831, in the forty-first year of her age. Ten children were born to them. Minerva, born March 2, 1810; Abner M., born August 24, 1811; Minerva, the second; James I.; Sallie H.; Elizabeth Minerva; Samuel Geo. W.; Mary Lucretia; Wm. Scott, and Amanda Maria, born April 23, 1829.
David Watson's second wife was Mary Neville Edmonds, whom he married July 3, 1834, at the home of her mother, Mrs. Edmonds, near Clarksville, Mo. She was a native of Maryland; her mother having but recently come to Pike county.
Five children were born to them -- Caroline Matilda, born April 16, 1836; Martha Louisa; Henry Bascom; Mary Elizabeth, and Lucy Urania Draper, born Nov. 23, 1841.
It is a remarkable fact that of fifteen children born to him by these two unions, only three lived to become grown. He was known as "Cousin Davy" Watson, and is best remembered by the older class of our citizens as "that David Watson who buried so many of his children in babyhood."
The three children who grew to maturity were (1) Abner M., who studied law and located at Springfield, Ill., where he married and lived for many years, and practiced his profession and where he died in 1888.
(2) Amanda Marla, who married James Venable of this (Pike) county. He was a member of the Missouri Home Guards in 1861, and with Capt. Will. H. Purse took part in the battle at Ashley, Mo., August 28, 1861. He was mortally wounded, being the only man lost on the union side in that engagement. His widow died several years ago near Ashley, Mo.
(3) Henry Bascom, whom his father named, at the suggestion of his bosom friend, Judge Edwin Draper, for the distinguished Methodist minister of that name in Kentucky. Rev. Henry Bascom was as famous for eloquence in the pulpit as John J. Crittenden was at the bar or in congress. A copy of "Bascom's Gems" occupied a place in the writer's early library, and was prized for its beautiful similes, its pure Saxon and its bright inspiring thoughts', comparable to “Spurgeon's Gems" later.
"My grandfather, David Watson, and Sallie Jordan, were married in South Carolina, July 5, 1809, and came west about that time, with the Jordans and several other families," says Rev. E.D. Watson of Louisville, Ky. They were in the old Buffalo Fort, near the Isgrig place, in 1812 at the time of the Indian uprising. In 1812 or '13, they moved over into Illinois until the Indian troubles ceased, according to a tradition in our family. Most of his first family of children were
born in Pike county, Mo. "On his return from Illinois he settled at the old home place just south of Louisiana on the Clarksville road, on land which he entered in 1819, and on which he lived until his death, November 23, 1860, at the age of 75 years, 7 months and 11 days.
"My grandmother, Sallie Jordan Watson, as I have always understood, was a sister to Capt. Robert Jordan, who was in command of the fort.
"My grandmother, Mary Edmonds Watson, (my father's dear mother) after the death of her husband in 1860, left Louisiana and lived with her son, Rev. Bascom Watson, until her death in 1875, at Boliver, Polk county, Mo.
"Some of my grandmother, Sallie Jordan's father's family were in the war of 1812 and some in the Mexican war and her history goes back to the days of William the Conqueror,. A.D. 1012."
David Watson was not only a pioneer settler of Pike county, but was one of her most honored and beloved citizens. He superintended the building of the first Methodist church erected in Louisiana, and was superintendent, class leader, steward and trustee of church property throughout the remainder of his life; more than 30 years.
"I knew David Watson and his son, Bascom, well," says Gov. Robt. A. Campbell. "My father and he were neighbors for years. He preempted the land on which be lived as a homestead. It came into market in 1818 and he bought it of the government, January 17, 1819, after a previous residence of two or three years. He had a large family of children, most or whom died in childhood and youth. His was a home of much sickness and many sorrows. He raised only three - two sons and one daughter, to maturity. I knew all three of them. Amanda Watson married James Venable of this County and lived near Ashley. Her husband was killed at the battle of Ashley, in this county, in August, 1861. Abner M. Watson, the oldest son, studied law, and lived and practiced his profession at Springfield, Ill., where he died in 1888. Bascom Watson, the youngest son, began his career as a lawyer, afterward became a Methodist minister and preached very acceptably to his church here and at other points in Missouri, as well as in Illinois.
Rev. E. D. Watson of Louisville, Ky., is a son of Bascom Watson. Bascom' Watson died, I think, about 20 years ago."
"I heard- Bascom Watson preach often," says Mrs. Mary I. Collins, "in the old Methodist church on South Main street, in this city, just before the war. I attended that Sunday school. Bro. John S. Markley was superintendent and Edwin Draper was a teacher. David Watson, the father of Bascom Watson, was known among our kinsfolk as "Cousin Davy" Watson. He was certainly an active member of the M. E. church and a practical Christian. No better man. I think, ever lived than Cousin Davy Watson. His daughter, Amanda, married James Venable of near Ashley, Mo., and was left a widow for many years, after the death of her husband in August, 1861."
"I knew the David Watson family very well," says Miss Susan A. Draper of Jacksonville, Ill., daughter of Judge Edwin Draper. "I used to like to ride my gray pony down to the Watson home when I was a child and spend Saturday and often stay all night with my mother's dear friend, Mrs. Mary Watson, the mother of Bascom Watson. My mother and she were great friends, and she named her youngest child, Urania, in honor of my mother. Bascom Watson and my father were fast friends for many years. The Watsons, father and son; were good and true men. The same may be said of all the Watsons of this vicinity.
"There was no family among all the pioneers that my father more admired than he did the Watsons - for their sterling qualities, as good citizens, friends and neighbors."
Incidentally. Mrs. Fannie M. Anderson gave expression to similar sentiments in almost the same language.
Judge T. J. C. Fagg remarked to the writer: "The feeling between Edwin Draper and Bascom Watson was like 'the love of David and Jonathan.' They were one in sentiment. I think Bascom Watson named his son, Rev. E. D. Watson, for his friend, Edwin Draper. You ask him next time you meet him if such is not the fact."
I quote the following from Rev. E. D. Watson's letter in answer to inquiries:
"My father, Rev. Henry Bascom Watson, son of David and Mary Watson, was born April 21, 1838, at the old home one mile south of Louisiana, Mo., known as the 'Watson Place'. On Oct. 6, 1864, he married Miss Gertrude Moore of Fairfax county, Va. He practiced law for awhile in Bolivar, Polk county, Mo. In 1875 he returned to the Missouri conference and remained in the active service of the church until the close of his life in 1889. He died at Shelbina, Shelby county, Mo., February 14, 1889, aged 50 years and 9 months.
"My mother was born July 10, 1843, at Vienna, Fairfax county, Vo. She was the daughter of Wm. Hawley Moore, and her mother's maiden name was Mary Ann Blackburn, all of Virginia. My mother lives at Palmyra, Mo., at the age of seventy years. My father and mother were the parents of seven children. Their names are Edgar David, born Sept. 30, 1865, at St. Charles, Mo...; Minnie; Cora Campbell; Maude; Mary Gertrude; Henry Bascom, and Henry Bascom the sec- ond. Only three of the seven children are living. My two sisters, Miss Cora Watson and Mrs. Mary Gertrude Bailey, both live in Palmyra, Mo., and my mother lives with Mrs. Bailey. My address is Atlanta, Texas, where I am serving as pastor. We have a son, Berry Bascom Watson, now past 16 years of age, and a daughter, Bernice, past 12, both are in school."
Now I must close this sketch.
Hon. Champ Clark in April, 1905, in this city, said: “I wish I could have the attention of the young men and women now in our high schools. I would stir them up to writing history, and especially biography. They should trace their lineage until they could answer those two great questions: Whence came I? and What am I?" After ten years rubbing up against and associating with prominent men of the nation, I have come to the conclusion that men are great in proportion to the square of the distance you are away from them. That the poet was right when he said:
"'Tis distance lends enchantment to the view.
And robes the Mountain in its azure hue.”
Not so with the men and women whose lineage we have tried to trace in this sketch. The more we know of them, the better we like them.
As a fitting climax to this family sketch, I take the liberty, without the author’s knowledge, of transcribing from my diary of practical gems of thought gathered from time to time from pulpit, bar and platform the following:
Gem of Thought.
It has held high place within my heart for several years, and is now sent forth in the hope that it may find an enduring home in other and no less deserving hearts.
"God has a lesson in everything for us. The most common events in our lives have messages for us. David said, "The the heavens declare the glory of God." We can say, all things about us declare His goodness and His love. The man who does not recognize the lessons that our Father sends in the daily lives of all of us, has dull ears, blind eyes and poor understanding.
"I never see a casket or pass a funeral procession but I feel that it is Heaven's lesson to me. And I try to heed it; to learn the message of warning and encouragement that it contains. It is right that we should face the future. Death is certain. To be ready to die is to live right. Jesus said, 'Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord.' He who lives right, dies right. I can not say of any man who lives wrong that he can die right. Every life has its lessons. The life of each individual is a warning or a developing chapter in the volume of our own life. There are manifestations of the Divine life in the life of every human being. Each life contains some incitements to us, to higher being; preaching a two-fold theme, warning as against everything vile and that drags downward, and encouraging us to a higher life. We all need to bring the subject of death close to us, that it may become food upon which our souls may feed. So that, as the infant breathes its life out sweetly in its mother's arms, we may, when the summons comes wrap our robes about us and pass sweetly into the Savior's arms. 'Blessed are they that have washed their robes and made them white.' Blessed, because they have put on the vestments of righteousness on earth. The man who expects to enjoy heaven hereafter, is the man who enjoys the heavenly teaching here. It is he, and others like him, that make of earth a heaven. He has seen the king in his beauty, and has adopted the king's motives as his motives, the spirit and mind of the Father and made them his. He breathes the atmosphere of heaven. Everything about him, and in his life tells him of his Father above; and the example furnished him in the life of His son, has become his by inheritance."
This gem is so full of beauty and truth, and strength that 'tis enough to pronounce it in solemn awe, and leave it like the sun in heaven, shining on.
I will add, in justice to its author, that it is from an address on the occasion of the funeral of Mrs. Samuel 0. Minor, mother of Mrs. D. A. BaIl of this city, delivered March 18, 1906, by Rev. E. D. Watson, pastor of the M. E. church, south, and the last member of the Watson family mentioned in the Watson Sketch.
Louisiana, Mo., March 6, 1914.
An After Thought.
The captivating influence of eloquence few men can resist. From the days that Cicero held listening senators entranced by his words until now, this has been true. Our fathers tell us that in Kentucky in the thirties and early forties of the last century great crowds of people would assemble on Saturday-their muster days, to hear Tom Marshall, the silver-tongued orator of Kentucky on the political issues of the day; and on Sunday even greater crowds assembled to hear Henry B. Bascom, the eloquent and devout follower of John and Charles Wesley.
One of the Pike county pioneers sought to perpetuate the name and memory of Henry B. Bascom by giving his name to one of his sons - Henry Bascom Watson. We who read this sketch can cherish his memory by an occasional reference to the following gem from one of his sermons. It is from his sermon on the Resurrection:
"In describing the heavenly state, - the celestial world of light and life, - thought, language and images all fail us. It is a theme too high for conception, too grand for description, too sacred - too ineffably sacred, to admit of comparison. The grandeur of Nature and the glory of Art, the dreams of fancy, and the creations of poetry, all fade in the vision.
" Admiration no longer hovers over the Elysian fields of Virgil; and Homer's sparkling rill of Nectar streaming from the gods woo our thirst no more. Even the Paradise of Milton, with its trees and its rivers, its fruits and its flowers, its hymns and its harps, a living landscape, with its vernal diadem and voiced with melody, dwindles into sterility. And until we die, to share the ripened flowers of immortality, and heir the thrones of Heaven, we can only say that interminable spring shall bloom upon the scene, and chase the winter of affliction by its smiles".
Notes Concerning This Transcription
The above is a transcription of a small book entitled “HISTORY OF THE WATSON FAMILY IN AMERICA 1760-1914” by Clayton Keith. The copy of the book from which this transcription is made was found in the Tennessee State Library and Archives in Nashville, TN. on April 5, 2002. There is no information in the book concerning its publication, but it is believed to have been published in 1914. The information contained in the book appears to have been collected in 1912 and 1913.
This transcription was made with the assistance of an optical character recognition (OCR) scanner, and edited by Robert Stephen Watson, a genealogist who is not known to be related to this line of Watsons. A few typesetting errors in the original text are corrected, but most of the original spelling, punctuation and capitalization remains unchanged. The most significant difference between this transcription and the original is that this transcription does not include any photographs and captions. There are 32 photographs with captions in the original book.
Robert Stephen Watson
9 April 2002