Showing posts with label Texas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Texas. Show all posts

Saturday, September 26, 2009

John Lawhon, Texas Preacher and Family Patriarch

This photograph of my great-great grandparents, John and Susan Lawhon, was taken about 1893 at the J. L. Gray Studio in Van Alstyne, Grayson County, Texas. An undated newspaper clipping about John was found tucked away in a family Bible; it was published between 1930 and 1933, probably in the Morton or Muleshoe, Texas newspaper:

"Rev. J. M. Lawhon of Goodland, in Bailey County, was born in Red River County, Texas, before it became a part of the United States. He has lived to see five generations of native Texans in his family.
He was reared in Bastrop County. He was in Austin during the cholera epidemic and when the first train arrived. He joined the Texas Rangers in 1861 and served four years. He married Susan Young in Williamson County in 1865.
Rev. Mr. Lawhon recalls the killing of Sam Bass at Round Rock. He and his father started in the cattle business but gave it up because of cattle thieves. He did some trailing and was a freighter for a while.
While leading a herd of 3,000 cattle one time the herd stampeded. He left his horse and made a run for a cottonwood tree, leaping as high as he could. He could hear the pounding hoofs and snapping horns on every side but thought he was safely above them. When the herd had passed and he opened his eyes he found that he was sitting flat on the ground with his legs and arms locked around the tree trunk."

John Marion Lawhon (1845-1936), son of Hugh and Ann Lawhon, was a farmer, soldier, cattle trailer, freighter, and ordained Missionary Baptist minister. He married Susan Tabitha Young in 1865 at Georgetown, Texas and they had eleven children. In the interview for the article, he mentioned his familiarity with several well-known events in Texas history. According to the Handbook of Texas Online, a cholera epidemic in Austin and other parts of the state occurred in 1866; the first train arrived in Austin in 1871; and the notorious outlaw Sam Bass died at Round Rock in 1878. The Handbook also tells us that cattle trailing was “the principal method of transporting cattle to market in the late nineteenth century,” especially during the years 1867-1886. Overland freighting, generally by oxcart, was necessary to move goods across Texas and was a primary method of transport until the railroads were firmly established in the 1870s.

The article mentions that John was born in Texas “before it became a part of the United States.” He was born August 7, 1845, south of Clarksville in Red River County, Republic of Texas. Texas was admitted to the Union on December 29, 1845, when he was four months old.

John Marion Lawhon enlisted in the service of the Confederacy May 1, 1862 at San Antonio. He was a private in Company D, 5th Regiment Texas Cavalry, under Capt. Stevens. He re-enlisted in January 1864 in Burnet County in the Frontier Regiment, 3rd Frontier District, Texas State Troops, along with his brother, David W. Lawhon. According to John’s Confederate pension application, he enlisted in the spring of 1862, served in the “mounted home guard to fight Indians back off frontier, and held on frontier for that purpose during all the time of my service,” and “the company was disbanded without formal discharge in Burnet County after Lee’s surrender.”

After he became blind in 1915, John Marion Lawhon and his wife Susan lived among their children, residing for a year or two with the different families until their deaths. At the time this article was published, John was living with Edgar Lawhon and family at Goodland, located on the Texas South Plains west of Lubbock. Since the article references that he “has lived to see five generations of native Texans in his family,” it was published after his first great-great grandchild was born in 1930. He was living in Gunter, Texas with his daughter, Sarah Lawhon Bledsoe, by August of 1934 and died at her home on January 10, 1936. He was survived by 9 children, 53 grandchildren, 61 great-grandchildren, and one great-great grandchild.

According to the recollections of his grandchildren, and as might be expected given his preaching career, John Marion Lawhon was an avid storyteller, regularly spinning yarns and weaving exciting tales of his early life serving in the Civil War and living on the Texas frontier. He was a circuit rider and itinerant preacher in the mission fields of Northwest Texas and was ordained a Missionary Baptist minister in 1887. Several articles with information about his life appeared in various small-town Texas newspapers as early as 1904. Beginning in 1890, John M. Lawhon preached his “birthday sermon” every year on August 7 and attracted large crowds in several Texas communities, no matter on which day of the week August 7 happened to fall. He continued the custom for some 45 years; on his 89th birthday in 1934, blind, feeble, and wheelchair-bound, he was carried to the Gunter, Texas church to preach. Newspaper articles record that he baptized more than 1500 persons during his ministry. He was known for his sense of humor, strong religious convictions, encyclopedic knowledge of the Bible, and public speaking ability.

© 2009, copyright Stephen Mills

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Texas Pioneer Buried Three Times

Edward H. Tarrant was an interesting Texas patriot. Below is his biographical sketch from the Handbook of Texas Online (a wonderful resource, if you don’t know – link below and enjoy). Edward Tarrant was closely associated with both of the Watson families in my ancestry. The youngest son of Coleman and Lucy Watson, who was born in Bowie County in 1843, was named Edward H. Tarrant Watson. Edward H. Tarrant also served as the attorney for the administration of the estate of James Watson, who died in Bowie County in 1842. His residence in Henry County, Tennessee is of great interest to me, since Oran Datus Watson, Sr. of Edgefield County, SC moved there shortly before his death about 1822. His relation to James Watson, if any, is uncertain at this time. We also have James Watson’s daughter, Arimenta (Watson) Cross naming a daughter Mary Tarrant Cross, which is indicative of the close relationship with Tarrant. Still a lot more to learn about these folks, and I’m still digging.

TARRANT, EDWARD H. (1799-1858). Edward H. (possibly for Hampton) Tarrant was born in South Carolina in 1799. It appears that during the War of 1812 he was living in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky. By the early 1820s he was in Henry County, Tennessee, where he was elected a colonel of militia in the new frontier environment. In 1825 he helped organize the first Masonic lodge in Paris, Tennessee, and by 1827 he had become sheriff of Henry County. He was a resident of Henderson County, Tennessee, from 1829 to the early 1830s, when he moved to Texas, possibly by way of Mississippi. Tarrant apparently established his household of relatives, hired men, and slaves in Red River County, Texas, by November 23, 1835; on February 2, 1838, he received a league and labor of land from the Republic of Texas as part of a uniform grant made to all heads of families resident in Texas on March 2, 1836. There is no record of his participation in the Texas Revolution. Tarrant was elected in September 1837 to represent Red River County in the House of Representatives of the Second Congress; his last appearance in the House was apparently on November 11, 1837, and he submitted his resignation on December 12, 1837. He had decided that he could better serve the republic by directing ranger activities against the Indians. He served as chief justice of Red River County in 1838 after Robert Hamilton had been nominated to that post in December 1836; there is some question as to which of the two men actually served as first chief justice of the county.

Tarrant practiced law, engaged in farming, and took a leading role in the militia's activity against the Indians while he was chief justice; when he resigned from the post on May 30, 1839, he was one of the most prosperous men in Red River County. He was elected by popular vote on November 18, 1839, as commander, carrying the rank of brigadier general, of an organization of Northeast Texas defenders known as the Fourth Brigade. His Indian-fighting career culminated in the battle of Village Creek in May 1841. In 1847 Tarrant ran for lieutenant governor, but he was defeated by John Alexander Greer. He served in the House of Representatives in the Third and Fourth Texas legislatures from 1849 to 1853. He was married to Mary Danforth on April 6, 1851. They lived on Chambers Creek near Italy, Ellis County, and participated in the social life of Waxahachie. In 1857 Tarrant moved part of his household to Fort Belknap, and when Indian depredations became frequent in that area, he again turned his attention to raising forces against them. While traveling from his home on Chambers Creek to Belknap, Tarrant became ill and died on August 2, 1858, at the home of William Fondren, about ten miles from Weatherford, where he was buried. He was reburied on his farm on Chambers Creek on January 28, 1859, and was buried a third time on March 3, 1928, in Pioneer Rest Cemetery, Fort Worth. Tarrant County was named for him.

Handbook of Texas Online, (accessed February 17, 2009).

© 2009, copyright Stephen Mills

Thursday, December 25, 2008

James Coleman Watson, 100 years old, buried on Christmas Day 1949

Every Christmas, I find myself thinking of one of the major events in my mother’s family history. My great-great grandfather, James Coleman Watson, died on December 23, 1949 at the age of 100 years and 28 days. He was buried on Christmas Day at Shield Cemetery in Coleman County, Texas. This photo was taken on his 95th birthday on November 25, 1944. He had a remarkable lifespan, from the Civil War to the aftermath of World War II. He died in a nursing home in Brady, Texas but had only lived there five months. Prior to that, he lived with Uncle Booker and Aunt Lottie Watson. Although becoming very frail, he never lost his mental faculties. His death certificate lists the cause of death as “Cerebro-Vascular Accident due to Genealogical Senility”. Here’s his obituary from the Coleman, Texas newspaper, which is liberally embellished with a few old family stories:

100 Year Old County Resident Buried Christmas Day in Shield Cemetery

Mr. James Coleman Watson, 100 years and 28 days old was buried in the Shield Cemetery, Sunday, December 25. Dan Fogarty, minister of the Church of Christ in Coleman, officiated. Funeral services were held from the Shield Church of Christ.

James Coleman Watson was born in Bowie County, Texas November 25, 1849. When he was one year old, his parents moved to Grayson County, where he remained until 1903, when he came to Coleman County. He has been a resident of Coleman County since that time. He was married to Elizabeth Hale in Grayson County in 1869. To this union eleven children, six boys and five girls, were born. Mrs. Watson preceded him in death in 1924. Mr. Watson was laid to rest beside his wife in the Shield Cemetery. Two daughters also preceded him in death.

Mr. Watson’s father was a big plantation owner at the end of the Civil War when all the slaves were freed. He could tell a lot of interesting experiences of the olden days. His father fought in the Texas and Mexican War and was present at the Battle of San Jacinto, when General Santa Anna was captured with an army of 1600 Mexicans. Mr. Watson’s mother was a first cousin of Ben Milam.

Mr. J. C. Watson was believed to be the county’s oldest resident. He observed his 100th birthday anniversary in Brady on November 25, with a large number of his family and their families visiting with him. He was a member of the Church of Christ for 65 years.

Survivors are six sons: William B. (Booker) Watson, Rockwood; A. L. Watson, Portales, New Mexico; Carey Watson, Shield; J. C. Watson, Pittsburg, Texas; E. N. Watson, Sherman; O. D. Watson, Edinburg; three daughters: Mrs. Jennie Carter, Colbert, Oklahoma; Mrs. Mary Lawhon, Sweetwater; and Mrs. Lee Powers, Sweetwater. Sixty-seven grandchildren, 193 great-grandchildren, 105 great-great grandchildren, and a sixth generation child also survive.

Pallbearers, all grandsons, were Wayne L. Watson, Sherman; Darwin Watson, Santa Anna; Nap Watson, Santa Anna; Elmer Watson, Santa Anna; Willie Auten, Odessa; and James Auten, Odessa.

Flower bearers, all granddaughters and granddaughters-in-law, were Billie Mae Schrader, Lonettia Watson, Edith Guffey, Claudia Davis, Melba Auten, Ruby Auten, and Mary Tom Watson. Thelma Watson and Thelma Stewardson were flower managers.

© 2008, copyright Stephen Mills

Monday, September 29, 2008

Small Town Connection: Rising Star, Texas

Below is a brief history of Rising Star from The Handbook of Texas Online. My great-grandparents, Oran Datus and Martha Viola (Lawhon) Watson, farmed a rented place out in the country near Rising Star in 1907-1908. Their second son, Oran Delbert Watson who was born in 1908, had his baby photographs taken in a Rising Star studio. If you haven’t been through Rising Star, you really should go. It’s a beautiful, classic Texas town. This photo is an old real photo postcard from about 1908 showing The Star Trading Company in Rising Star that was in business at the time my great-grandparents lived nearby.

RISING STAR, TEXAS. Rising Star, at the intersection of U.S. Highway 183 and State Highway 36, fifty-six miles southeast of Abilene in southwestern Eastland County, had its beginnings in 1876 when six families moved west from Gregg County and settled on the site. When the post office opened in 1878 with Hendrick H. Osburn as postmaster, the settlement was called Copperas Creek. In 1879 Tom Anderson bought a tract of land from one of the original settlers, and in 1880, after the old post office had been closed, he opened a post office and general store in his home. D. D. McConnell of Eastland suggested a new name for the town when he said that the area must be a "rising star country" because it produced crops when other areas were barren. In 1889 Rising Star had five businesses and three doctors and by 1904 had added a bank, a hotel, a school, five churches, two newspapers, and dry goods and drug stores. The economy of the area was based on agriculture, primarily the cultivation of corn, cotton, oats, and fruit. The town's prospects were enhanced in 1911 when the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad built through from Cross Plains to De Leon. The town's first newspaper was the Rising Star Record, later renamed the Rising Star News and still later the Rising Star X-Ray. The Rising Star Signal was another early newspaper.

Although the first oil found in Eastland County was discovered near Rising Star in 1909, it was not until 1920, close to the end of the Eastland County boom, that a major strike attracted attention to Rising Star. In an attempt to prevent the town from becoming a tent and shanty town, officials issued strict building regulations, but speculators and oilfield workers circumvented them by hastily building a town five miles to the west. In just over a year that town was gone and the boom finished. By the 1960s some oil was still being produced near Rising Star, and pecans and peanuts had replaced cotton as the main crops. The 1980 census found 1,204 people living in Rising Star. The town was incorporated and had a bank, a post office, and twenty-seven businesses. In 1990 the population was 859. The population was 835 in 2000.

© 2008, copyright Stephen Mills

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Oran Datus Watson of Washington and Milam Counties, Texas

Oran Datus Watson (the name Oran was pronounced as “Iron” in the family) was born about 1814 - 1816 in South Carolina and was the son of James and Rhoda Watson. He accompanied his family to Bowie County, Republic of Texas in December 1836 and was awarded a second class land grant. Since he was an unmarried man, he received 640 acres. This land was located near the Bowie-Cass County line, adjoining his father’s 1280-acre grant. In 1853, he sold his land grant to his brother-in-law Azariah Moss, who married Christiana J. Watson.

Oran Watson left Bowie County in the late 1840’s and moved to Washington County, where his sister and brother-in-law, James and Mary (Watson) Holt lived. On March 3, 1850 in Washington County, Texas, he married Mrs. Minerva Margaret (Nunn) Gambill, widow of George W. Gambill, who died in 1849. She was the mother of three children: John T. Gambill, Hannah Eliza Jane Gambill, and Green P. H. Gambill. There were no children were born to Oran and Minerva Watson.

Oran Watson and his wife are recorded on the 1850, 1860, and 1870 censuses of Washington County, Texas and the 1880 census of Milam County, Texas. All of these census records show that Oran was “deaf and dumb.” He was probably born with this disability or perhaps acquired it as the result of childhood illness. Oran could not speak, read, or write, except to write his name. According to documents relating to the lawsuit described below, he communicated with others by “making signs with his hands.”

Land transactions in both Washington and Milam counties show that Oran and Minerva Watson purchased a number of tracts during the years 1854 - 1883, all of which were later sold at a profit. Many of these tracts were rented, bringing in regular income over the years. It appears that Oran and Minerva had a profitable partnership during their thirty-eight year marriage, in spite of the obstacles related to his deafness that they no doubt faced.

After Minerva Watson died intestate in October 1888, her children and minor heirs filed suit against Oran Watson in Milam County District Court. The suit was filed one month after her death and alleged that Oran refused to provide the Gambill heirs with their mother’s estate, both real and personal. Oran died sometime between January and April 1891, while the suit was still pending; his place of burial is not known. Prior to his death, he engaged his brothers, Cary and Rodger Watson, to act on his behalf in defense of the lawsuit and conveyed all his property to them. When the suit was finally settled in November 1891, one-half of Oran’s lands were awarded to his wife’s heirs and one-half to his brothers, Cary and Rodger Watson.

© 2008, copyright Stephen Mills

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Touching Account of the Death of Anna McKinney Sloan 1834

This is a wonderful old letter addressed from James Sloan to his father and mother-in-law, Collin and Betsy McKinney. Collin McKinney was a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence; the city of McKinney and county of Collin were named for him.

James Sloan’s wife, Anna (McKinney) Sloan was a first cousin to my great-great-great grandmother, Emily (Watson) Watson. At the time this was written, James was 41 years old and had several small children at home, some of them by his first wife who also died young. James and Anna had four children; the youngest was a daughter, Mary Ann, who was born September 13, 1834 and whose birth is described in this letter. James remarried after Anna’s death and had four children by his third wife.

Anna was only 25 when she died.

I found this letter while searching in the Milam-McKinney Family Papers, Special Collections Library, University of Texas at Arlington.

Addressed to Collin McKinney, Lafayette County, Lost Prairie Post Office, A. T. (Arkansas Territory)

Clark County, A. T.
October the 9th 1834

Dear Father and Mother
I take my pen in hand to direct a few lines to you to let you know something of our distressed situation - Anna is no more – she is gone to return to us no more – she was taken with a chill and fever and the most racking pains imaginable on the seventh of September and was in that way daily until the morning of the thirteenth of the same month – she then was delivered of her child and appeared like as if she was a going to do well although very low and weak but in a short time was taken worse again and continued a wasting away until she departed which was the thirtieth day of September. Six days before she departed I was setting by her she appeared to be a dozing but all at once she cried out glory to her god and continued shouting and praising of god for some hours – she told us often that she felt happy - said she I never felt such peace and happiness before that from that time it appeared to me like as if her mind was entirely _____ on her god – she took up the most part of her time in exorting her friends who stood around her to serve god and to try to meet her in glory. Not more than five minutes before she drew her last breath I could hear her distinctly say glory. She is gone and there is no doubt in my mind but what she is gone to glory where we may if we prove faithful meet with her where parting is no more.

We have had a good deal of sickness in the family this season but they all appear to be doing tolerable well at this time. The little baby keeps well. I feel very anxious to see you and I feel in hopes you will come to see us as I cannot leave the children at this time to go to see you. I hope I will have the opportunity of seeing you in a short [time] – so nothing more at present I remain your most affectionate son

James Sloan

© 2008, copyright Stephen Mills

Oran Datus Watson Sr. 1789 Burke County, Georgia

Thanks to Crumpton Plats (see post below), I now have additional proof on Oran Datus Watson, Sr., son of Jacob Watson, and grandson of John Watson, all of Edgefield County, SC. Oran was shown as the chain carrier on three plats in Burke County, Georgia in 1789-1790. His name is shown as Aaron Watson, Oron Watson, and Orrindatus Watson. Assuming he was at least 20 years old at the time, these records would date his birth by at least 1769-1770. In the 1820 Pulaski County GA census, he was in the "age 45 and upwards" column. I still have a lot to learn about this man, including exactly how he was related to my ancestor, James Watson, who died in Bowie County, Republic of Texas, in 1842.

I am currently searching Pulaski County GA deeds and probate records, using microfilm at my local LDS branch library, for this Watson family. Will post an update soon on the results.

© 2008, copyright Stephen Mills

Monday, September 15, 2008

Our Haile Family of Jackson County, Tennessee

My great-great grandmother, Missouri Elizabeth Haile (she was known as Lizzie) was born in Jackson County, Tennessee in 1843. She came to Grayson County, Texas in 1867 and married James Coleman Watson (son of Cary and Emily Watson) in 1869. She was the third of twelve children born into a close-knit family of Southern Confederates. The Haile family (some branches spell it Hale, and many of the old records show that spelling) were settled in the community of Flynn’s Lick in Jackson County, Tennessee by the 1830s. Lizzie Watson’s father was Thomas Haile, who married Nancy Elizabeth Gibson of Kentucky.

Grandpa Haile, who was born in 1816, was a little old to serve in the army, but he was a leading Confederate sympathizer and organizer in his area. He did go on the military rolls, but I understand he played more of an administrative role. Several of his sons were also in the Confederate army, including Joshua, Elvis, and Thomas. He and his son Thomas were taken prisoners of war and ended up at Camp Chase, Ohio, an infamous Northern POW camp for Confederate soldiers. His son, Thomas, survived the ordeal and later migrated to Eastland County, Texas where he was a prominent citizen. Grandpa Haile died at Camp Chase and is buried there. According to family legend, Thomas was with him when he died and carved the inscription on his coffin. His grave is marked. Here’s an interesting link with lots of information about Camp Chase:

© 2008, copyright Stephen Mills

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Mamie Pitcock, 1928

This is Mamie Pitcock, my Grandma Watson, taken shortly before her marriage. Since she’s standing in the Shamrock, Texas Cemetery, I asked her once if she’d been to a funeral that day. She said, no, one Sunday after church her gang of friends decided to take pictures of each other since they were all dressed up. So, they went to the cemetery!

© 2008, copyright Stephen Mills

Saturday, August 30, 2008

American Revolutionary War Ancestors

What a privilege to be a direct descendant of several men who served during the War for American Independence! Here's my list of the direct Revolutionary ancestors I've identified to date:
  • Evan Thomas Watson (1759-1834) served from Albemarle County, Virginia, moved to Madison County, Kentucky, and died in what is now Bowie County, Texas (he's the ancestor of my Grandpa Cully Watson).
  • Samuel Coleman (c1750-1824) served from Albemarle County, Virginia and died in Todd County, Kentucky. According to his pension papers and service record from the National Archives, Samuel Coleman wintered at Valley Forge under the command of George Washington during the terrible winter of 1777. (He's the ancestor of my Grandpa Cully Watson.)
  • Martin Davenport served from North Carolina and died in Tennessee (he's the ancestor of my Grandma Clara Hopper Mills).
  • Arden Evans served from Bedford County, Virginia and died in Roane County, Tennessee (he's the ancestor of my Grandma Clara Hopper Mills).
  • Capt. John Narramore served from Kershaw District, South Carolina and died in Bledsoe County, Tennessee (he's the ancestor of my Grandma Mamie Pitcock Watson).

So many more of my remote uncles, cousins, and other relatives served in the 1776 struggle that I would be all day listing their names and information, although I have meticulously collected it in my files. We're so lucky that the documentation on these soldiers still survives in our National Archives and the archives of the Daughters of the American Revolution in Washington (as well as other repositories).

These men fought for ideas that were ahead of their time - many of the ideas were nebulous, with an uncertain outcome, as the U. S. Constitution had not even been written at the time of the war. This war was truly a turning point in the history of mankind, resulting in the representative democracy we know today. The government they created would, of course, be imperfect and require additional strife and struggle in later years. It remains imperfect today, but is still the world's best hope for liberty.

I hope you all share my pride in our ancestors and their sacrifices, as well as their commitment to the ideas for which they fought: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" (excerpt from the Declaration of Independence).

© 2008, copyright Stephen Mills

Small Town Connection: Twitty, Texas

Here's a brief article from The Handbook of Texas Online about a little ol' place in Wheeler County, up in the northern Panhandle. My great-grandparents, Frank and Elnora (Smith) Pitcock, moved to a farm near Twitty in 1913 and lived in the Twitty/Kelton/Shamrock vicinity for many years. My grandparents, Cully and Mamie (Pitcock) Watson were married at Twitty on April 13, 1929 and the ceremony was conducted by his grandfather, Rev. John M. Lawhon. There's not much left of Twitty now - it's just a wide place in the road, as they say - but it holds lots of memories for Pitcock and Watson family descendants.

This is a photo of my grandparents, Cully and Mamie Watson, taken shortly after their 1929 marriage. Don't they look happy? This picture belonged to my great-aunt, Mrs. Vivian (Watson) Vaughan - her granddaughter, Anna, gave it to me after her death.

TWITTY, TEXAS. Twitty is on U.S. Highway 83 six miles north of Shamrock in Wheeler County. It was named for Asa Twitty, an early settler and store owner. A post office was opened in 1912, and by 1925 two stores and a cotton gin had been established, and oil had been discovered. The population was then estimated at twenty-five. In 1930 the town had a population of 100, the gin, three stores, a church, and a rural school. Since the 1930s high school students have been bused to Shamrock. Although Twitty reported only one business in 1980, its population had remained fairly stable with an estimate of 116. In 1990 the population was sixty. The population dropped to twelve in 2000.

© 2008, copyright Stephen Mills

Texas Death Certificates Now Online

This is one of the most significant advances in Texas genealogy ever! Images of Texas death certificates from 1903-1976 are now online and free. In the past, a researcher had to pay $20 for each certificate through the Vital Statistics Unit, Texas Department of State Health Services. I've already printed off about $2000 worth of certificates. This has been a godsend, as the clues I've found have been remarkable. This will be a great resource for Texas researchers - and many thanks to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for making these records available. Enjoy!

© 2008, copyright Stephen Mills

Cary and Emily Watson Gravestones

Here's a couple of photos taken at the Pioneer Cemetery, Ranger, Eastland County, Texas of the monuments of my great-great-great grandparents, Cary and Emily Watson. I love the iconography on these old monuments - note that Emily's features the veil at the top, symbolizing the finality of death and her departure to a new life behind the closed curtain. The inscription on her stone reads "Emily E., wife of Cary Watson Born Nov. 9, 1825 Died Dec. 26, 1908 Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord".

Cary's monument reads "Cary Watson Born Oct. 13, 1820 Died Dec. 13, 1904". It's a Woodmen of the World stone in the shape of a rough-hewn log, with a scroll, floral decoration, and the Masonic emblem.

Emily Elizabeth (Watson) Watson came to what is now Bowie County, Texas in the fall of 1833 at the age of 8. The area at that time was under Mexican rule. She was the daughter of Coleman Watson and his wife Lucy (Coleman) Watson, who were first cousins. Emily was a descendant of several early and prominent Virginia families, including the Colemans, Leakes, and Coffeys.

Cary Watson's family arrived in Texas somewhat later, in 1837, and also settled in Bowie County at a time that it was part of Red River County, Republic of Texas. He was the son of James and Rhoda Watson. His ancestry has proven to be one of my biggest research challenges over the years, and one that I expect to post about frequently.

© 2008, copyright Stephen Mills