“HISTORY OF THE WATSON FAMILY IN AMERICA 1760-1914”
by Clayton Keith
The memory of seven heroic names, James and Sallie Barber Watson, and Samuel Watson his brother; David Watson and his brothers, Samuel Jr., and John Watson; and “Cousin David: Watson, Plke county pioneers, who in I809, braved the dangers of the wild west on the sunset side of the Mississippi and with others, by their courage and arduous labors helped to make possible our present civilization, this little book is affectionately dedicated.
Hon. William Campbell Watson and wife, Mrs. Elizabeth Ann Davis Watson, of San Francisco, for generous, literary aid, and by whose benefaction the publication of this sketch is made possible.
Honorable mention is here made of Mrs. Caroline E. Smith and Mrs. Catherine W. Austin, daughters of the pioneer missionary and temperance advocate, Rev. Cyrus Lewis Watson, of Illinois, for special aid in making this sketch what it was designed to be - a blessing to all.
HISTORY OF THE WATSON FAMILY
This family had its origin in Scotland, where the name Watson has been prominent for more than a century in literature, science and theology.
To every family, as well as nation, there is a history. This sketch will begin at "the beginning" - with their ancestors in their native land.
From the earliest traditions that have come down to us, it is learned that they were among the followers of John Knox, the gallant leader of the Reformation of the Sixteenth century (1649-1672). His followers shared the spirit of their leader, who was noted for his zeal and undaunted courage'-- a man who never feared the face of man. After his death, they were known as Covenanters or Dissenters and as such fought for liberty and truth, and won the victory for Scotland and England. The battle of the River Boyne, in Ireland, on June 1, 1690, marks an epoch in their history. It was here that James the Second of England was defeated and dethroned and Calvinist William of Orange; made king. A monument on that spot marks the event to this day. It forms an epoch in the history of the Watsons, the Carrolls, the Henrys, the Barbers and the Byers; families to whom we are indebted in no small degree for our present civilization. The history of two of these families, the Watsons and the Carrolls, presents a remarkable parallelism in their movements, both in time and place, as we shall see farther on.
I quote from the "History of the Carroll Family", written by Hon. Thos. M. Carroll, our state senator from this district, from 1868 to 1872. His history was written in 1879.
"My great great grandfather, John Carroll, born in 1664, joined the forces of William of Orange and was present at the battle of. the River Boyne, where the king's forces were routed. After the accession of William to the throne, an act was passed and carried into effect during his reign granting a pension to each soldier of the prince of Orange. This included grants of land in the British colonies in North America. John Carroll was given a grant of one league, or three miles square, which was never laid by him, but descended to his oldest son, Joseph Carroll, my great grandfather, who was born in the year 1699 in County Tyrone, Ireland, and by him it was laid in York district, South Carolina in 1751, sixty-one years after. the service for which it was given, was rendered."
I next quote from the autobiography of Rev. Cyrus Lewis Watson, a Presbyterian minister well-known in his day in Missouri and Illinois. He was the son of James Watson, known to some of the readers of this sketch as "Uncle Jimmie" Watson, who lived just south of the Fritz house, from 1818 until his death in 1833. Cyrus Lewis Watson says:
"Soon after the battle of the River Boyne (1690) , owing to religious intolerance and dissension, the Watson family moved from Scotland to County Tyrone, Ireland: How long they remained there I have no means of" knowing, but perhaps not many years, for in the early part of the Eighteenth century (presumably in the year 1729, when the great tidal-wave of emigration crossed the Atlantic from Scotland and Ireland) , they came to America and located for a season in Franklin county, Pennsylvania, near where Chambersburg now stands. This was before the old French wars (1740 to 1750). Here they were greatly harassed by the Indians, during that war. One of my grandfathers was subjected to a long and painful captivity among them. A few years later they removed to the Carolinas; the Watsons settling in York district, South Carolina, and the Barbers, my mother's ancestors, in Lincoln county, North Carolina, only a few miles apart being in adjacent counties. They were all staunch Presbyterians, thoroughly imbued with the spirit of civil and religious liberty. When the revolutionary war began, though greatly in the minority, they hastened to enroll themselves under the banner of freedom, regardless of the perils incurred. My grandfather Watson, (the father of James Watson of Noix Creek), fell at the battle of Briar Creek, March 3, 1779, fighting under General Lincoln.
One of his brothers was killed at the battle of King's Mountain, Oct. 7, 1780. The other brother was brutally waylaid and shot when just returning from a term of active service in the army, and while in the act of embracing his young wife, on his own doorstep. After my grandmother was made a widow with seven small children dependent on her for subsistence, a bandit or Tories, one night, robbed her home of everything they could carry away. My mother's father, Col. John Barber, commanded a regiment or North Carolina troops, and was in many a hard fought battle, often out on reconnoitering expeditions, greatly harassed: by the enemy, greatly feared and hated by them, and often waylaid, yet, through the entire war he never received a scratch".
Here, as an aid to the memory, I insert the parallelism mentioned above between the movements of the Watsons and the movements of the Carrolls, and note the similarity in time and places. Both families, on account of religious troubles, left Scotland, about the same time; both moved to Ireland and settled, the former, in County Tyrone, ' the latter in County Ulster , where the Carrolls were instrumental in building up the Ulster Presbyterian church. Both left Ireland for America about the same time, and settled in Pennsylvania; the former in Franklin county, near where Chambersburg now stands, the latter, in Chester county, where Joseph Carroll, the grandfather of Thomas M., was born. Both came west and settled in York district, South Carolina, about the same time (1750). Both furnished men for the American Revolution and both took part in the battles of the Cowpens, King's Mountain and Yorktown. Both crossed the Mississippi and were located in 1817 in the "Buffalo Settlement" as it was known' to them in the Carolinas. Both attended the land sales held in St. Louis in 1818 and purchased homesteads in Pike county, where they devoted the remainder of their lives to the development of the new county. And here both were gathered to their fathers, and their bodies now rest in the historic Buffalo cemetery.
At Charlotte, the capitol of Mecklenburg county, North Carolina, a county that joins York district in South Carolina on the south, and Lincoln county, North Carolina, on the west, was given to the world on the 20th. day of May, in the year 1775, the Mecklenburg Declaration by the citizens of that vicinity, notably the Presbyterians of that locality. Thus, the "old north state" led the colonies by six weeks in the declaration for independence. On account of this daring and early declaration, it has been said that "America owes her liberty and her republican form of government to the Presbyterian church". The American revolution was led by those grand old colonists of the Eighteenth century and the government of the United States is a copy of the government of the Presbyterian church; so declared by one of the most eminent scholars and writers in that church in reply to a recent inquiry, "What does America owe to the Presbyterian Church?" Well, what of all this? It is this: The Watsons and the Barbers, as well as the Carrolls and the Henrys, took part in that declaration. For this information I am indebted to my friend, Mrs. Mary Isabel Collins of this city, a niece of Hon. Thos. M. Carroll. and to whom I am indebted for the courtesy of consulting the "History of the Carroll Family". It is a fact worthy of note in this connection that the people of North Carolina observe the 20th day of May each year as a holiday for commemoration of this Declaration of their forefathers.
The Watson family while among the patriots and brave men of the revolution were equally well known in time of peace, as leaders in cultivating the arts of peace and preaching the gospel of peace. We find them in the pulpits of their churches. "Rev. James Adams, who married my father and mother," says Hon. Thos. M. Carroll. "was pastor of the Presbyterian church at Bethel from 1810 until 1839, and was succeeded by his nephew. Rev. Samuel Lytel Watson, who filled the pulpit regularly until the year of his death, 1882, a period of 43 years. I met old Brother Watson at his home in 1878."
Intimate friends of the family and descendants of the pioneers suggest that the following extract from the Centennial History of Pike County be incorporated in this sketch. It is inserted here as the most appropriate place.
"Early in the year 1876 President U. S. Grant by proclamation requested the citizens of every county in the United States to prepare a history of that county and read it at the Centennial celebration, July 4, 1876. The citizens of Louisiana and vicinity, in observance of this proclamation, at a meeting held in May, 1876, appointed a committee of twenty men - two from each township in Pike county - to gather the material for this history. The secretary of that committee at once called to his aid the well-known citizens of Louisiana who had been Identified with the growth and history of Pike county for more than half a century, viz: Judge Edwin Draper and Mr. Levi Pettibone. Both were blessed with remarkable memories; both had been in public life and Judge Draper had given special attention while probate judge to the preservation of documents relating to the history and growth of this county - the essential material for a correct and accurate history. In addition to this a printed list of questions was sent to representative families of the early pioneers in every township in the county, with a view of gaining as full and complete information as possible, as to the date of their settlement, personal reminiscences and family traditions. Scores of letters were received in reply and pages of manuscript from local historians. A history was prepared and submitted to Judge Edwin Draper for correction and approval, who went over it carefully and re-wrote part of it, as he said that it might be strictly correct in every particular. This history published in 1876, the first history of the county, should be called with propriety the Edwin Draper History of Pike county. Its accuracy was a subject of remark by many in the vast crowd of people in attendance on the day of our celebration, to whom one thousand copies were distributed. Our Centennial celebration was held in the Jackson Sugar grove a half mile west of the limits of the city of Louisiana, and the following program was rendered.
Prayer-Rev. James W. Campbell.
Reading the Declaration - J. F. Downey.
Address-John W. Pickle.
Address-Col. A. W. Slayback of St. Louis.
Reading the Centennial History - Clayton Keith.
Distributing one thousand copies of this history by Capt. J. C. Jamison of the Louisiana Press.
Benediction - E. Pat Henderson.
One hundred years ago, what is now Pike county was the home of the deer, the. elk and the buffalo. These and other wild animals held full sway except as they were disturbed by bands of roving Indians in quest of game and other provisions.
"My information is that no Indians inhabited this section of country at the time of which we speak. Their homes were farther north and farther south. The Iowas and the Sacs and Foxes lived north of Rock river, while the Osages and Winnebagoes lived south of the Missouri river. This was their hunting ground and the scene of their tribal conflicts - their battle ground as well. It was here that they tested their strength in war and according to the legend given by Judge Pettibone, "the victor would carry away some dazzling belle of a neighboring tribe to ornament the wigwam of a fiery young chief and raise up a brood of royal braves to maintain the honor of his father's line”.
Within ,these very woods and all over the broad prairies of this and other counties, great herds of buffalo ranged and were monarchs of the land, though elk, deer, bears, wolves, panthers and great numbers of other animals found homes and plenty here.
"I know not," says Rev. James W. Campbell, "that any man now lives who hunted the buffalo in what is now Pike county. But if we did not have it from the most undoubted historical records, and from traditions of the most indisputable authority, the landmarks pointing to the facts with as much certainty as the public records of the county, are now visible to the observing eye, though somewhat worn and partially obliterated. I allude to the buffalo trails or paths leading from the licks on Buffalo creek, from the licks on Spencer creek and other localities out to the highland prairies, which were then the great grazing grounds of millions of buffaloes, but now the grazing grounds for domestic cattle."
Men are here today who have traveled over and across these ancient buffalo traces, worn from four to six feet deep, and from sixty to one hundred feet wide in places, attesting the unknown duration of the daily migration of these animals from the waters of the licks to the prairie pasture. But the buffalo have gone - never to return.
The organization of Pike county dates from December 14, 1818, while Missouri was yet a territory. It was named for General Zebulon Montgomery Pike, the explorer, whose expeditions to the sources of the Mississippi and Arkansas rivers in 1805-7, gave us, in connection with Lewis and Clarke expedition, the first authentic information of the resources of Louisiana, and the value of that purchase. When the "journals" of these three explorers were published in 1810, all complaints as to the amount paid by the United States for that territory ceased.
In 1820, Missouri became a state, Stephen Cleaver, who was elected over James Finley, the Free State candidate. (This James Finley's wife was Mary Watson, a sister of James Watson and Samuel Watson), represented Pike county in the convention held at St, Louis, on July 19, 1820, to ratify the action of congress,
On July 19, 1820, Missouri was admitted as one of the "Sovereign States of the Union," During that year Pike county was reduced to its present limits. In 1821, the first census of the state was taken. This showed the population of Pike county to be 2,677 including whites and negroes.
Judge Edwin Draper furnishes the following statement, giving an account of the earliest settlements made in the county:
"In 1808 the first settlements were made in this county. They were made chiefly on Buffalo, Little Calumet and the lower part of Noix creek, In 1809 settlements were made near Clarksville, and in 1810, on Ramsey's creek, Emigrants from Kentucky and from North and South Carolina made up these settlements.
"The first families that cut their way through the forests were those of a colony from York District in South Carolina and Lincoln county, North Carolina. (York District is bounded on the north by Lincoln and Mecklenburg counties in North Carolina, the county seat of the latter county is Charlotte, which figures later in this sketch).
"The colony was made up of the following thirteen men and their families : The Watsons, viz: John, James, David and Samuel Watson; the Jordans, viz: John, James and Robert Jordan; Alexander Allison, William McConnell, Thomas Cunningham, John Turner, John Walker and Abraham Thomas. These came in 1808. John Watson settled at what is now Watson Station on the Louisiana and Missouri River railroad. James Watson settled on Noix creek at a spring near which Col. James Johnson afterward built a mill, immediately south of the Louisiana fair grounds.
David Watson settled on Noix creek about midway between Louisiana and Bowling Green, at what is now the Igo place.
Samuel Watson settled on Buffalo creek at the farm now occupied by An- drew Scott.
This settlement was interrupted by the war of 1812-14. The Indians outnumbering the whites, were excited to hostilities by British agents and traders, and the infant settlements were broken up in consequence.
In December, 1811, at a meeting of those who had settled on Buffalo and Noix creeks to take into consideration the building of a fort, it was resolved to begin the work immediately. The fort was built on the farm of Alexander Allison, about two miles south of Louisiana, near Isgrig's spring, and in such a manner, that water could be obtained without exposure to the enemy. It was called Buffalo fort. Into this fort all the settlers of the neighborhood, numbering twenty-one families, removed.
During the first year, 1812, a crop of corn was raised for the mutual use of the settlers - part working in the fields, and part guarding the fort. Their immunity from attack on the part of the savages that year made them more careless and the next season each man cultivated his own crops.
They did not, however, remain long in their fancied security. In March, 1813, while going out to keep some logs burning on a piece of ground which they were clearing for the purpose of planting corn, Robert Jordan and his son, James, were shot and scalped by the Sac and Fox Indians, the tribes roaming through this part of the country at that time. The old Buffalo graveyard, two and a half miles south of Louisiana, was the scene of the murders.
This event thoroughly alarmed the settlers who immediately applied to the government for military protection. The request was denied, but early in 1814, Gov. Clark sent a body of soldiers to conduct the families to St. Louis county for protection. Miss Mary McConnell and Peter Brandon, one of these soldiers, were married in the fort by Samuel Watson, who was neither a minister nor a justice of the peace. The settlers were then escorted to St. Louis, part of them by land and part on a flat boat down the Mississippi, after burning the fort and having a skirmish with the Indians on Mud Lick prairie.
The war with Great Britain closed in February, 1815, and as soon as it became known that peace had been declared, emigrants from Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and the Carolinas, in fact from all the land began to pour into Missouri like birds that migrate from south to north after the breaking up of winter.
In the spring of 1817, all the old settlers who composed the original Carolina colony returned from St. Louis county and settled permanently in the Buffalo settlement.
In 1818, came the Campbells, Caldwells, Hendricks, Basyes, Jones, Maidens, Browns and Shaws from Kentucky.
"William Campbell, my father,” says Rev. J. W. Campbell, "settled near the present site of Bowling Green, and in the fall of 1819, his son-in-law, Isaac Orr, father of Judge W. C. Orr, from North Carolina, located on a tract of land not far from him. The present site of Antioch church was a part of the original Orr farm. It was in this neighborhood that the first Cumberland Presbyterian church in Northeast Missouri was organized in 1819, at the house of Robert Fullerton."
The first mill in Pike county was built by John Mulherin on Ramsey's creek in 1819, and John Watson soon afterward built one at the present site of Watson Station in 1820.
Among the names of the first grand jury were those of Samuel Watson and David Watson. They were discharged without making any presentments.
In the introductory chapter of this sketch we learned that, as early as the year 1808, four Watsons, all heads of families, had settled in Pike county, Missouri, in what is now Buffalo township. Two of these, viz: David and John, who settled on Noix Creek not far from each other, were brothers. The other two, viz: James, who settled on the bank of Noix Creek near the present site of the Fritz house, and Samuel, who settled near Buffalo creek on what is known as the Andrew Scott farm, were brothers, and also cousins to David and John.
Within a very few years afterward, two other Watsons whose history will be included in this sketch, arrived. These were David Watson, who settled near the mouth of Buffalo creek, one mile south of Louisiana, on July 17, 1819, and Samuel Watson, Jr., who lived at the big spring two miles north of Louisiana, on the Frankford road, and who, during his life time in Pike county, was known as .'Bachelor Sam" and since his death, in 1836, as "the founder of Watson Seminary at Ashley, Pike county, Missouri. He was a brother to David and John Watson of Noix Creek and a cousin to James and Samuel. David Watson of Buffalo was a cousin to each of the other two families.
Following is the order of settlement of these six Watsons in this county.
First, James Watson, July 13, 1818.
Second, David Watson, Aug. 18, 1818.
Third, John Watson, in 1818.
Fourth, Samuel Watson, of Buffalo, January 7, 1819.
Fifth, David Watson, of Buffalo, January 17, ,1819.
Sixth, Samuel Watson, Jr., in 1819.
This sketch will treat of these pioneers and their families in the order of their settlement.
We, begin with James Watson.
The subject of this part of our sketch was one of the original colony who came from York District, South Carolina, in 1808, and located on Noix Creek not far from the western limit of the present city of Louisiana. The county record shows the date of his deed as July 13, 1818, after a period of perhaps two or three years residence, necessary to preempt a homestead.
He was foreman of the first grand jury of Pike county, at the first term of the circuit court held in the county, beginning April 12, 1819, David Todd, judge; David Watson of Noix Creek was also a member of that grand jury. The record shows that "these true and honest men" received their charge, retired for consultation, but soon returned and announced that they had no presentments to make", and were discharged.
At this point it is a great pleasure to quote from the memoirs of his son,
Rev. Cyrus Lewis Watson, written in 1876, five years before his death, which occurred at his home in Peoria, Ill. In reply to a letter of inquiry about this memorial, his daughter, Mrs. Caroline E. Smith, of Pittsburg, Pa., says: "My father, Cyrus L. Watson, was a man of remarkable memory, and what he wrote is authentic." I quote from the autobiography of Cyrus L. Watson, D. D.
"My father, James Watson, was born in the District of York, South Carolina, in 1769, on a farm consisting of 350 acres of what in that region was regarded as excellent land, heavily timbered and well watered, with about 60 acres under cultivation, with necessary outbuildings, fences, etc., superior to those of most farms in the vicinity.
"By the right of primogeniture under the English law, he inherited this estate. His grandfather designed to give him a collegiate and professional education, and sent him to an academy at Spartanburg for the purpose of fitting him to enter college. He also made provision in his will for the completion of his education. When his preparatory course was nearly finished, the grandfather died, and all avaricious uncle who was appointed executor of the estate managed to deprive him of the bequest and he never went to college. It was very difficult: in those days to obtain a good education at the South, and having a productive farm, he determined to become an agriculturist. He died at Louisiana, Mo., Sept. 26, 1833. He married Sarah Barber; a daughter of Col. John Barber, of North Carolina, whose adventures and good luck are mentioned in the previous chapters. She was born in 1771, and died at Farmington, Illinois, Sept. 6, 1859. There is a small town named Barbersville, located near the boundary line between York county, South Carolina, and Mecklenburg county, North Carolina, that was probably named after the family. To them the following children were born:
1. Jane, born in.1797.
2. John Barber, who was accidentally killed by a hog while yet a baby.
3. John Barber, the second, and
4. Cyrus Lewis, twins, born Feb. 10, 1800.
After the twins, came James, David, Robert Jordan, William Finley and Electa. Electa was born August 25, 1815. Jane married a Mr. Gilham and settled at Edwardsville, Ill., and died there June 28, 1838. Electra married Wm. Fisher, Nov. 8, 1837, (and settled near Bowling Green, Mo.) When we were ten years old our father removed with his family to Illinois then a territory, and stopped nearly a year in a settlement called "Goshen", 18 miles northeast from St. Louis, and near where Edwardsville, the county seat of Madison county, now stands. This was then the northern verge of the white settlements in Illinois - all beyond was in possession of the Indians. ,
Thinking that timber was too scarce and that the climate was unhealthy in Illinois, he removed to a very small settlement in Missouri, thirty miles beyond all others, known as the "Buffalo Settlement", near the site of the present city of Louisiana, in what is now Pike county. Very soon the Indians murdered a family of ten persons a few miles from us. (This was the family, wife and nine children of Jas. O'Neal, near Clarksville, in 1812; K), and perpetrated other outrages in various places.
The citizens of the neighborhood hastily erected a small log fort, and crowding into it, lived in great discomfort some fifteen months. The Indians became more and more troublesome and at length killed two of our citizens one evening within a mile of the fort, when they were returning from their farm. I heard the guns with which the bloody deed was done! Soon afterwards the governor sent guard to escort us into the older and stronger settlements. Our friends in Goshen heard of our condition about the same time, and a party of them came to guard our family back into that settlement. Here we resided in constant peril and great anxiety for several years, the Indians from time to time committing murders and other depredations within a few miles of us. At length the war closed and we returned to our former brief home in Missouri.
My father's land lay along a creek bottom (Noix; K) near the Mississippi river, and near where the city of Louisiana, Pike county, Missouri, now stands, and was heavily timbered, clearing, fencing and bringing a large farm under cultivation cost an immense amount of hard labor."
It is thought by members of the family that this shortened his life by several years.
Of his wife, I shall let one of her granddaughters, Miss Louise M. Watson, recently of Denver, Colo., speak. She is a daughter of John Barber Watson, the twin brother of Rev. Cyrus Lewis Watson. Her father devoted his life chiefly to teaching, while his twin brother, went everywhere preaching. This correspondence of his daughter's shows that while teaching other children his own were not neglected. What a pleasure to work with one thus qualified and willing! She says:
"Our grandmother was 'Sallie Barber', her father a colonel in the revolutionary war; and a bright, wide awake, smart man.
"All the old settlers in Missouri called grandma' Aunt Sallie', and she rarely ever called her name 'Sarah'. Her mother's maiden name was Martin, and her grandmother Martin was born in Pennsylvania, of Scotch-Irish parents, and married Mr. Martin, who was a Scotch-Irish man from the north of Ireland who came to America between 1700 and 1750. Grandmother Watson had two brothers, John and Robert Barber - the latter died in Carolina. John Barber, my great uncle, and for whom my father was named, came to Illinois in 1815 or '16, and settled in Bond county, where his widow and three children were living several years ago; He was a man of superior endowments - both mental and moral - was a Cumberland Presbyterian preacher, and although never having had any advantages of education, yet, no one in the presbytery had more influence than he had, or could preach a better sermon. His children have all passed away except perhaps Dr. Barber, of Litchfield, Illinois.
"Grandma Watson' had four sisters --all married and reared families, and all of them but one lived to be over eighty years of age. The three eldest died in Carolina-the youngest, 'Anna', who married John Price, moved to Missouri in 1819. When I was at Cousin Myra's (Mrs. John D. Lingenfelter's) near Louisiana, Mo., in 1868 and '69, Aunt Anna Price was still living in the same spacious double, two-storied log house that she had lived in for forty years. I saw her several times; she looked so much like grandmother, and was active and busy as she was. She died a few years after, at nearly the same age. Several of her children resided in the vicinity. The late Robt. B. Price, father of J. N. Price, was one of her children; K,)
"One of grandma's sisters married Mr. Cyrus Lewis and lived in Carolina. For him, grandma named one son, Cyrus Lewis Watson,"
Mrs. Mary I. Collins of this city has a very distinct recollection of Mrs. James Watson. She says:
"We always called her 'Aunt Sallie'; all of us but Mrs. Julius Jackson. Aunt Sallie always spoke of Mrs. .Jackson as 'Neighbor Jackson', and Mrs. Jackson called her 'Neighbor Watson.' I thought it sounded very beautiful. Their homes were adjoining and they were neighbors in the true sense of that word."
James Watson was born March 21, 1769, and died Sept. 26, 1833, aged 64 years, 6 months and 5 days. I copy the inscription over his grave in Buffalo cemetery. Sarah Barber Watson, his wife was born in the year 1771, and died in 1859, aged 88 years, at the home of her son, Rev. Cyrus L. Watson, in Farmington, Illinois. She was buried at Springfield, Ill. They were married in North Carolina in 1795, and lived in York county, South Carolina, until 1808, when they came west. To them, nine children were born, seven sons and two daughters, eight of whom lived to become heads of families. In order of the birth, they were:
1. John 'Barber, who was accidentally killed by a hog when four years old.
2. Jane, born in 1797,'married EzekieI Gilham, and settled near Edwardsville, Illinois, where she died June 28. 1838. She was the mother of five daughters and one son. Her son, Rev. John B. Gilham, was chaplain of an Illinois regiment of troops during the civil war. One daughter died single, three married and lived near Peoria.
3. John Barber, and
4. Cyrus Lewis, twins, born February 10, 1800. Each of the twins became the head of a large family, as we shall see.
5. David, born March 13, 1803, and died Dec. 27, 1838. His body rests beside that of his father in Buffalo cemetery. He left two sons and their widowed mother.
6. James, born in 1806, lived in Iowa and later in Oregon, where he died. He was the father or thirteen children.
7. Robert Jordan, born in l808, married Sarah McQuie, a sister of Langley McQuie, of this county, and lived in Illinois. At a meeting of old settlers held at Louisiana, Mo. in 1882, he was present, and the record says: "Robert J. Watson and I. N. Bryson, after a separation of twenty-five years, had the pleasure of meeting each other. At the time Robt. Jordan was killed, Mr. Watson, then a boy of four or five summers, was living in Buffalo fort."
8. William Finley, born Nov. 7, 1811, said to have been the first male child born in Pike county.
9. Electa, born Aug. 35, 1815; married Wm. Fisher, Nov. 8, 1837, and raised a family of several children.
Five of James Watson's' seven sons mentioned above were named in honor of living friends and relatives. This fact indicates the high regard and admiration the father and mother had for their friends and neighbors, in that early day.
The Hebrew patriarch was the father of a great multitude," and the subject of this part of our sketch, "Uncle Jimmie" Watson, as he was called, was the father of a multitude of professional men; lawyers, doctors, ministers, teachers, judges and congressmen, who are scattered throughout the United States today from the shores of the Atlantic to the Golden Gate; not to mention the thrifty far- mers in Oregon, and the fruit growers of that name, in the state of California.
Descendants of James Watson.
Mrs. Jane Gilham, his oldest daughter, has already been" mentioned as the. mother of five daughters and one son, Rev. John B. Gilham, of Peoria, Illinois.
Next, we consider the twins, John Barber and Cyrus Lewis, and their
descendants. Mrs. Caroline E. Smith, daughter of Cyrus L. Watson and the wife of Rev. J. Smith, D.D., a Lutheran minister of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, says :
"The twins were started to school when four years old. Their early education was received under great disadvantages, but they were diligent students and acquired a substantial education. They studied theology under the direction of Rev. John Matthews, a Presbyterian' minister residing in their neighborhood (I. N. Bryson was his pupil in 1818; K.) and afterwards under Rev. Samuel Giddings of St. Louis, Mo. John Barber Watson's health failed, and he was obliged to discontinue his studies when nearly ready to be ordained, but was a faithful and reliable friend to the church and held the office of ruling elder for many years. He and two daughters Margaret and Ellen, died of cholera;. within 48 hours of each other on August 10 and 11, 1852, soon after his return from California, at his home in Springfield, Illinois. I think Uncle John had six daughters and one son. Their names were Jane, Elizabeth, Louisa, Margaret, Anna, Ellen and James. James lives in Denver, Colorado. He is married and has two daughters. May, the oldest, married Mr. Ralph, who has a position in the money order department, Washington. D. C. Florence is at home. Louisa and Anna live in Springfield, Illinois. Both are unmarried. The others have passed away.
"Cyrus Lewis Watson was ordained October 8, 1828, at Shoal Creek, Illinois. His first work was as a home missionary in the "Military Tract" which included all that portion of Illinois between the Mississippi and Illinois rivers from their confluence to the tier of counties composed of Peoria, Knox, Warren and Henderson. He continued his missionary work until 1838, when he became pastor of a church in Rockford, Illinois. He served several charges during the remainder of his life, in various states. viz: Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Connecticut. My father was married five times. His first three wives were members of New England families. They were educated and refined women, used to comfortable homes and deeply imbued with the desire to do missionary work. But they were unable to endure the western climate of those days and the rigors of frontier life. His first wife was Mary McKee, by whom he had one daughter; Adeline. She was always sickly. but lived to be 36 years of age. She died at Farmington, Illinois, in 1864. His second wife was Catherine Pond, of Metford, Connecticut. Her father, Charles Pond, after whom my younger brother was named, was then lieutenant governor of Connecticut. His third wife was Caroline Tracy of Middletown, Connecticut, whose family soon after her marriage moved to New Haven, Connecticut. His fourth wife was Harriet Topleff of Monticello, Illinois. His fifth wife was Elizabeth Rankin Henning, my mother. Her lineage, on her mother's side can be traced back to 1720. They were Germans and with very few exceptions the men were Lutheran ministers. Her great-grandfather, Rev. John Nicholas Kurtz, when a young man, was sent to this country as a missionary. Arriving at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, January 15, 1745, a very cordial welcome awaited him from Rev. Dr. Melchior Muhlenberg, with whom he was afterwards intimately associated. The Lutheran Cyclopedia. states that he was the first pastor ordained by a Lutheran synod in AmerIca in 1748. That he was pastor at Tulpehochen and York and died in Baltimore in 1794. In a letter to Dr. Muhlenberg in 1757 he states that one day seven members of his congregation were brought to the church for burial, having been murdered by Indians the previous evening.
“Benjamin Kurtz, one of hls sons, and my mother's grandfather, was born in Talpehochen, Berks county, Pennsylvania, in 1761. He come to Harrisburg about 1790 and was prominent in the new town. He was chosen town clerk in 1797 and subsequently elected coroner of Dauphin county from 1800 to 1802, inclusive, and was largely instrumental in securing the location of the seat of the state government at Harrisburg. My mother's father's family (Hemming) was descended from the Huguenots. My father and mother were married in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1842. He was then pastor of a Presbyterian church In that city. My mother was born In Harrisburg. Pennsylvania. December 15. 1813, and died at her home In Peoria, Illinois, May 5, 1906, aged 93 years and 5 months. My father died at his home In Peoria. Illinois, March 1. 1881.
"My parents had three daughters and two sons. viz: CatherIne Tracy, Caroline Elizabeth (myself) .Cyrus Lewis, Charles, Pond, and Margaret Louisa."
These and their living descendants live in Indianapolis, Indiana; Peoria, Illinois; and in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Among them may be found lawyers, doctors, ministers, business men and court' reporters. One was President Harrisons' private Secretary. Among them are graduates of Yale and other eastern colleges. One of Cyrus L. Watson's daughters, Margaret Louisa Watson, excels in music and painting. She lives in Peoria, Illinois.
Mrs. Caroline Elizabeth Smith, daughter or Cyrus L. Watson, who has so ably assisted in the preparation or this sketch; deserves especial mention as the mother or three daughters and two sons. The sons are Dr. Lewis Watson Smith, professor of obstetrics in a medical college; Ralph L. Smith, rising young attorney of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Mrs. Smith is the wife of J. L. Smith, D. D., a Lutheran minister.
The next son in the order or their birth was David, the third son of James and Sarah Barber Watson. He was born March 13. 1803, in the house where his father first saw the light, in South Carolina. In a letter dated Sunday evening, March 11, with the year omitted, written by Louise M. Watson, daughter or John Barber Watson to her cousin, Caroline Elizabeth Smith, daughter or Cyrus Lewis Watson, she says.
"Uncle David Watson died years ago with quick consumption. Mother al- ways said your brother, Charlie, was his exact picture when he was small. She considered him by far the handsomest of all the Watson brothers.
At one time between 1833 and 1835 my father and mother, with their oldest babe, Lizzie; your father and his first wife, Caroline; Uncle David and his wife, with two sons, William and Calvin, and Aunt Electa, the youngest child, and only other sister who was staying with mother at the time, were all living in Rushville. Illinois.
"Your rather was preaching, Pa was teaching, Aunt Electa was attending school, Uncle David was blacksmithing, the only Watson who ever followed a trade, except Uncle Robert J:, who was a miller, and was burned out two or three times. I think you saw Uncle David's son, Calvin. Cousin Will; his brother, died in California a few years ago, leaving a wife and children."
The following extract from a letter written by Hon; Wm. C. Watson of San Francisco, Cal., finds its appropriate place in this sketch, as one of the most beautiful and tender tributes to a departed relative, that can be found in modern elegiac literature.
"David Watson lived, I believe, in Dubuque, Iowa. He died at the home of his brother, William Finley Watson, on Noix Creek, Pike county, Mo., Dec. 27, 1837. In a letter dated January 2, 1838, written by Wm. F. Watson to his brother, Cyrus L. Watson, he says: 'With a sorrowful and heavy heart I take up my pen to address you. Death has again entered the household of our dwelling, and taken from us one of our dear friends. You are doubtless aware that David was sick during the summer; his health still continued to decline during the fall. I learned of his condition and wrote to him to come down and spend the winter here. He concluded to accept the invitation and came down on one of the last boats that came from Dubuque. He got to our house on the 29th of November. He was quite feeble and had a dreadful cough. I immediately had Dr. Campbell come and see him. He called his disease bronchitis in the last stage. He, however, thought he could get him up in a short time. In this he was mistaken. He continued to decline and we called in Dr. Hardin. He had every attention they could bestow on him; but it was all in vain that he took medicine. His disease continued to pursue its course and we saw every day that he was sinking. I apprised him of his situation and asked him if he felt that he was willing and prepared to die. He, with perfect composure, said he was. That, as far as he could judge of himself, he was fully prepared for the summons whenever it should come, He said he never felt more composure of mind in his life, and appeared to be delighted with the prospect of soon being with his Savior. Soon after this conversation took place he became delirious and continued so until the day before he died.
" I think he was then perfectly in his senses. He was, however, unable to speak and we could not ascertain the exact state of his mind, but so far as we could judge from his countenance and other indications he was enjoying communion with his Savior. In this condition he lay for two days with very little changes. On the evening of the 27th, he appeared to grow worse and we soon saw that he was dying. About 7 o'clock he breathed his last, without so much as moving a muscle of his face. A sweet smile rested on his face after death. In- deed, I think I never saw so pleasant and lovely a corpse. Dear brother, he was lovely in life and lovely in death. How much we all loved him! How much we enjoyed his society! But he has gone from us. Death is a stern Monster, that is ever steady in his purpose, regardless of the strong ties that bind kindred spirits together in this world. I feel deeply for his family. They are at Dubuque, as yet I have written to Nancy, and I know it will be mournful tidings to her. May the Lord sustain her.'
"David Watson had two sons, William and Calvin. In the early fifties they left Iowa for California and settled in Shasta county. Calvin, I believe is dead. William also is dead but left a wife and three children - Clay, Clinton and a girl. The family is now living in French Gulch, Shasa county, California. The mother and daughter I have never seen. Clinton I met once. Clay I know quite well and have seen often. The boys are typical Watsons and possess all the good sterling qualities that characterize the family. My children have met them all and know them quite well. They speak in the highest terms of them, and the family commands the respect and esteem of all their neighbors."
The next or fourth son of James and Sarah Watson was James Watson, Jr., born in 1806 in South Carolina. He came as a babe, with his parents in 1808 to Missouri and was reared at the home on Noix Creek and married Miss Emily Franklin, in 1836, and became the parent of thirteen children. His granddaughter Mrs. Winnie Gantenbein, of Portland Oregon, in a letter of recent date says:
"He seems to have spent almost his entire life on the frontier.”
He lived in the state of Iowa where he reared a family of sons and daughters and in 1853 migrated to Oregon where he was known as the father of the Oregon branch of the Watson family. Here, he spent the remainder of his Iife and died at a good old age. Ten of his children became heads of families, and eight of them were living in 1911.
Children of James Watson, Jr.
(1) His oldest child, Sarah, born in 1837, in Iowa, married Dr. Salathiel Hamilton, in Oregon. She is known to her descendants as a poet. She was the author of a published poem entitled, "The Pioneers of Fifty-three". She died in 1909. Her husband, Dr. Hamilton, at the age of 90 was living in Oregon in 1911. Their children are the following:
James Hamilton, a judge in Oregon.
Frank, a lawyer of Astoria, Oregon.
Walter, a physician of Roseburg, Oregon.
Charles, a druggist of Roseburg, Oregon.
Luther, a physician' of Portland, Oregon.
Mrs. Frank Macelli, of Oregon.
Mrs. William Washburn, of Oregon.
Mrs. Henry Richardson, of Oregon.
(2) James Finley Watson. oldest son of James Watson, Jr., was born in 1840, in Iowa. He married Isabel Flint, and lived in Oregon. He was chief justice of the state of Oregon for several years. He died at Portland, Oregon, in 1897. His daughter, Miss Winnifred Watson, married Judge Gantenbein and lives in Portland, Oregon. They have one child, a daughter. The little girl's father is judge of the Juvenile Court in Portland (1911). A more extended notice is due Mrs. Gantenbein, but the data has not arrived. (March 22, 1913).
(3) David Lowry Watson, born in 1842, lives in Oregon.
(4) Edward Byers Watson, born in 1844, lives in Oregon. .
(5) Emma, married Silas Hazzard, a lawyer in the state of Oregon.
(6) Kate, married John A. Floyd, and lives in California;
(7) Florence, married A. M. Crawford, and lives in Oregon.
(8) Robert, born in 1852, married and lives near the old homestead in Oregon. He has two children.
(9) Charles, born in 1854, married and lives near the old home in Oregon. He is a farmer and has reared a large family.
(10) John, unmarried, was formerly a clerk in the government land office, is now a farmer in Oregon.
We pass to a consideration of Uncle Jimmie's youngest child, Electa, and her descendants. She was born August 25, 1815, at the home on Noix Creek. She married William W. Fisher, a native of Mercer county, Kentucky, who was born May 28, 1808, and came to Missouri in 1829, with his parents, and settled near New London, in RaIls county.
She and her husband lived on a farm of 250 acres near the town of Bowling Green, from 1848 until the date of his death, January 9, 1882. She remembered the landing of the first steamboat, the Pilot, at Louisiana, in 1820, at a time when the Indians were as numerous as the whites in this part of the country. She was always proud of the fact that her grandfather, Col. John Barber, of Lincoln county, North Carolina, was a revolutionary soldier, and fought for independence. Her husband was a farmer and stockraiser, and owned a large farm of excellent land, all finely improved and in pasture, with good buildings and all the improvements pertaining to a substantial home. They reared a family of six children, viz:
(1.) Eliza Jane, who died in 1876.
(2) James L., and
(3) Burnett W., of this county.
(4) Sarah E., now Mrs. Campbell of' California.
(5) Joseph A., now living in Texas, and
(6) John D. Fisher, whose widow lives in Bowling Green, Mo.
William Finley Watson.
William Finley Watson, the youngest of Uncle Jimmie's sons, was born November 5, 1811, and is said to have been the first male child born in what is now Pike county, Missouri.
In 1834 he married Amelia McQuie, a sister of Langley McQuie and lived on the Noix Creek farm on which his father located at the time of his arrival in Missouri, in 1808, until about the year 1845. He then moved to Bowling Green and taught school and was interested in a newspaper called the "76". Hon. Robt. A. Campbell says he attended this school in 1845 as a pupil. In 1850 he moved to St. Louis and was interested in the wholesale boot and shoe business, and in steamboats running on the Upper Mississippi and in the Galena lead mines. He was a Cumberland Presbyterian minister.
Mrs. Mary I. Collins and "Miss Jane Igo of this city and others who heard him say that he was not only a good man but a good preacher, and we loved to hear him.
He died in St. Louis in 1854, and his wife, Amelia, passed away on June 5, 1855. Both are buried at Buffalo cemetery, Pike county, Mo. They had four children, viz: Mary Caroline, James Thomas, AImyra Jane and William Campbell Watson. Mary was born on the Noix Creek farm, February 27, 1835, and died January 12, 1900.
On October 6, 1861, she married Addison Foley of New Hope, Missouri. Two children were born to them - a boy and girl - the girl, Mary Addison Foley, was born August 28, 1862. and the boy, William Edgar Watson Foley, was born December 3, 1864. He died March 18, 1867.
Mary Addison Foley married Dr. D. H. Young of Fulton, Missouri, and had a daughter named Marjorie Daw. The daughter is now living at Foley, Missouri, and married to Robert Fisher, and has two children. Addison Foley, the husband of Mary C. Watson, was born in Virginia May 7, 1805, and died December 16, 1866.
On May 2, 1876, Mary C. Foley married Chas. E. Woolfolk. They have no children. Woolfolk is dead.
James Thomas, the second child of Wm. Finley Watson, died on the plains in 1859, while on his way to Pike's Peak. He never married.
Almyra Jane, was born October 1, 1839, and died October 15, 1875. She married John D. Lingenfelter, April 19, 1860, and had four children. Mr. Lingenfelter died at Louisiana, Missouri, in 1912. The children live in Texas.
William Campbell Watson
Was born April 26, 1843, on the Noix Creek farm where his father and grandfather had lived, and was named after his father and the Rev. James W. Campbell, who officiated at the marriage of his father and mother.
In 1861, just before the breaking out of the civil war, he crossed the plains to California, and. with the exception of two visits to Europe, and a residence for a while in Nevada, it has been his home ever since.
On June 1, 1864, at Frankfort on the Main, Germany, he married Elizabeth Anne Davis, a native of San Francisco, California. They had five children, one girl and four boys. The girl, Maud, was born October 5, 1867, at Hamburg, Germany.
On April 23, 1889, she married Thomas B. Dozier, now a prominent lawyer of San Francisco. He is descended from an old family of that name in South Carolina. They have four boys - Franklin Watson; Thomas B., Yount Dozier and Paul Dozier. The oldest son of W. C. Watson, Eugene S., was born at Paris, France, February 25, 1869, and died in New York City, April 27, 1909. He married Miss Jennie Dean of Redding, California, at Redding, January 31, 1899. They had one child. a daughter, named Eugenia, now living.
The second son, William Davis Watson, was born April 25, 1871, at San Francisco. He married Miss Alma Jones of Redding, California, June 12, 1902. They have three girls and are living at Corning, California.
The third son, Charles Edward, was born May 12, 1873, at Napa City, California. He married Miss Jessie Freyer at Carson City, Nevada, and is living there now. They have no children. He is a mining engineer.
The fourth son, James Percival, was born January 31, 1875 at Napa City, California, and died January 16, 1906. He married Miss Dora A. Classen of San Francisco, March 12. 1903. They had one child, a boy, now living;
The grandfather of Mrs. William C. Watson, was George C. Yount, who came to California In 1833. In 1836, he settled in Napa Valley. In 1843, his family came from Missouri and joined him. In I844", his daughter, Elizabeth, married an Englishman named John C. Davis. Mrs. William 0. Watson was one of the children of that union, and was born at San Francisco, February 23, 1847. Her elder sister has the distinction of being the first Anglo-Saxon child born at San Francisco, April 1, 1845. A soldiers' home is located at Yountville, in Napa county, named after her grandfather, George C. Yount. , Through him Mrs. Watson and Mrs. Dozier are both members of the D. A. R.
The earliest name that has come down to his descendants is that of James Houston Watson, Sr. He was the first of that name to leave his native land for America. After a residence of a few years in the State of Pennsylvania, where his son, James Houston, Jr., was born, he came west to South Carolina, where four of his sons, including James H., Jr., became soldiers In the revolutionary war, and three of them perished. James Houston, Jr., survived and married in South Carolina and reared a family of four sons and three daughters, viz.: David, Samuel, Jr., John, Aaron, Elizabeth; Ann and Jane. The three oldest sons were among the earliest Pike County pioneers. Their brothers-in-law, Alexander Finley, Robert Hemphill and Robert Barber, who married Elizabeth, Ann, and Jane, respectively, soon followed them to the west. All of them, but Aaron, were located here before the year 1818.
The subject of this Chapter is DAVID WATSON of NOIX CREEK, the second one of this family to record his deed in Pike County. Its date Is August 23, 1818. There were two pioneer David Watsons. They are distinguished by their location and date of their deeds. “David Watson made his permanent settlement on Noix Creek about midway between Louisiana and Bowling Green on what is known as the Igo place," said Edwin Draper, the historian, of 1876. "He was one of the thirteen original colonists who came here in 1808."
He was personally known to Judge Draper in 1818, and was familiar with the building of Buffalo Fort.
When their friends came from Goshen, Illinois, to rescue the colonists from death or capture by the Indians, they turned their faces eastward and, doubtless David Watson with his family continued his journey until he reached Christian County, Kentucky, where he halted near Hopkinsville and remained for a few years. He was married in South Carolina to Mary McCord, of Irish descent, a daughter of Capt. Wm. McCord, for whom McCord's fort in South Carolina was named. This was the scene of a noted Indian massacre in the year 1764.
David Watson's family consisted of four daughters and one son, James Houston. During his stay in Kentucky he became a land owner, as a deed dated May 1, 1813, on record in Christian County shows.
When the war with England closed in 1815, and people from Kentucky, Tennessee and the Carolinas began to flock to Missouri territory, David Watson bade adieu to his son and his son's little family in Kentucky and came west once more. This time he drew up on the waters of Grassy Creek, near his brother, Samuel Watson, Jr., who had preceded him by at least a few months, presumably from Edwardsville. Ill., where other members of the Watson family had retreated on account of Indian hostilities. Gilbert Watson, a brother of "Uncle Jimmie" and a cousin of David's and Samuel, Jr's. is known to have settled there in 1815.
"It was early in October, 1817, that David Watson built a log cabin near the waters of Grassy Creek, which served him and his wife as a home for a few months," says his biographer, Judge H. W. Johnson. "For some reason he gave up his home on Grassy Creek and in 1818 entered land on Noix Creek near his brother, John Watson." The reason for this change in the opinion of the writer was this: Some friend informed him that he could not secure a clear title to the land he had selected on Grassy Creek, and he abandoned it and moved several miles west where he settled permanently and entered the land and spent the few remaining years of his life in opening up what is known as the Igo farm.
The Watson and Carroll families were inseparably associated in the early days of this county. This may have been due to the fact that the sterling qualities possessed by each formed a common bond of union, and the history of the two families is so inseparably connected that it is highly probable that David Watson had a similar experience on Grassy Creek to that of his neighbor, Joseph Carroll on Haw Creek, and that both occurred in the same year, 1817, as the facts would indicate. Hon. Thos. M. Carroll, the biographer, says: "My father stopped at the Buffalo Lick. It was known in the Carolinas as the Buffalo District'. My father made a stand here, till he looked at the country. He selected a location on Haw Creek, and was cutting the logs and preparing to build a cabin when Bennett Goldsberry, father of John B. Goldsberry of Frankford, Mo. informed him that the land he had selected was covered by a French claim, that the heirs lived in France, and that it would probably not come into market during my father's life time, which proved to be true. The Sarpee heirs sold it in 1853 only seven years before my father's death.
"Jas. Templeton, Sr., a York County man, having settled upon and pre- empted four quarter sections of land in Township 53, tendered my father the southwest quarter of Section four, reserving ten acres of the northwest corner to be deeded to him when my father obtained letters patent for the same, which was carried out in good faith 21 years afterward. James M. Watson, Justice of the Peace and County Surveyor, surveyed it and drew up the deed which my father and mother signed and acknowledged in my presence in January, 1838. Here my parents settled permanently and here their seven youngest children were born."
Before David Watson removed from his cabin on Grassy Creek he was joined by his son, James Houston, with his wife and two little girls from Kentucky, who came all the way on horseback. Here is a picture: James , Houston Watson, a young man, twenty-five years of age, is the leader of the party, on horseback, followed by his wife on horseback, with a baby girl less than two months old in her lap, and her little girl - her first born - four years and four months old riding on the same horse" behind her, with her two brothers, William and Nathaniel Carr, bringing up the rear, on horseback, along the old emigrant
trail, all the way from Christian County, Kentucky, to Grassy Creek in Pike County, Missouri, a distance of lover two hundred miles. And what of this picture? What does it illustrate? It shows the strength of womanhood and the determination of the mothers of that day. James Houston Watson and his wife, Elizabeth Carr Watson, were the grandparents of Judge H. W. Johnson and the little babe that came all the way from Kentucky to Pike County, Missouri, in her mother's lap, and she on horseback, became his tender, loving mother.
A little sister, born Oct. 14, 1815, had died in Kentucky. The little four-year-old girl who rode behind her mother and father alternately was a born pioneer, and several years afterward wrote a sketch of her childhood experiences on the frontier.
It is a bit of unfinished literature, but in that respect she is no worse off than many eminent authors. The readers of this sketch shall have the pleasure of reading this charming little history just as she wrote it. As a pen picture of Pike County pioneer life it is a gem. We only wish that she had completed her history.
"It was in the year eighteen seventeen, (1817) on Christmas day, three solitary horsemen, one women and two children might have been seen winding their way along the ridge between Louisiana and Salt River. At last they came to a log cabin on the waters of Grassy Creek, where David Watson, the father of the leader of these solitary horsemen, lived.
"The leader of this little company was my father, James Houston Watson, and it is of my own experience in the then territory of Missouri, that I am going to write.
"The occupant of the log' hut was my grandfather, David Watson, who having come on two months before the day in question, had built for himself and family a cabin out of round logs and settled in the thickest of the woods, without any fence around the hut. It was truly a grand scene. A small round-log cabin with nothing but the grand old oaks -and hickory trees as far as the eye could reach.
"I was very young then, but I have a tolerably distinct recollection of that Christmas day, when we landed at my grandfather's. When we landed there was no one at home. Grandfather and his family having gone to see his brother's wife buried, she having died the day before. My father took me with him and went to his uncle's and when we got there, they were all gone to the burying but grandmother, Mrs. David Watson.
"I have a very distinct recollection of the meeting between my father and grandmother. We did not go to the burying, but went back to grandfather's, and by this time he had returned and we all had a joyful meeting after a separation of two months. That evening we had a couple of Indians to pay us a visit. I was afraid of them at first, but they gave us a lot of pecans, the fruit of the forest, and I soon made up with them and rather liked them, and I think I may safely say that from that day I have always liked Indians.
"Well, 'I had not been in the territory two weeks until I had become well acquainted with the bark of the wolf and the scream of the panther, and the barking of foxes and the hooting of owls and it did not alarm me. I think I rather liked it. Many and many's the evening I've sat and listened to the owls mocking the dogs. I used to think they could laugh as nice as any lady in the land, and I like to hear them yet.
"In the spring of eighteen and eighteen, my father and uncles, for I may as well here state that the other two solitary horsemen that landed at the log cabin with my father were my uncles, William Carr and Nathaniel Carr, men who came to the territory to try their fortunes in a new country. They built them a log cabin, in a distant part of the county from where they first landed, and moved to it and
cleared themselves a corn field and raised corn and turnips, cabbage and potatoes amply sufficient to live on the first year. They were great hunters and game of all kinds abounded in large quantities, and every few hundred yards you could find bee trees full of honey. I think I may safely say we had tables spread those days that might have satisfied the appetites of kings. Those were happy days. I can not think of them now without a great throbbing at my heart; that has ached so many times since, when thinking of all of them that’s gone, for I think of them very often and wonder why it is that l am left alone.
"I have been at the sugar camps helping to make sugar, when the wolves would be howling all around us. Once we were at the camp, a mile from home at night, and a pretty dark night it was. We were stirring off a big kettle full of sugar when the wolves began to howl up the branch about 300 yards from the camp. We had three large dogs with us, and they went off up the branch meeting the wolves, barking and howling and finally they got to fighting and kept coming closer till they ran the dogs right up to the furnace where we were. That's one of the times I was scared. I thought I could feel the hair raising on my head, but we had a little house close to the furnace and we made out to get into it and shut the door, and when we got our scare a little off, we gave a scream or two, and the wolves ran off up the branch, the way they came and right the way we had to get home. But we went home and did not get eat up, but we thought we would not go back next night, but we did, and the next and the next and so on till the season was over and the wolves didn't bother us any more.
“My father used to take me with him when he went hunting, to chase squirrels for him and I was never happier than when I was in the woods with him, hearing the birds sing and to see a deer jump out of a thicket with great big horns and bound away with the dogs after it. Those were happy days and I often recall them with a thrill of pleasure when reviewing my past life.
"At the time of which I am writing I had twelve uncles and thirteen aunts among the Watsons and Carrs, all living close together, not more than five or six miles apart, a great many of them living on the same creek about a mile and a half apart.
"We had nothing but little paths to travel them days. We could go from one house to another and nothing more than a stray sunbeam cross our path. The paths were perfectly shaded with, great big sycamore and cottonwood trees. I used to think, and I think yet, those were the loveliest roads I have ever seen. The plank roads that have taken their place with the hot sun pouring down on you are not to be compared to them.
"I used to go to school a mile along one of those lovely shady paths on beautiful clear sunshiny days, with the birds singing over head and the squirrels jumping from tree to tree, and the leaves rustling in the breeze, made music far ahead of any I've ever heard made by a piano in a parlor.
"Every morning when I started to school my mother would say, 'Dolly, watch for snakes: and I would often be going along with my eyes cast down watching, when the first thing I would see would be a great big snake three or four yards long stretched across the road. Sometimes I would be so close on it I would have to jump over it and run. I would run one way and the snake would run the other way. When I would get off a good distance I generally stopped to see if the snake was after me. Once I remember, I got to the school house first and when I got there it was a round log cabin with a puncheon floor, with great big cracks in it. When I got there, there was a very large rattlesnake crawling about over the floor. I was scared that time. I jumped upon the writing bench and the snake crawled about over the floor until some of the big boys came and killed it. So you may see how plentiful snakes were in those days, and it was no uncommon thing to see a wolf in broad day light, and between sundown and dark you might hear them barking in every direction.
"It was nothing uncommon for 20 or 30 sheep to be killed by wolves in one night, and I have known them to kill two-year-old cattle. Once mother and myself were going to grandfather's, a distance of ten miles with no houses between the two places, and we had to pass an old stable where some settler had once lived and when we got opposite there, some half dozen or more wolves came running out of the stable, jumping and barking and snapping around the horse we were riding, and scared mother very badly, but we were riding a very gentle horse that took us safe through and they didn't get us, but we were scared pretty badly. So you see how plentifully the country abounded with wild beasts and animals of all descriptions, and still I must say those were happy days.
"The second year we spent in Missouri there was a tribe of Indians had their camps one mile from my father's house, and I used to go to their camps frequently and play with the little Indians. I liked the little fellows very much. Once there were about 30 big and little ones came to our house. There was enough to fill the yard, and while father and mother were talking to the big ones, I was playing with the little ones. Me and one of them fell out and got to fighting and scared mother pretty badly, but she ran, and gathered me up and took me in the house and that broke up my fun for that day.
"The old chief used to come to our house with little bells around his legs and his little dog with bells around his neck. I used to think that was the prettiest little dog and the best old Indian in the world. He used to nurse me and slick my head with his hand. I tell you I thought he was one of the best friends I had. But the Indians left very soon for some other country and there ends my intercourse with the Indians.
"Not so with the wild animals. It was years before they became very scarce. Panthers in particular. They frequently killed cows, hogs, sheep and other stock through the settlement. Once there was an old fellow who had been committing depredations through the settlement for some time and the neighborhood organized to make war on him. One night a slight snow fell and the next morning one of the neighbors found that his flock of sheep had been raided in the night and several killed. The company was called together. My father was elected leader, and the tracks which showed that the raid had been made by the ‘old enemy', were taken and followed until they entered a cave. After a short parley, my father and one of my uncles volunteered to go into the cave, one with a torch and the other with a gun, and shoot the old varmint. My father took his 'trusty rifle' and entered, followed by uncle with a torch, with ropes tied to their legs so they could be pulled out, and they crawled in on their faces until they could see his eyes and then my father fired at his eye. Then they gave the signal and were pulled out. After waiting until they thought the panther was dead, my father and uncle entered again with torch and gun as before and pulled the old fellow out. He was as big as a two year old calf. The county court of Pike county paid my father a bounty of two dollars for the scalp of the panther and issued to him a certificate for killing the animal. The certificate is now in my possession. It took a good deal of courage to go through such a performance, but they were frequent in those days, and the courage to brave such dangers was seldom, if ever, lacking, in those who first settled Pike County. They were an industrious, brave and happy people.
"Once I had an adventure when I was about six or seven years old Mother sent me one day to one of my uncle's about a mile from home on an errand, and when I got about half way between the two places there were about fifty big hogs after me. Wild hogs at that time were plentiful and there was an old dog went with me; everywhere I went he was along and the hogs took after the dog, and the dog after me. I tell you I did some of the tall running that time. I ran until I was very near give out. When I came to a tree that had commenced to fall and lodged in the fork of another tree, I ran up that and the old dog ran under the tree and barked and snapped at the hogs and they ripped around there for about an hour, and then went off.
"When I came down and went on my way rejoicing, I tell you I thought I was a soldier that time. That was one of the many adventures I had when I was very small and when I could first remember but those were pleasant days. It was the time in Missouri when every man was every other man's brother, When there was no distinction on account of riches and poverty, but everybody thought everybody else was just as good as anybody else."
The author was familiarly known as Polly Watson, a daughter of James Houston Watson, and granddaughter of David Watson.
Mary Houston Watson, was born in Kentucky and "landed on horseback" behind her mother at Grassy Creek, Christmas day, 1817. For several years she lived with her younger sister, Cynthia, in a small house on the corner of Sixth and South Carolina streets. The property was purchased from them by the late Thos. L. Anderson, who built a beautiful cottage on the spot. He married soon afterward and occupied it, remarking one day on his way to dinner: "You see that cottage surrounded by terraces; well, there's love in that cottage for me. My wife and I planned the arrangement of that house during our courtship." The former owners were never married. Miss Mary H. Watson died in this city in 1878, and is buried in Buffalo Cemetery. Her sister, Cynthia Watson, died in 1883, at Montgomery City, and is buried there.
The great body of the pioneers of Pike came from revolutionary sires.
" They were schooled in Indian warfare and the hardships and exposure incident to camp life and the hunt for wild game, as well as in the labor of their farms. The young men from North and South Carolina, offspring of revolutionary patriots and colonial settlers thought nothing of putting their wives on horseback with their few belongings and, with their trusty rifle on their shoulder, tramping or riding on horseback for hundreds of miles through the wilderness to "the Eldorado of the West," - the territory of Missouri. And their heroic wives thought less of the dangers and hardships to be encountered.
This is the sort of material from which Pike countians are sprung. And it is this sort of blood that has brought lustre to her name. This sketch tells you who some of them were, both men and women, and where they settled in Pike county.
From King's Mountains and Briar Creek; from Valley Forge and Cow- pens, the blood of patriotism was transmitted, and here in the wilderness beyond the Mississippi it was made strong and healthy from the necessary out door pursuits. Let us glance at their
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