Watts Family Papers, 1806-1964 | East Texas Research Center

By Jean White & Pam Palmer, 1987

Collection Overview

Title: Watts Family Papers, 1806-1964Add to your cart.

ID: A/126

Extent: 1.5 Linear Feet

Subjects: Financial statements, Legal documents, Texas -- History -- Republic, 1836-1846 -- Sources

Forms of Material: Correspondence

Abstract

Correspondence, land documents, legal and financial papers of this San Augustine County family. Family members also lived in Virginia, Ohio, Mississippi and items in the collection relate to those places. Includes correspondence with James Pinckney Henderson, the first Governor of Texas.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Watts Family Papers contain original correspondence, land documents, legal and financial papers pertaining to several generations of the Watts family. The geographic range of the collection includes Virginia, Ohio, Mississippi, and Texas, with special emphasis on San Augustine County, Texas.

Notable items in the collection from an historical perspective are the letters of James Pinckney Henderson, dating from 1843 to 1857. As a lawyer friend residing in San Augustine, Henderson advised William W. Watts about the debt collection business. At least three of the letters relate to Henderson's initially secret mission to negotiate a treaty of annexation between the United States and Texas in 1844. Henderson was inaugurated Governor of Texas in February 1846. The collection also contains teaching certificates authorizing John to teach second grade in San Augustine County in 1881 and 1882.

Collection Historical Note

John Watts, a son of Arthur Watts, was born about 1752 in Virginia. A participant in the American Revolution, he enlisted in the Virginia Dragoons as a Cornet on June 17, 1776. By the end of the war he had achieved the rank of Captain. Later he served as Lieutenant Colonel in the Light Dragoons, U.S. Army, from January 8, 1799 until June 8, 1800. According to descendant Jessie Watts Roberts, John Watts was a personal friend of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. John Watts was awarded 4,944 acres in Bedford County, Virginia for his military service.

John Watts married Elizabeth (Betsy) Roberts and according to John's will, they had two sons and a daughter still living in 1830: Arthur (1809-1866), William W. Watts (d. ca. 1846), and Elizabeth R. Watts Scott.

The William W. Watts married Mary Leyburn and had two children Sarah C. Watts and John Watts. The family lived in Liberty, Virginia; Delaware Springs, Ohio; and Columbus, Mississippi. William W. Watts traveled frequently to arrange for the collection of debts, in and out of court, for which he received a commission.

William W. Watts' son John Leyburn Watts was born about 1824 in Virginia. He married Mary Frances Garner (1837-1896) and they lived the remainder of their lives on a farm in San Augustine. According to census records, they had at least four sons and three daughters. In 1855, John was appointed a Deputy US Marshall by Marshall Ben McCulloch.

William W. Watts' daughter Sarah C. was born in Bedford County, Virginia, and attended Leroy Anderson's female school in Williamsburg, Va.

("Watts Family Papers." East Texas Research Center. Ralph W. Steen Library. Stephen F. Austin State University).

Subject/Index Terms

Financial statements
Legal documents
Texas -- History -- Republic, 1836-1846 -- Sources


Box and Folder Listing


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[Box 1],
[Box 2],
[Box 3],
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Box 2Add to your cart.
Folder 1Add to your cart.

Correspondence to John L. Watts and unidentified addressees, 1850-1856 re: financial matters, social functions [includes mention of Ex-President Tyler], counterfeiting money and land certificates in Orange Co., TX, land, railroads. Handwritten. 5 items.

(July 21, 1856, from G. H. Guptill, Regulators and a counterfeit ring. [image])

Folder 2Add to your cart.
Correspondence to John L. Watts from B[enjamin] F[ranklin] Benton, Apr. 1858 re: Watts farm and family, financial and legal matters, requests for hardware, stationary, office supplies. Includes description of Benton's office. Handwritten. 2 items.
Folder 3Add to your cart.
Correspondence to John L. Watts and family, Sept. 1858-1859 re: financial and legal matters. Handwritten. 4 items.
Folder 4Add to your cart.
Correspondence of John L. Watts and unidentified"Ma and Matt," 1860-1861, n.d. re: financial matters, tobacco, Civil War. Handwritten, typescript. 4 items.
Folder 5Add to your cart.
Correspondence to S. B. Bewley and Mr. Buely [sic], 1874 re: legal matters. Handwritten. 2 items.
Folder 6Add to your cart.
Correspondence to John L. and Mary Frances Garner Watts, 1875-187_ re: family matters, Galveston, sewing, friends, legal business, Waco, Polynesian grass skirt. Includes Mary's sister Martha Garner Price and brother John F. Garner. Handwritten. 8 items.
Folder 7Add to your cart.
Correspondence to John L. and Mary Watts, 1880-1888, and from John W. Watts to his mother, 1887-1888 re: family matters, farming, death of James Garner [Mary's brother] from Sue L. Garner [Mary's sister-in-law]. Handwritten. 5 items.
Folder 8Add to your cart.
Correspondence to Mary F. Watts and daughters Ella and Lizzie, 1890-1906, n.d. re: friends, family matters, death of Ella shortly after her marriage, farming, gathering of the Irish. Handwritten, printed. 10 items.
Folder 9Add to your cart.
Correspondence to John L. Watts and unidentified friend of the family from Mary Watts [mother, Liberty, VA, 1839]. Handwritten. 4 items.
Folder 10Add to your cart.
Correspondence to John L. Watts, while residing in Ohio, from Mary Watts [mother], Columbus, Mississippi and places in Virginia, [ca. 1839-1840]. Handwritten. 7 items.
Folder 11Add to your cart.
Correspondence to John L. Watts from Mary Watts [mother], Woodside [Ohio? 1840's?]. Handwritten. 3 items.
Folder 12Add to your cart.
Correspondence to John L. Watts and family from Mary Watts [mother, mostly from Elmwood in Lexington, VA, 1864-1874, dated by birthdays and other events]. Handwritten. 7 items.
Folder 13Add to your cart.
Correspondence to John L. Watts and family from Mary Watts [1870's]. Handwritten. 6 items.
Folder 14Add to your cart.
Correspondence to John L. Watts and family from Mary Watts [1876-1878]. Handwritten. 7 items.
Folder 15Add to your cart.
Correspondence to John L. Watts and family from Mary Watts [1879-1883]. Handwritten. 7 items.
Folder 16Add to your cart.
Correspondence to John L. Watts from Mary Watts, n.d. Handwritten. 5 items.
Folder 17Add to your cart.
Correspondence to John L. Watts from Mary Watts, n.d. Handwritten. 4 items.
Folder 18Add to your cart.
Correspondence to Mary F. Garner Watts from Mary Watts, n.d. Handwritten. 6 items.
Folder 19Add to your cart.
Correspondence to John L. Watts family from Mary Watts, n.d. Handwritten. 5 items.
Folder 20Add to your cart.
Correspondence to John L. Watts family from Mary Watts, n.d. Includes fragment. Handwritten. 5 items.
Folder 21Add to your cart.
Correspondence of James and Martha Garner [brother and sister of Mary F. Garner Watts], n.d. Handwritten. 2 items.
Folder 22Add to your cart.
Correspondence to S. A. E. Watts from Mary Norvell, n.d.; correspondence to "friend" from E. H. Baker, n.d. Fragment and empty envelopes addressed to John L. Watts, n.d. Handwritten. 7 items.

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