Watts Family Papers, 1806-1964 | East Texas Research Center
By Jean White & Pam Palmer, 1987
Extent: 1.5 Linear Feet
Forms of Material: Correspondence
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.
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).
Browse by Box:
- Box 3
- Folder 1
- Copy of patent for land grant, 1844, for Cadwalader Wallace and John Watts, Marion Co., Ohio, authorized by President James Monroe, 1823. Photocopy. 1 item.
- Folder 2
- Land deeds and other papers, 1843-1848, n.d. for Watts family in Ohio and Virginia. One fragment. Handwritten, handwritten on printed form. 7 items.
- Folder 3
- Land papers, 1859-1875, for Watts and Garner families, San Augustine Co., Texas. Handwritten. 2 items.
- Folder 4
- Land leases, 1844-1845, n.d. from Watts family for farm land in Ohio. Includes one blank form. Handwritten. 3 items.
- Folder 5
- Land lease, April 1854, from William Davenport, Tyler, TX to U.S. government for use of house as a courthouse. Handwritten. 1 item.
- Folder 6
- Survey maps and other notes about land, 1839-1872, n.d. Handwritten. 7 items.
- Folder 7
- Contracts, deeds, and mortgages for farm labor, crops, stock, 1839-1871. Handwritten. 6 items.
- Folder 8
- Bills of sale and lawsuit re: slaves, 1836-1852. Handwritten. 5 items.
- Folder 9
- Divorce papers of Ann L. Stewart from Charles Stewart, 1857; power of attorney from Ann L. Stewart to John L. Watts, 1858. Handwritten. 2 items.
- Folder 10
- Powers of attorney, 1843-1847, granted to William W. Watts and John L. Watts. One blank form. Handwritten. 4 items.
- Folder 11
- Lawsuits and legal papers re: debts, 1846-1857. Handwritten. 5 items.
- Folder 12
- Appointment of John L. Watts as a deputy U.S. Marshall of Texas, signed by U.S. Marshall Ben McCulloch. Handwritten. 1 item. [image]
- Folder 13
- Agreement between John L. Watts and William Sumner, 1858 re: claim for Revolutionary War services of Capt. John Watts of Virginia. Handwritten on printed form. 1 item.
- Folder 14
- Teaching certificates, 1881-1882, for John L. Watts to teach 2nd grade in San Augustine County. Handwritten on printed form. 3 items.
- Folder 15
- Will of John Watts, 1830. Incomplete original and complete copy Handwritten, typescript. 2 items.
- Folder 16
- Estate papers, 1830-1848, for John Watts and Sarah Watts. Handwritten, handwritten on printed form. 4 items.
- Folder 17
- Estate papers, 1855-1863, for William W. Watts and Arthur Watts. Handwritten. 5 items.
- Folder 18
- Funeral notices, 1858-1903. Printed. 4 items.
- Folder 19
- Lists of notes for collection, 1846, n.d. Handwritten. 3 items.
- Folder 20
- Bills and accounts, 1810-1844. Handwritten. 6 items.
- Folder 21
- Bills and accounts, 1846-1859, n.d. Handwritten. 6 items.
- Folder 22
- Tax receipts, 1825-1833, for the Watts family lands in Ohio. Handwritten on printed. 6 items.
- Folder 23
- Tax receipts, 1843-1871, for Watts family lands in Ohio and San Augustine Co., TX. Handwritten on printed form. 7 items.
- Folder 24
- Receipts for costs in court cases, 1846-1851. Handwritten. 6 items.
- Folder 25
- Miscellaneous receipts, promissory notes, 1841-1862. Handwritten, handwritten on printed form. 9 items.
- Folder 26
- Insurance policy for George L. Watts, Lufkin, TX, 1910. Typed on printed form. 1 item.
- Folder 27
- Portions of dramatic and religious writings, n.d. Handwritten. 2 items.
- Folder 28
- Poetry, 1841-1880, n.d. Some signed by Mary Ella Watts. Handwritten, printed. 6 items.
- Folder 29
- Obituaries, 1890-1892, n.d. found in Watts family Bible, In possession of Jiggs[?]. Printed. 4 items.
- Folder 30
- Poems, recipe, prescription and small piece of needlework found in Watts family Bible, n.d. Handwritten. 5 items.
- Folder 31
- Poems and short prose clippings, tract, advertisement, and pages from Bibles found in Watts family Bible, n.d. Printed. 32 items.
- Folder 32
- Genealogical records for Watts, Garner, McConnell, and York families, 1964. Handwritten, typescript, photocopy, printed form. 10 items.
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