Ancestral Family Topic 3576

 3576   John Watson (c.1648-c.1705)
Pedigree Chart 07

John Watson, in his own words
If he could speak to us today, John Watson might describe his life as follows.

I was born about 1648 because I swore in December 1688 that I was about 40 years old.  Two years later I told the court I was still about 40. 
From 1677 to 1690 I acquired more than 1,500 acres, mostly along Upham Brook that now winds its way through the suburbs north of Richmond into the Chickahominy River, and by 1704 I owned 1,603 acres. 
My name appears often in county records. For example, when William Whitley accused me of taking his horse in 1678, I told the court in no uncertain terms that, “I had no thoughts of laying my hands upon William Whitley’s horse and to the best of my knowledge did not lay my hands upon any horse save my own.” 
I married a widow, Alice Rowen, who was about fifteen years older than I, and the mother of three children by her first husband, Henry Rowen.
The will I made in 1702 left 100s of acres to my three sons. Since I already provided for my daughter, Sarah, when she married Michael Johnson, I left them just 1 shilling.

We cannot find that Watson arrived as a headright so he may have been born in the Colony. The Muster of Inhabitants in Virginia, 1624/5 lists at the College Land, John Watson who came in the William & Thomas although we cannot connect him to our John Watson.
John and Alice were husband and wife by 1679 when Alice Watson witnessed William Melody selling a “roanish” horse running above Four Mile Creek to her husband. 

The life of John Watson
Watson appeared first in the Colony 2 Jan. 1677/8 when he secured a patent to 478 acres in Henrico County near the New Kent Road on White Oak Branch at Chickahominy Swamp,  and he appeared in the Henrico County tithable list of 1679 made to comply with “An act for the defence of the country against the incursions of the Indian Enemy.” 
John patented 480 acres on the south side of Chickahominy Swamp next to Thomas Cocke and on a branch of Gillie Creek 21 April 1690, in consideration of having transported 10 individuals to Virginia.  Thomas Cocke sold Watson 400 acres on Chickahominy Swamp in 1689 and James Moore deeded him 195 acres on Upham Brook in 1690. 
Watson received a certificate in 1689 that he was due 200 acres for the importation of 4 individuals: Francis Hayes, John Cole, Ralph Denby, and Thomas Ascroft. 
Watson appeared in court on two issues in Dec. 1691. After he acknowledged a judgement to James Moore “for eleven days work to be paid on demand being due ye said Moore about seating a tract of land,” the court awarded Watson a judgement against Moore for 237 pounds of tobacco and cask, being the balance of a bill dated 10 June 1689. 
On 1 Aug. 1697 Edward Maxfield sold 50 acres on Upham Brook, which he had bought the land from Francis Warren, to John Watson Sr. 
The name John Watson appeared periodically in the records of Henrico County. For example, he was security to Margaret Floyd, executor of the will of William Humphrey in 1692 and security for William Harding’s performance under an apprenticeship indenture in 1694.  He appraised the estate of Samuel Brown 8 Feb. 1696/7,  served on Henrico juries, and was a road surveyor.  Called Mr. Watson, he must have been among the more socially prominent members of the community.

John’s will
John Watson Sr. made his will in Henrico County 30 July 1702.  He evidently lived a few more years for not until 1 Feb. 1706/7 was his will proved in open court and recorded. 
Here is an abstract of the will.

Will of John Watson Sr.
30 July 1702
To wife Alice, the land I live on called “Cowtail Quarter” and if she die, her share to my son John, the whole being 478 acres, as by patent. If she marry all to be divided between wife, Alice, and sons John, Joseph, and Benjamin, but the part with the house to Benjamin.
To John, half the plantation I live on, and also to him 100 acres, part of a tract of 195 acres, on the east side of the north branch of Upham Brook, part of a greater tract taken up by James Moore; and if he die, to his two brothers.
To son Joseph, 400 acres on Chickahominy Swamp, part of a greater tract bought of Thomas Cocke Sr; also 200 acres on the south side of Chickahominy Swamp, part of a greater patent of 480 acres on 21 April 1690, to adjoin land he lives on.
To son Benjamin, plantation I live on, after the death of my wife, being half of 478 acres; also 50 acres on the south side of Chickahominy Swamp, at a place called Upham Brook; also 95 acres on the east side of the northern branch of Upham Brook, part of a greater tract of 195 acres; also 280 acres on the south side of Chickahominy Swamp; part of the greater tract of 480 acres.
To daughter Sarah, wife of Michael Johnson, 1 shilling.
My Indian boy, Peter, to be set free at 36 years of age.
All other goods and chattels to wife, Alice, and she to be sole executrix.
John Watson

Benjamin Hatcher, Benjamin Hatcher Jr., James Young, and Charles Evans witnessed the will.

Alice, the widow
On 1 Nov. 1709 Alice Watson agreed to give most of her possessions to her son Joseph if he would care for her for the rest of her life: Indian boy Peter, who had apparently not reached his 36th birthday, a mulatto boy Will Gathings, 4 feather beds, 12 ewes, one ram, 8 cows, 3 heifers, 1 steer, 3 unbroken horses (one black and two gray) branded “JW” and £30. Thomas, in turn, promised to provide his mother with meat, drink, washing, lodging, and clothes. They made their marks on the deed and bond required to document the agreement that Francis Rowen, a son by her 1st marriage, and Thomas Cocke witnessed. 
On 7 Jan. 1711/2 Alice gave her sons John and Benjamin Indian girls Jenny and Betty and other goods in consideration of “goodwill and affection… and £10.” 
When her son Benjamin made his will in 1715, Alice, now about 82 years of age, was still living.

James Watson
James Watson appeared in early records of Henrico County but we know of no connection to John Watson. He witnessed a deed in 1680 and possibly the man of this name who married Margaret Dupray, the widow of Thomas Dupray, by Oct. 1725. 

Descendants of John Watson
Information about the children of John Watson, their descendants, and allied families previously found at is now available as Southside Virginia Genealogies. Learn more 
Names found in this topic include the following.
 Capt. John Watson (-1750),  
George Floyd,  
Mary (—) Watson,  Elizabeth (—) Walker,  
John Pleasants,  Robert Mosby,  Thomas Pleasants,  
John Staples,  
John Williamson,  William Patman,  Judith (—) Williamson,  
Martha (—) Hynes,  Mary Watson Hynes,  
William Patman,  Nathaniel Bacon,  
Elisha Miller,  John Ware,  
William Watson,  Amy Jones,   
Moses Brumfield,  
Ruth Patrick,  Martha Brumfield,  
John Brumfield,  Annie Coleman,  
Elijah Brumfield,  
Amelia Brumfield,  James Vaughan,  
Ann Vaughan,  
Sarah Vaughan,  
John Vaughan,  
Sarah Brumfield,  John Dudley,  
Watson Brumfield,  Robert Mosby,  Mary Scott,  Seymour Scott,  Elizabeth (—) Brumfield,  
William Penick,   
Sarah Watson,  William Patman,  James Allen,  Isham Allen,   Christian Allen,   
Watson Patman,  Sarah (—) Patman,  
Agnes Patman,  Thomas Thorp,  
Elizabeth Patman,  William Morris,  
Sarah Patman,  Gideon Freeman,  
Mary Allen Patman,  
Susanna Patman,  John Sutton Farrar,   
William Patman,  
Elizabeth Watson,  John Ware,  
Susanna Watson,  Robert Sharp,  
 Joseph Watson (-1751),  
Anna Stratton,   
Anthony Haden,  
Martha Watson,  James Bell,  William Archer,   
Justinian Justis,  Dancy Stanley,  William Burton,  
Samuel Harwood,   
James Bell,  
John Bell,  Samuel Harwood,   
Lucy Watson,  Thomas Jones,   
John Watson,  John Ellett,  Mary (—) Watson,  Anthony Haden,  
Mary Bigger,  William Bigger,  
Edmund Logwood,   
William Watson,  Julius Allen,   
Martha Pleasants,   
John Watson,   
Nancy Watson,  
Sarah Watson,  Nathaniel West Dandridge Jr.,  
Watson Dandridge,  Elizabeth Moore,  John S. Moore,  
Martha Hale Dandridge,  William Fontaine,  
Joseph Watson,  
Mary Allen,  Thomas Puryear,  
John Watson,  Ann Jones,  Elizabeth Jones,   
Edmund Logwood,   Charles Woodson,   
Augustus Watson,  Sarah Branch Jones,   
Thomas Watson,  Sally (—) Watson,  
John Watson,  
Mary Watson,  Daniel Barksdale,  
Joseph Watson,  
Sarah Watson,  Anthony Winston,  
Lucy Watson,  
Joseph Watson,  James Bell,   Ann (—) Watson,  
 Benjamin Watson (c.1675-1716),  
 Sarah (Watson) Johnson (-1756),  
Michael Johnson,  James Johnson,  John Johnson,  

This family topic includes the following notable individuals.
Legislators - colonial and state
Nathaniel West Dandridge - Virginia  

Selected sources
Patterson, John L., “The Watsons of Prince Edward County, Virginia.” Virginia Tidewater Genealogy. Tidewater Genealogical Society 16:1-16. • Family of John Watson.
Watson, Walter A. Notes on Southside Virginia. 124-134, 187-97. • Mr. Watson was a descendant of John Watson and gathered a variety of information about him and his descendants.

This topic, which represents .18% of all the family history material at, includes 141 citations and the names of 144 individuals.
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