IMAGES: Regarding Samuel #26 Watson
in The American Family of John Watson
of the Narragansett Country, Rhode Island
In a deposition dated October 1836 in support of Abiah (Young) Watson’s claim for a widow’s pension, Elisha Sweet of West Greenwich, Rhode Island, testified that in 1777 Samuel Watson performed one month of military service for his brother Freeborn Watson.
Below are image copies of the deposition made by Elisha Sweet. The reference to Freeborn Watson may be found 10 lines up from the bottom. (To read a transcription of this deposition, click here.)
Capt. Samuel and Hannah (Hazard) Watson’s twin headstone and footstone. Samuel and Hannah Watson, the parents of Samuel #26 Watson, are the only Watson interments in the Carpenter Lot, a small family burial ground near the Bennington-Pownal town line in Vermont. The inscriptions read:
In Memory of Mrs. HANNAH WATSON, wife of Capt. SAMUEL WATSON, who departed this Life December 17th AD 1801, in the 86th Year of her age.
In Memory of Capt. SAMUEL WATSON, who departed this Life June the 28th AD 1806 in the 90th Year of his age.
As described by Theodore M. Atkinson in Pownal Gravestones in 1910 (New Marlborough, MA: 1991), the Carpenter Lot is “near the Bennington-Pownal [Vermont] line on the east side of Carpenter Hill Rd. about 300 yards into an orchard. Strictly speaking, it is in Bennington not in Pownal.”
On May 10, 2003 we visited Ted Atkinson, who took us to both the Carpenter Lot and Pownal Center Cemetery to view and photograph the Watson gravesites. Ted had set upright the fragile but singularly beautiful twin headstone for Samuel and Hannah Watson, which had broken horizontally near the base.
Ted is correct in stating that the Carpenter Lot is in Bennington and not in Pownal: Using our GPS (Global Positioning System) device, we obtained coordinates at the Watson twin headstone [Latitude 42° 50.296 N, Longitude –73° 12.934 W]. These coordinates, when plotted on a map showing the Bennington/Pownal town line, indicate that Samuel and Hannah’s graves (and doubtless the entire Carpenter Lot) are well over the line into Bennington.
ABOVE and BELOW: Headstones for Silas Watson (in shadow on the left side) and his wife Sarah (Bowditch) Watson (in sunlight on the right side). Silas Watson was the brother of Samuel #26 Watson. Silas and Sarah Watson’s gravestones are set close to the edge of Pownal Center Cemetery, where the grounds meet the small parking lot. The coordinates obtained at Sarah Watson’s gravestone were Latitude 42° 47.741 N, Longitude -73° 13.428 W. In the photo below, showing both Watson gravestones, Sarah’s stone is bedecked with dandelions, courtesy of the author’s children.
The inscription on Sarah's gravestone reads:
SACRED to the Memory of Mrs. Sarah Watson, amiable Consort of Mr. Silas Watson, who departed this Life February the 11th AD 1810, Aged 67 years 8 months.
The memorial inscription at the bottom of Sarah Watson’s gravestone says:
Now I am dead and buried
And all my bones is rotten.
When this you read remember me
Lest I should be forgotten.
The carver left his signature, ornately inscribed, at the very base of Sarah Watson’s stone: “Made by Edmund T. Locke.”
The inscription on Silas’s gravestone reads:
In memory of SILAS WATSON, who departed this life Jun. 20 1827 in the 89th year of his life.
When Silas’s stone was transcribed circa 1910, the date of death was written as “Jan. 20, 1827.” In fact, the month is clearly carved with the letter u: “Jun. 20, 1827” (see photo excerpt below). But Silas, who made his last will and testament in 1818 while living in Hoosick, Rensselaer county, NY, died prior to February 26, 1827, the date his will was proved. We accept the January date of Silas Watson’s death as correct.
The memorial inscription at the very bottom of Silas Watson’s gravestone appears to say:
The brittle clay alas has broke
And let the spirit fly
Prepare for death’s soonest stroke
For all are born to die.
We are indebted to Theodore Mayo Atkinson, Jr. – “Ted” – and his lovely wife Anne, pictured below, for their gracious and generous help.
When we were fairly new to family history, Ted answered our questions about Watson burials in Pownal and Bennington, Vermont. Then he took the author under his wing, teaching us how to interpret what we found at the FamilySearch web site. Ted also sent us a book about the Great Awakening (one of his favorite topics); and he wrote wonderful letters, often including his own research on the Pownal Watsons.
In May 2003, Ted took us to both Center Cemetery in Pownal (to find Silas & Sarah Watson) and to the Carpenter Lot, just over the Pownal‐Bennington line, where Samuel & Hannah Watson are buried. Ted had an idea or two about why Samuel & Hannah were buried there, the only people who aren’t members of the Carpenter family.
Ted loved Samuel’s and Hannah’s twin headstone so much, he had one made in the same style for himself and his wife. On Ted’s side of their headstone, it notes that he is the fourth great‐grandson of Jeremiah Carpenter.
In March 2011, Ted passed away in Williamstown, Massachusetts. His ashes were interred, per his obituary, “in the family cemetery near the orchard on Carpenter Hill in Bennington” – the Carpenter Lot.
The photos at right, showing the Watson headstone and that of Ted & Anne Atkinson, were made by Janet Muff * for the Find A Grave web site. In the upper right‐hand corner of the Watson headstone photo, you can glimpse the nearby Atkinson stone. Use the following links to find Janet’s Find A Grave memorials for Samuel Watson and Ted Atkinson:
*Find A Grave member Janet Muff has spent decades documenting thousands of Vermont gravestones and the people who lie beneath them. We appreciate the excellent work she has done (and continues to do), and her permission to use these photos. Thank you, Janet!
© 2019 Elaine Schenot