Colonel Samuel and Elizabeth McDowell Watson
It is believed that Samuel Watson was the eldest son of William and Sarah
?? Watson of Hanover Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
William’s will reflects a total of five sons and seven daughters.
Samuel received ten shillings in his father’s will, which would
probably indicate that he had already received his inheritance and was included
in the will only as a gesture of sorts. The
inheritance may have been in the form of land in South Carolina received in a
grant from Ireland prior to the Watson’s coming to America.
future wife, Elizabeth, was the daughter of James and Mary ?? McDowell of Derry
Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. James
McDowell’s will was executed in 1747 and in August 1751, in an Orphan’s
Court held in Lancaster County, Mary, widow and Executrix of James McDowell,
petitioned and received guardianship over the couple’s children and their
inheritance. She stated she was
about to remove with her children to the Colony of Carolina.
married Elizabeth around 1758 after he left Pennsylvania. In the book, McDowells and Connections, Hugh McDowell
states “tradition says Samuel Watson came to Carolina with the
McDowell’s.” A letter written
in 1881 by Rev. Samuel Watson, a grandson of Samuel, stated “he came from
Ireland with many by way of Pennsylvania & by degrees and at different times
migrated south through the valley of Virginia, North Carolina, and South
Carolina to the western border of the State called 96.
His relatives by marriage remained on the east of the Catawba River.
He finally settled and built seven miles east of York City Hall on
Allison Creek -----he built a large brick residence, finished complete from
cellar to garrett and out buildings for stock in true Pennsylvania style.”
Samuel settled into his new life and gained the respect of friends and neighbors. He was active in both church and state affairs. With a Mr. Floyd and Mr. Baird, he was appointed to a committee to select a site for Bethel Church. The three men lived in various sections of the county. They agreed to meet at a certain spring after having left their respective houses at the same time. The point the three men came together was well wooded, drained and watered, and the site was selected for the Church. The Church was erected in 1764. The first pastor of the church was Reverend Hezekiah Balch, who was a member of the Orange Presbytery. Elders of the newly established Church included Samuel, John Howe, Samuel Craig, and Adam Baird.
As the uprising against the British grew stronger, the colonists were prepared to fight for freedom. Samuel was appointed Captain by the Provincial Congress in 1775. He and other regimental officers attended the second Provincial Congress in Charleston. When the New Acquisition (York County) Regiment of Horsemen was formed in 1778, Samuel was appointed first lieutenant colonel under Colonel Thomas Neel.
January 1779, a regiment of militia under the direction of
Colonel Thomas Neel, Lieutenant Colonel Samuel Watson and Major Francis
Ross, answered a call for men to go to Georgia to free Augusta, Georgia. On June 20, 1779,
Colonel Neel was killed at Stone Ferry and Samuel was made Colonel.
During the war, Samuel also commanded a regiment at the Battle of Cowpen,
and was engaged in the battle of King’s Mountain.
In addition, he commanded a unit in the battle at Hanging Rock under
Quoting historian Robert Latham “Colonel Watson was a man of sterling integrity and a true Whig. In consideration of his uprightness, he was made by common consent of his Whig neighbors, a kind of commissary, and his house was a depository for any supplies that the Whig organization might have on hand.”
After the war ended, Samuel continued to be an active participant in forming the new country’s government. He participated as one of eleven York County delegates to the Convention in Charleston in May, 1788 which ratified the Constitution of the United States. Colonel Watson was one of ten of the eleven who voted against ratification.
the October court of 1797 Colonel Watson was listed as a foreman of the Grand
Jury in York County’s second court.
some years before his death Colonel Watson was paralyzed and spent his last
years in an arm chain with wheels. Described
as a heavy-built man, not tall, Colonel Sam gradually wasted away and died on
November 10, 1810. Colonel Samuel
and his wife Elizabeth are both buried in the cemetery of Bethel Church.
The Catawba Chapter, DAR, Rock Hill, South Carolina, has erected a marker in Colonel Watson’s memory. The inscription is: “Colonel Samuel Watson, 1731-1810; Wife Elizabeth McDowell 1738-1817. Near this spot was the home and commissary of Col. Watson, 1st Lieutenant of the Rangers, Captain and Delegate to the S.C. Provincial Congress, 1776. Colonel of the Militia of New Acquisition, Elder in Bethel Church, and in consideration of his uprightness he was made commissary by his Whig neighbors and his house depository for supplies.”
Colonel Samuel Watson and His Descendants, by Eleanor Guy Bankhead, 1966.
History of the Presbyterian Church of Bethel, Rev. R. A .Webb, Fifth Pastor, Originally published 1887, The Ladies Aid Society; Revised April 1, 1938.