Bio of Colonel Samuel Watson

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. 

         Samuel’s 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. 

             Samuel 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. 

         In 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 General Sumpter. 

         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.  

        In the October court of 1797 Colonel Watson was listed as a foreman of the Grand Jury in York County’s second court. 

        For 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.



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 Those were the days.... School Photos
Hardin County Schools - Teachers - 1935


Most Wanted    The Illusive Hughes Family
                                            Silas and Amanda Hughes  

And then there was Uncle Jack!

Uncle Jack - the Outlaw and Lawman

       Reenactment of the Shooting of Jack Watson

                                Uncle Jack's Monument Unveiled                             


                Act to Create Mt. Etna

         West Tennessee Photos
               From the Private Collection of Richmond Powers   

                Family Photo Album

                Photo Memories of Trumann, AR & Hooker's Bend, TN
                from the album of  Pauline Allen Watson 1930's and 1940's

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taken from her scrapbook kept in the Early Thirties

Saltillo Community Fair Book - 1941


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Return to Hardin County
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If You Could See Your Ancestors

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Information on this website belongs to Jane Watson Ellis and descendants of the families included.  It is intended for the personal use of the guest.  Please note that all material has not been verified by me.  To include your related line and/or make additions or corrections,  please e-mail me at  You may also contact me at P. O. Box 524, Bald Knob, AR  72010.