John Watson


John Watson 

John Watson and wife Martha (Unknown) sold four hundred and four (404) acres of land on Beaver Dam Creek, York County, S.C. on December 22, 1809.  John’s father, Samuel, died November 10, 1810.  Samuel’s will names John as a co-executor of his estate.  It can be assumed John and his family left South Carolina for Tennessee sometime after the death of his father.  His entire family traveled with him from South Carolina to Tennessee.  No positive proof of John’s whereabouts is available until 1820 when he is listed as settling on Hardin Creek in Eastern Hardin County.  Also listed as settling in nearby Wayne County at the same time is a brother-in-law, John Akin.  John Akin was married to John Watson’s sister, Mary Watson Howe Akin.  The Akin family had previously lived in Maury County, Tennesse prior to moving to this area.  This indicates John could have lived in Maury County before settling in Hardin. 

When John and Martha settled in Hardin County they built a large log cabin on the land not too distant from the Tennessee River.  John had brought with him from South Carolina a large bible purchased in 1804 for ten dollars.  It is in this bible that the records were recorded that provides the greatest and most important part in the beginning of the research for the history of the John Watson family. 

Consistent in the Watson family was their deep religious conviction.  When John left South Carolina he had obtained a note from the Bethel Church in York, South Carolina, written on a small piece of paper, stating he was very worthy of teaching the beliefs of the Church.  By 1830, John was instrumental in organizing the first Methodist Church Hardin County.  The church was located in a log building near his home.  Watson’s Church, later known as Watson’s Chapel.  John was also instrumental in establishing the Methodist religion in Savannah, after the city was established. 

          John continued in his religious preachings and raised a devoted Methodist family in their meager surroundings in Hardin County, Tennessee.  Martha died on August 28, 1830 and John died on January 28, 1841.  Both he and Martha are buried in unmarked graves in the cemetery located near their church and homestead.

The following contribution was made by Ashley Watson. 

The Rev. John Watson 

Transcribed by Ashley Watson from undated handwritten document 11/21/2000..

(an explanation of the document is written on the back by Dixie Exeline Smith and will follow the text of the memoir). 

Arthur Allison (Al) Watson in History of Hardin Co, Tenn writes: I have served the people six years as Justice of the Peace, twelve years as County Surveyor, Ten years as Deputy County Court Clerk, ten years as Clerk, and twelve years as County Judge. 

Rev John Watson the first Methodist preacher in this territory died in 1842.  He had acquired good property and had some slaves which he devised in his will but those who were less than twenty on years of age were to be freed when they reached 21 yrs. of age.  The older ones to be freed except he had 2 slave women to stay in bondage as long as his wife lived but the wife died before the Dr died and a lawsuit resulted as to the 2 negro women in question but they were set free.  This man, Watson had led a very useful life.  He was all the time financially able to not have to labor himself but he labored through the week and preached on Sunday.  He gives his large Bible and his hymnbook to his son James L  and directs his five sons in law to have a book or bible each.  Some one may want to know if this man was akin to the author of this book (A.A. Watson).  Yes, he was first cousin to A.A.Watson’s grandfather, David Watson of Lincoln Co.

Note on the back side of paper)

Arthur Allison Watson (1858-1937) was my father John’s (1853-1915) brother, and wrote a column for the Savannah Courier for a number of years.  Late in life he began a history of Hardin Co, but his house burned and he lost most of his notes in the fire and never completed his history.  His daughter-in-law Susan (Stewart) Watson wife of his son Allen; began to help him reconstruct his history but he died before they could do much with it.  This is the only page I have of her effort.  I have about 30 of his newspaper column, “Bits of Hardin Co. History”

Rev John moved to Hardin in 1817.  My uncle Al knew his Hardin County history and knew the Watson family history better than any of the other members.  I was born in Hardin county near Savannah.  My family moved to Oklahoma in 1907 when I was twelve. 

Dixie Exeline (Watson) Smith


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Genealogy                    Bible Records

    Obituaries        Wills

Churches, Cemeteries

Bethel Presbyterian Church and Cemetery, York Co., SC
The Old Watson Cemetery located in Hardin County, Tennessee
Oakland Methodist Church and Cemetery
Portageville, Missouri Cemetery



 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

More memories of Pauline Allen Watson
taken from her scrapbook kept in the Early Thirties

Saltillo Community Fair Book - 1941


Biographies and Family tales          Newspaper Articles

Old Letters                Contacts          Favorite Quotes and other Musings

Pinson, Madison County, Tennessee

The Families of Hookers Bend

  Reflections of the Past
The Book Press
Drinking from the Saucer
Return to Hardin County
Grandma's Apron
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.