Samuel Watts and Esther Whitney revisited

March 22, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Posted in Bowker, Watts, Whitney | 5 Comments
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Today’s profile is to provide additional information about the family of Captain Samuel Watts and Esther Whitney of coastal Washington County, Maine. Please see the previous profile from 2010Surnames mentioned are: Babcock, Bowker, Boynton, Farnsworth, Flynn, Galindo, Kingsley, Libby, Marston, Noyes, Schoppe, Stetson, Thompson, Tupper, Watts, Weston, Whitney.  Places mentioned are: Beddington, Washington Co, ME; Jonesboro, Washington Co, ME; Minneapolis, Hennepin Co, MN; Roque Bluffs, Washington Co, ME; Sheboygan Falls, Sheboygan Co, WI; Silver City, Grant Co, NM; Somerset Co, PA.

Samuel Watts was born in Jonesboro, ME on January 9, 1797 to David Watts (1761-1828) and Abigail Noyes (abt 1766-1831), widow of Joseph Tupper (1763-1795).

In the Plantation 22 Census of 1800, Samuel is enumerated as one of 3 males under the age of 10, probably the middle boy, in the household of David Watts.

In the 1810 Census of Jonesboro, Maine, at age 13, Samuel falls in the category of 2 boys between 10 and 16 years old in the household of David Watts.

Samuel married Esther Whitney on December 23, 1817, probably in Jonesboro.  Esther, born November 18, 1801, was the eldest of 6 children of Reuben Whitney (1772-1810) and Hannah Stetson (1776-1816).  Her father died when she was only 10 years old.  Her grandmother, Mary (Weston) Whitney and her uncle, Ephraim Whitney, helped take care of Esther, her mother and young siblings.  Esther’s mother died when Esther was only 15.  With Jonesboro being such a small community and their fathers in related businesses, Esther and Samuel no doubt knew each other from early childhood.

The children of Samuel Watts and Esther Whitney were:

  1. Ephraim Watts (1820-1899), a farmer married to Eliza J Schoppe (1824-1872), who lived in Beddington, Washington Co, ME and are buried in Beddington Cemetery.
  2. Reuben W Watts (1821-1908), a farmer/lumberman, married Mary Spence Babcock (1833-1921) in Jonesboro and moved to Minneapolis, MN.
  3. Albion K Watts (1823-1909) married Crecencia Galindo (born about 1825), and lived in Silver City, NM.
  4. Hannah Watts (born 1826) married Thomas Boynton (born 1822), a farmer.  They lived in Machias, ME.
  5. Clarissa Watts (1828-1918) married in 1854 Nathaniel C Farnsworth (born about 1820) and raised their family in Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin.  Clarissa died in Illinois, but is buried in Wisconsin.
  6. Charles Watts (born 1831) married Hattie C Flynn (born 1838) and was a merchant in Machiasport, ME
  7. Jothem S W Watts (1833-1853) is buried at Roque Bluffs Cemetery.
  8. Nancy V Watts (1837-1916) married in 1858 Asa Farnsworth Libby (1828-1911) and lived in Beddington, ME.  They are buried in Beddington Cemetery.
  9. Ruth H Watts (1839-1917) married her second cousin, William Clark Bowker (1830-1896), a carpenter.  They lived in Machias and also in Brookline, MA.  They are buried in Machias.  These were my great-great grandparents.
  10. Octavius W. Watts (about 1843-1887) married 1st in 1868 Eliza “Lizzie” Thompson (1841-1881) and 2nd in 1884 Addie H Marston (born 1841).  They lived on the Watts family farm on the Englishmans River in Roque Bluffs, ME.
  11. James E Watts (born about 1845) married Alma or Elma Kingsley (born 1842) and held various labor jobs.  This couple moved with their son, Charles, to Somerset Co, PA.

In the 1820 census of Jonesboro, this Watts household consisted of 1 male child under 10 (Baby Ephraim), 1 male between 16 and 26, and one female between 16 and 26 with the head of household listed as Samuel Watts 2nd.  This is because his uncle was also named Samuel Watts  (1756-1849) and was an important person among the locals.  Uncle Samuel also had a son named Samuel (1817-1887), who would have been too young to be this Samuel Watts 2nd.

In the previous profile I stated that I could not find why our Samuel Watts was referred to as Captain.  The answer is found in listings of officers in the Maine State Militia showing a Sam’l Watts 2nd from Jonesboro who served from Aug 25, 1827 to March 22, 1830, and was Captain in the 1st Infantry, 2nd Brigade, 7th division.

The 1830 Census for Jonesboro lists the household of Samuel Watts 2nd as 2 male (5-10); 1 male (10-14); 1 male (30-40); 2 female under 5; and 1 female (20-30)

The 1840 Census for Jonesboro lists the household of Samuel Watts 2nd as 2 males (5-10); 2 males (16-20); 1 male (20-30); 1 male (40-50); 2 female under 5; 2 female (10-15) and 1 female (30-40).

Census 1850 for Jonesboro:

   Household	 Gender	Age
   Samuel Watts	   M 	52y  Farmer, land value 900
   Esther Watt 	   F 	48y
   Hannah Watts	   F  	22y
   Claricy Watts   F 	21y
   Charles Watts   M 	19y  Laborer
   Jotham S Watts  M 	16y
   Nancy Watts     F 	13y
   Ruth Watts 	   F 	11y
   Octavus Watts   M 	7y
   James E Watts   M 	5y
   note: none of the kids are flagged as going to school

Census 1860 for Jonesboro:

   Household	Gender	Age
   Samuel Watts   M 	63y  Farmer landval=1500, personal=250
   Esther Watts   F 	60y
   Ruth Watts 	  F 	21y
   Octavus Watts  M 	18y in school
   James E Watts  M 	15y in school
   Hannah Whitney F	12y in school

Census 1870 for Jonesboro:

   Household	Gender	Age
   Samuel Watts   M 	73y Farmer land val=1500, personal=600
   Esther Watts   F 	69y Keeping house
   Octavius Watts M 	28y Farm hand  married in Feb
   Eliza Watts 	  F 	21y married in Feb
   Henry E Watts  M 	 4m

Census 1880 for Jonesboro:

   Household	Gender	Age
   Samuel Watts   M 	83y Husband, Retired lumberman, feeble
   Esther Watts   F 	69y wife, Old lady, feeble
   Octavius Watts M 	28y father, Farm hand
   Lizzie Watts   F 	21y wife, keeps house
   Henry E Watts  M 	10y son, in school
   Irving S Watts M	 4y son, in school
   Cora B Watts	  F	 3y daughter --

Samuel’s death  occurred on December 13, 1880. has images of Washington County Probate Records which declare the Executor of the Estate was Octavius W Watts:

Petition of Probate of Will Jan 1, 1881  Vol1  P44
Probate of Will             May 17, 1881 Vol1  P44
Will                        May 29, 1880 Vol27 P526 leaves one dollar
 to each of the living children and all the rest of Samuel's real and
 personal property "to my beloved wife, Esther, for the remainder of
 her natural life."

Upon Esther’s death in 1886, the land passed to Octavius, who died in 1887.  His second wife, Addie, attempted to gain control of the family farm, but the probate court record shows the property passing to Henry E Watts.    Addie returned to her family home in Massachusetts.

I don’t know why I so enjoy finding out all the nitty-gritty details about the lives of folks who have been gone so long now.  I think some of it has to do with the idea that times are tough right now.  Yet compared to previous generations, we really have it quite easy.  I also want to better relate (pun intended) to folks who were more than names and dates on a page or piece of microfilm.  At any rate, it keeps me out of other mischief and is cheaper than many other activities one can do with one’s spare time.  Perhaps I’m helping to keep you out of mischief, too. 😉




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  1. […] of a guest blog by my third cousin once removed, Tom R Williams. Our closest common ancestors are Samuel Watts and Esther Whitney of Jonesboro, Maine. Tom contacted me in response to my post about Samuel H Watts and Alice […]

  2. […] which bears date of more than a hundred years, he always preserved. It is now in possession of Capt. Samuel Watts, Jonesboro, as is also the muster roll of the company which he commanded, and both, having always been kept in […]

  3. […] David and Abigail Watts had 7 children: 1. Samuel Watts (1797-1880) married Esther Whitney (1801-1886) and lived at Roque Bluffs on the original family farm property. 2. Joseph Tupper Watts (1799-1898) […]

  4. […] Esther Whitney (1801-1886) married to Capt Samuel Watts and lived at Roque Bluffs, ME; […]

  5. I think you’re right. Our tough times are nothing compared to theirs…

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