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John Watts

Contributed by Neal Watts

John Watts was born in Virginia, but his parents Thomas Tabitha Watts moved to Camden District, South Carolina in 1775 when he was one year old. He grew up along the banks of Lynches Creek in what is now Kershaw County, South Carolina.

Militia made up a major part of the forces at battle of Camden. As John Watts' service dates precede the Battle of Camden on August 16, 1780, and since General Horatio Gates line of march crossed Lynches Creek only a couple of miles south of Thomas Watts' property, it's almost certain that John Watts was among the militia involved in that battle. As records do show, through a Certified Account of Col. John Marshall dated 26 Nov 1792, John Watts served 62 days in the militia as a sergeant, 40 days as a Lieutenant, 26 days as a Captain, 64 days as a Captain, 40 days as a Captain, and 36 days as a Captain, beginning 20 Feb 1779.

Camden was not his first engagement. According to Silas Hales of Darlington, South Carolina, Silas served under Lt. Evans in the Revolutionary War in Capt. John Watts' company of infantry. This company was attached to Sumter's brigade. Duties of the company were to travel through Camden District, South Carolina, Orangeburg District and Charleston District, "watching and attacking the Tories and guarding the country."

After the Revolutionary War, John Watts and James Evans moved to Washington County, GA. Records indicate John Watts is in SC in 1783 and established in Washington County by 1785. The Minutes of the Executive Council of Georgia show that on 1-12-1787 the Governor signed commissions for the field officers of the Washington County Militia as follows. Jared Irwin, Esqr., Colonel: John Watts, Esqr., Lt Colonel: and James Evans, Esqr., Major.

There are 13 grants of land to John Watts from 1786 to 1796, on record at the Georgia Archives. The date of the earliest grant I found was for 100 acres dated 1-26-1786.

From "Early Washington County Settlers Colonel John Watts" by Elizabeth P. Newsom Published in the Sandersville Progress, Sandersvillle Georgia June 26, 1975

"Col. John Watts, Revolutionary Soldier, early settler, surveyor and public servant of Washington County was another contemporary of Governor Jared Irwin, and probably settled in Washington County before either Governor Irwin or Col. John Rutherford."

The obit for John Watts 1754-1803. was published in the Louisville Gazette and Republican Trumpet, Louisville, GA Feb 23, 1803. It stated he departed this life, Wednesday 16th the Hon. John Watts, Esq. Senator in the General Assembly of the State for Washington County, the 48th year of his life. It said he left a wife and children but gave no names. In a legal notice Dec 1, 1806 notice that application will be made to sell 882 acres of land on west side of Wmson Swamp, estates of John Watts deceased (s) J. Watts, administrator.

In the June 1st 1803 Issue of the Louisville Gazette and Republican Trumpet, there is a Legal notice that Josiah Watts and Tabitha Watts applied for Letters of Administration of the Estate of John Watts, Late of Washington County, deceased, Page 4, Column 4, Microfilm 25140.Year 1803.

"To be sold, at public sale, on Saturday the 5th of September next, at the house whereon the subscriber now lives, in Washington, County, four negroes, horses, cattle, hogs, and household furniture, sold for the benefit of the heirs of John Watts, deceased,...signed J. Watts, Adm'r." published 29 Jul 1812 in the Milledgeville Newspaper, source listed above, p. 142.

John Watts held the following public positions:

Justice of the Peace, Washington County, Feb. 22, 1785 - Feb. 9, 1786
Associate Justice, Washington County, Feb. 9, 1786 - Dec. 1789
House of Representatives, Washington County, 1786-1803
Constitutional Convention, Washington County, 1788, 1789, 1798
Executive Council, Washington County, 1789
Justice Inferior Court, Washington County, Dec. 1789 - (Sep. 30, 1796 - Feb. 16, 1799) 1803 died*
Tax Receiver, Washington County, 1790-1794
Commissioner, Washington County Academy, Dec. 6, 1792
Senate, Washington County, 1801-1803
Lt. Colonel, 1st Regt. Washington County militia, Jan. 16, 1787 - (Sep. 6, 1790 - Nov. 15, 1798 ret.)
Executive Minutes 1789-90 page 76, 87; Executive Minutes 1796-97 page 6; Executive Minutes 1802-05 page 303)

John Watts signed both the 1789 and 1798 Georgia Constitutions.


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This Page was Created July 2008 | Last Modified Saturday, 26-Jul-2014 12:48:24 MDT