Jefferson County IL 
Family Histories

 
The Watson Family
Dr. John Watson came to Jefferson county in 1821, "squatting" for the winter 
at Mulberry Hill until next spring. John H. and Asa B. built a large crib on 
their claim north of town (the old Watson place), and they moved to it. In this 
they lived until the hickory log house was built. They tended a crop near Union 
the first year, but had their own place ready for business by the next season. 

The head of the family was a physician-the first to locate in the county. His 
quinine cost him ten dollars and fifty cents an ounce, and he sent east for an
ounce of veratrum, and it cost him forty dollars, which showed that there were 
"trusts" in those days as well as now, but they would not trust the country doctor 
for medicines. The people in those days were quite healthy and never thought of 
having the new fangled diseases that prevail in this enlightened age. The doctor 
found time to assess the entire county, and still keep up his practice, for which 
service he received seventeen dollars-about enough to buy an ounce of quinine. The 
dressed fawn-skin in which he carried his Assessor's books is still in the Clerk's 
office. He left the farm work entirely to the boys, while he attended to his 
professional and official duties. 
The wife died March 3d, and the doctor died June 3, 1845, beloved and respected 
by all who knew them. Their children were: Virginia, who married John Summers, 
whose mill and home east of town was always considered the most hospitable place 
in all the country; John H., who married Betsy Rankin, and their children were: 
John R., who married and died in Iowa; William D., who at an advanced age, resides 
in Colorado, and has raised a large family; Thomas P.. who recently died without 
offspring; Milly F., beloved wife of the writer; Samuel H., long prominent in the 
politics of Jefferson county, now residing in Los Angeles, California; Joel P., 
postmaster at Ashley; Dr. J H., practicing physician at Woodlawn; Amelia, deceased, 
wife of B. S Miller, and Nancy, who died in youth. Then came William B., who married 
the Leonard girl and who resided in St. Louis. Then Asa B., who married Diana Ham, 
and their children were: Andrew J., Thomas J., Mrs. Lydia Collins, Mrs. Carrie Pavey, 
Mrs. Lew Tolle, Mrs. Hal Goodwin and Mrs. R. House. Then came Joel F., for many years 
County Clerk, and who married Elder Taylor's daughter, and they were the parents 
of Doctor Walter, Attorney Albert and Howard Watson. The latter lived in St. 
Louis, and died but recently. Joel's second wife is still living-a noble, 
Christian woman, who was Tom Pace's widow. The youngest was Harry M., who 
married a Cummins, and left two daughters, both now living in the far 
West.

 
 
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Jefferson County Coordinator Cindy Ford
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