Jefferson County
Illinois


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-f angled 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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