September 12, 2014
The sons of Thomas Watson of Rensselearville
Until a few weeks ago I knew only that Thomas Watson was born in Newport, RI about 1770 and died in Rensselaerville, Albany County, NY in 1813. I had found him in the NY census in 1800 and 1810 with an assumed wife and 3 sons. Exploring a bit more I learned that he was a lawyer (as many in that family line were), he was a land owner and was survived by wife “Sally and heirs”. I had suspicions that Rufus W. Wheeler (1806-1876), a Catskill New York lawyer, might be one of his sons.
I had a great breakthrough earlier this month when I received copies of pages from the records of Rev Samuel Fuller, a Presbyterian minister in Rensselaerville. [ Thanks to the NYSHA in Cooperstown, NY for their assistance]. Those pages unveiled the family as follows:
- His wife was Sarah “Sally” Jenkins, daughter of Samuel who built the first house in the village
- Three sons were named without ages, all baptized on the same date the year their father died
o Rufus Wheeler
o Samuel Squires
o John Jenkins
- She remarried in 1818 – a second marriage also for her husband Roger Metcalf of Otsego County (where Thomas’ oldest sister Desire and her husband Peleg Peckham lived after leaving Rensselaerville)
Rufus W. Watson is a common name in this family line, so at first I as not sure the baptized son was the Catskill lawyer. But I found a reference to Rufus W. Watson of Catskill lawyer that mentioned his father Thomas was one of the earliest lawyers in Rensselaerville. Rufus is buried in the Catskill Village Cemetery with his wife Elizabth Botsford. He apparently spent his entire adult life in Greene County, NY.
So, now the question is what happened to Samuel and John? Were they older or younger than Rufus? The search continues.