November 30, 2014

What happened to Mary Watson after 1860?

In 1842 Mary P Watson was born in Mississippi to John W Watson of RI and his 2nd wife, South Carolinian Harriet Prowell. Mary’s father died when she was only 4 and in 1852 her mother married Virginia born Charles W Caldwell. 

In the 1860 census Mary, her brother Thomas, her mother, stepfather and 3 step-siblings were all living together in Lowndes County, MS.  By 1870 her brother had married and was with his wife in Lamar, Texas, as were her mother, stepfather and the 3 younger children.  But where was Mary?

I assumed she had married between 1860 and 1870 either in Mississippi or in Texas. I took a quick look at familysearch and at the 1870 census in both locations.  But it is difficult to find a MARY with unknown surname.

I focused in on Mary, b 1842 in Mississippi, without a surname, living in Lamar, Texas. In assessing my “possibles”, I checked for local marriage records. I found the 1866 marriage of a Mary Watson to a T. J. Caldwell in Lamar, Texas.  Could that be her? I searched further and found that she had indeed married Dr Thomas J Caldwell and that they named their first son Charles W –- the name of her stepfather ! Were Charles and Thomas related?

Thomas and Mary had 5 children between 1867 and 1879. She died the following year, not yet 40, and is buried in Fannin, Texas. Thomas married again and added 3 more children to the family. He died in 1903 and is buried with Mary whose gravestone shows her name as Mary P.  Their daughter Viva’s Texas death record lists her mother as Mary Watson Prowell … a bit out of order.

Dr Thomas J Caldwell and Mary’s step-father, Charles Washington Caldwell, were found together in the 1850 census with head of household Eliza born 1798 in Virginia.  No relationships are listed. Charles was 34 and Thomas was 12 (born in Mississippi). Could Charles be his father? To be continued.

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