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Watson Family Papers

Collection 3

Watson Family. Papers, 1793–1930.

1 foot (ca. 500 items)

Correspondence, financial and legal records of several families from the Port Gibson, Mississippi region. Among the themes reflected in the collection are the Presbyterian Church and its activities in Mississippi, economic pursuits especially plantation management, relations with African Americans as both enslaved people and freedmen, and health concerns including recurring yellow fever epidemics. The major figures represented in this collection are James Smylie, Amelia Smylie Montgomery, Joseph A. Montgomery, James Cotton, James W. Watson, and Caroline Buck.

Also included are the papers of Major J. W. Watson, U. S. Army (ca. 1865-1920) who served in Indian Wars and as an Indian Agent during the 1890s and in Cuba during the Spanish-American War. Following his retirement for reasons of health he returned to Cuba. He wrote about a Cuban land dispute in which he was involved and the Cuban Revolution of 1917. He also wrote some virulently anti-German pieces during World War I.

The collection was donated by Dalton Watson of Waterproof, La.


A. Family Records  
  1. Family Papers  
    a. Correspondence 1-01 through 1-18
    b. Journal 1-19
  2. Photographs 1-20
  3. Financial and Legal Records 1-21 through 1-31
  4. Miscellaneous  
    a. Churches and Schools 2-05
    b. Clippings 2-03 and 2-04
    c. Miscellaneous 2-05
B. James Waterman Watson Papers  
  1. West Point 2-06
  2. Indians and the West 2-07 through 2-10
  3. Cuba: Spanish-American War 2-11
  4. Cuba: Retirement 2-12


A. Family Records
  1. Family Papers
    a. Correspondence
1-01 1805-1819
      Presbyterian Church: 6/7/1806; 4/29/1811; 11/22/1819
      business 11/22/1819
      Person represented: James Smylie
1-02 1820-1829
      Smylie Family
      Presbyterian Church
      Person represented: James Smylie
1-03 1830-1836
      comments on Cherokees and nullification 7/2/1832
      Oakland College 5/14/1836
      Smylie Family
      Person represented: Amelia Smylie; James Smylie
1-04 1837-1839
      Oakland College 12/14/1837
      Presbyterian Church 6/7/1838
      Persons represented: James A. Montgomery
1-05 1840s
      Smylie Family
1-06 1853-1859
      yellow fever 1853
      case of killing of enslaved person 2/8/1854
      state politics 10/4/1855
      Persons represented: James W. Watson; James Cotton; Joseph A. Montgomery
1-07 1861-1865
      letter from Henry W. Allen (ALS 1/12/1865)
      changes in slavery caused by war
      Persons represented: James W. Watson; Clarissa Young; Amelia T. Montgomery
11-08 1866-1868
      business: plantations; cotton market 5/12/1868
      Persons represented: Joseph A. Montgomery, James W. Watson; Clarissa Young
1-09 1869
      Montgomery Family (ancestral history through early 19th century)
      Person represented: Clarissa Young
1-10 1872-1874
      Presbyterian Church 10/23/1873
      Person represented: Joseph A. Montgomery
1-11 1876-1877
      Watson Family
      State Republican Party 6/22/1876
      Clarissa Young, died 1877
1-12 1878-1879
      Watson Family
      yellow fever 10/8/1878
1-13 1881-1887
      Watson Family
1-14 1893-1899
      Watson Family
      Agriculture - Washington [State] 5/9/1899
1-15 1907-1911
      reminiscences of Julia Richardson Booth of year 1863, (ca. 1910)
      Vicksburg Campaign
      Watson Family genealogy
1-16 1915-1926
      Watson Family genealogy
      Alcorn A & M College
      Port Gibson Methodist Church
      Persons represented: A. T. Montgomery; Linda Watson Montgomery; J. T. McCaleb
1-17 1930
      Irwin Russel
      genealogy - Buck Family
1-18 n.d.
      genealogy - Flower Family
      See also: letter of 5/23/1907
      genealogy - Carpenter Family, fragment
A. Family Records
  1. Family Papers
    b. Journal
1-19 Journal of Caroline Buck, 1875-1879, 65 pages, typescript
      excursion to Virginia and north, 1876
      yellow fever epidemic, 1878
A. Family Records
  2. Photographs
1-20 Miscellaneous photographs of individuals, ca. 1870s-1920s
      identified: Lucile MacCrellis (?) ca. 1870s; Kate Gunnis (See letter of 11/3/1873); Lucile -----, ca. 1910s; "Miss Linda Watson and Her Flock of Southdowns" (n.d.)
      remainder unidentified
A. Family Records
  3. Financial and Legal Records
1-21 1793-1810
    personal receipts; document of sale of enslaved person; tax payment receipts
      mainly records of James Smylie
1-22 1811-1815
      personal and tax receipts; including certificate of baptism performed by Smylie
1-23 1818-1822
      receipts; doctor's bills; survey of land in Claiborne County; land deed (DS James Monroe)
1-24 1824-1829
      receipts and accounts
1-25 1830-1836
      will of Francis Murdock 6/8/1833
      receipts and accounts mainly of James Cotton
1-26 1837-1848
      receipts mainly of James Cotton; land survey
      deed of land from Cotton to village of Port Gibson
1-27 1852-1858
      receipts of James Cotton
1-28 1858
      receipts of James Cotton including drug bill
1-29 1858-1860
      receipts and accounts of James Cotton
      pew rental agreement between Port Gibson Presbyterian Church and J. A. Montgomery 12/17/1860
1-30 1862-1874
      receipts of James W. Watson and others; 1 DS by John Taylor Moore; citation for delinquent taxes against estate of James Cotton 2/18/1874
A. Family Records
  4. Miscellaneous
    a. Churches and Schools
2-01 Materials on religious and education institutions 1799-1900
      playbill for Last Judgment, 1799
      constitution of Franklin Society and Franklin Academy, Jefferson County, Mississippi Territory, 1805
      prospectus for The Western Monitor, 1818
      includes list of subscribers headed by James Smylie
      congregational report for Church of Sharon in Simpson City, 1827
      prospectus for Jefferson College, Washington, Mississippi, 1829
      prospectus for The Mississippi Presbyterian, 1853
      prospectus for La Grange Synodical College, 1857
      program for ceremony at Chamberlain-Hunt Academy, 1900
2-02 Oakland College Magazine
      v. 1, # 1, 12/1855; v. 1, # 2, 7/1856; v. 2, # 1, 11/1856
A. Family Records
  4. Miscellaneous
    b. Clippings
2-03 1867-1876: miscellaneous
      includes: politics, race relations, and list of Confederate dead of Amite County
2-04 1878: yellow fever
A. Family Records
  4. Miscellaneous
    c. Miscellaneous
2-05 Miscellaneous
      "Piece Book" of Amelia Smylie, 5/1825
      "Speech of Hon. O. P. Morton...on the Mississippi Election," 1876
      election ticket, ca. 1877-1879
      flyer for lecture by A. T. Montgomery on "The South," 1897
B. James Waterman Watson Papers
  1. West Point
2-06 Appointment (1876) and letter (1/17/1878)
B. James Waterman Watson Papers
  2. Indians and the West
2-07 1881-1890
      description of medicine dance observed in Indian Territory, 8/13/1881
      report of activities during Apache War, 1890
2-08 Crow Reservation Agency, Montana, 1903, n.d.
      documents prepared in defense against case involving claims against Watson for violating penal statutes while agent on Crow Reservation, 1894-1897
2-09 Accounts of travel in Mexico, 1901
      handwritten draft emphasizing climb of Colima Volcano
      typed draft entitled "From Guadalajara to Tuxpan, Mexico," 4 pages
      similar draft but many variations
      Mexico - Description and Travel
      Colima Volcano
2-10 Photographs (7 originals, 4 copies)
      cavalry officers and chief of scouts, Albert Seiber
      drawing of Battle of Wounded Knee reproduced as albumin photograph
B. James Waterman Watson Papers
  3. Cuba: Spanish-American War
2-11 Report, re assault on San Juan Hill and recommendations for citations for bravery resulting from assault on San Juan Hill and Battle of Las Guasimas
B. James Waterman Watson Papers
  4. Cuba: Retirement
2-12 Correspondence and drafts of letters-to-the-editor denouncing German war effort, 1913-1915
      includes: letter from James B. Hughes about his military disciplinary case; letter to Mr. Douglass re: Cuban land; letter to George W. Goethals containing reminiscences about West Point and army experiences and personal news
2-13 Correspondence, 1916
2-14 Correspondence and anti-German writings, 1917, n.d.
      includes: letter to Naval Consulting Board with detailed suggestions concerning war effort, 6/1917
2-15 Journal, February-May, 1917: 2 drafts
      deals with Cuban Revolution and World War I news mainly
2-16 Journal, February-May, 1917: copy 2 (partial)
2-17 Correspondence and writings concerning Cuban land controversy, 1919-1920
2-18 Miscellaneous
      correspondence concerning posthumous citations for Major Watson, 9/4/1924
      fragments of correspondence; clippings
      miscellaneous writings of J. W. Watson
      poem in Spanish
      Hubbard, Elbert, "How Lifted the Lid Off Hell?" n.p., 1914, anti-German booklet