For the safety of our UL Lafayette community, Dupré Library is CLOSED until further notice. Access to online resources and research assistance via chat, text, and email remain available. See our COVID-19 Library FAQ for current services.


You are here

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 blacks as both slaves 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 a slave killing 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; slave sale document; 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