Family Histories of Coleman County, Texas

George (Elbert) Watts
by Leona Bruce

From A History of Coleman County and Its People, 1985 
edited by Judia and Ralph Terry, and Vena Bob Gates - used by permission

George Watts, one of three brothers who joined the army in the east and were stationed at the frontier post, Camp Colorado, married Mary Barefoot, daughter of a settler on the Jim Ned Creek.  George and Mary built a cabin near there and had a son John, born in 1860.  When the Civil War began, George stayed on the frontier, later moving with several other families into the deserted fort buildings.  After the war, they farmed, and found a constant food supply in the unbranded calves with which the open range swarmed.  A young son of George (about 13), about 1874, was wounded by an Indian.  This group of Indians escaped the Rangers under the cover of night.  George took his family a few miles south to a small creek, where the sandy land raised fine corn and garden crops.  As there was no school, Mary taught the children as best she could.  The creek became known as Watts Creek, later a one-room school also bore this name.  George's son, John joined the Rangers wehn about 15, and in his first Indian fight, was wounded by an arrow in his hip.  He went back to Watts Creek, was a long time recovering from the wound and later bought the land his father owned, married, and lived on it until his death in 1937.

Elbert Watts
by Ralph Terry - June 2009

While scanning the index of Leona Bruce's They Came in Peace To Coleman County, 1970, I noted the Watts name and checked on its data, as his wife, Judia, has a Watts line.  In her book, Leona did a slightly longer version than was used in A History of Coleman County and Its People, 1985, but with the same information.  Her information was based on an interview with John Watts in 1932, five years before his death.  Resource material today is more easily available than when Leona was preserving history from the 1930's through the 1980's.  Today, thanks to the internet and many hours of many volunteers inputting data, we have easy access to all census records, cemetery records, newspaper files and family histories, just to name a few.

In checking this Watts line, I could not find a George Watts in Coleman County at any time!  Remember, Leona was working on one oral interview with a seventy-two years old man in 1932.  Today ... I have the internet!  Here is what I found.  John Watts' father was Elbert Watts.  It could have been George Elbert, but only Elbert is noted in any available records, including family information, census records, Camp Colorado rosters and his tombstone.  The only record of Elbert Watts being in Coleman County was in the Rosters of Camp Colorado.  He apparently did not remain in Coleman County long.

Watts Creek as named after Lem and John Watts, brothers of Elbert Watts, according to the obituary of John Watts, son of Elbert.  I have found no records of them.

Following is a timeline for Elbert Watts:

Elbert Watts and Permelia Barfoot (or Barefoot) married in Smith County, Texas, 11 April 1950.

1850 Smith County, Texas census, taken October 1850:  Absalum L. Watts, 39, born in Georgia; Celia Watts, 39, Georgia; Levina Watts, 18, Mississippi; John Watts, 16, Mississippi; Elizabeth Watts, 12, Mississippi; George Watts, 11, Mississippi; Elbert Watts, 21, Georgia; Permelia Watts, 18, Georgia.  (Permelia's parents, William Barfoot, age 45, Georgia and Rachel Barfoot, 40, Georgia, along with son, John Barfoot, 11, Georgia, were also living in Smith County.  In 1870, William and Rachel, as well as John Barfoot and his family were living in Coleman County, Texas.)

1860 Burnet County, Texas census:  Elbert Watts, age 29, farmer, born in Mississippi; Permelia A. Watts, 24, Georgia; Artimesia Watts, 8, Texas; James T. Watts, 5, Texas; Marion Watts, 4, Texas; Larisa Watts, 2, Texas.  Also living in Burnet County, Texas were Permelia's parents, William Barfoot, 55, Georgia; Rachael Barfoot, 49, Georgia; John Barfoot, 19, Georgia.

Feb 29 1864 - Elbert Watts is shown in McCord's Regiment of Company I.

March 1, 1864 - E. Watts is shown in Fossett's Battalion of Company B.

1870 McCulloch County, Texas census (part of page missing):  ...bert, male, 45, Mississippi; P. A., female, 35, Georgia; H., female, 19, Texas; J. T., male, 15, Texas; Marion, male, 14, Texas; Laurena, female, 12, Texas; P. H., female, 10, Texas; John, male, 8, Texas; George W., male, 7, Texas; M. E., female, 4, Texas; Laura Bell, 2, Texas.  Living next door was Elbert's parents: A. L. Watts, 59, Georgia; Celia Watts, 59, Georgia.  The Barfoot family was living in Coleman County in 1870.  (Note:  Watts family records shown George Washington Watts was born in Smith County, Texas.  Even though Elbert was in Coleman County in 1864, seving at Camp Colorado, his parents and his wife's parents were probably in Burnet County or had moved to Coleman County.)

1880 Tom Green County, Texas census:  Albert Watts, 50, Mississippi; Penilla Watts, 43, Georgia; Thomas, 24, Texas; John Watts, 18, Texas; George Watts, 16, Texas; Mary Watts, 14, Texas; Laura Bell Watts, 12, Texas; Angeline Watts, 10, Texas; Emma Watts, 8, Texas; Kassine Watts, female, 4, Texas.  Living next door was Elbert's parents: A. L. Watts, 70, Georgia; Celia Watts, 70, Georgia.

1900 Brown County, Texas census, Blanket:  Elbert Watts, born December 1829 in Mississippi; Ann Watts, wife, born July 1835 in Georgia, married 50 years, 12 children born, 10 children living.

1910 Mason County, Texas census:  Elbert Watts, 80, Mississippi; Ann Watts, 74, Georgia.

As found in censues and family information the children of Elbert and Permelia Mary Ann Barfoot were:
  1. Has No Children Artimesia M. WATTS born 9 July 1851 in Burnet County, Texas - died 26 January 1920 in Mason County, Texas.
  2. Has No Children James Thomas WATTS born 14 September 1854 in Burnet County, Texas - died 14 September 1917 in Dunken, New Mexico.
  3. Has No Children Marion WATTS born 17 June 1857 in Burnet County, Texas - died 9 December 1875 in Mason County, Texas.
  4. Has No Children Laresia WATTS born 13 May 1858 in Burnet County, Texas - died 10 August 1916 in Mason County, Texas.
  5. Has No Children Lavinia Pernesia WATTS born 21 July 1860 in , Burnet, Texas - died 17 September 1906 in McCulloch County, Texas.
  6. Has No Children John WATTS born 11 Apr 1862 in Burnet County, Texas - died 7 May 1937 in Coleman County, Texas.
  7. Has No Children George Washington WATTS born 10 March 1864 McCulloch County, Texas - died 10 March 1916.
  8. Has No Children Mary Elizabeth WATTS born 17 July 1866 in , McCulloch County, Texas - died 17 September 1955.
  9. Has No Children Laura Belle WATTS born 11 September 1868 in McCulloch County, Texas - died 2 October 1939 in McCulloch County, Texas.
  10. Has No Children Angeline WATTS born 28 September 1871 in McCulloch County, Texas - died 25 December 1948.
  11. Has No Children Emma WATTS born 5 June 1873 in Mason County, Texas - died 27 November 1972 in Dallas, Dallas County, Texas.
  12. Has No Children Kissie WATTS born 27 February 1876 in Mason County, Texas - died 6 April 1888 in McCulloch County, Texas.

Camp San Saba Cemetery - McCulloch County, Texas

WATTS, Elbert (husband of Ann) - December 6, 1829 - September 5, 1913
WATTS, Ann (wife of Elbert)  - July 12, 1835  - September 19, 1911
WATTS, Selia  - July 16, 1811  - July 28, 1886
WATTS, Kissy  - February 27, 1876  - April 6, 1888
WATTS, Julia A. (dau. of J. and A. Watts)  - May 6, 1884 - August 2, 1887

As to what became of John Watts, whose interview prompted Leona Bruce to write the article about his father, Elbert Watts, and the only child of Elbert Watts to remain in the Coleman County area?  He married  Martha Angaline Hogue about 1884.  They had at least six children:  Juley Ann, born about 1887; Willis, born about 1889; Howard Ezra, born 4 April 189; Annie Mathew, born 18 Jun 1892; Kizzie, born 16 December 1895; Tommy Arthur, born 3 September 1900.  He died in 1932 and is buried at Rocky Creek Cemetery in Brown County.

Ex-Ranger And 'First Child' In County Is Buried

Santa Anna, May 10 - Funeral services were conducted Friday at the Rocky Cemetery for John Watts, ex-Ranger and one of the first white children born in Coleman County.  His death was due to injuries received in an automobile accident tow weeks ago and to pneumonia.

Mr. Watts was born in one of the Camp Colorado residence buildings when his father was stationed there as a private soldier about 1859 or 1860.  Two of his uncles, Lem and John Watts, settled on a creek flowing into the Jim Ned, the branch later being called the Watts Creek.

Spending his boyhood in the old fort, Mr. Watts was taught by a school teacher whocse duties included guarding his pupils from Indians to and from school.  When a child, the ex-Ranger witnessed a fight in which his older brother opposed single-handed six Indians.  Camp Colorado occupants guarded their horses outside the fort in daytime and the boy was standing guard.  The Watts boy shot on Indian, the others fleeing with the wounded man and the horses.

Joining the Rangers, Mr. Watts was badly wounded in the hip by an Indian arrow during his first fight and was honorably discharged.

Mr. Watts is survived by the grandson with whom he resided.

(Coleman Democrat-Voice, Coleman, Texas, May 13, 1937;
and Coleman County Chronicle, Coleman, Texas, May 13, 1937.)

Rocky Creek Cemetery, Brown County, Texas:

Watts, John - April 11, 1862 - May 7, 1937
Watts, Angaline - May 7, 1861 - July 6, 1934
Watts, Howard - 1890 - 1978
Watts, Mary Puka - April 20, 1927 - November 29, 2001
Watts, Pinkie Ossie - August 1, 1908 - September 14, 1910
Watts, Ruby Brown - November 9, 1906 - June 7, 1999
Watts, Tommie Arthur - September 3, 1901 - March 24, 1987

Families History Index
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This page last updated June 7, 2009
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