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.
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
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:
- Artimesia M.
WATTS born 9 July 1851 in Burnet County, Texas - died 26 January 1920 in Mason County, Texas.
- James Thomas
WATTS born 14 September 1854 in Burnet County, Texas - died 14 September 1917 in Dunken, New Mexico.
- Marion WATTS
born 17 June 1857 in Burnet County, Texas - died 9 December 1875 in Mason County, Texas.
WATTS born 13 May 1858 in Burnet County, Texas - died 10 August 1916 in Mason County, Texas.
- Lavinia Pernesia
WATTS born 21 July 1860 in , Burnet, Texas - died 17 September 1906 in McCulloch County, Texas.
- John WATTS
born 11 Apr 1862 in Burnet County, Texas - died 7 May 1937 in Coleman County, Texas.
Washington WATTS born 10 March 1864 McCulloch County, Texas - died 10 March 1916.
- Mary Elizabeth
WATTS born 17 July 1866 in , McCulloch County, Texas - died 17 September 1955.
- Laura Belle
WATTS born 11 September 1868 in McCulloch County, Texas - died 2 October 1939 in McCulloch County, Texas.
WATTS born 28 September 1871 in McCulloch County, Texas - died 25 December 1948.
- Emma WATTS
born 5 June 1873 in Mason County, Texas - died 27 November 1972 in Dallas, Dallas County, Texas.
- 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
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