John C Watts, Jessamine County
This is the guy from whom almost all Wattses in Jessamine County descend. He is our (those of you related to me) Great-great-great grandfather. He was born in Madison County in 1798 (in the related articles in the right column, click on “Earliest Watts” and “Jessamine County” for full discussion) and died in 1849. There is no more specificity on any of those dates from all the records I’ve been able to find. A lot of the information comes from a book on the Watts, Carter and Walker families written by Paul W. Watts that I found in the Jessamine County library. I also have Aunt Sunbeam’s handwritten notes.
Sunbeam was one of the first recyclers…most of her notes are written on the backs of things…an old Christmas card, solicitations from magazines, even an old life insurance letter dated 1936 to Miss Sunbeam Watts c/o John Yates at the Hotel Weston in New York City. Sounds like there could be an interesting story there. There are 11 pages of these notes, all very similar set up as she was working through her genealogy. I’m guessing these are from the early to mid 40′s.
A couple of interesting notes on this page. She refers to John Watts as Jeff and even his son number 4 as Jeff Jr. This is the only place I’ve found that, but she’s consistent throughout.
Her Grand dad is referred to as Monroe which appears to be the way he was known by those he spent time with…Munro in 1850 census, Monrow in 1880. Most official documents use James…his will for instance.
I can understand her confusion with the Carters, Deans and Walkers. When we get to those folks you’ll get confused also. And she had her grandmother’s maiden name wrong.
Let’s get back to the guy I’m supposed to be talking about…John C (Jeff to some) Watts. There’s some confusion around him.
Cousin Leslie, in a comment on the Jessamine County post, has some other theories about John. One is he went west and was never heard from again. Another is that he and Susan divorced in 1843. Both of those are possible since we have no evidence to refute. There’s even some to support that idea. One deed in 1826 from Frederick Sageser (Susan’s dad) to her kids (at the time William, Kitty and George) with no mention of the husband. Susan and the kids are named specifically. Then in 1850, Susan has an indenture recorded in which she swaps some land with the Wallaces. Again, she’s swapping the land, it’s in her name, no mention of John (would be dead…or that could be where some early researchers assumed he had died). You would have expected her to be referred to as widow, relict or some other like term if she was selling or moving property that had originally been part of an estate. This lends more weight to the story that John went out for some cigarettes and never came back.
We do know they were married. Here’s the wedding bond:
This bond is between John C. Watts and Frederick Sagaser (note the spelling because it changes quite a bit over the years). Also note the sum of Fifty pounds current money of Kentucky. There was still quite a bit of flex in how you paid for things. Each state had it’s own setup. The wedding date is often mentioned as the 4th day of November 1820, but that’s actually the date of the bond. The wedding would have taken place sometime after that. So John Watts and Miss Susan Sagaser of Jessamine County got married in early November, 1820 in Jessamine County, Kentucky.
And there’s both of their signatures. They were both literate. We believe this is our guy from before because he and father-in-law-to-be Fred entered into a bond earlier in the year to protect his younger brothers. And the 1826 deed plus the 1850 indenture gives us those kids (Susan apparently never remarried).
The 1850 indenture swaps land Susan owned on Jessamine Creek (western part of the county) for land the Wallaces owned on Hickman Creek (eastern part of the valley near her daddy’s place) and that’s how our Wattses all ended up in that lower left hand corner of the county.
Here’s the quote from the party of the second part of the 1850 indenture:
Susannah Watts, William Watts, Catharine Knight, George Watts, Frederick Watts, Cecelia Ann England, John Watts, Andrew Watts, Mary Watts and James M. Watts, the last mentioned nine persons being the children of the said Susannah Watts, all of the county of Jessamine and State of Kentucky…
So there we have the whole fam damly. We find our John in only the 1830 (Garrard County) and 1840 (Jessamine County) census before he disappears. There’s two places he could be in the 1820 (Madison County) census but not being a household head, his name doesn’t appear.
Next time we’ll figure out what happened to each of the kids.