Susan and her Kids — Part II
You start looking at these ancestral families and, if you’re like me, you begin to wonder what things were like for them. Whether John C. died or just disappeared, Susan was left with a mess of kids, living on the other side of the county from her family (the Sagesers) and a farm to run. Look back at the census from my earlier post…there’s five boys ranging in age from 21 to 10, one 13 year old girl and a 22-year-old daughter with her two toddlers. Ten people under one roof. And you know those three boys 21, 17, and 15 who were working on the farm were eating like horses.
So she works a deal to swap land with the Wallaces and moves the family near her daddy. She’s a little worried about the 57-year-old her daughter Kitty has married. She thinks he might be married to somebody else out west. Kitty’s in her mid 20′s and won’t listen to reason. After all, Cecelia is five years younger and has been married three years, has two kids and her husband’s gone (dead or skipped town). And who told her she could move back home.
The oldest, William, is working with Susan’s daddy at the mill and has a nice family going…three grand kids already. That Walker girl seems all right. And George is also working at the mill and in fact is living with Frederick. Won’t be too long before he marries Sarah Preston.
The next decade will be a busy one for the Wattses. By the time the 1860 census rolls around, it’s Susan, John and James. Everybody else is out on their own. And by 1865, it’ll just be Susan and John. James will marry one of the Waters girls, Sarah Jane, and settle down to do some farming of his own.
By 1870, Catherine has moved back home…her husband died in 1867. In fact, until her death in 1903, Kitty will live with various relatives around the county.
Hers is the only photo I have of this generation. I don’t know when this was taken. The quote that goes with it is from Fred Watts, her younger brother who said she was “a living curiosity. She dearly loved to go and visit relatives and friends, and practically always kept her clothes packed and ready to go.”
Her obit, in the Sulphur Wells Correspondent of November 27, 1903:
Mrs. Kittie Knight died at her home in the Watts’ Mill neighborhood, Saturday morning, aged 80. She was the mother of James Knight of Camp Nelson. Funeral Services were held at Roberts’ Chapel, Sunday. The remains were interred in the Sageser burying ground.
It’s interesting to follow Kitty around in the census during the latter years of her life…1880 finds her with Henry and Sarah Sagaser (listed as Citti Knight, boarder) and 1900 finds her with her nephew William Watts (listed as Kittie Night, again as a boarder).
Ten years earlier, the mother of all these kids…our great-great-great Grandmother Susan…passed away. Again from the Sulphur Well paper:
Mrs Susan Sageser Watts died at the age of 92. She was the eldest child of Frederick Sageser. Frederick, the son of David Sageser, was born in 1778 in Maryland. Frederick married Catherine Bruner, daughter of Christian Bruner. Susan married John Watts in 1820.
The Jessamine Journal had an even longer piece that included a lot about her father’s family, the Sagesers:
At the age of 92 years, Mrs. Susan Sageser Watts, on Monday evening, Jan 30th, passed over the river of death in the “Land Elysian.” The deceased was the eldest child of Frederick Sageser…She was the mother of the late William Watts, also Frederick Watts and Andrew Watts of Florida. Mrs. Watts was more than a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church…Her long life, like her father’s was modest and retiring.
The last time we find Susan on the census, she’s living with her son Frederick and his third wife, Francis Fain. When all is said and done, Susan’s nine kids produced 49 grandchildren. She outlived all but four of her children (Kitty, Fred, Andrew and James) and, as far as I can tell, didn’t venture much outside of Jessamine County for most of her 92 years. Yet you get the feeling it was a life well lived.
Next time…I promise…we’ll talk about our Great-great Grandfather James Monroe Watts.