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|Abstract||The Watson and Morris families of North Carolina and Indiana include sisters Melinda Folger (fl. 1858-1869) and Maria (Elena Maria) Folger (1804-1897); Maria's husband, John Watson (ca. 1798-ca. 1882); their son, trial lawyer Cyrus Barksdale Watson (1845-1916) and his wife Amelia Henley (1847-1907); two of their five children, Thomas Watson (1871-1933), a municipal court judge in Winston-Salem, N.C., and Alice Watson (1879-1954); and Alice's husband, merchant J. Frank (James Franklin) Morris (1870-1928). The collection consists chiefly of correspondence, 1830-1882, including several Civil War letters between John and Cyrus Watson relating to Cyrus's wounds and recovery in 1862 and 1864; anticipation of the May 1864 Battle of the Wilderness; and the arrival of wounded from the Battle of Cold Harbor, June 1864, during Cyrus's stay at Richmond's Winder Hospital. Other letters include discussions of family illnesses and Amelia Henley Watson's loneliness during her husband's business travels. Coverage of the careers and deaths of Cyrus and Thomas Watson are among the newspaper clippings. Other materials include photographs; an 1858 diary kept by Melinda Folger while traveling to Indiana; a handwritten family tree linking the Watsons to Mayflower passenger John Howland; and Cyrus Watson's will, 1915.|
|Curatorial Unit||Southern Historical Collection|
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The Watson and Morris families, mainly of North Carolina, include farmers, Civil War soldiers, a prominent trial lawyer and North Carolina state senator, and a Winston-Salem judge. Family members represented in this collection include Latham Folger (1749-1833) of Union County, Ind., and his son, Reuben Folger (1778-1847) of Stokes County, N.C. Reuben Folger is known to have had at least two daughters, Melinda Folger (fl. 1858-1869) and Maria (Elena Maria) Folger (1804-1897), who married farmer John Watson (ca. 1798-ca. 1882) of Forsyth County, N.C.
The Watsons' son, Cyrus Barksdale Watson (1845-1916), joined the 45th North Carolina Regiment, Company K, in 1862. He spent much of his Civil War career with the Army of Northern Virginia. Watson was wounded three times: first in 1862 by an exploding shell; again at the Battle of the Wilderness, 5 May 1864; and then more seriously at Spotsylvania on 19 May 1864. Despite having shattered his right shoulder, he again rejoined his regiment in March 1865 and was with them until the surrender at Appomattox the following month.
After the war, Watson briefly worked as a store clerk, then moved to study law in Lexington, Va. Settling in Winston-Salem, N.C., he was elected in 1868 to the first of two terms in the state senate. In 1869, he married Amelia Henley (1847-1907) and was admitted to the bar. He made two unsuccessful attempts at reaching higher office, first as the Democratic candidate for governor of North Carolina in 1896 and then as a candidate for the United States Senate in 1903.
Cyrus and Amelia Watson had five children, including Thomas Watson (1871-1933), a municipal court judge in Winston-Salem, and Alice Watson (1879-1954), who married merchant J. Frank (James Franklin) Morris (1870-1928) on 10 October 1905.Back to Top
The collection is chiefly correspondence, 1830-1882, between members of the Watson family, including several Civil War letters between John Watson (ca. 1798-ca. 1882) and son Cyrus Barksdale Watson (1845-1916) relating to Cyrus's wounds and recovery in 1862 and 1864; receiving marching orders during a snowstorm in February 1863; anticipation of the May 1864 Battle of the Wilderness; and seeing the arrival of wounded from the Battle of Cold Harbor, June 1864, while at Richmond's Winder Hospital. Letters from other family members include a cousin's attempt, 1852, to console Maria Watson (1804-1897) on the grim prognosis for a sick child; Melinda Folger's (fl. 1858-1869) disapproval of nephew Cyrus's choice of the law profession; and the loneliness of Amelia Henley Watson (1847-1907) during her husband's business travels. Newspaper clippings follow the careers of lawyer and legislator Cyrus Barksdale Watson and son judge Thomas Watson (1871-1933) and the deaths of several family members including merchant J. Frank Morris (1870-1928). Other materials include photographs; a handwritten family tree linking the Watsons to Mayflower passenger John Howland; literature from the Pilgrim John Howland House historic site on Plymouth Rock; a typed copy of an 1850 American Journal of Science article about the Folger Clock, created by a Watson ancestor; a looseleaf travel diary, 1858, kept by Melinda Folger while traveling to Indiana; and Cyrus Watson's will, 1915.Back to Top
|Image Folder PF-5150/1||
Includes a group portrait. On the verso is written "Mr. Rawley, Sunday School Class." Also includes a portrait of a man, signed "Yours Truly, C?. B. Watson."
Photographs (PF-5150/1)Back to Top
Processed by: Jessica Tyree, June 2004
Encoded by: Jessica Tyree, June 2004
Updated by: Kathryn Michaelis, April 2011Back to Top