Search billions of records on Ancestry.com
   

[Furniss Vohs HomePage] [Name Index] [Watts Table of Contents] [Watts Index]

The Family History of James Watts
of Cumberland and Northumberland Counties, Pennsylvania

Prepared by Sean Furniss

 

1. James1 Watts (Watt) James Watts, Sr., is believed to have been born 30 July 1733 at Northumberland Co., PA. He was tomahawked and killed by the indians, in an attack at Fort Freeland, Turbot Township, Northumberland County, PA., on 28 July 1779. He was buried in an unmarked grave at the site of Fort Freeland. He served as a sergeant in Captain Taggart's Company of Col. James Murray's Battalion during the American Revolution.[1] (Note: The earliest record seen for the birth of James Watts is the DAR application of Eloise Keeler Clark which is dated 5 October 1896. The source of her information is not recorded.)

Once source reported that James Watt settled in Cumberland Co. with his wife about 1760 and moved to Northumberland Co., prior to the Revolutionary War. While it is not yet possible to document this James Watts' arrival in Cumberland Co., a review of the Cumberland Co. deed records Book A for 2 May 1753 shows the following information - "John Hunter obtained from Lord Montjoy lease of 3 messuages and 5.5 acres, ... term of lease the lives of deponent, Mackay and William Hunter, the deponent's brothers. About 23 years ago deponent assigned the lease to James Watt, Sr., then of said parish, for £30 and a hide." Thus it seems possible that a James Watts, possibly the father of this James Watts, may have been in (or at least owned land) Cumberland Co. as early as 1730.[2]

On 24 November 1791, his son James petitioned the Orphans Court at Sudbury, Northumberland County, PA., for the division of 300 acres of land in Turbot Township. One third to go to his father's widow Ann as her dower. The remaining two-thirds was to be divided into seven shares, two shares going to the eldest son Francis, with one share going to each of the other five children or their heirs.[3]       

He married Ann Walker of Cumberland Co., PA. She was said to be from a promient family of Cumberland Co. Ann Watts was awarded a $24 pension on 5 April 1794 for James Watts revolutionary war service. Based upon the 1782 abstract of the will of Benjamin Walker of Rye, Cumberland Co., PA, it appears that Ann Walker was the sister of Benjamin Walker and Rebecca Walker (wife of Richard Coulter).[4]    

James Watts and his wife were thought to be of Scottish and Irish ancestry. With James' wife reported to be related to William Clark, one of Penn's first Council, who participated in the first meeting on 10 Jan 1682/3. The relationship with the Clark family is not clear since similar information has been reported for the mother of Jane Means, who married James' son Francis. Judge Watts of Cumberland, PA, was also reported to be related to this family. Other reports indicate that James Watts was a brother of Frederick Watts, and that Frederick Watts had moved from Wales to Ireland, where he married Jean Murray, before coming to America in 1760.[5]

+2.iFrancis2 (Frank)Watts died about 1808.
+3.iiJames Watts, Jr., died 19 July 1808.
4.iiiFrederick Watts
5.ivJohn Watts possibly the John Watts who died about 1801 in Adams Co., OH, and who was married to Elizabeth Adams, based upon documents from Adams Co., OH, Common Pleas Court Records, there is a high likelihood that this is the case.
6.vMargery Watts
+7.viRebecca Watts died before 24 November 1791.

 

2. Francis2 (Frank) Watts (James1) He died in 1808 at an unreported location. He served as a private in the 4th regiment of Dragoons commanded by Col. Stephen Moylan, Continental line, and was a 2nd lieutenant in the battalion of Col. Arthur Buchanan, Cumberland County Militia in 1777. He was once captured at the Battle of Wyoming by indians on 3 July 1778 but managed to escape on the day of his capture. It was reported that 227 scalps were taken by the indians in ambush when the colonists attempted to take a British fort.

In 1796, Francis Watts followed his brother-in-law William Means to Towanda. "He occupied a 400 acre tract of land extending from the Arcade block to the Blackman place, and from the river a mile westward. He built and operated a distillery some years." He had only a squatters claim to his lands and on his death his wife gave up half her claim in order to obtain the money needed to perfect the title. He received a Bounty Land Warrant for land in Illinois for his service in the Revolutionary War.        

He married Jane Means. She was an original member of the Wysox church. She lived on the family homestead in Towanda until her death. She is buried in the Riverside Cemetery in Towanda, PA. She was listed as a taxable inhabitant over 21 owing property in 1812-13 in Towanda Township. Her father was Samuel Means (died in the Revolutionary War) of Scotland. Her mother was an Irish woman whose maiden name was Clark. Her brother was William Means (died 3 October 1829, age 64) who married Elizabeth Fox. [6]

+8.iJane3 Watts born about 1787 in PA.
+9.iiJohn Watts born about 1788.
+10.iiiMary Watts born about 1790, died 14 December 1839 at Towanda.
+11.ivEleanor Watts born about 1792.
+12.vJames Watts born about 1794, died 1 August 1834.
+13.viSquire Watts born 5 August 1800, died 9 June 1863.
+14.viiElizabeth (Betsy) Watts born about 1802.
+15.viiiWilliam Means Watts
16.ixThomas Watts died young, never married.

   

3. James2 Watts (James1) He died 19 July 1808 at Warriors Run, Northumberland Co., PA. He served as a private in the PA. 3rd Regiment at Trenton, New Jersey, in January 1781 under the command of Lt. Col. Joseph Harmar. He was married to Sophia Bruner in the fall of 1786 by the Rev. Shaw at Turbot Township, Northumberland County, PA. She was reported to be age 70 (born about 1768) when she first applied for a military pension on 15 December 1838. Additional pension requests were made on 26 October 1844, and 4 August 1848. [7]

+17.iJohn3 Watts born 18 August 1793 at Warriors Run, Northumberland Co., Pennslyvania, died 14 October 1852 at Elkart, Indiana.
18.iiDaniel Watts born about 1801. He was the only child mentioned in the pension requests.

   

7. Rebecca2 Watts (James1) She married Thomas Adams. Both she and her husband were deceased prior to 24 November 1791 when her brother James petitioned the court to have his father's land divided.[8]

19.iCatherine3 Adams
20.iiJames Adams
21.iiiThomas Adams
22.ivAnna Adams

 


[Page 1 of 8] [Next Page]
[Watts Table of Contents] [Watts Index]

References

[1] Clement Ferdinand Heverly, Pioneer and Patriot Families of Bradford County, PA. (Towanda, PA: Bradford Star Print, 1913), Vol. I 1700-1800, p. 287; Military Pension Certificate No. 4152, Watt, James, widows pension record W 3367 Watt, Sophia, National Archives, Washington, DC, Robert McKee declared on 7 Dec. 1838 that James Watt's father was killed near the the taking of Freeland Fort, Turbut Twp. Northumberland Co., PA; DAR Application 17042, Eloise Keeler Clark, 5 Oct 1896, notes dates of birth, death for James Watts, seen at the Library of the Daughters of the American Revolution, copy in possession of the writer.

[2] Records of the Office of Recorder of Deeds, Cumberland County Archives, Pennsylvania Archives Collection, Book A 1750-1758, pp 34-35.

[3] Minutes from Orphans Court, Northumberland Co., Sudbury, PA, 24 Nov 1791, copy in the Patriot File for James Watts, Sr., seen at the Library of the Daughters of the American Revolution, copy in possession of the writer

[4] Clement Ferdinand Heverly, Pioneer and Patriot Families of Bradford County, PA. (Towanda, PA: Bradford Star Print, 1913), Vol. I 1700-1800, p. 287; Military Pension Certificate No. 4152, Watt, James, widows pension record W 3367 Watt, Sophia, National Archives, Washington, DC, Robert McKee declared on 7 Dec. 1838 that James Watt's father was killed near the the taking of Freeland Fort, Turbut Twp. Northumberland Co., PA; Collections of The Genealogical Society of Pennsylania, Vol. 91, Abstracts of Cumberland County, Penna Wills; Certificate of Pension Award for Ann Watts, copy in the Patriot File for Watts Family, PA, seen at the Library of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Washington, DC, copy in possession of the writer; 1750-1800 (Philadelphia, 1905), p. 254, abstract of the will of Benjamin Walker, seen at the Library of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Washington, DC, copy in possession of the writer.

[5] Untitled, undated newspaper article, apparently from Leach, Granville, PA, article is about the family of General Frederick Watts and includes reference to James Watts and his wife Ann Walker, copy in the Patriot File for Watts Family, PA, seen at the Library of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Washington, DC, copy in possession of the writer; DAR Application 17042, Eloise Keeler Clark, 5 Oct 1896, notes relationship to William Clark, seen at the Library of the Daughters of the American Revolution, copy in possession of the writer.

[6] Heverly, Pioneer and Patriot Families, Vol. I, p. 143-144, 287, 439; H. C. Bradsby, History of Bradford County, PA. (Chicago: S. B. Nelson & Co., Publishers,1891), p. 1268, seen at the Library of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Washington, DC, photocopy in possession of writer; Military Pension Certificate No. 4152, Watt, James, widows pension record W 3367 Watt, Sophia, National Archives, Washington, DC, Robert McKee declated on 7 Dec. 1838 that James Watt's father was killed near the the taking of Freeland Fort, Turbut Twp. Northumberland Co., PA; Bounty Land Warrant 2114-100, National Archives, Washington, DC; Victor Charles Detty, History of the Presbyterian Church of Wysox, PA. (1939), p. 25-26

[7] Military Pension Certificate No. 4152, Watt, James, widows pension record W 3367 Watt, Sophia, National Archives, Washington, DC, records date of death, military service, marriage; DAR Application 87631, Paluline Clark Adams, 20 May 1906, notes dates of birth, marriage, death for James Watts, Sophia Bruner, John Watts, seen at the Library of the Daughters of the American Revolution, copy in possession of the writer.

[8] Minutes from Orphans Court, Northumberland Co., Sudbury, PA, 24 Nov 1791, copy in the Patriot File for James Watts, Sr., includes references to Rebecca Watts, her husband Thomas Adams and their four children, seen at the Library of the Daughters of the American Revolution, copy in possession of the writer.


[Furniss Vohs Home Page] [Furniss Vohs Name Indexes] [Watts Index]
[PAGenWeb] - [Bradford Co.] [Lycoming Co.] [Northumberland Co.]

Your questions and comments are always welcomed. Send email to Sean Furniss at Sean.Furniss@gmail.com.