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Judah (Timbrook) Watkins

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From profile for Judah (Timbrook) Watkins


This is a transcript of a newspaper article dated 11 March 1885 was received about the Watkins and Timbrook families, and it contains some great stories about the early family members


Mrs. Judah Watkins was the daughter of John and Elizabeth Timbrook and was born Januar y 25, 1797 in Hampshire County, Virginia, near Romney at the foot of the mountains. Her mother was a daughter of Lt. Lane, a soldier of the Revolution. Mrs. Lane was one of the ladies who strewed flowers in the pathway of Washington when he passed through New Jersey on his way to Washington(*1). When their parents lived in Virginia, General Washington, who was a great friend of Lt. Lane, visited the family and would recount the struggles through which they had past, and fight the battles anew by the light of the cheerful blaze thrown out by the light of the Timbrook fireside.


The Timbrook farm nestled at the foot of a dreary and wooded ridge of mountains, from which the winds that swept over evolved from the night stillness the wild cry of the panther and the hungry howl of the wolf. When the latter were unable to find enough to sustain life they came down in packs and ravaged field and plain, and woe to them that met them where relief was not close at hand. On one such occasion when the evening was settling down in Little Capon valley where the Timbrooks lived, little Judah was returning from an errand to their nearest neighbors, a quarter of a mile distant, when the howling wolves, close at hand sent terror through her heart, the animals attracted by the carcass of a cow near by, had scented a more delicious feast and followed on her tracks with blood curdling sounds. The child ran along the water, run to kill the scent of her flight, but her screams as she ran were enough for the wolves. Her father and brother heard the childs cries of anguish and fear mingled with the cry of the wolves and with crowbar and gun hurried to the rescue. The whole pack of wolves retreated.

The mother who died in her 91st year, 1857, had five children, William, John, Judah, James and Rebecca. All dead except Mrs. Watkins. William died in Fort Wayne, Ind. aged 86. John died on the Daniel Noel place in 1840. John was this writers great great grandfather(*2). Judah was his sister. James died in the suburbs of Portsmouth in 1865. Rebecca who married Samuel Briggs, died in 1840.

In the fall of 1815 Judah Timbrook married Thomas Bates Watkins, a farmer of moderate circumstances in the Old Dominion. In the winter of 1820-21 they concluded to remove to Iowa, a point to which the tide of migration was tending. In March they loaded their belongings in a two horse wagon and began their long journey over the mountains. There was Watkins, his wife, her mother, children Rebecca and James, and two watch dogs under the wa gon(*3). Arriving at Brownsville, PA, Watkins purchased a boat for which he paid 18 dollars, and on that they started down the Ohio on their journey to the great west. The way down the river was made more pleasant by the addition of two travelers, a rollicking Irishman and a happy go lucky Englishman, and to quote Mr. Watkins, "We had a high old time on the way down." They laid up at night and got late starts in the mornings because of the difficulty of getting the dogs on board. They brought provisions with them and were well prepared for cooking, baking light bread and having fine roast beef. They stopped at Pittsburg and Marietta an hour each. All along the river on both sides it was almost one unbroken forest,varied occasionally by the lone cabin of the pioneer. They reached Portsmouth in the month of April 1821 about 9 o'clock in the morning, anchoring somewhere near the foot of Chillicothe St. They were unable to keep their boat in the channel to pass Portsmouth owing to the high winds, and for two or three days the wind rag[2006b.FTW]


Meantime the citizens were trying to secure the emigrants for this county. John Simpson, James Lynn and others were trying to persuade them to locate here. Watkins at last decided to locate in Ohio, but preferred Chillicothe. After selling his boat to Lynn and taking it out in groceries he hitched up his team put his possessions in the wagon and started up the road. The horses soon gave out, the mud on the roads came over the wheels. They then abandoned their Chillicothe air castle and located on the John Ormes place, where they got a respectable cabin and garden and rented four acres of bottom land. Mr. Watkins teaming after the crop was gathered. At this time Mrs. Watkins says flour was worth $3.00 a barrel, ham was five cents a pound, eggs 3 cents a dozen and everything else in proportion.

Times were good and Portsmouth grocers were doing a thriving business,especially when there was high water in the Scioto, then flatboats manned by 24 hands were brought down that stream half the crew returning by stage. Watkins continued farming in the bottoms and vicinity of Portsmouth in Clay township for four years. next he lived in the old Westmore place which was two story but was afterward damaged by a storm and it now one story, east of the cemetery, just at the top of the hill and now occupied by Mr. Krick. This old landmarkwas sold by David Jones to Wetmore. After four years Mr. Watkins went into partnership with Sam Briggs in the manufacture of brick, and on the first day the fire was put in the kilns, Mr. Watkins received such injuries as forever incapacitated him from manual labor. Cornelius McCoy had asked for a load of wood. Taking his ax Mr. Watkins went to the bottoms to cut it. The wind was blowing and a heavy limb from a dry elm near the one he was felling struck him on the back and pinned him to the ground. his tongue was cut in two and his legs were paralyzed. he lay helpless until late evening when a boy named Anderson, who was hunting his cows hear his groans. The lad hastened to Briggs and with Dr. Hempstead and a light wagon they hurried to the rescue. Mr. Watkins was in bed six weeks. Selling off his stock he moved to town and started a grocery where Second Street school now stands, where he remained until 1832 when he moved to Louisville and opened a tavern. Of the few living there then were David Jones,father of Luke Jones, Charles Maston, Henry Roush and Dr. Watkins.Where here, young Black Hawk, and Indian Chief was a guest. he was returning from Washington with the Indian commissioners to his reservation. A great many teamsters from Lancaster to Portsmouth made the Watkins tavern their headquarters and there were often as many as twenty wagons in a row in front of the hostelry. After four years they moved to Waverly and kept a tavern there, having such guests as Duncan McArthur, Robert Lucas, and William Allen. All afterwards governors of Ohio. Lucas lived in Piketon and his wife was Miss Friendly Hall.

After four years in Waverly, Watkins returned to Portsmouth, keeping a tavern in the old Phillipi house, corner of Front and Massie. he next moved to old man Browns known as the Travelers Home. It stood in themiddle of Sixth in front of where the Sixth St. M.E. Church now stands. In two years he bought property of Kirby, where William Warnnow lives and there he died on Tuesday, Nov. 16, 1884. The last time he was out was to cast his vote for Abraham Lincoln. He has served in the war of 1812 in Capt. Nealy's Militia.

Mrs. Watkins claims to have woven the first blue jeans ever made in this country, having woven cloth for suits for John Ormes, Dr. Waller,Dan Noel and other early residents. The children who survive are Mrs.S.H. Holmes, Thomas Bates of this city, James, Captain of the Anchor Line Steamer of St. Louis, Jefferson Leigh of The Farmers National Bank, John and Mrs. H. Densmore. Two children are dead, Mrs. ThomasBetty, who died in 1865 and William who died in 1863. A half sisterof her husband married Robert E. Lee.

This article may have been contributed by James Timbrook, Jr. [1.44],the son of James and Matilda Timbrook. He was the last livingTimbrook male in Scioto County and John Timbrook, Sr. would have beenhis grandfather? Of course, the writer could have been one of thedaughter's children? This article was submitted by Ron Timbrook andincluded in his research. With out seeing a copy of the article it should be accepted with caution as to it's authenticity in it's reference to any dates of death.

This newspaper article was also edited and published in a book,"HISTORY OF SCIOTO COUNTY, PIONEER SKETCHES." [author and publisher are unknown at this time.] SOURCE" Glenn Smith, Muskogee OK and SueTimbrook O'Bryan, Curdsville, KY[2006.FTW]



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