John was born about 1752 and passed away about 1805.
Liz Shifflett's research notes indicate that this John was the son of John, son of Henry Jr. (it appears the Watkins Letter [see below] left out a generation). If Liz is right, perhaps the missing John is John Watkins - maybe even two generations were skipped, that John's son is the father for this John born 1752.
This is the land that passed to John as oldest son of Henry & Mary Watkins when Mary passed away in 1737:
HENRICO CO VIRGINIA DEEDS 1706-1737, Benjamin B. Weisiger III, 1985
11 Oct 1737 John Watkins, son of Henry Watkins, late of Henrico Co, planter, to John Pleasants of same, merchant for £40, land at Malborn [Malvern] Hills, adjoining where Stephen Woodson now lives, being land where Henry father of said John, and Henry Watkins, grandfather of said John dwelt the last part of their lives, 100 acres. Signed: John Watkins. Wit: Wm Frogmorton, John (X) Woodcock, John (X) Boze, Edw'd Bennet. Rec. 1st Mon Dec 1737.
Reading again the Watkins Letter (see "Sources" below), it appears that this John Watkins of Powhaten County (1752-c1805), who was as far back as my great-grandfather, Alexander Farrar Watkins knew, had a brother Benjamin who was living in 1830 (when he wrote a letter mentioning a son Henry to Asa Watkins, AFW's grandfather).
Powhaten County was formed in 1777 from Cumberland and Chesterfield counties (see Virginia Formation Maps). Chesterfield County was formed in 1749, when Henrico County was split - that part of lying to the south side of the James River became Chesterfield County (from USGenWeb).
Speculation is that a generation is missing from the lineage given in the Watkins letter (as noted by the author himself). Probably more than one. While Henry Watkins Sr. and Jr. are well-documented as father and son, and Henry Jr.'s 1714 will names five sons, this John Watkins, born 1752, cannot be one of them.
This John Watkins (born 1752) was not the son but perhaps a grandson or great-grand of Henry Watkins and Mary Crispe. It is also possible that this John descends from another son of Henry Watkins Sr.
Henry's will (dated 1714, proved 1715) named wife Mary and sons Henry, John, Joseph, Stephen, and Benjamin.
In 1691, Henry's father (whose wife was Katherine) divided land between his five sons : William, Joseph, Edward, Henry, and Thomas.
Biography of father "Henry"
I had created a profile for the father Henry Watkins as indicated by the Watkins letter, which was clearly a generation or two off from the Henry Watkins Jr. who married Mary Crispe.
However, the placeholder profile (Watkins-1263, created June 3, 2012) was accidently merged into Watkins-311, so I've disconnected John (Watkins-1262) as his son and brought the biography that was in Watkins-1263 to here.
Henry Watkins was born around 1700 (my best guess based on reference in the Watkins Letter that Henry Sr. was born "some time about 1671").
A.F. Watkins says in the letter he wrote to his son:
My authority for the last two items in the list [Henry Jr. and Henry Sr.] is President Joseph D. Eggleston of Hampden-Sydney College, Virginia, who says that I (A.F.W.) am descended from Henry Watkins, Jr., the son of Henry Watkins, Sr., of Henrico County, Va.
This implies that John and Benjamin Watkins, of Powhatan County, Va., were descendents (possibly sons) of Henry, Jr., the son of Henry, Sr. It is not without significance in the premises that Benjamin Watkins, in a letter to your great-grand father, Asa Watkins, speaks of having a son, named Henry. The letter was written in May, 1830.
It may be possible to confirm family relationships with John by comparing test results with other carriers of his Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA.
However, there are no known yDNA or mtDNA test-takers in his direct paternal or maternal line.
It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share DNA with John:
I wonder what connection, if any, to John Watkins Watkins-6017, who "died at Cumberland in New Kent County in April 1783. He was buried in the Littlepage graveyard not far from the Pamunkey River, where his tombstone lies over his grave.
This John (Watkins-1262) is not his son, according to information about his son on Watkins-6017.