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James Watson (1743 - 1831)

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James Watson
Born in Lancaster Co.
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married 25 Jun 1766 in Strasburg, Lancaster, Pennsylvaniamap
Descendants descendants
Died in Greencastle, Franklin, Pennsylvaniamap
Profile manager: Bob Kerr private message [send private message]
Profile last modified 5 Nov 2012
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This biography is a rough draft. It was auto-generated by a GEDCOM import and needs to be edited.


Note: #H63


  • WikiTree profile Watson-4100 created through the import of kerr2012.ged on Nov 4, 2012 by Bob Kerr. See the Changes page for the details of edits by Bob and others.


James Watson was the youngest son of John Watson and Ann Stephenson. He like his brother, took an active interest in public affairs and was among the first of the patriots to withdraw his allegiance from George III and pledge his faith to the colonies in their struggle for freedom. He received his commission as Captain, July 8, 1776, four days after the signing of the Declaration of Independance.
(This original commission was in 1902, in the possession of his great-grandaughter, Mrs. Lemuel Snively, Greencastle, Penna.) His commission as colonel is dated July 1, 1777 (the original of this was in possession of his great-grandson, Hon. D. Watson Rowe, Chambersburg, Penna.-1902) Among the captains of the first Battalion of the Flying Camp in Lancaster County in 1776 was James Watson.This battalion entered service in the summer of 1776, was stationed at Amboy, N.J., from there ordered to New York, was in battle of Long Island, was stationed near King's Bridge until General Washington crossed the Hudson, then came with General Putnam to Philidelphia and was stationed there until its discharge at the close of the year or early 1777. Colonel Watson married January 25, 1766, Elizabeth Long, daughter of Hugh Long of Chestnut Level, Lancaster Co., Penna. After the close of the Revolution they went with their large family of children, finally twelve in all, from the older more populous county of Lancaster to a farm on the Chambersburg Road, five miles north of Greencastle, Penna, In 1782 the town of Greencastle was laid out by his friend and fellow officer, Colonel Allison. Colonel watson then became a citizen of that burough. He "paid to John Allison and Elizabeth his wife fifty pounds for lot No.8 on the east side of Carlisle Street on the diamond of said town". He also purchased "Lot No.5, with 60 feet front and 240 back for thirty-five pounds." He owned in the county adjacent to Greencastle over one thousand acres of land, some of this acreage being held in partnership with his relative, William Long. He settled the estate of his uncle, Nathaniel Stephenson, was appointed justice of the peace in Greencastle in 1795 and was still serving in 1814. He acted as post master more than thirty years, his son John being appointed post master in April 1799. He was a tanner by trade but handed over his duties of that business to his son John many years before his death. His duties as acting post master were not arduous, the mail arriving but once a week during his administration of the office. Although a man of much force of character, he was very retiring in his disposition and never boasted of his record in the past. He frequently spoke with much indignation of the abuse of the pension laws and when urged by friends to obtain a pension for his services he said, "My income is sufficiant to support me. Pensions are not intended by the Government for men who have means of support." During the latter years of his life he grew more and more retiring and never went from home except on the Fourth of July, when the fife and drum carps escorted the old veteran to the annual celebration at Moss Spring, where patriotic sentiments he had always loved were impressed upon the people by the orators of the day. On July 2d, 1831, at the age of eighty-eight, he passed on to his reward and his body was laid to rest beside those of his friends in Moss Spring Graveyard, hallowed to him by so many associations in the past. Four of his children died in infancy. Three never married. The others married as follows: Mary married James Rankin of Mercersburg; John married Rebecca Vance of Stoufferstown; Hugh married Susannah Crunkleton of Greencastle; Martha married Abram Prather of Greencastle; James married Charlotte Crawford of Chambersburg.

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It may be possible to confirm family relationships with James 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 James:

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Rejected matches › James Watt (1745-)

James is 16 degrees from Mags Gaulden, 17 degrees from Dennis Wilson and 16 degrees from Henry VIII of England on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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