Thursday, April 4, 2019

Jennie and David W. Watts

Four days after David W. Watts' birth on 7 October 1865, his mother, Jennie Want Watts,  died. She was 22 years old and had been married only  nine months to Thomas H. Watts of Smithland, Kentucky.[1]  Did she die from a disease contracted before her son's birth or did she die from complications of his birth. No records survive that tell us the answer.  In fact, little is known of Jennie Want Watts, but we do know a few things about her son.

Jennie was enumerated in the household of J.W. and Rachel Want on the 1860 census. [2] J.W. Want was listed as age 42 and a merchant born in New York. Rachel Want was age 36 and born Delaware. Jennie's birthplace was given as Indiana and she was 17 years old. Also in the home was Ann E. Want, age 15 and born Kentucky. A later census gave J.W. Want's birthplace as Canada.[3]

John W. Want wrote his will 10 September 1856.[4] In his will, he left $5 each to his children, including a daughter, Eliza J. Want. The rest of his property was inherited by his wife, Rachel A.  Want. In the codicil dated 1871, he wrote that his daughter, Eliza J. Watts, "has since departed this life" and he wanted the $5 to go to his grandson, David Want Watts, son of Eliza J. Watts.  It appears Jennie E. Want's full name was Eliza Jennie Want.

Following Jennie's death, her son, David Want Watts, lived with his grandmother, Lucinda Watts, in Smithland.[5] His father, Thomas H. Watts, left Smithland and is not found in area records thereafter. According to Find A Grave Memorial #108465694, Thomas H. Watts died in 1879 Birmingham, Alabama.  

By 1885, David W. Watts was boarding with his aunt, Mary Watts Bass, in San Antonio, Texas. He was listed as a collector with the telephone exchange. [6]  In 1900. David W. Watts and his aunt, who was the widow of  Jordan James Bass, were living in Eagle Pass, Maverick County, Texas. That year he gave his occupation as a clerk on the Southern Pacific Railroad. [7]

David W. Watts died in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania 19 July 1941 and was buried in Union Cemetery, Steubenville, Jefferson County, Ohio.[8]  He had no known children.

Wife of Thos. H. Watts
Apr. 24, 1843
Oct. 7, 1865

[1] Joyce McCandless Woodyard. Livingston County, Kentucky Marriage Records Including Marriages of Freedmen, Vol. II (Aug 1839-Dec 1871), (Evansville, IN: Evansville Bindery, 1994) 147. Thomas H. Watts married Miss Jennie Want 12 January 1865 by D.A. Beardsley.
[2] 1860 Livingston County, Kentucky census, Division 2, Roll M653_382, p. 269,
[3] 1870 Livingston County, Kentucky, census, Roll:593_482, p. 234A, John W. Want,
[4] Livingston County, Kentucky Will Book B, p. 288, dated 10 September 1856 and a codicil dated 29 July 1871. The will was recorded 4 September 1871.
[5] 1870 Livingston County, Kentucky census, Smithland, Roll M593_482, p. 241B, David Watts was age 4, born Kentucky.
[6] U.S. City Directories 1822-1995, San Antonio 1885,
[7] Woodyard. Livingston County, Kentucky Marriage Records Including Marriages of Freedmen, Vol. II (Aug 1839-Dec 1871), p. 53. Jordan James Bass married Mary Duke Watts, daughter of Joseph Watts, 7 February 1849 Livingston County, Kentucky. David Watts' birth date is given as October 1865 Kentucky.
[8] Pennsylvania Certificate of Death #62594, David W. Watts,

Published 4 April 2019, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

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