Benjamin O. Watrous, minister and delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1868–69, was born in McMinn County, Tennessee, about 1831. He was known as Ben Carter while a young slave but took the name Watrous after his new owner, Daniel Watrous, of Alabama. He was a wheelwright by trade. Watrous had lived in Texas for twelve years before Washington County voters chose him as a delegate to the constitutional convention, where he served on the Committee on State Affairs. He introduced resolutions requiring a belief in God as a qualification for public office and prohibiting exclusion from office on the basis of race. Watrous voted against a proposal to divide Texas into more than one state and was one of five black delegates to sign the Constitution of 1869. He also served as a member of the state central committee of the Republican party in 1868; he was defeated by Matthew Gaines in 1869 when he ran for the state Senate.