Watson, John (1844–1930)

By: R. Matt Abigail and Aragorn Storm Miller

Type: Biography

Published: October 22, 2014

John Watson, Confederate soldier and state representative, son of Francis and Helen (Prentice) Watson, was born in Louisville, Kentucky, on October 1, 1844. Watson’s father likely died before John reached the age of six, and he came to Texas with his mother in 1853. They settled near Robbinsville in Red River County, where he became a farmer and saddle maker.

In the early 1870s Watson rose to the rank of deputy grand master in the local Masonic lodge and was also as a co-director of the Red River Agricultural and Mechanical Association. In 1873 he won election as representative for District 8—comprised of Red River and Titus counties—to the House of the Fourteenth Texas Legislature. He ran for that office again in 1884 and 1886 but was defeated on both occasions. Afterwards, Watson operated a grocery and became quite an involved Mason. He served as Grand Master of Texas from December 1891 through December 1892, then became secretary of the Grand Lodge of Texas, a position he held for nearly twenty years. Watson moved to Houston at some point in the late 1890s but relocated to Waco, Texas, shortly thereafter. He died in Waco on February 15, 1930, and was buried at Clarksville Cemetery in Red River County.

Breckenridge American, February 16, 1930. Clarksville Standard, August 5, 1871; August 22, 1884; January 28, 1887. Bertha L. Gable, Red River County, Texas Cemeteries, Volume I (Clarksville, Texas: Bertha L. Gable, 1984). Legislative Reference Library of Texas: John Watson (http://www.lrl.state.tx.us/legeLeaders/members/memberDisplay.cfm?memberID=5463&searchparams=chamber=~city=~countyID=0~RcountyID=~district=~first=~gender=~last=watson~leaderNote=~leg=~party=~roleDesc=~Committee=), accessed July 15, 2014. Marriage Records, Red River County, Texas, 1845–1881 (Mesquite, Texas: Mesquite Historical and Genealogical Society, 1978). Members of the Legislature of the State of Texas from 1846 to 1939 (Austin: Texas Legislature, 1939). Red River Recollections (Clarksville, Texas: Red River County Historical Society, 1986).

  • Fourteenth Legislature (1874-1875)
  • House

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

R. Matt Abigail and Aragorn Storm Miller, “Watson, John,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 03, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/watson-john.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

October 22, 2014