Pinkney Samuel Watts, farmer, sheriff, judge, state representative, and entrepreneur, was born in Mississippi on January 9, 1827. He was educated in Lauderdale County, Mississippi, and married Minerva P. Brown there in 1852. This couple had one son and five daughters. Watts immigrated to Texas in 1853 and settled in the vicinity of Hardin County. By 1860 he had established himself in this county as a farmer, businessman, and law man. He owned land in several adjacent counties, was part owner of a mercantile store, and served as county sheriff from 1860 to 1872. In 1873 he won election as representative for District 1—comprised of Liberty, Hardin, Jefferson, Orange, Newton, Jasper, Tyler, Polk, and Chambers counties—to the Fourteenth Texas Legislature. He won reelection for this district in 1875 to the Fifteenth Texas Legislature. Afterwards, he served at least one term as Hardin County judge and ran unsuccessfully for a seat in the Texas Senate.
Around 1880 Watts undertook the development of property situated around a natural sulfur spring at New Sour Lake near Beaumont in Orange County. Watts built a hotel, a bathhouse, and several rental cottages, renamed the area Saratoga, and advertised the development as a curative, medicinal spa. This business venture failed to catch on. In the late 1880s Watts became very active in the Union Labor Party of Texas. He campaigned as an independent in 1886 in an attempt to regain his seat in the House but was again unsuccessful. Watts died in Hardin County on November 10, 1891, and was buried at Old Hardin Cemetery near Kountze, Texas.
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Hardin County, Texas, Cemeteries (Beaumont, Texas: Southeast Texas Genealogical and Historical Societal, 1976). Hardin County Historical Commission, The History of Hardin County, Texas (Dallas: Curtis, 1991). Archie P. McDonald, PhD, “Saratoga, Texas,” TexasEscapes.com (http://www.texasescapes.com/DEPARTMENTS/Guest_Columnists/East_Texas_all_things_historical/Saratoga1AMD701.htm), accessed July 15, 2014. Members of the Legislature of the State of Texas from 1846 to 1939 (Austin: Texas Legislature, 1939).
Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
Fourteenth Legislature (1874-1875)
Fifteenth Legislature (1876)
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Aragorn Storm Miller,
“Watts, Pinkney Samuel,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed August 11, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
October 22, 2014