1. James Watson
James was a soldier in 93rd Regiment of Highlanders. His birthplacewas Edinburgh, Scotland, likely between 1809 and 1813. He was aplumber by trade. He left the 93rd in November, 1845, beingdischarged in Montreal. His first child was born in April 1848, soit is likely he married his wife Jane Marks in 1846 or 1847. Familyanecdotal history has Jane from Scotland but this is unconfirmed(other portions of anecdotal history which show James to have beenfrom Ayr, Scotland and a brass finisher have been shown to be inerror). Cannot find a marriage record in Montreal for Jane & James.
Family anecdotal history has James coming to Cushing (then calledChatham) to help install machinery in mills and factories. Madefriends with O'Brien family. His wife (Jane Marks) died (1853) andfollowing that James brought sons to live with the O'Brien family ofCushing. His son William died, James came to attend funeral. Leftthe 5 1/2 year old James with O'Briens and returned to Montreal.Never heard from again.
- from Family History by Millie Watson
Archive data shows that his wife Jane Marks died in August, 1853 inMontreal. His youngest son Alexander died a month later, also inMontreal, just short of his 1st birthday. His son William died amonth after that, presumably in Cushing since that is where he wasburied. William O'Brien and John Blair were witness to the burial,James' name does not appear on that record (it does on Jane's & Alex'sburial records). One might conclude that James was not present atWilliam's funeral (or at least not at the burial). We don't know whathappened to James. There are only two death records for a JamesWatson in Montreal from 1853 to 1900, neither fits our James (one wasfar too young, the other, was close to the right age but listed as a"popcorn manufacturer").
As of Dec 31, 1998 we don't know for sure where James came from orwhere he went. In Lois Wishart's "Granny Watson - A Legacy ofMemories" she writes "The Watson family were known to be in Canada in1842" Lois does not remember where this information came from. SinceJames was with the 93rd regiment which came to Canada in 1838 it islikely he was in Canada in 1842 - but the origin/location of JaneMarks is unknown.
On Alex's burial certificate, James the father is listed as being a"plumber". The Montreal directory shows a James Watson, Plumber,living in the St. Henry district of Montreal in 1853. The 1852 recordis blurred (unreadable) and there is no publication for 1851. Priorto 1851 there is a James Watson, stonecutter, and a James Watson,shoemaker. There is no James Watson listed for the period 1854-1860.The trade of plumber appears to conflict with Aunt Millie'sdescription of brass finisher, however it is now believed that AuntMillie got her information from the book, History of the Counties ofArgenteuil, Quebec and Prescott, Ontario, written in 1896, whichstates (presumably in error) that James was a brass finisher.
The 93rd regiment was stationed in Canada between 1838 and 1848. Theywere stationed in Montreal from May 1845 to July 1846 when they movedto Quebec City. So it is entirely conceivable that James met Janewhile stationed in Canada. Unfortunately we have yet to find amarriage record of James and Jane to confirm where they were married(it does not appear to have been in Montreal). Prior to moving toMontreal, the 93rd was stationed in Drummondville, Ontario(Drummondville is one of the oldest names for present-day NiagaraFalls.). Perhaps Jane is from that area?
Military record WO 12/9425 shows James being discharged in Montreal on30th November 1845. His birthplace is noted as New North Church,Edinburgh, and it shows that he originally enlisted on 20th September1831. His occupation at the time of enlistment was "plumber". Thedate of enlistment conflicts with muster records which show JamesWatson joining the regiment in Antigua on February 10, 1827 along withseveral other men who "joined from England". Since recruits weresupposed to be 18 years of age on enlistment it is possible James liedabout his age when he originally joined. Therefore supposed birthdate range is the assumption that he was 18 either in 1827 or 1831.
Latest family anecdotal history has a possibility of James moving tothe U.S. in 1853 (following the death of his wife and 2 of his 3 sons)- possibly to Michigan, following his friend John O'Brien who hadmoved there.
James states his birthplace to be "New North Church, Edinburgh".According to the Scots Ancestry Research Society, the boundaries ofthe New North Church Parish were "The middle of Blair Street to GeorgeIV Bridge and from High Street and Lawnmarket to Cowgate". Thisplaces his birth in the registration district of Edinburgh. Theystate "there are simply too many James Watsons births recorded at apossibly suitable time for us to be able to make a reliablejudgement." Of the known James Watsons born in Edinburgh during thisperiod 1809 to 1813, the closest fit is a James Watson, born onOctober 18, 1810, in New North Church parish, to a John Watson and AnnThomson. He was a twin, his older brother was named John. There isno confirming evidence to say that this is "our" James, so it willhave to remain as speculation at the moment.
More on 93rd - sailed to Canada in 2 detachments in 1838 - the"Inconstant" left Cork for Halifax on January 23, 1838 (nine officersand 250 men). The "Pique" left Cork on January 23, 1838 (underLieutenan-Colonel MacGregor). Part of this second voyage isdocumented in the Parker Journal ("A TROUBLESOME BERTH" The Journal ofFirst Lieutenant Charles Allan Parker edited by Robert J. Andrews andRosalyn Parker Art, 2009)
Originally had name as Jane Meerks - this error dates back to about1875 when James Watson the son, requested his birth certificate. Acopy was received with bad handwriting that resulted in aninterpretation of Jane's surname being Meerks. James' mother Jane haddied when he was 5, and his father left, he was raised by the O'Brienfamily and so never knew his mother's surname. Error discovered byJames K. Watson in 1998 after receiving a photocopy of original birthcertificate.
Her death record states "died in the General Hospital on the 12th aged28 years and was buried on the 13th by Rev. Wm Morris" Buried in theDorchester & Papineau grounds, also known as St. Mary's Burial Ground.
Burial record for St. Andrews, Presbyterian, Montreal: Folio FortySecond, Burial, Jane Marks or Watson. Jane Marks wife of James Watsonlate of the 93 Regiment of Highlanders, aged about twenty eight yearsdied on the twelfth and was buried on the thirteenth day of August OneThousand Eight Hundred and fifty three in the presence of[unreadable].
Family anecdotal evidence has her as being from Ayr, Scotland.However Jane Marks does not show up in the parish records anywhere inthe period 1820 - 1830. There is a Jane Mark, born in Edinburgh in1825. Current (1998) thoughts are that James met Jane in Canada wherehe was stationed with the 93rd regiment (James was discharged in Nov,1845 in Montreal).
3. William Watson
Baptismal certificate shows: "William, lawful son of James Watson andJane Marks born on the Seventh day of September in the Year of OurLord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Fifty, was baptized by me atChatham, Ottawa River, Canada East on this the Seventeenth day of thesame month and year.
(Signed) William Mair Minister of Grenville & Chatham.
Isabella Carson (???)
Source: Reel 1621 Folio 72, District of Terrebonne, Chatham &Grenville, St. Mungo's Presbyterian Church, Argenteuil, 1828-1858,Quebec Archives.
Burial Certificate: William, aged three years lawful son of JamesWatson was buried by me in the common burying ground at Chatham OttawaRiver Canada East on this the Twenty fourth day of October in the Yearof our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Fifty Three.
(signed) William Mair Minister of Grenville & Chatham
4. Alexander Watson
Baptismal certifate states: "Alexander Son of James Watson ofMontreal Plumber and Jane Marks his wife was born on the Seventh dayof November and Baptized on the twenty fifth day of December OneThousand Eight Hundred and Fifty-two by me:
(signed) Alex Mathieson D. Div
- source: St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Montreal, Quebec, 1852Folio Forty Eight (Quebec Archives)