Watkins Family, continued (page 8)
The Children of Thomas “Chickahominy” Watkins and Frances Anderson (conclusion)
11) Prudence Watkins was the “youngest child of Thomas “Chickhominy” Watkins. The Catalogue states: “She married Wm. ROYSTER, of Goochland, - a gentleman of great worth. All I can learn of his wife is, that she was greatly beloved by her kindred and by all who knew her. It has been my good fortune to have known some of her descendants, and I regret that I do not know them all."
All I have are the following children - and cannot give birth dates for the last six.
A) Thomas ROYSTER (b.12 Feb 1761)
| sp: Agnes RICHARDSON
B) David ROYSTER (b.10 May 1762 d.1842)
| sp: Elizabeth SAMPSON
C) William (Jr.) ROYSTER (b.17 Dec 1765)
| sp: RICHARDSON
D) Mary ROYSTER (b.17 Jan 1764)
| sp: Reuben BLAKEY of Hanover
E) Joel ROYSTER (b.4 Aug 1768)
F) Henry ROYSTER
G) John ROYSTER
H) Francis ROYSTER
I) Jane ROYSTER
J) Anderson ROYSTER
K) Nancy ROYSTER
The Children of Thomas Watkins and Sarah “Sally” Walton
Thomas and Sarah married February 8, 1762 in Prince Edward County, Virginia. Thomas died in 1778, leaving six sons and one daughter: Robert, Thomas, Anderson, Claiborne, George, Mary “Polly” and Isaac. Sarah remarried to the Rev. Joshua Morris by 1779. Sarah and the Rev. Morris had four children between 1780 and 1786, in Virginia, and moved to Kentucky by 1787, taking the youngest Watkins’ children, Mary (born in 1775) and Isaac (born in 1777) with them. Most of the elder Watkins’ children settled in Augusta, GA.
1) Col. Robert Watkins (direct ancestor) was born 1763-64 in Cumberland County, Virginia; he died in 24 Aug 1805, and was buried on his plantation, Rosney, near Augusta, GA. We have been unable to find the graves of Robert and his family. I have too many notes to share in this format, but will post them all in a pdf format. A few select notes about Robert are:
Robert and his brothers, Thomas, and Anderson, moved from Virginia first to Savannah, but shortly thereafter moved to the Georgia “back country” around Augusta, following their uncles, John and Robert Walton. Another uncle, George Walton, (the signer) would soon follow. There is proof that Robert was probably in Augusta by 1787. Robert married Elizabeth Martha WALTON in 1785. "[Robert Watkins] moved to Augusta, GA after his marriage. On 19 June 1789 he was commissioned captain of a troop or horse in Richmond Co., GA militia. On 19 Nov. 1791 Robert Watkins of Rosney, attorney at law, heir at law by intermarriage with Elizabeth Martha Walton, only surviving issue of the honorable John Walton, Esquire, of New Savannah, who was assignee, representative and heir at law of Leonard Claiborne, late of the state of Virginia, attorney at law, deceased, gave a power of attorney to Thomas Woodlief of Virginia to recover land in Virginia. His plantation, "Rosney", was located on the Savannah River where Bush Field, the Augusta, GA airport is now located. He represented Richmond County in the Georgia House of Representatives.” The Watkins’ brothers, along with their Walton kin, met George Washington on his visits to Augusta.
ROBERT WATKINS’ TURBULENT YEARS: The year 1795 was marked by the passage of the YAZOO LAND ACT. When passed by Gov. Mathews and the legislature, the act granted or gave to four land speculating companies 50,000,000 acres of land in its western territories for 1 cent per acre ($500,000). This deal led to the downfall of many popular politicians of the day. The corruption involved politicians who had accepted bribes from the land companies for passage of the bill, or held shares in one of the land companies. Robert Watkins voted for the land act, as a legitimate means of expanding settlement. Robert never owned any shares in the land companies. As stated by Rebecca Latimer Felton, "Augusta was the capital of Georgia, and the record shows that the honor of the state and her greatest public interests were bartered off by traitorous Representatives and the Chief Executive. EXCEPT ONE MAN, ROBERT WATKINS by name, the official record in Washington City shows that every man who voted for the sale was corruptly influenced.” But tempers ran high, and in 1795, Robert challenged Gov. William Few to a duel. Robert Watkins was never shy when responding to attacks, in this case verbal. Their seconds delivered the various messages regarding the duel, with Gov. Few choosing the gun and bayonet... which Robert accepted. Gov. Few apparently reconsidered the wisdom of a duel with Robert, and “finally refused to give Mr. Watkins the satisfaction demanded.” Robert, incensed, called Gov. Few a liar and a coward! But that was apparently the end of it. But that was not the end of Robert’s involvement with dueling.
ROBERT WATKINS and HIS DUEL WITH GOV. JAMES JACKSON: The enmity between Robert and Gov. Jackson went back to the Yazoo Land Act. In fact, they met “somewhat unceremoniously on certain occasions and engaged in fisticuff fights.” One of these encounters was on the floor of the legislature, where they had to be forcibly parted. The situation came to a head in 1802 when Gov. James Jackson, in refusing to pay Robert and George Watkins for their work on the “Georgia Digest” fanned those feelings of great bitterness, which developed “into a hostile meeting between Governor Jackson and ROBERT WATKINS, which was conducted in the highest style of punctilio.” They were involved in a fracas at Lewisville, when their pistols had to be wrestled from them. So a duel was arranged, and they met. At the first fire both pistols went off into the ground; the second was a blank shot; at the third Governor Jackson fell, shot 'secundem artem', in the right hip. He insisted on another fire, but the surgeons claimed the right to first examine him; and on the report that the ball might have entered the cavity, hostilities ceased. Mr. Watkins's, with great civility, offered his services to bear the wounded man from the field; and, on being carried off, the governor most affably remarked, "D--n it, Watkins, I thought I could give you another shot." “To which the Col [Watkins] replied, "just as you please General, if it is your wish, you can have it now, or at any time hereafter, when you are better able to defend yourself, it would be far from my inclination to take any advantage by firing at you in a state of agony."
ROBERT WATKINS, BUSINESSMAN AND LAWYER: Robert was a practicing attorney in Augusta, GA, as well as being a State Representative. One interesting aspect of Robert’s life, out of many, had to do with his involvement with the cotton gin. In 1796, Robert published an announcement in the Augusta Chronicle that he had constructed a machine for cleaning cotton by rollers. At the same time, William LONGSTREET was working on his machine. In 1788 Longstreet and Isaac Briggs obtained a patent for exclusive use of their steam engine. But by 1800 Robert, probably in ill health, decided to retire to his plantation, Rosney, and announced his intentions in the newspaper.
Robert died at Bath, near Augusta, in the State of Georgia., probably from consumption, which would claim Elizabeth’s life a few years later, on 3 May 1809 at Rosney, leaving 5 small children. Robert was about 42 when he died. Elizabeth died at age 37.
An obituary for Robert stated, in part: “In private and domestic life he deserves to be quoted; in all his public transactions, which were numerous, he deserves to be imitated; nature designed him for great performances and, and the world has not been disappointed. As a soldier he was brave and undaunted; as a commander, he was not only obeyed but loved, and was extremely popular at the head of his ranks…perhaps few men that have passed the rugged and tempestuous scene of life, have sustained a character more chaste, a conduct more uniform , and a deportment more dignified, than this gentleman…such as the fondness of his fellow citizens for him, that when they heard the knell sound, which announced his death, they were [panic] struck, dismay was seated in every countenance, and each _____ sympathized for the irreparable loss which his amiable consort, and innocent children, had sustained. The writer of his, does not know his age, but is fully impressed with the idea, that he had not reached the meridian of life."
ROBERT and ELIZABETH WALTON WATKINS’ 9 CHILDREN: (only 3 produced descendants)
A) Robert Walton WATKINS was their first child, born in 1786, but he only lived to age 5, dying in 1791.
B) Thomas WATKINS was their second son, born about 1787. (direct ancestor) He married Elizabeth E. Henry ARRINGTON in 1809, the daughter of Henry ARRINGTON and Mary Stewart ROBISON. Mary S. Robison was the widow of Jeremiah Bugg, when she married Henry Arrington. They had two daughters, Elizabeth and Mary. Mary married Gen. Valentine WALKER, but died young. Mary Robison Bugg Arrington, widow, married Capt Archibald HATCHER., who was appointed joint guardian of Elizabeth & her sister Mary when they were young. Mary, again widowed, would take over the raising of Thomas & Elizabeth’s four small children, M. E. Martha, Robert A., Isaac Thomas, and Valentine Walker WATKINS after the death of Elizabeth, which had occurred by 1820. Daughter, Martha, married Charles DeLaigle, only son of Nicolas de l’Aigle, French émigré, in Augusta and would bear 15 children. MAJ. THOMAS WATKINS was commissioned 18 February 1811, in the 27th Battalion Georgia Militia. By 1818, he is Lt. Colonel of the 10th Regiment, Georgia Militia. Thomas died March 7, 1824 in Augusta, GA, at approximately 37 years of age.
In 1793, he was elected Clerk of the Superior court of Richmond County, GA. Representatives, Robert WATKINS, and Samuel JACKS, Esqrs.; Sheriff: James RICHARDS, Esq.; Clerk of the Superior Court: Thomas WATKINS, Esq.; Jan., 1821: Thomas Watkins was appointed guardian of John R. Walker at his request. Col. Thomas Watkins was a Colonel - 10th Regiment, Georgia Militia. He is on the list of soldiers served in the Indian Wars succeeding the Revolution, but were not Revolutionary soldiers. In 1818, numerous announcements of the 10th Reg't. Geo. Militia, were signed by order of By order, Thomas WATKINS, Lt. Col. In the Augusta Chronicle, January-February, 1819 - "Soldiers of the FLORIDA ARMY….. James Alston, Paymaster, was going to be at AAugusta on the 30th and 31st, for the purpose of paying off Captain WATKIN'S company. Augusta Chronicle, 12 April 1821: "1st BRIGADE, 2nd DIVISION: Brigade Orders (about 11 April 1821), by order of Brigadier General Thomas Glascock, signed by Samuel Taver, aide-de-camp. COL. THOMAS WATKINS resignation (as commander of the 10th Regiment, G.M.) having been tendered and accepted, an election is scheduled for 21 May in Augusta to elect a new commander.” "Descendants of William Claiborne" states: Thomas, died 7 March 1824. He married 22 Feb 1809 in Richmond Co., GA, Eliza. Henry Arrington, daughter of Henry and Mary (Robertson) Bugg Arrington. He inherited "Rosney" but became financially involved, and 2,000 acres, saw and grist mills, thirty-three slaves and the manor house were sold to pay thirty-eight separate judgments against him. Subsequently, however, the plantation was repurchased for $3000 on 24 July 1817 and put in the names of his children: Mary E. M., Robert A., Isaac T., and Walker W. Watkins." In "Memorial History of Augusta" "Governor Milledge was one of the incorporators of the Protestant Episcopal Society of Augusta, chartered in 1816 by the General Assembly, the incorporators named in the act being John Milledge, John Carter, Valentine WALKER, GEORGE WALTON, THOMAS WATKINS, Richard Tubman, Edward F. Campbell, Augustin Slaughter, Freeman Walker, Joseph Hutchinson, William M. Cowles, Walter Leigh, John A. Barnes, Milledge Golphin, and Patrick Carnes. “
C) Robert WATKINS (Jr.) was born in 1789. He married Helen DOUGLASS. In 1823 MAJ. Robert WATKINS was elected to the State House of Representatives, along with Col. J. Hutchinson; Gen. T. Glascock, old friend of his father; Wm. W. Holt, Esq. Mr. Littleberry Bush; and Gen. Valentine WALKER, the Watkins brother’s uncle by virtue of his marriage to Elizabeth Arrington’s sister, Mary, was elected to the Senate. By 1820 he is living alone in Augusta. Robert died April 1, 1828 at 39 years at Augusta, “citizen of Richmond Co., and Representative in the State Legislature.” His obituary read: April 8, 1828: DIED, in this city, the lst instant, Major ROBERT WATKINS, in the 39th year of his age. Major Watkins’ health had been feeble and delicate for years, yet active and useful, until a few months previous to his decease. Endowed by nature with a sound discriminating mind, to which had been added the benefits of a classical education, with a disposition, mild, amiable and cheerful, it is not surprising that he had contracted many warm and sincere friendships. To the poor, distressed and afflicted, his attention was unremitted, not in profession only, but in rendering actual services. In his public employments, particularly as a representative of his country, at different times, his career, though not brilliant, was highly creditable and actively useful. To his more immediately relatives and friends, this premature bereavement though much deplored, has its consolations, in the belief that he preserved whilst living an unblemished reputation, and in death, in comforting hope of an eternal [fruition?], through the atoning blood of a crucified Saviour and Redeemer.”
No children. I know very little about Helen Douglass, and would appreciate any further information about her family.
D) George Washington WATKINS was born prior to 1798 in Richmond County, Augusta, GA. He died in 1823 at Rosney Plantation, Augusta, GA. In 1819 his one-fifth share of the property at Rosney was levied against him for debt, proving he was at least an adult by that time. He also served with the Richmond Hussars, 1819. George married Mary Jane FRIPP of Beaufort, South Carolina in 1821 and died in 1823 at Rosney, the old homestead near Augusta, GA, the last residence of his father. The last year of his life, George was in serious trouble financially, and we found the following notice, April 2, 1823: “State of Georgia} Richmond County} Whereas GEORGE W. WATKINS hat presented to us a petition praying relief under the Constitution and laws of said State, alleging himself an insolvent and imprisoned debtor: Wherefore, you are hereby required to have the body of the said George W. Watkins before us, together with the cause of his caption and detention, on the 2nd day of June, at the City Hall in the city of Augusta and State aforesaid, at 10 o’clock on that day. Hereof fail not…. Val. Walker, Samuel Hale, Holland McTyre, April 2.” He had to have died not long after this. We have no idea why he was in such trouble financially.
There was only one child of his marriage, Eliza Marguerite Watkins, 17 May 1822 in Savannah, GA and married to Oliver A. LaROCHE of Augusta, GA in June 3, 1840. The latter died in Augusta, GA in 1864. Of this marriage eight children were born - Augustus Baudry LaRoche, Eliza Oliver LaRoche, Mary Elizabeth LaRoche, Lula Jackson LaRoche, James Oliver LaRoche, Florence LaRoche, George LaRoche, Frank Isaac LaRoche.”
Walter LaRoche (our cousin) can provide further information about the descendants of Eliza Marguerite Watkins and Oliver A. LaRoche. You can view some of this information at:
E) Elizabeth Claiborne WATKINS was born in 1792, but died in 1793, buried June 1, 1793 at Rosney. At that time she was the youngest child of Thomas and Elizabeth.
F) Sarah Walton WATKINS was born in 1793, but died July 13, 1798 at age 5.
G) Martha WATKINS was born in 1800, but died in May of 1802, at 2 years of age.
H) Dr. Claiborne Anderson WATKINS was born in 1802. He received his M.D. degree from the University of Pennsylvania - School of Medicine. In 1827, Dr. C. A. WATKINS married Martha Ann GIBSON in Camden County, GA. Martha was the daughter of Judge William Gibson and Mary Madeleine Fatio. Claiborne and Martha would have two children, Evalina Walton WATKINS, born in 1832, and Brig. Gen. Louis D. WATKINS (Union), born in 1833. Claiborne and Martha had moved to Tallahassee, Florida, when Louis was born. In 1840, they were in Chatham County, GA. In 1846 and 1847 we have two family letters from Claiborne, who is in New Orleans at that time, to a cousin. In 1849 we last have record of Claiborne on a passenger list of a ship heading to San Francisco. It is thanks to Eugenia Richards that we have a letter written by Claiborne to his cousin, Dr. T.A. Watkins. Claiborne’s wife, Martha, died in New York in 1861, with no mention of Claiborne.
His son was Brig. Gen. Louis D. WATKINS, who was Chief of the Cavalry of the Army of Kentucky and who commanded a Brigade of the 1st Cavalry Division, Army of the Cumberland, in Chickamauga and Chattanooga Campaigns. He was brevetted Brigadier General of Volunteers, June 24, 1864, and September 25, 1865, was accorded the full rank, almost not achieving this due to questions about his Southern family connection. He married Mary E. Rousseau, a daughter of General Lovell Harrison Rousseau in 1864. He died in 1868 in New Orleans, and now lies buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Steven Wright is currently writing a book about Gen. Louis D. Watkins, and has graciously shared information about Louis, and his sad little family. Because of this, I do not provide all of our notes about Louis, in this public format.
I) John Robert WATKINS’ birth date is unknown. He was most probably the last child of Robert & Elizabeth Watkins. In 1826, John Robert was in Florida, where various land records record his presence. In 1827, per the Leon County, Florida Superior Court Order Book, John R. Watkins-was tried and convicted of the murder of Jesse Butler. He shot Butler in Tallahassee, 30 August 1827. At that time, Watkins lived on a small acreage near the present interchange of U.S. 27 and Interstate 10. In a community called Milltown, he had shot Butler in the arm during an argument, and the victim lingered several days before he died. John Robert’s conviction was later overturned and he was released. We have no further record of John Robert WATKINS, other than a mention by Eliza Marguerite Watkins, daughter of George W. Watkins, who she said she had very fond memories of her Uncle John.
2) Col. Thomas Watkins (actually IV) (born about 1765 in Virginia; died between Feb-June, 1797 Richmond County, GA) was the 2nd son of Thomas Watkins & Sarah Walton. We know that Thomas served as Clerk of the Superior Court, Richmond County, GA in 1792-1793. He was also the Secretary of the State Senate that year. Thomas Watkins and most of his brothers served with the Georgia Militia. In a record of the Executive Council City of Augusta, 1790-1791, are listed both Capt. Robert Watkins and 1st Lt. Thomas Watkins. One of the interesting things about Thomas Watkins is that his uncle, George Walton, signer of the Declaration of Independence, trusted him enough to title “Meadow Garden” (his home) in nephew Thomas’ name. This was done to protect the property from debts, for his children. We are not positive of Thomas’s wife’s last name. In the Augusta Chronicle the marriage of Thomas Watkins to Sally PARIS was announced on May 13, 1791. But in his will, Thomas names his wife “Sarah BENSON.” There were evidently no children. He was only about 32 when he died.
The following transcript of Thomas Watkins, Esquire’s, will was viewed and copied from the records at the Richmond County Courthouse, Probate Office, April 2004, by Joy Duncan and Virginia Mylius:
Last Will and Testament of THOMAS WATKINS:
"I, THOMAS WATKINS, of the State of Georgia and County of Richmond do make this my last will and testament in manner and form following, to wit:
First - I request that all my just debts be paid.
Secondly - I give and bequeath unto my sister Polley Hughes NUCKOLES all my proportion or allotment of property directed to be divided among the children of my father at the decease of my mother, as well also all the legacy which may be given to me by my mother to her and her heirs forever.
Thirdly - I request that my executors hereafter named do present my relation Polley WALTON, daughter of Robert WALTON of Richmond, with twenty guineas in token of my affection.
Fourthly and lastly - I give and bequeath unto my beloved wife SARAH BENSON WATKINS all my property both real and personal to her and her heirs forever and I do hereby appoint my brothers Robert, George and Anderson WATKINS and my friends Sherwood BUGG and Abraham JONES Executors of this my last will and testament. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this twenty-second day of November in the year of our Lord one thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety-Six and in the twenty first year of American Independence signed, sealed and acknowledged in the presence of us the day and dates above mentioned.
Probated June 13, 1796. Elijah Anderson, Martin Moore and Henry Moore appointed appraisers, Thos Waggener, J.P.
State of George} Jefferson County} Personally appeared before me Benjamin TALLIOFERRO one of the Judges of the Superior Courts of the State aforesaid John POWELL and being duly sworn deposeth and saith that he was present at the executors of the above will that he subscribed the same as a witness in the presence of the testator and that Cowles MEAD and Abraham JONES attested the same in the presence of this deponent and the testator in the form. John Powell
Sworn to before me on this the 12th day of July 1797, Ben Taliaferro one of the Judges - Recorded this 20th day of March 1798 By me John MEAD, R.P.