History of Warren County, Chapter 55

CHAPTER LV

HISTORY OF WATSON TOWNSHIP

IN the year 1880, on the 4th of March, Limestone township was divided into about equal parts, and the northern half was organized into a separate township called "Watson," in honor of Hon. L.F. Watson, of Warren, who owned extensive tracts of timber lands in that section.

No oil developments have as yet been made in this township, but it is by no means condemned territory, as it has never been thoroughly tested, and what may be in store for it in the future as an oil field, can only be ascertained as the drill makes its way thoroughly through the township.

The inhabitants at present are engaged in clearing lands, farming, and lumbering. Some of the finest timber tracts in the county are to be found here, and there are eight steam saw-mills located in this township, with an average capacity of twenty-five thousand feet of timber per day. At this rate the best timbered tracts will soon be stripped, and the attention of the inhabitants must of necessity be turned more exclusively to farming. The aggregate value of the saw-mills as assessed in this township is over $12,000.

The schools of Watson township are good country schools. There are five school-houses valued in the aggregate at $2,000, and schools are at present held in each. These schools with number of scholars enrolled are as follows: Miller’s school, 18 scholars enrolled; Cobham school, 22 scholars enrolled; Luken’s school, 15 scholars enrolled; Slater’s school, 10 scholars enrolled; Baxter’s school, 8 scholars enrolled; making a total of seventy-three scholars.

There are no churches in Watson township, but religious services are held in the various school-houses regularly under the control of the Evangelical Association. Rev. M.V. De Vaux has charge of this work at present. A public burial-ground is located near the Lukens school-house.

Large tracts of the land in Watson township, as in Limestone, are owned by capitalists and others. Hon. L.F. Watson owns about 3,500 acres in this township. Grandin and Slater own about 2,000 acres. B.D. and J. Mowris own about 1,500 acres. B.F. Rynd owns about 1,100 acres. These large tracts, owned and controlled by single individuals, would naturally retard the settlement. A large part of Watson township is still an entire wilderness.

The unseated lands of Watson township are valued at $51,590. There are about three hundred inhabitants in this township at the present time. Among the prominent citizens of Watson township are Jacob Conarro, Benjamin D. Mowris, William Lawrence, John H. Conarro, James McFarland, Samuel McFarland, W.J. Slater, James Russell, John Rapp, Robert Slater, and John W. Wilkins.

Sketches of the lives of a few of the above will be found below:

Mowris, Peter, one of the earliest settlers in Watson township, was born in Ulster county, N.Y. He came with his wife to Warren county in 1843, and settled in Watson township, then called "Limestone." He died in 1880. His wife survived him six years.

Mowris, B.D., son of Peter Mowris, was born in Ulster county, N.Y., in the year 1830. He came to Watson township with his father in 1843, where he still resides. His wife, Nellie (Cameron) Mowris, was born in Morayshire, Scotland, in 1850.

Conarro, Jacob, was born in Monmouth county, N.J., in 1821, and came to Watson township in 1852. His wife, Harietta (Fredrick) Conarro, was born in Steuben county, N.Y., in 1832.

McFarland, James, was born in Tyrone county, Ireland, in 1824, and came to Watson in 1855. His wife, Elizabeth (Lukens) McFarland, was born in Philadelphia in 1824. His father, Samuel McFarland, was a soldier in the War of 1812. He belonged to the artillery, and was a participant in the battle of New Orleans.

Slater, W.J., was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1845, and came to Limestone, now Watson township, in 1858. His wife, Ordelia (Houser) Slater, was born in Limestone township in 1845.

Russell, sr., James, was born in Butler county, Pa., in 1812, and came to Warren county in 1868. His wife, Rachael (Connely) Russell, was born in Youngsville, Pa., in 1821. His father, Samuel Russell, was born in Ireland in 1776; he was a soldier in the War of 1812, and came to Warren county in 1860.

SOURCE: Page(s) 597-599, History of Warren County, J.S. Schenck & W.S. Rann, Syracuse, New York: D. Mason, 1887