Marshall Family of Burnt Corn, Alabama >

The Watson Story

Watson Family History Story

William "Bill" Watson is the "Father" of the Watson Family.

William "Bill" Watson married Victory McMillan and they had 13 children: Artensy, Ann, Callie, Fannie, Elizabeth, Julia, Victoria, Frank, James, John, Richard, Alfred Mobley, and Mattie Raphine. Bill is believed to have been a very smart business man. During his lifetime he was able to acquire over 400 acres of land in a time when Jim Crow laws and racism was at it's height. Pa Bill gave each of his thirteen (13) children 40 acres of land each. Much of that land remains in the family today.

William "Bill" Watson known as “Pa Bill” is considered the "Father" of the Watson Family. Pa Bill married Victoria McMillan and we refer to her as "Ma Vic." He was born in February 1862 in Burnt Corn in Monroe County, Alabama. Pa Bill parents are Dick Watson and Angelina Straugh and little is known about them except it is believed that they were slaves.

It is rumored that Pa Bill father (some believed he was white) was killed by some other white folks while sitting at the dinner table for deeding off his land to his children. It was passed on that white folks were saying “that was too much land for too many niggers”. It is a fact that he owned more than 500 acres of land and he deeded it to his children before he died. It is said that he owned land from Burnt Corn to Walker’s Creek. It is also said that when his children came of age or got married, he would deed them 40 acres of land. All the children were warned not to mortgage their land and keep in the family for generations to come. Well, that sounds like white folks thinking to me. There no evidence or proof of his background. I personally believe he was half white and half black and Ma Vic was half Creek Indian and half Black. The evidence I present to prove my theory is his off springs that was listed them as black in the Census data.

It is obvious that Pa Bill and Ma Vic did well for themselves during that era because most black people would not have had portraits of themselves. It was believed that only the "well to do" folks could afford a portraits. Pa Bill’s parents were Richard Watson and Angelina Straughn. Richard Watson known as “Dick” is believed to be born circa 1838 in or around the Burnt Corn, Alabama area.

Pa Bill’s grandparents, Dick's mother and father were unknown slaves. It is believed that Dick real father was a white man, probably a slave owner or caretaker. It is believed that Mariah (Ma Vic’s grandmother) and born circa 1815 in the Common Wealth of Virginia. Mariah father was a white slave owner. What we do know is that Mariah is thst she is Ma Vic grandmother and Dick Watson and Angelina Straughn are Pa Bill's parents.

Angelina Straughn was Pa Bill mother and she was born circa 1840 in the Common Wealth of Virginia. As of this writing, not much is known about whom Angelina’s parents were.

It is believed that Dick and Angelina had at least four to five children: Harp, Frank, William, George and Lizzie. It is said that Harp was a half brother who is believed to be fathered by a white man and later according to the 1880 census there was a girl name Lizzie (probably Elizabeth) at age 3. In the 1880 census, Angelina (Annie) was listed as a 40 year old widow, which means that Richard “Dick” had died sometime in the previous decade. In the 1870 census, Richard “Dick” was listed as a black man age 32. So he died at the age 33 in 1871. Lizzie and George is not listed in the 1880 census. Is which mean they may have died during that decade. In 1870, Lizzie was listed as be 3 year old and would have been around 13 years of age. In 1880, Harp is 22 years old, Frank is 20, and William is 18, George would have been 15. Also listed in the Watson household in 1880, was Mary Watson age 14, who was listed as an Aunt and Julia Watson age 61, listed as mother in law who was born in Virginia in 1819. It is assumed that Julia Watson and “Mariah” may be one and same or Julia was Angelina mother. Mariah is said to have been born in Virginia circa 1815 and Julia was said to have been born 1819 in Virginia. We believe this the same person. According to deaths and burial records Angelina died on May 23, 1950 in Escambia County, Alabama. That means she lived to be over a hundred years of age. Pa Bill was raised in Burnt Corn where he met Victoria Sinkfield McMillan, some folk said that her last name was Puryear. Perhaps because of a previous marriage.

The photo would suggest that Pa Bill had white and/or Indian blood. He skin looked light and he had high cheekbones. It is said that he had a lots of fracas and moles. Some description of Pa Bill was that he looked like a white man. It rumored that he was a white man or his Father Richard was a white man. One would have to wonder how a black man was able to acquire that much property during that time. There is no evidence I can find to prove it either way. “Too Much Land Owned By Too many Niggers” Pa Bill died on June 6, 1923 in Burnt Corn.

My Grand Grandmother Victory (Sinkfield) Watson Victory (Sinkfield) Watson is the "mother" of the Watson Family. Vic married Bill Watson and they had 13 children: Artensy, Ann, Callie, Fannie, Elizabeth, Julia, Victoria, Frank, James, John, Richard, Alfred Mobley, and Mattie Raphine Victory Watson and Child

Victoria McMillan who considered the “Mother” of the Watson Family. Ma Vic (Victoria) was born in October 1864 in and around the Burnt Corn, Alabama area. Records show Ma Vic father was Prince Puryear and his mother was Mariah Puryear. But oral history suggests that Ma Vic she had two sisters: Callie McMillian-Sinkfield and Ann McMillian-Preyear and a half brother named Dred. Callie was married to William Sinkfield and lived in Monroeville, Alabama.
(Ref:Oral history)