Friday, July 17, 2015

Thomas, the Lost Watkins and wife Tabitha Howell

Finding Tabitha Howell meant finding the last of Jordan and Martha Randall (Randle) Howell's children.

She had married a Thomas Watkins, who was shown with her in a couple of Stanly County land records in 1842 and 1843, involving her family, and one involving a C. R. Watkins, presumably one of his relatives. C. R. Watkins was more than likely the Culpepper Watkins shown in the below newspaper clipping. A Thomas Watkins is also shown in the clipping involving the Watkins - DeJarnette family.

I began by piecing together the individuals in this suite, which may be fun to complete some day, when I realized I was on the trail of the wrong Thomas Watkins, the Thomas herein shown, with his brothers, was much younger than the Thomas who married Tabitha (or Tobitha) Howell.

These were the children and grandchildren of James Watkins who married Phoebe De Jarnette. Thomas and he were closely connected, and probably brothers, but Thomas was not a descendant.

The Pee Dee Star 
(Wadesboro, North Carolina)
9 Sep 1854, Sat • Page 3

The Thomas Watkins I was looking for shows up in land records along with James and was more of a contemporary.  Land records also show a close residence to and connection to the Randle family, as well as being a neighbor to Jordan Howell, father of Tabitha.

Montgomery County, NC Land Warrants & Surveys 1833-1950 (Taking into account that these records included land that is now in Stanly County).

1920 William Throgmorton 182 acres warrant 6818  Nov 17, 1810 by Will Stone to William Throgmorton ....joins Thomas Watkins, Dudney and Richard Butler. Begins at Grey Ledbetters corner cherry tree.....Archibald Merrimon and Thomas Watkins chain carriers.

4842 William Throgmorton 200 acres; warrant 6629 issued Jan 3, 1809 Will Stone to William Throgmorton, on waters of Cedar Branch, joins Robert Throgmorton, Richard Butler on Cedar Branch, joins Gray Ledbetter's corner, joins his own corner, Dudley, Butler and Thomas Watkins. Archibald Merrimon and Thomas Watkins, chain carriers.

4850 James Watkins 200 acres; warrant 6937 issued Dec 12,1811 by Will Stone to James Watkins, joins his own lines, Richard Butler, Jordan Howell....west of PeeDee River border. Begins at Richard Butlers post oak on west side of hill, joins Smith, James Duke, Owen London and Dudney. John Randle and Thomas Watkins, chain carriers.

4851 Thomas Watkins 200 acres, warrant 6724 issued Dec. 12, 1809 by Will Stone to Thomas Watkins, joins Gray Ledbetter and James (Morton?) Motor (sp). 200 acres survey Oct.   1810 on West side of Yadkin River and Pee Dee River border, joins Frederick Williams corner red oak, joins Grey Ledbetter, Turner, & James Permenter, Robert Throgmorton and James Watkins, chain carriers.

4852 Thomas Watkins 186 acres, warrant 6935 issued Dec. 12, 1811 by Will Stone to Thomas Watkins for 186 acres, joins George Ledbetter, Frederick Williams and Robert Turner, west of Pee Dee River. begins at Frederick Williams red oak corner, joins Grey Ledbetter, Robert Turner, John Avett & James Pemeter. Robert Throgmorton and James Watkins chain carriers.

4853 Thomas Watkins 100 acres, warrant 6936 issued Dec 12, 1811 by Will Stone to Thomas Watkins for 100 acres. Joins James William and Frederick Williams. West Side of Pee Dee River border, begins at a hickory where Jordan Howell's line crosses Frederick Williams line. James Watkins and Aquilla Watkins chain carriers.

Following two records involving Benajah Randle  (4793) and James  (4794) Randle.

-4795 John Randle 50 acres" warrant 7205 issued Feb 15, 1813 by Will Store to John Randle for 50 ac joins his own line, James Watkins & John Dudney; ....begins at a sassifrass on Owen London's corner, joins James Watkins, Dudney & his own line; Thomas Watkins & Willis Watkins, chain carriers.

       (Note: The following two land records also involved members of the Randle family.  4796 John Randle with  John  Randle & Peter Randle as chain carriers and 4797 Noah Randle with Benajah Randle as a chain carrier. More on the Randles later, however, it is a apparent this was likely one family.)

2021 James Watkins 200 acres Warrant 7157 issued March 25, 1814 by Will Stone to James Watkins for 200 acres joins his own line, Richard Butler and Jordan Howell, entered Dec. 24, 1813 Begins at  Richard Butlers corner post oak on West side of a hill, joins Smith & Joseph Duke, John Randle & Thomas Watkins, chain carriers.

2022 Thomas Watkins 186 acres issued March 25, 1814 by Will Stone to Thomas Watkins for 186 acres joins Gray Ledbetter, Frederick Williams & Robert Turner, on waters of Cedar Branch' begins at Frederick Williams corner red oak and joins Gray Ledbetter. Robert Throgmorton and James Watkins, chain carriers. 

(Note: Will Stone was what could be called a land speculator. He, like the Crump brothers and Hugh Ross, owned immense tracts of land, that they would sell to settlers in regular increments during the early years of the areas formation).

2495 William Thompson 20 acres  warrant 9082 issued January 16, 1827 by Duncan McRae to William Thompson. joins his own line and Thomas Watkin's on the waters of Cedar Creek. Begins at "Pistol's" and Avetts (Note; Most likely Pistole), joins Thomas Watkins, Thompson's old line, Edmund Thompson and James Thompson, chain carriers.

Another factor in the whole "Who Was Thomas Watkins exactly?" factor was the presence of a Martha Watkins. She had close contact and was a neighbor of the family and extended members of the family. At first, I thought she may have been an unmarried sister, but a few land records revealed at least, a portion of her identity.

15955 Oct 5, 1853  Jackson J Morris land record mentions the joining of properties of Martha Watkins along with Merrit Tyson, John McClendon and several members of the Boggan family.

16028 Dec 15, 1855 Martha Watkins (Anson County) to John N. Ingram (same) my daughter, Martha Ann Watkins...joins Merritt Tyson and others...

This declares that Martha Watkins was Martha Ann Ingram Watkins and daughter of John N. Ingram and was a widow. Of which Watkins, I have not yet determined. Several members of the Ingram family may have migrated to Mississippi with the Watkins family or vice versa, as they end up in the same area of Mississippi at about the same time.

The Ingram-Watkins Cemetery in Warsaw, Marshall County, Mississippi contains the graves of William J Watkins born in 1842 and Helen Ingram Watkins, born in 1827 and Thomas Ingram, born April 16, 1789, in Anson County, North Carolina and died February 28, 1869 in Marshall County, Mississippi. He was the son of Joseph N. Ingram and Winifred Nelms and married to Jemima. They were the parents of children named Winifred Pines Ingram and Phoebe DeJarnette Ingram, showing a definate link to the the Watkins family, and obviously a brother of Martha Ann Ingram Watkins, mentioned above.

These records show a close relationship between Thomas and James Watkins. They also show a connection to the Randles and that they were neighbors of Jordan Howell. Jordan Howell had married Martha Randle and Thomas Watkins married their eldest daughter, Tabitha or "Tobitha".

Thomas and Tobitha were still in Stanly County, formerly Montgomery County, in the early 1840's.

The Estate Record of Richard Howell Jr.

In the above link are mentioned the Stanly County land records involving Thomas and Tabitha Watkins in 1842 and 1843, selling their property to Tabitha's youngest brother, Richard Howell, probably before their move to Mississippi and another record mentioning C R Watkins, a probable nephew of Thomas. The deed to C R Watkins was witnesses by Enoch J Watkins, son of Thomas and Tabitha Howell Watkins.

Thomas first appeared in the 1830 census of Montgomery County, while Stanly was still a part of Montgomery.

Name:Thos Walkins
[Thos Watkins] 
Home in 1830 (City, County, State):Montgomery, North Carolina
Free White Persons - Males - 5 thru 9:2   Enoch b 1821, John Q. A. b 1824
Free White Persons - Males - 10 thru 14:1    Unknown
Free White Persons - Males - 40 thru 49:1   Thomas
Free White Persons - Females - Under 5:1    Mary
Free White Persons - Females - 10 thru 14:1    Unknown
Free White Persons - Females - 30 thru 39:1 Tabitha
Slaves - Males - Under 10:1
Slaves - Females - Under 10:1
Slaves - Females - 10 thru 23:1
Free White Persons - Under 20:5
Free White Persons - 20 thru 49:2
Total Free White Persons:7
Total Slaves:3
Total - All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored):10

I have not been able to locate him in the 1840 census yet, either in North Carolina or in another state. I do, however, believe the family was still in Stanly/Montgomery County because of the 1842 and 1843 land records and also because all of the children, even down to the youngest, James, in 1841, were recorded as being born in North Carolina. The oldest daughter of Thomas and Tabitha's son, Enoch, Ann Eliza, was born in Mississippi in 1850.

Name:Thomas Watkins
Birth Year:abt 1789
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1850:Northern Division, Carroll, Mississippi, USA
Family Number:612
Household Members:
Thomas Watkins61
Tobitha Watkins51
John D Walkins26
Mary Walkins22
Jane Walkins19
Alexander Walkins17
Pinkney Walkins14
James Walkins9

Enoch had married and was living next door to his parents in 1850.

Name:Enoch Walkins
Birth Year:abt 1821
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1850:Northern Division, Carroll, Mississippi, USA
Family Number:611
Household Members:
Enoch Walkins29
Elizabeth Walkins26
Analiza Walkins0
Wilmoth Wasgatt12

The family settled near Holcomb, Mississippi, in Carroll County, Mississippi, in the section that would later become Grenada County in 1870.
Plat map

1850 was the only census Tobitha would show up in. In 1860, Thomas Watkins was head of the household with son Enoch's family.

Name:Thomas Wodkins
Birth Year:abt 1788
Birth Place:North Carolina
Home in 1860:Police District 2, Carroll, Mississippi
Post Office:Jefferson
Family Number:141
Value of Real Estate:View image
Household Members:
Thomas Wodkins72
Enoch Wodkins38
Elizabeth Wodkins36
A E Wodkins10
Ellen Wodkins7
M S Wodkins5
E J Wodkins2

By 1870, the county name had changed to Grenada and Enoch was the head of household with Thomas as a boarder.

Name:Thomas Wadkins
Age in 1870:82
Birth Year:abt 1788
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1870:Township 22, Grenada, Mississippi
Post Office:Grenada
Value of Real Estate:View image
Household Members:
Enoch Wadkins49
Elizabeth Wadkins46
Ann E Wadkins20
Helen Wadkins16
Susan Wadkins13
John Wadkins11
Fannie Wadkins8
Laura Wadkins5
Thomas Wadkins82
Laura Wadkins27

Thomas was 82 in 1870 and did not live to see the 1880 census. He probably died and was buried in Grenada County.

The known children of Thomas and Tobitha Watkins were;

1821- Enoch J. Watkins
1824- John Quincy Adams Watkins
1828- Mary A C Watkins
1831- Sarah Jane Watkins
1833- Alexander Watkins
1836- Pinkney S. Watkins
1842- James L. P. Watkins

There were also a possible son and daughter older than Enoch born between 1816 and 1820 as shown in the 1830 census.

I have not completed researching this family. I am sure there is more to be found in the records of Mississippi and perhaps from  descendants who are conducting their own research.

What I do know is that Enoch Watkins married Elizabeth Wright from Duplin County, NC and died in Grenada County in 1892 and is buried in Springhill Cemetery there.

Son John Quincy Adams Watkins married first, Elizabeth Hammonds, who was buried in Grenada County in the same cemetery as his brother Enoch, and then married Martha Kennedy and relocated to Cherokee County, Texas, passing away in 1897.

Mary Watkins may have married a Clark and then later a Winborn. She is shown living with sister Jane in 1900 and 1910 in Mississippi.

Sarah Jane Watkins married Robert W. Kirby and had two daughters: Mary Emma and Anna E. She later married an Anderson and remained in Mississippi.

Alexander Watkins fate is unknown. There were serveral Alexander Watkins and I have not found any proof or evidence that any of them were this one, son of Thomas, or links to any other siblings.

Pinkney S. Watkins moved to Yalobusha County and then served in the Civil War. He died in a POW camp in Illinois in 1865.
Name:Pinkney Watkins
Birth Year:abt 1838
Birth Place:North Carolina
Home in 1860:S W Beat, Yalobusha, Mississippi
Post Office:Oakland
Family Number:718
Value of Real Estate:View image
Household Members:
Jacob Poetevont40
Mary Jane Poetevont34
Margret Ann Poetevont16
Ella Poetevont14
Jane E Poetevont12
Mary G Poetevont19
Sarah O Poetevont2
Lela T Poetevont6/12
Sallie P Fitzgerald19
Pinkney Watkins22

Youngest brother James L Watkins married Francis Rebecca Heath and raised his family in Mississippi. He died on June 1910 and is buried in Spring Hill cemetery with the family of his brother Enoch.

Anson County, North Carolina, Wills, Volume 2, 1834 - 1846
(112 records)
Anson County, North Carolina, Wills, Volume 2, 1834 - 1846. Laura Willis. (1995)Simmons 

In the book "The History of Alexander, Union and Pulaski County Illinois" edited by William Henry Perrin is the following excerpt:

History of Alexander, Union and Pulaski Counties, Illinois

"Mrs L. J. Tucker, Jonesboro.....This lady was born March 9, 1839 Anson County, NC. She was the granddaughter of James Watkins, who came from Virginia. He married Phoebe De Jarnette who was descended from French Huguenots. She was the mother of Christopher Watkins, the father of our subject, who was a physician and planter. He was born in 1796 in North Carolina and died in 1872 in the same place. He married Jane E. Dunlap, born in 1812 in North Carolina, where she yet lives. She was the Great Granddaughter of Rev. Craighead, who fled from England during the persecution of the Protestants.........founded schools throughout.....
Mr. J. E. Watkins was the daughter of George and Hannah T. (Ingram) Dunlap, and is the mother of 8 children, of whom Louise J (our subject) and her sister Winnie W., wife of William Redfern, and the mother of Christie, Jenny and Winnie. Our subject was educated in the Carolina Female College, and was married to PJ Lowrie, who died in 1872 in Wilmington, NC. Our subject was again married in 1873 to Rev. J K Tucker of Anson County, NC. They came to Jonesboro in 1874, where he was a Principal of Schools. He died in 1881, while Pastor of the M. E. Church. Mrs. Tucker had one son by her first husband, Harold Watkins Lowrie. He was born April 19, 1861 in Ansonville, Anson County, NC , now a student at Vanderbuilt University, Nashville, Tennessee. His father was a merchant, grandson of Judge Samuel Lowrie of North Carolina and great grandson of Mr. Alexander, who was one of the signers of the Mecklenburg County Declaration of Independence. Mrs. Tucker is a member of the M. E. Church. "

The Watkins had impressive ties. And the search continues.


  1. I would like to reach out to you via email on the Watkins family - was this Martha Ingram Watkins the same Martha Watkins who died in January 1860 in Anson County, NC, and who appeared in newspaper court documents later that year as having an estate settlement involving the following out-of-state persons: Joseph Arrington, Munford Lee and wife Emily, Brackett Watkins and Wiley Watkins? I am trying to ascertain the parentage of a Wiley Watkins born circa 1818 in North Carolina who appears in the 1870 census of Kemper County, MS.

  2. My email address is