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Commemorative Biographical Record of the County of Kent, Ontario
James and Angus Watson


JAMES WATSON.  It is with pleasure that the biographer enters upon the history of one of the leading pioneer families of Ontario.  The Watson family was established here in 1830 by three brothers, Robert, John and James Watson, who came from Argyllshire, Scotland where the late James Watson was born in January 1800.  His parents were James and Jane (Ferguson) Watson, both also natives of Scotland.

Landing at Quebec, James Watson soon afterward settled on land near Toronto, and there engaged in farming for five years.  In February 1883, he was united in marriage with Miss Mary McVicar, daughter of John and Mary (McNair) McVicar, the former of whom was born in Argyllshire, Scotland, in 1782, and the latter a few year later.  They came to Canada in 1832, on a sailing vessel and settled in Vaughan township, near Toronto, where they were among the first settlers.  There John McVicar died in June 1864, and his widow in September 1865.  Of their family three died young, in Scotland, and the others were:  Neil emigrated to the West Indies, and died there; Margaret, the eldest daughter, came to Canada and married John McEachran, who settled and died near Toronto, leaving two surviving children, Colon, of the State of Washington, and Donald, near Toronto; Susan, born in Scotland, is the deceased wife of Colon McEachran, who settled and died near Toronto; James settled as a farmer on Lake Huron, and died there (he married Bell Maloy, and their only daughter, Mrs. Mary Livingston, lives in Bristol, Ontario); Angus, who was a merchant at Kingston, Ontario, married Susan Birrmingham, of Kingston, and died there leaving children – John, a prominent journalist of Detroit, and Annie, the wife of John Armor, of Detroit; Donald, born in Scotland, married Mary Armour, of Vaughan township, and moved to Harwich, where both he and his wife died, leaving children – John, who died in Toronto, single, and Elizabeth and Flora, deceased, married Donald Armour, who is also deceased, lived near Toronto, and was the mother of twelve children, Donald and Angus (twins), Alexander, Maggie, Flora, Susan, John (deceased), James (deceased), and four who died young; Mary, who married the late James Watson, was born May 29th, 1815, and was educated in the schools of Scotland.

After their marriage Mr. And Mrs. Watson settled for three years in Raleigh township, coming to Harwich township in 1839.  In 1846 he purchased 100 acres of land in Harwich township.  The changes he wrought during his life of industry and almost magical for his efforts never ceased until almost the whole of this large tract was under cultivation.  Here, in this pleasant home, made through his own efforts, Mr. Watson passed away in November 1878.  His name will ever be associated with the agricultural, educational and religious progress made in Harwich township.  For many years he was a member of the Methodist Church.  Mrs. Watson was reared a Presbyterian.  Mr. Watson was identified with the Conservative party.

A family of 13 children was born to James Watson and his wife, as follows:  Mary, the eldest, died in young womanhood.  Jane in July 1838 married Jabez Newcombe, a farmer in Harwich, and they have had children – John, Jabez, Robert, Mary, Asa, Elijah and James (deceased).  James, born in January, 1840, died in August, 1902; he married a Miss Elizabeth Ross, of the County of Elgin, and they lived for twenty years in Harwich, for two years in Gosfield, and then moved to a farm in Dakota where he became prominent and wealthy, and died, leaving a widow and children – Maggie, Ada, James, Meredith, David, Susan and Edna.  Jane, born in February 1842, married Wesley Conn, of Aylmer, near St Thomas, where he is engaged in a hardware business, and they have children – Mary, Arkison, Susan, Lottie and Jane, John, born in January, 1844, learned civil engineering at Chatham, was in the locomotive works of Illinois for three years, located at Bloomington, moved to Pittsburg, and engaged in oil engineering; he married Annie Brown, of Canada, who died in Detroit, and since then he has traveled all over the world, crossed the Pacific three times, and the Atlantic twice, visiting Japan, Hawaii, South America and Australia, made a visit to the old home of his ancestors in Scotland, went again to Japan, thence to China, and after a sojourn in Colorado is visiting with his mother.  Susan, born in 1846, married Neil McCorvie, who resides on Concession 10, in Harwich.  Flora, born in September 1848, married James Conn of London, and they have children – Maggie, James, Mary, Martha, Emma, John and Susan.  David, born October 9th, 1849, married Ada Palmer, of Toronto, and they reside at Chatham, and have children – Bernice, Veva, Winnie, Ormond, Amy, John and Jean.  Angus, born July 27th, 1851 is mentioned below.  Neil, born on the old homestead in Harwich, June 10th, 1853, is a merchant and manufacturer of staves at Mull, Ontario and is one of the leading business men of that place.  Robert, born in April 1855, graduated from the London College, for twenty years has been a teacher, and is also engaged in a prosperous insurance business.  Barbara, the youngest, born in 1857, married Henry Hamil, of Harwich, a son of Robert Hamil, and they have four children – Guy, Roy, May and Veda.  The family has been reared in the faith of the Methodist Church, and politically they are strong workers in the interests of the Conservative party.  Mrs. Watson has reached the age of 89 years, but time has touched her lightly.  She is the centre of a large family of admiring and affectionate relatives.  Her recollections of pioneer days in Harwich are most interesting, and would form an entertaining volume by themselves.

ANGUS WATSON, born July 27th, 1851, grew up at the old home, and received a fine education in the excellent public schools of the locality.  Since the death of his father he has been his mother’s very capable manager.  In December 1881, he was united in marriage with Miss Amelia Hamil, daughter of Robert Hamil of Ridgetown, who was born in April 1858, and educated in the public schools.  In addition to farming on the old homestead Mr. Watson conducts a 50-acre tract of his own.  His children are:  Robert E., born in October 1886; Mae A., in September 1888; Estella in 1890 and Neil in June 1892, all at home.  Mr. Watson and his wife belong to the Methodist Church, in which he serves as trustee.


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