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Thomas Watson

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Joined: 27 Nov 2007
Posts: 381
Location: Monterey County, California

PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2008 2:22 pm    Post subject: Thomas Watson Reply with quote

THOMAS WATSON, a leading citizen of Monterey county, and an esteemed rancher of Corral de Tierra, is a native of Monterey, born June 14, 1834.

His father, James Watson, was known also as Santiago, the Spanish for St. James, often by Spanish-speaking Californians so-called. He was one of the most prominent citizens of Monterey in his day. He was an Englishman by birth, and came to this country as a sailor on a trading vessel. He left his ship at Santa Barbara, and came to Monterey by land as early as 1823. Here he located and engaged in merchandising, becoming identified with local public matters. He was one of about fifty citizens to organize a compania estranjera (meaning company of strangers) for the defense of Monterey against forces from the interior, when, in 1832, the country was in a state of warfare. In 1834 he married Mariana Escamilla, by whom he had eight children. The year previous to his marriage he was naturalized, and afterward was often a member of the local legislature of Monterey. Hon. Thomas Larkin writes of him as an educated, unambitious, honest man, "not inclined to politics." He amassed a fortune. He bore the reputation of being a generous, open-hearted man; was a genial companion, and was ever true to his friends. In 1850 he bought the San Benito rancho, consisting of a league and a half, and located with his family on the same. He was financially ruined by the drought of 1863, and died the following year. Mariana, his faithful consort, was a daughter of Thomas Escamilla, a Spanish soldier, who came to Mexico when that country was under Spanish rule, and there married a lady of Mexican birth. He was a soldier at the old Mission Dolores, San Francisco, and at that place his daughter Mariana was born. He finally retired from the army and removed to Monterey, where he died, leaving three sons and two daughters. To James Watson and his wife were born the following named children: Frances, in 1830; Catalina, in 1833; Thomas, June 14, 1834; David, in 1836; and Adolph, Marignacia, Narcisa and Anitas, all but one living at this date.

Thomas Watson, the subject of this sketch, was educated in Monterey, and for many years followed the occupation of cattle-buyer. He later engaged in the butchering business, in which he was very successful. He served the people of Monterey county as Sheriff four successive terms, commencing in 1866, and voluntarily relinquished his hold to the office. Of recent years, although repeatedly urged to take a seat on the county board of Supervisors, he has withheld from shouldering public responsibility.

In 1855 he married Miss Louisa Moreno, a member of one of the old families of California. Santiago Moreno, her father, lived at Monterey and afterward at Salinas, she being born at the latter place. Mr. and Mrs. Watson have ten children, the youngest at this writing (1892) being eleven years of age. Their home place consists of a fine ranch of 800 acres, utilized as a dairy and cattle ranch.

There is probably not a man in Monterey who is more popular with the masses, and who as a business man and citizen bears a more honorable name than Thomas Watson, Esq., of Corral de Tierra.

Source: A Memorial and biographical history of the coast counties of central California : illustrated : containing a history of this important section of the Pacific coast from the earliest period of its discovery to the present time, together with glimpses of its auspicious future, illustrations and full-page portraits of some of its eminent men, and biographical mention of many of its pioneers, and prominent citizens of to-day. Chicago; Lewis Publishing Co. 1893.
Claire Martin
CAGenWeb Monterey County Coordinator
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