Friday, February 17, 2017

From the Probate Files: The Watts Surname in Morgan County, Georgia - Part 1, Conrad Watts

According to her obituary in the Southern Christian Advocate, my great great great grandmother Timney P. Watts Warren Phillips was born in Morgan County, Georgia, in 1803. Since Morgan County wasn't carved out of Baldwin County* until 1807** that's not historically correct but in any case her family would have been living on what was then Georgia's western boundary facing what were still Creek Indian lands.

[Indian land cessions in the United States, comp. by Charles C. Royce, with introduction by Cyrus Thomas.
Library of Congress Geography and Map Division Washington, D.C.]

[Madison became the county seat of Morgan County in 1809.Detail of above map.]

The first U.S. Census in 1790 lists a number of Watts households in Georgia in several different counties (which may be helpful when and if we have a better idea of who we're looking for). There are no known records from Georgia for the 1810 U.S. Census.

I decided to look at Morgan County probate records to see if I could sort out the various Watts households.

There's a probate record for a Conrad Watts--an 1821 inventory and sale of his goods and property-- whose widow's name was Mary/Polly. I think this 1820 census record for Captain Pace's District in Morgan County probably refers to her.

[1820 U S Census; Census Place: Capt Paces District, Morgan, Georgia; Page: 148; NARA Roll: M33_10; Image: 85. 1820 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Original data: Fourth Census of the United States, 1820. (NARA microfilm publication M33, 142 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C.]

Because Mary Watts is named as the head of household, Conrad must have died before the date of the enumeration.*** And here's how transcribes the members of her household by age. Timney would have been almost 17 at this point, a year or two older than the girls living with Mary so I think we can cross Conrad and Mary off the list of her potential parents.


When I began this post Conrad Watts was the first and only Watts I saw on the index to this set of probate records. But on closer inspection you can see there's another Watts near the top of the page which I overlooked because the ink recording his name is very faded: L[ittle] Berry Watts.

["Georgia Probate Records, 1742-1990," images, FamilySearch ( : 20 May 2014), Morgan > image 17 of 501;
county probate courthouses, Georgia.]

And there are a lot of probate records relating to Little Berry Watts' estate. Come back next week and we'll give him a closer look.

*Baldwin County was formed May 11, 1803, out of Creek Indian land that had been ceded in the 1802 Treaty of Fort Wilkinson.
**Along with Jones, Putnam and Randolph (later changed to Jasper) Counties.
***The "Free White Person - Males - 45 and over:' is probably an older relative who doesn't qualify as the household's head.

© 2017 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

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