Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Well-Loved Mother, Mrs. Tobitha Watson of Oregon County, Missouri

These newspaper clippings were sent to me by Wanda Watson, a descendant of Tobitha's husband's brother. Here is the transcription of Tobitha's obituary. She died 9 February 1937 in Birch Tree, Missouri: 

"Tobitha Ann-Watson, daughter of Hol and Millie House, was born in Oregon County, March 4, 1846 and died February 9, 1937 at Birch tree, Missouri. Her age was 90 years, 11 months, and 5 days.
She was united in marriage to Robert King in 1870. To this union two children were born; Fletcher and Dora. Mr. King passed away in 1876. On December 28, 1879 she was married to Samuel H. Watson at King Chapel, Missouri. To this union eight children were born; three daughters, Cora Judd, Linda Moore, Ora Brown, and five sons, Henry, Amos, Bob, Lee and Sam.
Mr. Watson preceded her in death on August 10, 1925. Two of her children, Dora and Henry, also have preceded her in death several years ago. 
She leaves to mourn her passing 4 sons, Amos Watson of Thayer, Mo.; Bob, Lee and Sam Watson of Thomasville, Mo.; and 3 daughters, Cora Judd of Rover, Mo., Linda Moore of Thomasville, and Ora Brown of Birch Tree. She is also survived by three brothers, a sister, several grandchildren and great-grandchildren and a host of other relatives and friends.
She was converted and united with the Methodist Church at King Chapel, Mo., at an early age. She was a devoted Christian, a good kind mother, and a lovable companion.
Funeral services were conducted at Union Hill Church at 3 o’clock Wednesday afternoon on February 10, by Rev. Knight of Mtn. View. A host of relatives and friends were present at the burial at Union Hill Cemetery.

Her toils are past, her work is done
She fought the fight, the victory won
In childhood day her patient smiling face,
Meant more than all the world to us,
There’s nothing here on earth can take her place."

"Card of Thanks
We wish to thank our friends and neighbors who were so kind to us during the illness and death of our mother, Mrs. Watson. And especially do we wish to thank Rev. Knight for his consoling words and those who rendered the music. Also the undertaker and all others who so willingly helped.
The Children."

It has been several years since I have actively done any research on the King or Watson family. This is the first time I've actually noticed that her obituary and death certificate (upcoming post) list her name as Tobitha. I had always thought her name was Tabitha. Most researchers have her listed as Tabitha as well. 

According to her marriage record to her first husband, Robert King, she was listed as what looks to be Tobitha House; according to the marriage record between her and her 2nd husband, Samuel Watson, she is listed as Tolitha King. On her husband, Samuel Watson's death certificate, she is listed twice as Tabitha Watson (once as the wife and once as the informant). However, on her own obituary and death certificate, she is listed as Tobitha Watson and on her headstone, she is listed as Tabitha Watson. I guess I will need to query some of her descendants for clarification. Many of her grandchildren are still living today in Missouri. There is a lot of discrepancy around her date of birth as well, so I am not surprised to see this discrepancy around her name too. 

What is not in question is that Tobitha/Tabitha was the daughter of Hollingsworth HOUSE and Millie THOMAS. I came up as a Family Finder (autosomal DNA) match to a gentleman who also had Thomas as one of his surnames and that prompted me to do some research into my Thomas surname last fall. I learned that my Thomas line supposedly comes from an Ephraim Thomas of Franklin County, Virginia (source: Anne Jobe Brown, via personal email). 

According to the above obituary, and their marriage record, Tabitha House married Robert King July 28, 1870 in Howell County, Missouri. I am in the middle of looking for a notice in one of the local newspapers for their marriage. You can read about my trials and tribulations with historical newspapers here. Her obituary also says that Robert King died in 1876. Again, I have been looking for his death notice to no avail. It could be that the information in this obituary is incorrect. 

Tabitha and Robert King did have two children - Fletcher King and Dora King. Dora was my 2nd great-grandmother who married William Peters. Dora King Peters died of a snake bite around 1912. No record of her death has ever been found. Dora's half-brother Henry Watson, who was mentioned in Tabitha's obituary as the other child who preceded her in death, was shot to death according to Wanda Watson. This obituary contained a lot of very useful information, including the names of the eight children she had with her 2nd husband, Samuel Watson. 

It also states that she was Methodist and was buried in Union Hill cemetery. She was buried beside her 2nd husband, Samuel Watson who died in 1925 and they share a double headstone. Her FindAGrave memorial with photos of her and her headstone is here. This is the second mention of the Methodist affiliation as Tabitha's son Fletcher King was married by a Methodist Circuit Rider named Joseph Martin Willard

Next I will see what I can learn from Tabitha/Tobitha's death certificate. Here is a photo of Tabitha when she was older.

Ginger R Smith, "The Well-Loved Mother, Mrs. Tobitha Watson of Oregon County, Missouri" Genealogy by Ginger, posted 22 May 2012 (http://http://genealogybyginger.blogspot.com : accessed [access date]). 


  1. This is one of those absolutely wonderful obituaries - lets you truly see into the life of one of your ancestors, and provides you with the details to help you look further. A lovely obit - "The Children" did a very sweet job of writing this. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Celia, yes, she was evidently very deeply loved. Comments I've heard about her were that she was an "angel" and very well liked and loved. Sounds like someone I would have liked to have known!