Families in the Vale of Avoca

The Children of Thomas Watson, Sr. and Elizabeth Livingston Watson

Posted by Hannah Hill Rudstam on Thu, 07/25/2013 - 13:15

Thomas Watson, Sr. was born to Joseph and Elizabeth Watson in the Vale of Avoca, Ireland. In our family, he is known as “The Teacher” because of his 40 year teaching career in the Vale of Avoca area in Ireland. Thomas Watson graduated from Trinity College in Dublin, widely known as one of the worlds’ greatest universities when he attended. Though we don’t know the exact dates he was at Trinity College, we can guess that it would have been around 1810. Thomas was an excellent mathematician, flutist and singer. After graduating, Thomas Watson, Sr. worked in the Customs House in Dublin, and then moved back to the Vale of Avoca where he married, taught school, was the choir director of Castle Macadam Church and raised a large family before leaving the Vale of Avoca for Wisconsin in 1855. He never reached Wisconsin, however, dying three days into the journey.

The following are the children of Thomas “The Teacher” Watson Sr (B: 1793 in Red Cross, Ireland; D: 4/6/1855 at sea) and Elizabeth Livingston Watson (B: 1800 in Avoca, Ireland; D: 6/6/1881 in Grant Co Wisconsin):

Married 12/26/1821 in Avoca, Ireland

  1. Joseph Watson (B: 9/20/1822 in Red Cross, Ireland; D: 1885). Married Sarah Broadhead Watson (birthdate unknown). Marriage date unknown. Joseph and Sarah Watson emigrated to Crow Branch, WI, but then moved to Pennsylvania.

  2. John William Watson (B: 5/21/1824 in Red Cross, Ireland; D: 5/23/1876 in Livingston, WI). Married Alice Barlow Watson (B: 9/18/1827; D: 3/21/1911). John and Joseph first went to England to mine coal. John arrived in New Orleans in 1848 from Blackpool. He lost two children to “ship fever” on the way. From New Orleans, they came up the Mississippi, stopping to mine coal in St Louis. They arrived at Crown Branch, Grant County in 1849. They are both buried at Rock Church.

  3. Thomas Watson, Jr. (B: 3/4/1826 in Avoca, Ireland; D: 9/23/1895 in Livingston, WI). Married Margaret Nelson Watson (B: 1824 in Glasglow, Scotland; D: 4/11/1873 in Livingston, WI). Married 1/3/1847—some records give marriage date as 1/22/1846. (Story elsewhere on website).

  4. Wingfield Scott Watson (B: 4/22/1828 in Red Cross, Ireland; D: 10/29/1922 in Voree, WI). Married Jane Barbara Chisholm Thompson Burns Watson (B: 2/18/1824 in Durham Co., England; D: 4/1/1907. Wingfield was born in the Vale of Avoca and left Liverpool, England for America on March 3, 1848. His ship was bound for New York, but got blown off course and re-routed to New Orleans. (Note: Wingfield may have been travelling with his brother Thomas Watson). In New Orleans, Wingfield became ill several times but worked several jobs, including a cutting wood and in a cotton press. At one point he travelled to St. Louis via steamer and worked in the coal pits there. While there, a friend gave him the book “Voice of Warning to all Nations” by Parley Pratt. Wingfield converted to the Mormon religion, and Mormonism became a defining characteristic of the remainder of his life. After St. Louis, Wingfield continued up the Mississippi River to Crow Branch, WI and worked in the lead mines in 1850. It seems he married his wife Jane Burns Watson while there. (The record about Jane Burns Watson is unclear. Apparently, she was widowed twice before marrying Wingfield when she was about 26 years old.) After a short time in Wisconsin, Wingfield and Jane joined a group of Mormons headed for Salt Lake City via St. Louis. But Wingfield only made it to St. Louis, where he was baptized into the Mormon Church. In St. Louis, he changed his mind and decided to head for a Mormon colony on Beaver Island in Lake Michigan headed by James Strang. On the way there, they stayed for a while at Navoo, a Mormon colony in Illinois before arriving in Beaver Island. On June 18, 1856, Wingfield witnessed the assassination of James Strang. Then the Beaver Island colony was burned. Wingfield and Jane were then again on the move, heading to Crow Branch, WI and Black River Falls before heading to Boyne City, Michigan were they lived until 1891. In 1907, they moved to Voree, the site of the first “Stangite” settlement. Wingfield became an ardent and well-known spokesperson for the Mormon doctrine of James Strang, a doctrine that split from the Joseph Smith doctrine.

  5. William Watson (B: 3/17/1830 in Red Cross, Ireland; D: 3/23/1855). William was murdered in St. Louis. Apparently, he emigrated a few years after his brother Thomas Watson, Jr. and was on his way up to Crow Branch, WI to join his brother when he was murdered.

  6. Elizabeth Watson Smith Thompson (B: 1/22/1832 in Red Cross, Ireland; D: 1869 Livingston, WI). Married James Smith, was widowed and then married Joseph Thompson. Joseph and Elizabeth’s cabin in Crow Branch cabin served as the school house.

  7. Ellen Watson Nicholson (B: 1/22/1834 in Red Cross, Ireland; D: 1/18/1917) Married Joseph Nicholson, Sr. on 4/20/1856. Ellen came to Crow Branch, WI in 1855. Joseph’s parents were born in England. Ellen journeyed from Ireland with Bessie Mates, Margaret Mates and Margaret Livingston. Joseph was a miner. They are both buried at the Rock Church cemetery.

  8. Charles Watson (B: 9/1/1836 in Red Cross, Ireland; D: 8/22/1910). Married Sarah Woodward Watson on 2/21856 in Clifton, WI. Sarah was a sister of Rueben Woodward who married Charles’ sister Mary Ann. They had no children. Charles was elected to the Wisconsin State Legislature in 1880. He owned the Livingston Lumber Co and a wagon shop. Both are buried at the Rock Church.

  9. Robert “Smiling Bob” Watson (B: 11/30/1838 in Red Cross, Ireland; D: 9/13/1915). Married Hannah Sandeman Watson on 1/27/1862 in Hazel Green, WI. Hannah was the daughter of Thomas Sandeman from England . Robert Watson was a farmer according to the 1880 census. They lived in Clifton Township, Grant Co., WI. Robert bought his brother Thomas’ farm. He came to the US with his parents in 1855, when his father Thomas Watson, Sr. died at sea.

  10. Hannah Watson Alcock (B: 6/18/1841 in Red Cross, Ireland; D: 9/15/1919). Married Thomas Alcock on 1/1/1861 in Grant Co, WI). They left Grant County in 1891 for four years to go to Hurley, SD. They returned to Arthur, WI where Thomas was a Free Methodist preacher. They are buried in Arthur, WI.

  11. Mary Ann Watson Woodward (B: 8/21/1843 in Red Cross Ireland; D: 2/20/1926 in Hurley, SD) (Note: This is not the Mary Ann Watson who married John Hill. This person would have been Mary Ann Watson Hill’s aunt – her father Thomas Watson’s sister.) Married Rueben Woodward who was from Yorkshire, England. Mary Ann came to Crow Branch WI at the age of 12. Rueben was orphaned in childhood and raised by his uncle. He served in the Civil War in Captain Wheelock’s Company, 47th Regiment. They lived in Lima, WI before going to SD. Rueben was a brother of Charles Watson’s wife Sarah.

John Livingston and Eleanor Brady Livingston

Castle Macadam gravestone rubbing reads: "Erected by Hugh Leviston in memory of his father John Leviston who dep this life May 1828 Aged 71 years. Also Mother Eleanor Leviston died (11?) March 1838 Aged 81 Years. Also Brother W. Leviston died in the East Indies 11 June 1822 Aged 31 Yrs"

John Livingston (aka Leviston; 1757-May, 1828), an early ancestor in the Vale of Avoca, Ireland, was born and died in the Vale of Avoca area. Don Hill’s records show that John’s family came from Livingston, Scotland. Though less is known about the lives of the Livingstons before they came to Scotland, we do know that John Livingston leased land in the Vale of Avoca near the copper mines where Joseph Watson was Captain of the Mines. Though some of our family records suggest he had some skills in the mining industry, it seems John was largely a farmer in the Vale of Avoca.

Eleanor Brady (aka Eleanor Leviston, 1757-March, 1838), the wife of John, was a Catholic who was also from the Vale of Avoca. At the time they both grew up in the area of the Vale of Avoca, the Catholic/Protestant rift would have defined every part of their lives. Our family record doesn’t give many details about how they came to meet and marry. So we can only speculate that they would have had to overcome much to be together. Eleanor did convert to John’s Protestant faith and they went on to lead the family from which many of the Wisconsin Livingstons descend. They both lived and died in the Vale of Avoca. Many of the their children, however, left Ireland, some for America and some for Australia.

The following are the children of John and Eleanor Brady Livingston/Leviston:

(Please note: 1. Don Hill’s records show that some members of the family may have spelled their names Levingston; 2. There are three more children of John and Eleanor Livingston which I am currently unable to find. Please check the website again as I will keep trying.)

  1. Robert Livingston (11/1783-12/27/1865). Married Mary Watson Livingston (Born near the Vale of Avoca in Red Cross Village in 1790; died Livingston WI 10/8/1874). This couple is half of the “Livingston-Watson” equation. Mary’s brother was Thomas Watson Sr, who married Robert’s sister Elizabeth. Robert and Mary Livingston were in the large group of Livingstons and Watsons who left the Vale of Avoca for Wisconsin (story elsewhere), leaving on 4/3/1855 (probably went through Liverpool, England) and arriving in Galena, Ill on 5/19/1855. One of Robert and Mary’s sons was Hugh Livingston who went on to found Livingston, WI (story elsewhere on this site).

  2. William Levingston (B: 1791 in Vale of Avoca, Ireland; D: 6/11/1822 in the East Indies). Married Mary Wright Levingston in the Vale of Avoca. William and Mary Levingston lived in Avoca where William worked with Joseph Watson in the copper mines. William was a foreman prior to joining the British Army. He was killed at age of 31 while serving in the East Indies. There is some evidence that his wife Mary was related to her mother-in-law, Eleanor Brady. William and Mary’s son, Robert (B: 1812), emigrated to New South Wales, Australia in about 1840.

  3. Hugh Levingston (aka Leviston; B: 1797 in Cherrymount near the Vale of Avoca; D: 1862; Some sources show date of birth as 1783). Married Mary Ann(e) Fitzsimmons (B: 9/7/1798 D: 1865). Marriage date unknown. NOTE: This is not the Hugh Livingston who emigrated to Wisconsin and founded Livingston, WI. This Hugh would have been the Wisconsin Hugh’s uncle. Hugh and Mary Anne lived in Knockenode and Cherrymount, Ireland near the Vale of Avoca. Hugh was in interested in horticulture, especially the raising of cherries. He supervised a large cherry orchard. Their home was alongside the river, the spot made famous by the poet Thomas Moore in his “Meeting of the Waters” song. Mary Anne was deeply religious. Hugh and Mary Anne did not go to America, but stayed in Ireland where Hugh was an Anglican Rector. He also was the horticulturalist for the wealthy Oliver Estate. NOTE: Hugh and Mary Anne were the parents of Samuel Henry Harkwood Livingston who emigrated first to Livingston, WI and then went on to become a founding settler of Calgary, Alberta. Sam pleaded with his parents to leave Ireland, but they never did. Sam Livingston’s story is elsewhere on this site, and here.

  4. Sally Levingston Hall (Birth and death dates unknown). Married Ned Hall. Sally and Ned stayed in Ireland and did not emigrate to the US.

  5. Elizabeth Ann Livingston (B: 1800 in the Vale of Avoca, Ireland; D: 1881 in Crow Branch, WI.) Married Thomas Watson, Sr. on 12/16/1821. (Story elsewhere)