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Collection Number: 05150-z

Collection Title: Watson and Morris Family Papers, 1830-1933

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the section for more information.


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Size 75 items
Abstract The Watson and Morris families of North Carolina and Indiana include sisters Melinda Folger (fl. 1858-1869) and Maria (Elena Maria) Folger (1804-1897); Maria's husband, John Watson (ca. 1798-ca. 1882); their son, trial lawyer Cyrus Barksdale Watson (1845-1916) and his wife Amelia Henley (1847-1907); two of their five children, Thomas Watson (1871-1933), a municipal court judge in Winston-Salem, N.C., and Alice Watson (1879-1954); and Alice's husband, merchant J. Frank (James Franklin) Morris (1870-1928). The collection consists chiefly of correspondence, 1830-1882, including several Civil War letters between John and Cyrus Watson relating to Cyrus's wounds and recovery in 1862 and 1864; anticipation of the May 1864 Battle of the Wilderness; and the arrival of wounded from the Battle of Cold Harbor, June 1864, during Cyrus's stay at Richmond's Winder Hospital. Other letters include discussions of family illnesses and Amelia Henley Watson's loneliness during her husband's business travels. Coverage of the careers and deaths of Cyrus and Thomas Watson are among the newspaper clippings. Other materials include photographs; an 1858 diary kept by Melinda Folger while traveling to Indiana; a handwritten family tree linking the Watsons to Mayflower passenger John Howland; and Cyrus Watson's will, 1915.
Creator Watson family.



Morris family.
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Watson and Morris Family Papers #5150-z, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Jim and Diane Morris of Portland, Ore., in March 2004 (Acc. 99742).
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

The Watson and Morris families, mainly of North Carolina, include farmers, Civil War soldiers, a prominent trial lawyer and North Carolina state senator, and a Winston-Salem judge. Family members represented in this collection include Latham Folger (1749-1833) of Union County, Ind., and his son, Reuben Folger (1778-1847) of Stokes County, N.C. Reuben Folger is known to have had at least two daughters, Melinda Folger (fl. 1858-1869) and Maria (Elena Maria) Folger (1804-1897), who married farmer John Watson (ca. 1798-ca. 1882) of Forsyth County, N.C.

The Watsons' son, Cyrus Barksdale Watson (1845-1916), joined the 45th North Carolina Regiment, Company K, in 1862. He spent much of his Civil War career with the Army of Northern Virginia. Watson was wounded three times: first in 1862 by an exploding shell; again at the Battle of the Wilderness, 5 May 1864; and then more seriously at Spotsylvania on 19 May 1864. Despite having shattered his right shoulder, he again rejoined his regiment in March 1865 and was with them until the surrender at Appomattox the following month.

After the war, Watson briefly worked as a store clerk, then moved to study law in Lexington, Va. Settling in Winston-Salem, N.C., he was elected in 1868 to the first of two terms in the state senate. In 1869, he married Amelia Henley (1847-1907) and was admitted to the bar. He made two unsuccessful attempts at reaching higher office, first as the Democratic candidate for governor of North Carolina in 1896 and then as a candidate for the United States Senate in 1903.

Cyrus and Amelia Watson had five children, including Thomas Watson (1871-1933), a municipal court judge in Winston-Salem, and Alice Watson (1879-1954), who married merchant J. Frank (James Franklin) Morris (1870-1928) on 10 October 1905.

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The collection is chiefly correspondence, 1830-1882, between members of the Watson family, including several Civil War letters between John Watson (ca. 1798-ca. 1882) and son Cyrus Barksdale Watson (1845-1916) relating to Cyrus's wounds and recovery in 1862 and 1864; receiving marching orders during a snowstorm in February 1863; anticipation of the May 1864 Battle of the Wilderness; and seeing the arrival of wounded from the Battle of Cold Harbor, June 1864, while at Richmond's Winder Hospital. Letters from other family members include a cousin's attempt, 1852, to console Maria Watson (1804-1897) on the grim prognosis for a sick child; Melinda Folger's (fl. 1858-1869) disapproval of nephew Cyrus's choice of the law profession; and the loneliness of Amelia Henley Watson (1847-1907) during her husband's business travels. Newspaper clippings follow the careers of lawyer and legislator Cyrus Barksdale Watson and son judge Thomas Watson (1871-1933) and the deaths of several family members including merchant J. Frank Morris (1870-1928). Other materials include photographs; a handwritten family tree linking the Watsons to Mayflower passenger John Howland; literature from the Pilgrim John Howland House historic site on Plymouth Rock; a typed copy of an 1850 American Journal of Science article about the Folger Clock, created by a Watson ancestor; a looseleaf travel diary, 1858, kept by Melinda Folger while traveling to Indiana; and Cyrus Watson's will, 1915.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Papers, 1830-1933.

About 75 items.

Folder 1

Correspondence, 1830-1882 #05150-z, Series: "Papers, 1830-1933." Folder 1

Folder 2

Clippings, 1907-1933 #05150-z, Series: "Papers, 1830-1933." Folder 2

Folder 3

Other materials #05150-z, Series: "Papers, 1830-1933." Folder 3

Image Folder PF-5150/1

Photographs #05150-z, Series: "Papers, 1830-1933." PF-5150/1

Includes a group portrait. On the verso is written "Mr. Rawley, Sunday School Class." Also includes a portrait of a man, signed "Yours Truly, C?. B. Watson."

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Photographs (PF-5150/1)

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Processing Information

Processed by: Jessica Tyree, June 2004

Encoded by: Jessica Tyree, June 2004

Updated by: Kathryn Michaelis, April 2011

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