Ancestral Family Topic 482

 482   William Watkins (-1794)
Pedigree Chart 09

William Watkins, in his own words
If he could speak to us today, William Watkins might describe his life as follows.

I was a resident of Cumberland County when I bought 424 acres down in Halifax County from James LeGrand 1 January 1767.  My new plantation was south of the Dan River near Winns Creek and Reedy Bottom ford. Micajah Watkins witnessed the deed.
Individuals named William Watkins provided bacon, beef, corn, oats, tobacco, and pasturage to the Army during the Revolution.  One also served 90 days as a sergeant under Col. Macon.  With as many as three men with my name in the county, it is impossible to associate these contributions with me.
Five whites and 4 slaves were in my household in 1782 and I was head of a household of 9 whites in 1785.  Nearby was the family of Micajah Watkins who had recently died. 
In 1786 I bought 75 acres a few steps above the Reedy Bottom ford from Thomas Watkins and 100 acres on both sides of Winns Creek from John Ball. 
In “a low state of health, but of sound mind,” I made my will 13 September 1794 leaving 22 slaves and my Reedy Bottom land to a son and 5 married daughters. Because both of his parents were dead, I gave my grandson John Edwards “Negro man Antony.”  I was dead by 27 October 1794.
My widow, Winifred, who was probably my second wife and not the mother of my children, married James Jones in Halifax County 25 February 1795. 

Descendants recall that the Watkins family lived in Halifax County at Reedy Bottom.

Who was William’s father?
We have been unable to identify the father of William Watkins. When he first arrived in Halifax County from Cumberland County in 1767, Micajah Watkins witnessed the deed and it was his son Micajah Watkins who was security for William’s estate in 1794. We have studied the family of John Watkins, grandfather to the elder Micajah Watkins, and can find no connection to our William Watkins.
Thomas Watkins, son of the above John Watkins, left land to his brothers and sisters, which when sold, included none of the heirs of our William Watkins confirming that he does not belong to that family.
John Hale Stutesman, who researched the Watkins of Virginia, was familiar with the family of William Watkins but was unable to place him among the Virginia Watkins.

Another William Watkins
My William Watkins is distinct from an illiterate man of this name who lived in northern Halifax County. Still another William Watkins was in Cornwall Parish when Lunenburg County charged him with 6 tithes and 888 acres in 1764.  In 1765 William Russell of Halifax County sold 290 acres in Halifax County to William Watkins of Halifax County,  whose wife was Mary when he sold 100 acres of this tract in 1770. 
William bought 35 acres in Halifax County in 1775 and added 300 acres on the waters of Terrible Creek in 1778.  Mary again relinquished her dower right when William sold the 300-acre tract in 1779. 
When William and Mary Watkins witnessed the 1777 will of Madling Thomas, he signed his name and she made her mark.  Roger Atkinson sold 687 acres to Watkins in 1781,  and Samuel Morton deeded 511 acres on Buckskin Creek to Watkins for £255.10 in 1787. 

Watkins’ will
An abstract of the will of William Watkins follows.
Another heir to the will of William Watkins was granddaughter Elizabeth Meercy whom we cannot identify. Three Halifax County citizens appraised Watkins’ personal property for £1,455.18.3.

Will of William Watkins
13 September 1794
… in a low state of health but of sound mind …
To my wife Winifred Watkins—all the upper end of the tract of land whereon I now live, both low ground, and high lands, including the dwelling house I now live in, and bounded on the lower end by a certain cross fence beginning on the river, then along the cross fence to my gate on the east side of my house, thence from the gate along the fence to the house John Edwards now lives in, and from the house a straight line to the back line adjoining James Coleman. I lend my wife the land during her natural life. Also the following slaves: Young Tom, Easter, Ben & Lucy. Also the choice of 2 work horses and a dark bay colt, 2 years old. Also choice of 8 cattle and 8 sheep and 8 hogs and 1 sow with 5 pigs, together with all my household furniture, except as shall hereafter taken out, together with all the working tools and one-third of my crop now on hand, both corn, fodder, tobacco, and every other thing growing or made on my plantation the present year. Also 1 cart.
To my son Thomas Watkins—all my land whereon I now live, including the legacy above, lent to my wife, when her right shall be ended. Also these slaves: Milt, Frank, old Tom, Jude, Usley, Peter, Faney, Lickey, Febey. Also 1 black walnut bedstead bed, 2 white cotton sheets (1 checked, 1 Virginia cloth), bed quilt, 1 bed which he now has in his possession, with its furniture. Also all mares not before given away, and all my cattle, hogs, sheep and spr (?) Not before given away.
To my daughter Betsy Cunningham—1 Negro man named Isaac that she now has in possession, 1 Negro girl named Rachel. After Betsy’s death, the slaves and her increase to be divided among her children.
To my daughter Mary Ann Perryman—all that tract of land I purchased of John Ball, lying on Winns Creek, whereon she now lives, during her life, with 1 slave named Gim which she now has in possession. Also 1 girl named Jenny. After Mary Ann’s death, the land and Negroes with their increase to be divided among her children.
To my daughter Lucy—1 Negro named Jacob, which she now has in possession, and 1 Negro girl named Ag. After Lucy’s death, the Negroes and their increase to be divided among her children.
To my daughter Fanny Brown—1 Negro boy named Philip, which she now has in possession, and 1 Negro boy named Reuben. After Fanny’s death, the Negroes and their increase to be divided among her children.
To daughter Patsy Womack—1 Negro named Jude, which she now has in possession, and 1 Negro girl named Hannah. After Patsy’s death, the Negroes and their increase to be divided among her children.
To grandson John Edwards—1 Negro man named Antony.
To granddaughter Elizabeth Meercy—1 Negro girl named Celah.

Descendants of William Watkins
Information about the children of William Watkins, their descendants, and allied families previously found at is now available as Southside Virginia Genealogies. Learn more 
Names found in this topic include the following.
 Thomas Watkins,  
William Samford,  Thomas Bingham,  
 Elizabeth (Watkins) Cunningham,  
 Mary Ann (Watkins) Perryman,  
Richard Perryman,  Sally (Murray) Vaughan,  
John Fleming,  
Mildred Watkins,  Thomas Vaughan,  
 Lucy Watkins,  
Stephen Townes,  
Caleb Townes,  
Sarah Townes,  Spencer Griffin,  
Lavinia Townes,  David Abernathy,  
Lucretia Townes,  James Akin Jr.,  
 Fanny (Watkins) Brown,  
 Patsey (Watkins) Womack,  
 daughter (Watkins) Edwards,  
John Edwards I,  John Edwards II,   

This topic, which represents .09% of all the family history material at, includes 35 citations and the names of 43 individuals.
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