Watterson, John

Birth Name Watterson, John
Gramps ID I0648
Gender male
Age at Death 80 years


Event Date Place Description
Sources Notes
Birth 1815 Isle of Man  
Occupation     Farmer
Census 1850 Ogden, Monroe Cty, New York, USA  
Census 1860 Lancaster, Erie Cty, New York, USA  
Census 1865 Lancaster, Erie Cty, New York, USA  
Census 1870 Ashippun, Dodge Cty, Wisconsin, USA  
Census 1875 Ashippun, Dodge Cty, Wisconsin, USA  
Census 1880 Ashippun, Dodge Cty, Wisconsin, USA  
Death 1895    
Burial   Gardens of Stonebank, Stone Bank, Waukesha Cty, Wisconsin, USA  


    Family of Watterson, John and Cannell, Elizabeth [F0229]
Married Wife Cannell, Elizabeth [I0649] ( * 1814 + 1894 )
Event Date Place Description
Sources Notes
Marriage 1840-10-31 Andreas, Ayre Sheading, Isle of Man  
Name Birth Date Death Date
Watterson, John [I3462]18421877-11-05
Watterson, Henry [I0969]1845-03-131910-06-18
Watterson, William W. [I0668]18481914
Watterson, Edward [I0575]1853-07-091934-01-15
Watterson, Elizabeth [I1466]1855-10-091943-02-10
Watterson, Louisa [I3460]1858
Watterson, John [I3461]1860



Note: John and Elizabeth (Cannell) Watterson

My research on John and his wife Elizabeth began with their son Edward Watterson, born in Erie Cty, New York in 1853 who came with his parents at a young age to southeast Wisconsin. The records and findings for Edward led to researching his siblings and parents, many of whom could be found in the census records with him or (in the case of his parents) named on his marriage record. (Edward's hand-written marriage record is difficult to read and contains several abbreviations, but his parents are listed as a J-- Watterson and Eliz K---el.) Additionally, many of the records contained the phonetic misspelling of the surname as "Waterson," a very understandable error, and searches on this spelling yielded many more results. All of this slowly added up and built the representation I believe I have now.

John and Elizabeth were natives of the Isle of Man (sometimes known simply as Mann), a small island state located in the Irish Sea between Great Britain and Ireland. While the population of Mann has always been quite small, there seems to be an amazingly narrow distribution of names, making the names "John Watterson" and "Elizabeth Cannell" relatively common there. For example, the 1841 census on the Isle of Man turns up four men named John Watterson of approximately the same age, with residences given as Kirk Malew, Rushen, Patrick, and Jurby. Identifying Elizabeth Cannell seems to be equally complicated, as there are at least three sets of parents that could be hers - four if we extend the name searches to "Betsy Cannell."

I believe they were married there in late 1840 in the parish of Andreas, in the Sheading of Ayre on the northern coast. From there it seems they moved south to the parish of Patrick, in the Sheading of Glenfaba, near the southwest coast of the island, where at least one of their oldest two children was born.

Sometime around 1846, John and Elizabeth emigrated to America, bringing with them their two young sons John and Henry, and settled first in Ogden, Monroe Cty, New York, then southwest to Lancaster, Erie Cty, New York. It was in these years that the remainder of their children were born. Between 1865 and 1870, the family had relocated once again, this time to Ashippun, Dodge Cty, Wisconsin. John's livelihood was farming, and the family's migrations seem to have always found them with other immigrant families of similar ethnic and social background - notably Irish and English - in rural areas. Wisconsin was in its early statehood days, and was undergoing rapid population growth and development, with a strong representation of English, Irish, and Scottish immigrants, along with lots of people coming from western New York in general.

In their years in Wisconsin, John and Elizabeth would see their children grow and leave home, marry, and begin their own families. Their care in their later years seems to have fallen to their daughter, Elizabeth (and her husband Adam Miles), and at their passing in the mid-1890s, they were buried in the Stone Bank Presbyterian Cemetery (now called the Gardens of Stone Bank) near Stone Bank, Waukesha Cty, Wisconsin.

Of the several children born to John and Elizabeth, I can best account for five of them, while I cannot confirm much about either of the youngest two who may or may not have been part of their family:

- John, born on the Isle of Man in 1842, is counted with his parents in all the US and New York state Census listings through 1865, and appears to have come west with them as a young man. In the 1870 US Census, he's found living in Oconomowoc, Waukesha Cty, Wisconsin, as an employee of a local merchant. He appears to have died 5 Nov 1877 at the age of thirty-five, and is buried beside his parents. I do not know if he ever married or had children, but initial appearances suggest he did not.

- Henry (nicknamed "Harry"), born in the parish of Patrick on the Isle of Man in 1845, would enlist and serve in the 25th New York Battery during the Civil War. Afterwards, he came with the family to Wisconsin, where he married Henrietta Baker in 1869. Sometime afterwards, the two of them moved further west to Pierce Cty, Wisconsin, near the Minnesota border, and then across the state line to Lake City, Wabasha Cty, Minnesota, where they would live until their deaths in 1910 (Henry) and 1912 (Henrietta). Henry typically reported his livelihood as "landlord" or "capitalist," suggesting he was a property owner and possibly speculated in real estate. The couple do not appear to have had any children, and are buried in a large crypt in La Belle Cemetery in Oconomowoc. The outside of the crypt bears only the name "Watterson" and the Three Legs of Man, the icon of the Isle of Man; burial listings in the cemetery office give the crypt's occupants as "Henry and H.D. Watterson."

- William was the first of the family born in America in 1848 in New York, and married Eusebia Goodell sometime before 1883 in Wisconsin. They had three children, two daughters and one son. Oldest daughter Edith Eusebia married Arthur F. Rosenow and had one son, while middle son Lyle Wilton would serve in the 25th Engineers during World War I and would never marry nor have children. Youngest daughter Florence married Ralph Owen, and had two sons. William died in 1914, while his much younger wife would survive him until her death in 1948.

- Edward, born in Erie Cty, New York in 1853, married Mary Jane Daley (daughter of his father's neighbor, the Irish Catholic immigrant Philip Daley) in 1891, and they would have six children, only three of whom would survive to adulthood. Mabel and twin daughters Lucy and Mary all died in infancy, while Henry Edmund, Ida Mae, and Viola would all survive and marry, living in the general area of Oconomowoc and each giving their parents several grandchildren. Mary Jane died in 1916, while Edward survived until 1934, survived only by two of his children and his sister Elizabeth. Edward, Mary Jane, and most of their children are buried in Saint Catherine's Catholic Cemetery in Mapleton, Waukesha Cty, Wisconsin.

- Elizabeth, born in 1855 in New York, married Adam Miles of Stone Bank sometime in the late 1870s, moving to Merton, Waukesha Cty, Wisconsin sometime before 1900. They would have five children - John James, William Fredenal, Mary, Ethel, and Benjamin Thomas. All three sons would marry and have children. Ethel never married, living with her parents until their deaths in 1938 (Adam) and 1943 (Elizabeth). Mary is not as yet reliably accounted for after 1910, though her mother's 1943 obituary names her the survivor "Mrs. Mary Burton." Elizabeth and Adam are buried in the same Stone Bank cemetery as her parents.

- Youngest children Louisa (b. about 1858) and John (b. about 1860) show up only in the 1870 US Census record for the Watterson household, which is particularly odd as their ages mean they should have shown up in one or both of the previous census countings for the household (1860 US, 1865 New York state). I've not found any other record that refers to them at this point, though I wonder if they were adopted or fostered by the Wattersons, orphans from a family they'd known in New York.

It had been my original assumption that the Wattersons, like many of those around them of similar ethnic background, were Catholic - the bulk of my initial research was in Edward's line, which was nearly entirely Catholic. Once I had a more broad base of information for his siblings and their descendants, the suggestion seems to be that the Wattersons were of a Protestant denomination, and that Edward converted to Catholicism, likely because his wife's family (the Daleys and McAleaveys) were entirely Irish Catholic.

While there are a fair number of descendants of John and Elizabeth, many of them still resident in Wisconsin, the surname has thinned considerably due to many of the male descendants having no children or having only daughters. In the sixth generation, I am aware of only a single male descendant bearing the Watterson name - a sole third-great-grandson of John and Elizabeth to potentially carry on their Watterson name.


    1. Watterson, John
      1. Cannell, Elizabeth [I0649]
        1. Watterson, John [I3462]
        2. Watterson, Henry [I0969]
        3. Watterson, William W. [I0668]
        4. Watterson, Edward [I0575]
        5. Watterson, Elizabeth [I1466]
        6. Watterson, Louisa [I3460]
        7. Watterson, John [I3461]

Source References

  1. US Census of 1870 [S0020]
      • Date: 1870
      • Citation:

        "United States Census, 1870," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MN9H-D35 : accessed 12 Nov 2014), Edward Waterson in household of John Waterson, Wisconsin, United States; citing p. 21, family 156, NARA microfilm publication M593, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.; FHL microfilm 000553209.

        Event Year: 1870
        Event Place: Ashippun, Dodge, Wisconsin, United States
        John Waterson M 55 Isle of Man
        Betsy Waterson F 56 Isle of Man
        William Waterson M 20 New York
        Edward Waterson M 16 New York
        Elizabeth Waterson F 15 New York
        Louisa Waterson F 12 New York
        John Waterson M 10 New York

  2. US Census of 1850 [S0046]
      • Date: 1850
      • Citation:

        "United States Census, 1850," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MCBS-HXZ : accessed 13 Nov 2014), Elizabeth Watterson in household of John Watterson, Ogden, Monroe, New York, United States; citing family 120, NARA microfilm publication M432, NARA microfilm publication M432, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.

        Event Year: 1850
        Event Place: Ogden, Monroe, New York, United States
        John Watterson M 32 Isle Of Man
        Elizabeth Watterson F 35 Isle Of Man
        John Watterson M 7 Isle Of Man
        Henry Watterson M 6 Isle Of Man
        Wm Watterson M 2 New York

  3. US Census of 1860 [S0044]
      • Date: 1860
      • Citation:

        "United States Census, 1860," index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MCW2-KMZ : accessed 9 April 2015), Elizabeth Waterson in household of John Waterson, Town Of Lancaster, Erie, New York, United States; from "1860 U.S. Federal Census - Population," database, Fold3.com (http://www.fold3.com : n.d.); citing p. 31, household ID 227, NARA microfilm publication M653 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 803,752.

        Event Year: 1860
        Event Place: Town Of Lancaster, Erie, New York, United States
        John Waterson M 42 Isle Of Man
        Elizabeth Waterson F 44 Isle Of Man
        Henry Waterson M 16 Isle Of Man
        William Waterson M 14 New York
        Edward Waterson M 7 New York
        Elizabeth Waterson F 5 New York

  4. New York State Census of 1865 [S0240]
      • Date: 1865
      • Citation:

        "New York, State Census, 1865," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/QVNN-GVQH : accessed 13 Nov 2014), John Waterson, District 01, Lancaster, Erie, New York, United States; citing source p. 82, line 29, household ID 599, State Library, Albany; FHL microfilm 000825687.

        Event Year: 1865
        Event Place: District 01, Lancaster, Erie, New York, United States
        John Waterson M 50
        Elizabeth Waterson Wife F 48
        John Waterson M 19
        Henry Waterson M 17
        Wm Waterson M 15
        Edwin Waterson M 11
        Elizabeth Waterson F 9

  5. Wisconsin State Census of 1875 [S0089]
      • Date: 1875
      • Citation:

        "Wisconsin, State Census, 1875," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MMMT-L21 : accessed 9 April 2015), John Waterson, Ashippun Town, Dodge, Wisconsin; State Historical Society, Madison; FHL microfilm 1,032,690.

  6. US Census of 1880 [S0045]
      • Date: 1880
      • Citation:

        "United States Census, 1880," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MN4D-ZSW : accessed 13 Nov 2014), Elizabeth Waterson in household of John Waterson, Ashippun, Dodge, Wisconsin, United States; citing sheet 6C, NARA microfilm publication T9, NARA microfilm publication T9, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C.; FHL microfilm 1255422.

        Event Year: 1880
        Event Place: Ashippun, Dodge, Wisconsin, United States
        John Waterson Self M 63 Isle of Man
        Elizabeth Waterson Wife F 64 Isle of Man
        Edward Waterson Son M 24 New York, United States
        William Waterson Son M 32 New York, United States

  7. Isle of Man Parish Registers, 1598-2009 [S0071]
      • Confidence: High
      • Citation:

        "Isle of Man Parish Registers, 1598-2009," index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XZYP-5HQ : accessed 06 Apr 2014), John Watterson and Elizabeth Cannell, 31 Oct 1840, Marriage; citing Andreas, Isle of Man, Manx National Heritage Library, Douglas; FHL microfilm 004498463.