Fletcher Bangs Watson, I

By Henry H. Mitchell

Fletcher B. Watson, I

The first Fletcher B. Watson (11/27/1841-10/26/1917) of Chatham, Virginia, was a graduate of Trinity College (now Duke University), and served in Company G, Sixth Regiment, Virginia Cavalry, during the Civil War. He was wounded at Yellow Tavern on May 11, 1864; captured at Five Forks in April 1865; and was held prisoner at Point Lookout, Maryland, until June 1865. He had served with Gen. J.E.B. Stuart for four years, and was with the general shortly before he was fatally wounded.

Watson was an attorney in Chatham immediately after the war, then worked for several years as editor of the Chatham Tribune, a Pittsylvania County weekly which was a forerunner of the present Star-Tribune. In 1893 he was appointed Superintendent of Schools in Pittsylvania County, and served in that position until 1917.

He was the son of Thomas Jefferson Watson and Elizabeth Leonard Duffel (granddaughter of Thomas Leonard, Benjamin Franklin's secretary while he served in London as agent for Massachusetts; and great-great-granddaughter of James Steel, William Penn's secretary). He was apparently named by his staunch Methodist parents after John Fletcher, Vicar of Madeley in Shropshire, closely allied with John Wesley; and Dr. Nathan Bangs, pioneer preacher and historian of the Methodist Church.

Watson's brothers and sister were Wilbur Fisk, also a graduate of Trinity College; Thomas J., Jr., who attended Washington College (now Washington and Lee) and Trinity, but died before graduating; and Elizabeth, who was married to John E. Christian, professor of mathematics and natural philosophy (and for a period, acting president) of Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College (later VPI and Virginia Tech) in Blacksburg.

F. B. Watson was married to Pattie Tredway, daughter of Judge William Tredway and Nancy Millner. Their children were Thomas (professor at first VPI, then UVA, and state geologist and prolific writer); Marshall (a Chatham attorney); Fletcher B., Jr.; Lizzie (wife of Methodist clergyman Leroy W. Guyer); Nannie; and Wilbur (professor of inorganic chemistry at VPI).

F. B. Watson built the house at 232 Whittle Street in 1894.


Related Book

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History of Pittsylvania County, Virginia

Clement: History of Pittsylvania County, Virginia

This webpage is sponsored by Mitchells Publications and the Sims-Mitchell House B&B, Chatham, Virginia.