Thomas Jefferson Watson of Chatham, Virginia: Obituary

Thomas J. Watson

Thomas J. Watson was born March 15, 1806 and "fell on sleep" October 29, 1894. His ancestry from Scotland were among the pioneer settlers of Pittsylvania County. His great-grandfather was a soldier of the Revolution; his grandfather of the war of 1812. The county records show that between 1740 and 1750 the family purchased lands in Pittsylvania.

In religion his ancestry were Baptists. In his fifteenth year, during a great revival in Lynchburg, under the ministry of Rev. George W. Charlton, he was happily converted. Elizabeth L. Duffel, of Presbyterian antecedents, was also among the converts. The two stood side by side as candidates for membership, and were received into the Methodist Church. July 19, 1838, the young couple who had together begun the Christian race, by Rev. D. S. Doggett were joined in holy wedlock. This union brought together two old and highly respected families of Virginia. In their rural home in Pittsylvania, the two lives thus united flowed smoothly on until the death of the excellent wife in 1857. Three sons and one daughter blessed their marriage. Of these one son, Mr. F. B. Watson, and the daughter, Mrs. J. E. Christian, of Chatham, survive.

Brother Tom Watson was truly a man of God. Born during the heroic period of our Methodism, and out of a powerful revival of religion, his was a deep and pungent conviction, and a searching and sound conversion. His character was a decided one and grew stronger with age. He loved the Bible and Methodist books, and used them. He was a regular attendant at "the throne of grace," and in private devotion learned the Lord's secret. He consorted with the patriarchs and apostles of Methodism and took on the robust type. His Christian life was pitched on a high key. Beginning his journey before Asbury's death, he was contemporary will all our Bishops. He had heard Roberts preach, been in the social cicrcle with McKendree, was at Halifax Courthouse in 1844 when Morris held the session of the Annual Conference at that place. He was familiar with Skidmore, Doub, Brock, and Thomas Crowder. Dr. Abram Penn, __red Norman, Philmer W. Archer, _____ Rowzie and others were often his fireside companions. He loved the Methodist Church, her doctrines, polity, ritual; gloried in her institutions, history, achievements; rejoiced in her work. About forty years he was a steward in the Church — Enthusiastic, zealous, active in every good work. His house was the Methodist itinerant's home; his board cheerfully offered; the welcome was cordial, the dismissal with a 'God bless you' which sent him on the way rejoicing. As a Christian husband, father, master, citizen, he adorned the doctrine of God, his Saviour; "Was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost." A man of faith of ceaseless prayer, of increasing devotion to the Book of God, ___ing no opportunity to do good and to be good, he grew in grace to the last. He was ripe and ready to be gathered. That his "end was peace," goes without saying.

"The chamber where the good man meets his fate

Is privileged beyond the common walk

Of virtuous life, quite in the verge of heaven."

His last hours on earth seemed undimmed by even a shadow. Full of calm resignation, implicit faith and trust and radiant hopefulness, his frame seemed to become joyous, almost ecstatic. "Bless the Lord! Praise God for His goodness! It is all right!" often escaped his lips. And while the family and friends knelt in prayer at his couch, he breathed out his soul as gently as the infant falls asleep on the bosom of the mother.

"Servant of God, well done,

Rest from thy loved employ.

The battle fought, the victory won,

Enter thy Master's joy."

From the church whose main pillar he had been for many years, after appropriate exercises conducted by the Presiding Elder assisted by his paster, and by Rev. ___ Matthews, of the Presbyterian Church, in the midst of a large circle of deeply ______ friends, together with his children _________children who survive, he was laid to rest in the town cemetery to ________.


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