IN the year 1880, on the 4th of March, Limestone township was divided into
about equal parts, and the northern half was organized into a separate
township called "Watson," in honor of Hon. L. F. Watson, of Warren, who
owned extensive tracts of timber lands in that section.
No oil developments have as yet been made in this township, but it is by
no means condemned territory, as it has never been thoroughly tested, and
what may be in store for it in the future as an oil field, can only be ascertained
as the drill makes its way thoroughly through the township.
The inhabitants at present are engaged in clearing lands, farming, and lumbering.
Some of the finest timber tracts in the county are to be found here,
and there are eight steam saw-mills located in this township, with an average
capacity of twenty-five thousand feet of timber per day. At this rate
the best timbered tracts will soon be stripped, and the attention of the inhabitants
must of necessity be turned more exclusively to farming. The aggregate
value of the saw-mills as assessed in this township is over $12,000.
The schools of Watson township are good country schools. There are five
school-houses valued in the aggregate at $2,000, and schools are at present
held in each. These schools with number of scholars enrolled are as follows:
Miller's school, 18 scholars enrolled; Cobham school, 22 scholars enrolled ;
Luken's school, 15 scholars enrolled; Slater's school, 10 scholars enrolled;
Baxter's school, 8 scholars enrolled; making a total of seventy-three scholars.
There are no churches in Watson township, but religious services are held
in the various school-houses regularly under the control of the Evangelical
Association. Rev. M. V. De Vaux has charge of this work at present. A
public burial-ground is located near the Lukens school-house.
Large tracts of the land in Watson township, as in Limestone, are owned
by capitalists and others. Hon. L. F. Watson owns about 3,500 acres in this
township. Grandin and Slater own about 2,000 acres. B. D. and J. Mowris
own about 1,500 acres. B. F. Rynd owns about 1,100 acres. These large
tracts, owned and controlled by single individuals, would naturally retard the
settlement. A large part of Watson township is still an entire wilderness.
The unseated lands of Watson township are valued at $51,590. There are
about three hundred inhabitants in this township at the present time. Among
the prominent citizens of Watson township are Jacob Conarro, Benjamin D.
Mowris, William Lawrence, John H. Conarro, James McFarland,
W. J. Slater, James Russell, John Rapp, Robert Slater,
and John W. Wilkins.
Sketches of the lives of a few of the above will be found below:
Mowris, Peter, one of the earliest settlers in Watson township, was born
in Ulster county, N. Y. He came with his wife to Warren county in 1843,
and settled in Watson township, then called " Limestone." He died in 1880.
His wife survived him six years.
Mowris, B. D., son of Peter Mowris, was born in Ulster county, N. Y., in
the year 1830. He came to Watson township with his father in 1843, where
he still resides. His wife, Nellie (Cameron) Mowris, was born in Morayshire,
Scotland, in 1850.
Conarro, Jacob, was born in Monmouth county, N. J., in 1821, and came
to Watson township in 1852. His wife, Harietta (Fredrick) Conarro, was born
in Steuben county, N. Y., in 1832.
McFarland, James, was born in Tyrone county, Ireland, in 1824, and came
to Watson in 1855. His wife, Elizabeth (Lukens) McFarland, was born in
Philadelphia in 1824. His father, Samuel McFarland, was a soldier in the
War of 1812. He belonged to the artillery, and was a participant in the battle
of New Orleans.
Slater, W. J., was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1845, and came to Limestone,
now Watson township, in 1858. His wife, Ordelia (Houser) Slater, was
born in Limestone township in 1845.
Russell, sr, James, was born in Butler county, Pa., in 1812, and came to
Warren county in 1868. His wife, Rachael (Connely) Russell, was born in
Youngsville, Pa., in 1821. His father, Samuel Russell, was born in Ireland in
1776; he was a soldier in the War of 1812, and came to Warren county in