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Migration of Some of the Children of
James and Anne White Watkins of Sussex County, Virginia

Historians report that migration in the early United States tended to be a family matter with families of multiple units migrating from one state to another in search of a better way of life.  Land was often the attraction.  Sometimes land was free; other times it was relatively inexpensive; and often times it had richer, more tillable soil. 

The “History of Logan County and Ohio” published in 1880 by O.L. Baskin and Co., Historical Publishers, Chicago reported:

James Watkins, Sr. came from England about the middle of the 18th century and settled in Sussex County, Virginia…

We have no record of James Watkins’ wife.  They had eight children, five sons and three daughters… All came to Ohio at different times early in the 19th century. Robert later went to Indiana where his descendents started the well-known Watkins Products.

Since this book was published, there has been more research that shows it was not completely accurate.  Following is a list of the ten children of James and Anne White Watkins, seven of whom migrated to Ohio. The document that proves that James and Anne had ten children is James' will, dated 30 July, 1799. Each of the following ten children is mentioned in his will except for Mary, who had died before the will was written. But her son, James Hunnicutt, is named thus documenting her prior existence.

1. Mary Watkins (10 Nov 1772 – 1 Nov 1793) She died about a year after marrying a Thomas Hunnicutt in Virginia.  This suggests that she may have died from complications in child birth. Her father's will mentions his grandson, James Hunnicutt; so assuming that he was indeed Mary's son, he survived her.
2. Sarah Watkins (22 Dec 1774 – 12 May 1852) She married a Daniel Butler then migrated to Ohio where she died in 1852. The Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy says that she was buried in the Goshen Cemetery in Logan County, Ohio, but this has not been verified.
3. Susannah Watkins (2 Sep 1777 – 30 Oct 1846) She married Henry Merrimoon (Marmon) then migrated to Ohio where she died in 1846 and was buried in the Goshen (Friends) Cemetery in Jefferson Township, Logan County, Ohio.
4. Reuben Watkins (13 May 1779 – 17 Sep 1835) Reuben married Anna Patterson from North Carolina, and they immigrated to Ohio.  Reuben was buried in the Goshen (Friends) Cemetery in Jefferson Township, Logan County, Ohio.
5. John White Watkins (1 Jun 1781 – 8 Jun 1852) He married an Elizabeth Johnson and migrated to Ohio where he died in 1852. He and Elizabeth had nine children.  It is reported that he was buried in the Goshen (Friends) Cemetery in Jefferson Township, Logan County, Ohio, but there is no support for this.
6. Winnifred Watkins (12 Aug 1784 – about 1830) She married Robert Ricks. According to the research of James Carroll Watkins of Linwood, Kansas, she died in Ohio in 1830. 
7. James Watkins, Jr. (6 Jun 1776 – 13 Aug 1866) After migrating to Belmont County, Ohio in 1809, he returned to Virginia where he married Nancy Ann White. In 1816 they migrated to Logan County, Ohio. He was buried in the Quaker Cemetery in Perry Township, Logan County, Ohio. The location of his wife's burial has not been determined.
8. Benjamin Watkins (12 Oct 1788 – 23 May 1865) After migrating to Ohio, he married Obedience Merrimoon (Marmon), and they had ten children.  He died in 1865 and was buried in the Goshen (Friends) Cemetery in Jefferson Township, Logan County, Ohio.
9. Amos Watkins (22 Sep 1790 - 1816) Amos Watkins married Patsy Hart, daughter of Henry Hart. He died in 1816, and Patsy waived her right to be administrator of his estate. On 3 October 1816, the court appointed Peter Booth to administer the estate.
10. Robert Watkins (17 Oct 1793 – 20 Aug 1831) Research done at the University of Virginia by James Carroll Watkins of Linwood, Kansas shows that Robert Watkins did NOT emigrate from Virginia.  Rather, he married Agnes Binford; they had two daughters; and he died in Virginia in 1831. Later, after their daughter, Louisa, had married Benjamin Peebles, their family moved to Franklin Township, Montgomery, Indiana where Agnes is found in the 1850 and 1860 census records.

In summary, Sarah, Susannah, John, Winnifred, James, Benjamin, and Reuben are the seven who emigrated from Virginia to Ohio.  Mary, Robert and Amos died in Virginia.

Douglas Edwin Watkins
Falmouth, Maine
Updated 29 November, 2012

Reference: Sussex County [Virginia] Will Book "F" (1796-1806), p. 165



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