Save our state's cemeteries

Published 3:29 am Wednesday, October 13, 2004

By By LYDIA GRIMES Feature Reporter
I want to get into some more information on the Watson family, but first I wanted to pass along some information about an upcoming event.
The Alabama Cemetery Preservation Alliance (ACPA), Alabama Historical Commission (AHC) and the Montgomery Genealogical Society (MGS) are co-sponsoring the third statewide cemetery workshop.
This is in response to the continuing need for the public to join with genealogical, historical and preservation groups to help preserve this very important part of community heritage.
Throughout the state, most counties and cities lack ordinances and laws to protect the sacred burial grounds of their ancestors and those of this generation who are being buried today.
This meeting, titled "Saving the Past for the Future," will be held Saturday, Nov. 6, from 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. at the Alabama State Capitol Building Auditorium in Montgomery. There will be speakers on hand to discuss the importance of maintaining and mapping the burial sites around the state. New methods of preserving and restoring will be presented and members of the ACPA, AHC, MGS and the Black Heritage Council will be there to give an overview of their organizations.
If you are interested in preserving the resting places of your ancestors, you might want to attend the workshop. The registration fee is $25 with lunch and $20 without lunch, per person.
To register, send name, address, phone number, email address and check payable to the ACPA. For more information contact Lorena Joyce Nicoll, Alabama Cemetery Preservation Alliance (ACPA), 3806 Pelzer Avenue, Montgomery, Ala. 36109-2816 or email
I would urge anyone who could to please attend this meeting. I believe it is so important to take care of cemeteries and preserve them for the future. I can tell you from past experience, those that have been maintained have been very helpful in genealogy, not to mention history.
Now to the Watson family.
I have some information about the Watson family of Monroe, Conecuh and Escambia Counties in Alabama. It is a bit sketchy, but very interesting.
Thomas Watson (18 Oct. 1764-9 June 1834) and Susanne Zackery (26 May 1770-9 March 1815) were the ancestors of this family.
They were early settlers of Monroe County. One of their children was Josiah Randall Watson (14 March 1809) and Mary Pritchett. They produced a large family of 10 children. Some of them were a daughter who married Pinckney Straughn, the son of Fielding Straughn, another early settler; Mary Susan Watson who married Thomas McDonald; Thomas Grant Watson and William Carroll Randall Watson.
William "Bill" Carroll Randall Watson (18 Jan. 1840-25 April 1918) married first Susan Page (19 Dec. 1837-30 Sept. 1904), the daughter of Allen Page and Sarah Ann Wright.
They were the parents of several children but only two survived, Opheila Lillian Watson (22 Dec. 1861-2 March 1880) and Sarah Anne Watson (9 April 1866-26 Feb. 1924).
Both of these girls married Phillip H.M. Baggett. After the death of Lillian (Lilla), whom he married in 1878, he married her sister, Sarah Anne, in 1880. They were the parents of two children, Henry Grady Baggett (29 June 1890) and Enoch Elijah Baggett (7 July 1897).
Bill Carroll, along with his son-in-law, Phillip H.M. Baggett, were responsible for the planting of large crops of strawberries for sale to the market. The Watson and Baggett families were the first to grow and produce strawberries commercially, and for many years shipped them up north by the boxcar loads.
Now I know that there were other Watson families in the area. If you know of them and wish to share your information, let me know and I will add them to my list.
While I am asking you to share your Watson information, let me also encourage you to share any of your family information with me. I will be glad to put it in this column so that others can see it and maybe added to it. Believe me, it works.
Contact me by email at or by mail at P.O. Box 887, Brewton, Ala. 36427.