WATKINS, THEOPHILUS

Sallie Lewis

WATKINS, THEOPHILUS (1819–1883). Theophilus Watkins, irrigation pioneer, was born in Kentucky in 1819. He was married to Susan Williams, and they had one daughter. After his wife's death he moved to Texas in 1845 with his brother, Charles, and lived for a time near the site of present Sabinal, on land later known as Watkins' Flat. In 1848 he went to California but returned to Kentucky in 1850; he moved back to Texas in 1854, this time bringing his daughter. He was a captain at Fort Inge near Uvalde, and his company protected the area from Indian attacks. On December 1, 1867, he was married in Kentucky to Frances Anna Elizabeth Mosely; they had six children. Watkins settled in the valley of the Frio River, Frio Canyon, in what later became Real County, where he saw the possibilities for an irrigation system with water from the Frio River. In 1868, together with F. Smith and Newman Patterson, he constructed a ditch ten miles long and five feet wide, with a depth ranging from three to four feet. It was a gravity canal supplied with water by means of a dam built of brush and gravel on the main Frio River. The ditch was not put into full operation until a charter was granted to the Lombardy Irrigation Company on August 20, 1875. The ditch was still in operation in the 1960s, and the dam had been rebuilt a number of times. Watkins died in 1883 and was buried in the cemetery at Rio Frio.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 
Grace Lorene Lewis, A History of Real County (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1956).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Sallie Lewis, "WATKINS, THEOPHILUS," accessed October 14, 2019, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fwa70.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...