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WATSON, BENJAMIN WILLIAM (1828–1873). Benjamin William Abner Joseph John Frederick Watson, landowner, farmer, and Confederate officer, was born on June 9, 1828, in Virginia. He was the son of Richard Price Watson and Elizabeth (McGeeHee) Watson. Watson came to Ellis County in the 1850s with his father and assisted in the establishment of a plantation on Chambers Creek a few miles northeast of Italy, Texas. Upon his father's death in 1859, Watson took charge of the plantation and by 1860 owned thirty slaves. On May 15, 1850, he married Mary E. Scott in Harrison, Texas. Mary died in 1851. Watson married Margaret Ruth Overstreet in 1854 and the couple produced six children—four daughters and two sons. In 1862 Watson helped recruit and organize the Nineteenth Texas Cavalry Regiment. He enlisted as a captain on March 16, 1862, at Chambers Creek and was elected lieutenant colonel on April 10, 1862. He participated in the Marmaduke Raid into Missouri on April 1, 1863, as well as the Red River campaign. Watson quickly gained recognition for his gallantry and coolness in action. In the summer of 1864 Watson succeeded Nathaniel M. Burford as commander of the Nineteenth Cavalry. At the close of the war, Watson was on the verge of promotion to brigadier general. After the war, he returned to his plantation in Barnham, Ellis County. He died in Waxahachie on September 11, 1873. In 1999 the Texas Historical Commission placed a marker at the Watson Family Cemetery.


Marker Files, Texas Historical Commission, Austin. Memorial and Biographical History of Ellis County (Chicago: Lewis, 1892; rpt., as Ellis County History, Fort Worth: Historical Publishers, 1972).

Aragorn Storm Miller


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

Aragorn Storm Miller, "WATSON, BENJAMIN WILLIAM," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed November 28, 2015. Uploaded on April 13, 2011. Modified on September 20, 2013. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.