E. Mott Davis

WATT, FRANK HEDDEN (1889–1981). Frank Hedden Watt, archeologist and lithographic artist, son of Henry G. and Clara M. Watt, was born near Lynnville, Indiana, on January 15, 1889. He was gifted in music as well as art and trained professionally in both, but his career was in lithographic art. After service in World War I in an aircraft mechanic's unit at Ellington Field near Houston, he settled in Waco in 1920, where for the remaining sixty years of his life he worked as a lithographic artist, associated most of the time with the Hill Printing and Stationery Company. He married Faye Odell in 1920; their son, Frank O. Watt, was born in 1926. Watt was active avocationally in philately and genealogy, corresponding and writing articles in both areas. In 1934 he joined an informal group of Indian artifact collectors, and soon archeology-not simple relic collecting, but reading all the available literature, recording sites, and carrying on careful, documented excavations-was to become, for the rest of his life, a major concern. He and his friends organized the Central Texas Archeological Society in 1934, and in January 1935 Volume 1 of the Bulletin of the Central Texas Archeological Society appeared. It became The Central Texas Archeologist in 1937. The Bulletin appeared under Watt's supervision irregularly through Volume 9 (1969); Volume 10 (1985), after his death, was dedicated to his memory by his circle of friends. Starting in 1939 Watt wrote and published an additional periodical, the mimeographed Central Texas Archeological Society Newsletter, reporting archeological news and other matters of natural history and personal philosophy. A hundred issues eventually appeared, the last one in 1977, when Watt was almost eighty-nine years old. These publications gained Watt a reputation in the Texas archeological world. When archeological salvage work began in Texas reservoir basins after World War II, it was to Frank Watt that professional archaeologists turned for an initial introduction to the prehistoric resources of the Central Brazos. Watt's final and most important project was an excavation with Albert Redder of the stratified Horn Shelter on the Brazos River above Waco. In his report on this work he was able to outline a dated artifact sequence for the Central Brazos, extending in time from Paleo-Indian to Late Prehistoric. This report, which also incorporated evidence from his earlier field research, stands as a basic framework to be tested by future work. Watt lived to see it published; he died in 1981.


E. Mott Davis and Albert J. Redder, "Frank H. Watt, Pioneer Citizen Archeologist," Bulletin of the Texas Archeological Society 53 (1982). Frank H. Watt Collection, Texas Collection, Baylor University.

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

Handbook of Texas Online, E. Mott Davis, "WATT, FRANK HEDDEN," accessed February 28, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fwapb.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on February 22, 2019. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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