|Rev. Vincent W. Watson|
While pursuing my family history I've come across scoundrels and bigamists, nuns and ordinary people just trying their best to get by; some fascinating and others not terribly so. They all have their stories nonetheless, that should be told. This blog is about a cousin I dearly would have loved to meet, he passed away only five years ago though regretfully, our paths never crossed.
I put a small tree on the Family Search website a few months ago and every once in awhile I get a message from them about a possible match, sort of like Ancestry's little leaf hints. This new match was from my Vincent line on Mom's side. It contained a link to an obituary dated 2013 on a pay site I don't have a subscription to. The obituary was so recent I thought perhaps it could be accessed on another site and sure enough it could. The funeral home the family used had posted it.
I knew of this man's existence, and that he had become a Methodist minister, but had no idea he was still among the living in the 21st century. My mother's grandmother Hattie Vincent had a brother named George. George Vincent's daughter Grace and her husband Floyd Watson were the parents of my newly rediscovered cousin Rev. Vincent Watson, born in 1916. His family lived in downstate New York and Connecticut, hundreds of miles from where my family resides and as families sometimes do, they drifted apart.
In part, his obituary read,
"In 1955, Rev. Watson received the George Washington medal for a Memorial Day sermon, "Our Responsibility for Remembering." Participation in civic activities included the 1963 March on Washington and a 1965 trip to Selma, AL."That stopped me in my tracks. Vincent Watson's parent were born and raised in a very rural area not known for, shall we say, a deep interest in civil rights. I was surprised and curious, but mostly I very proud of this man. A cousin on my father's side who belonged to the order of the Sisters of St. Joseph was in Selma in 1965 and helped care for the marchers who were attacked and injured there. The bishop had forbade the nuns to march so they did their bit by tending the wounded, but Rev. Watson was out there on the street!
The obituary continued,
"In 1984, Rev. Watson began genealogy research which led to an expansive family tree; an only child with few close relatives, Rev. Watson discovered ancestry connections as far back as the fifth century."He was interested in genealogy! How did we not connect? It occurs to me he may have stopped actively researching by the time the internet and message boards came about, he would have been 68 in 1984. Ancestry would not go online until 1996 and at that early date was nothing like the site we use today. I must confess I'm slightly skeptical of the claim about the 5th century but still, I'm sad I missed this remarkable man. And I think I may need to add to my Family Search tree.