Tarlton Watson, my fourth-great-grandfather, was born about 200 years ago in Virginia before his family settled in Middle Tennessee. To be honest, I don’t know if his name was Tarlton or Talton. Census and civil war records give his name an “r”, while two of his children’s death certificate leave the “r” out.
Tarlton died during the Civil War. I wanted to give his life and service a closer look. All records are from Ancestry.com unless otherwise noted. Civil War records are from Fold3.
200 years ago, around 1819, Tarlton Watson was born in Virginia. His parents were most likely Martha McCormack and Josiah Watson. (Read more about them here.) Tarlton’s name was listed as “Jos. Watson” on daughter Sarah Jane’s death certificate, possibly indicating his first or middle name was Josiah, after his father.
The family moved to northern-middle Tennessee during Tarlton’s early years. Josiah is on the 1830 census for Robertson County, Tennessee and Tarlton is one of the boys in the age 10 – 14 category.
In 1841, there is an enumeration of “free white male persons” in District 9 of Montgomery County, Tennessee:
Watson, Thomas (older brother of Tarlton)
Watson, Taitton (Tartlon)
(Source: Montgomery County, TN County Court Minutes Book 21 website)
On December 2, 1844, Tarlton was issued a marriage license to marry Sarah “Sally” Frey in Montgomery County, Tennessee. They married April 2, 1845. (See “Talton Watson and Sarah Frey” in Montgomery County, Tennessee records.)
In 1850, Tarlton and Sally had three daughters. The family lived in Robertson County, Tennessee where Tarlton worked as a farmer. His real estate totaled $300.
By 1860, the family had moved to Cheatham County, Tennessee. Tarlton had seven children. He was still working in farming, but his real estate increased to $1,200 and personal estate $300.
Tarlton enlisted as a Private in the Confederacy on November 25, 1861 at the Red River Bridge by W.A. Shaw. He joined Company K, made up of men from Cheatham County, Tennessee. After enlisting, the soldiers gathered at Fort Donelson in Stewart County, Tennessee. (Source: 49th Tennessee Infantry Volunteers, C.S.A. Website) On February 16, 1862, Fort Donelson was surrendered and the men of the 49th Tennessee were taken prisoner. However, Tarlton was not with his unit. Muster rolls from December 21, 1861 to September 24, 1862 listed Tarlton as sick and on furlough, basically a leave of absence. He would not have been present at the Battle of Fort Donelson.
Tarlton was at home during this time, as his son Albert was born February 13, 1863, and conceived around mid-May 1862.
The next muster roll is for August 2, 1862 to October 31, 1862 lists Tarlton as absent, sick on leave, still. His status is never paid.
The next card states “Died at Jackson, Miss. Dec. 2, 1862”. Was he traveling to meet his unit? In the winter of 1862/1863, the 49th Tennessee Infantry was in Port Hudson, Louisiana. (Source: 49th Tennessee Infantry Volunteers, C.S.A. Website) That’s roughly a 140 mile distance.
I have no record of where Tarlton was buried or why he died, although I suspect it had to do with sickness.
He left behind his wife, Sally, and eight children:
Frances Ann Watson, 1844–1928
Almedia Watson, 1847–1879
Sarah Jane Watson, 1849–1925
Thomas J Watson, 1851–?
Mary Elizabeth Watson, 1853–?
Luvina Watson, 1856–?
George Washington Watson, 1859–?
Albert Floyd Watson, 1863–1908
Tarlton would have been 42 or 43 years old. It doesn’t appear he took part in any Civil War battles, but he was a Civil War casualty, nevertheless.
You have not been forgotten, grandfather.
Posted September 24, 2018