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Below is a family biography included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Pike County, Arkansas published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1890.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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Dr. Willis S. Watson, a highly respected resident of Pike County, Ark., was born in Dallas County, Ark., June 15, 1855. His father, Rev. Benjamin Watson, was born in Nansemond County, Va., April 10, 1810, and is now one of the oldest ministers in the State, and a man of high intellectual endowments. At the age of eighteen he joined the Virginia Conference; from thence, transferred to the North Carolina Conference. In 1835 he was married to Miss Winifred T. Williams, the daughter of an eminent physician of Halifax County. He was transferred to the Tennessee Conference in 1837. In 1849 was appointed president of Soulesbury Institute, which place he well filled until 1852. Then he took charge of the Tulip Female Seminary, that gave to the State many educated women. He now resides in Jefferson County, still preaches with force, and is much beloved by many. The mother of Dr. Watson was a beautiful woman, widely admired for Christian integrity, and sweetness of disposition. Dr. Watson received a good English education in the common schools. He began the study of medicine in 1876; entered the Missouri Medical College in 1879 and 1880; took a graduating course in 1881 and 1882, in the same school. He commenced practicing at his present place in 1880, and is one of the leading physicians in the county. He owns seventy-five acres of land, with thirty acres under cultivation. The Doctor was married, in 1883, to Miss Mary E. Palmer, the accomplished daughter of A. H. and M. E. (Phillips) Palmer, the father a native of Georgia, the mother of Alabama. Mr. Palmer settled in Columbia County in 1860, and now resides at Rock Creek, Ark. Dr. Watson has three children: Mattie W., Annie E. and Gussie D. Dr. Watson is a true Democrat, and takes an active part in political affairs. He is a liberal supporter of all worthy enterprises. He and wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and the good people of his county esteem him highly as a hard working man, true to his country’s interest, and deeply imbued with an honorable, professional courtesy.

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This family biography is one of 71 biographies included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Pike County, Arkansas published in 1890.  For the complete description, click here: Pike County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

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