Dr. Samuel C. Watson was born in Charleston, South Carolina on the 15th of August, 1832. His parents were Alex and Margaret Watson and he had a younger brother named David. At the age of nine years old, he was orphaned and went to live with a Presbyterian minister in Washington D.C. He received an excellent education and went on to attend Union Seminary. When he was 16, he attended Phillips Academy and in 1853, he attended Oberlin College. Later that same year, Dr. Watson left Oberlin College and attended The University of Michigan to study medicine. After completing studies at Western Homeopathic College in Cleveland Ohio, Dr. Watson moved to Chatham and he opened a medical practice.
Dr. Watson married Sarah Louise Smith on the 26th of February, 1861 in Salem, Massachusetts. She was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on the 10th of December, 1834, the daughter of Peter and Sarah Cassey. (Mrs. Watson had been married once before). It states on their marriage record, that Dr. Watson was a physician living in Chatham at the time of their marriage. After his marriage, Dr. Watson practiced medicine for a short time in Toronto. Their daughter Amy was born in Toronto on the 18th of February, 1863 (died in 1933).
Shortly after the birth of their daughter Amy, Dr. and Mrs. Watson moved to Detroit. Dr. Watson gave up practicing medicine and opened a pharmacy and continued in this field until he died. Dr. Watson enlisted in the American Civil War in June of 1863.
Dr. and Mrs. Watson went on to have 4 more children, including, Donald (1865-1872), Edith, Arthur and Wendell (1872-1873).
Mrs. Watson died in Detroit on the 2nd of December, 1875 at the age of 41. She was buried at Elmwood Cemetery in Detroit. Her sons Donald and Wendell are buried near her.
Dr. Watson married Camilla D. Coleman. She was born in Pennsylvania in 1852 to Sylvester Coleman and the former Georgianna Rutherford. She was the eldest of 4 children. Her siblings were; Mary, Franklin and Lillie.
Dr. and Mrs. Watson had two children, Lillie (born in 1878) and Alexander (born in 1887).
According to the 1880 census, Dr. Watson’s brother David L. Watson resided with the family as did David’s 22 year old son David Jr. His brother David was a drug store clerk and David Jr. was a bookkeeper.
Dr. Watson engaged in politics and he sat on the city’s board of estimates. Twice he ran unsuccessfully for the state legislature but he was eventually elected to the Detroit City Council in 1883. In 1884, Dr. Watson was elected as a delegate to the Republican National Convention. That same year a notice in the August 21st edition of the Chicago Tribune stated that Dr. Watson had been appointed a Commissioner to represent the “colored people” of Michigan at the World’s Fair in New Orleans.
Dr. Watson died of pneumonia on the 13th of March, 1892 and he was buried at Elmwood Cemetery near his first wife Sarah. At the time of his death, he resided at 557 Jefferson Ave., in Detroit.
Mrs. Watson married Dr. Watson’s nephew David L. Watson Jr. on the 13th of February, 1894 in Windsor, Ontario. At the time of their wedding Mr. Watson’s occupation was listed as a U.S. Customs cashier.
Mrs. Camilla Watson died on the 4th of January, 1917 and she was buried at Elmwood Cemetery.
Reference: The Black Abolitionist Papers, Volumn II Canada 1830-1865.
The tombstone of Sarah Watson