George Watson, one of the most prominent of the early inhabitants of Plymouth, came to New England about the year 1632. He was a resident of the town of Plymouth in 1633, and a freeman of the colony in 1634.
In 1635 he became a householder, having purchased the dwelling-house of Deacon Richard Masterson, and married Phebe, daughter of Robert Hicks, who was a passenger in the "Fortune," in the fall of 1621, with Mr. Robert Cushman, the noted agent of the colonists. Phebe, with her mother and the other members of the family, came in the "Ann," during the summer of 1623.
Mr. Watson (who, there is reason to believe, was the second son of Robert and Elizabeth, and brother of Robert, who married Mary Rockwell, and of Thomas, who had a wife named Sarah, subsequently the wife of Samuel Dunham) very early rose to considerable consequence in the little community at Plymouth, respectably performing the duties of many offices, and, like a prudent and persevering man, largely increasing the number of his broad acres, and rearing up a family of children, who in their turn have each been the parent stock of a large number of the most respectable and public-spirited men in the Old Colony.
Mr. Watson died, according to the old style of reckoning time, on the thirty-first of January, 1688-9, having entered upon the 87th year of his age; so that, by computation, it would appear that he was born early in the year 1602, which would have made his age about 21 when he came in the "Fortune," in November, 1621. His children were, Phebe, who married Deacon Jonathan Shaw, January 22, 1656-7, o. s.; Mary, who married Thomas Leonard of Taunton, August 21, 1662, o. s.; John, who died young; Samuel and Elizabeth, twins, born January 18, 1647-8, o. s., of whom Samuel died August 20, 1649, o. s., and Elizabeth married Joseph Williams, of Taunton, November 28, 1667, o. s.; Jonathan, born March 9, 1651-2, o. s., and died in infancy; and Elkanah, born February 25, 1655-6, o. s., married Mercy Hedge in 1676, and was drowned in Plymouth Harbor, at the same time with Edward Dotey and John Dotey, February 8, 1689-90, o. s. Mrs. Phebe Watson, the wife, died May 22, 1663, o. s.
The engraving printed in connection with this article exhibits the appearance of a memorial relic of Mr. Watson, which has been carefully preserved and handed down in one of the branches of the family two hundred and twenty-five years The silver bowl was brought to this country by Mr. Watson, and bears his initials, "G. W.," on its base. At his decease, in 1689, it fell to his daughter Elizabeth, wife of Mr. Joseph Williams of Taunton, and bears their initials, "I.E./W." Then it passed to Elizabeth, wife of Jacob White, daughter of Benjamin Williams, and granddaughter of the above-named Mrs. Elizabeth Williams, who subsequently gave it to her great-grandson, Nehemiah Hall, in whose possession it now is, and whose initials, "N. H.," it also bears. It is preserved here as a link between the present and the olden time, and as a memorial of a most worthy man.
1. "George Watson," The Illustrated Pilgrim Memorial, 1863, page 24.