in a Pecan Shell Charles
Coffin Watterson, and his wife Martha are credited as being the first settlers
here. The Wattersons arrived in the early 1850s and were soon joined by Samuel
and Caroline Wolfenbarger and others.
These settlers were mostly farmers
who raised livestock.
The community was officially using the name Live
Oaks and a post office was granted under that name in 1878 (with Charles Watterson
as the first postmaster).
Watterson had to have been held in high regard
by his neighbors, for in 1891 they honored him by renaming the town for him.
The community had a population of 100 by the mid 1890s with the residents being
served by a cotton gin, gristmill and a general store.
Two local schools
(Lentz Branch and Hilbig) merged with the Watterson school in 1900.
Watterson post office closed its doors in 1904. The community doesn’t seem to
have suffered any disasters and made it through the Great Depression, although
it’s hard to measure the economy due to lack of population figures.
larger farms in the region had broken into smaller plots by the 1960s and many
of the area’s residents are direct descendants of the town’s initial settlers.
“My mother, Josephine Metcalfe, taught at the school in the 1930s.”
- Francis Smith
of Watterson School, 1937|
Photo courtesy Josephine Metcalfe Smith
Somewhere in Watterson is this real, handmade rail fence, set
up as our grandfather remembered them in Tennessee. He wanted a snapshot taken
before it should disappear. The year is about 1929. The man is Dr. T. B. Taylor,
medical doctor, Bastrop; the girl became a teacher at the school in 1937.
of Watterson School -
Watterson School building, 1937, front entry into
the building, Smith, 2009. The two doors are probably from the days when boys
and girls entered separately! This was also the community church building (1937)
with removable interior wall to provide two classrooms, two teachers: lower grades
in first room, upper grades in second.
There were no convenient buses;
students and teachers came on foot or horseback. Compare TE photo of cat on rutted
road with the paved one in Smith photo, 2009. In 1937, when it rained, only horses
and people a-foot could get about. No one could come in to us; no one could get
out. But Watterson people have endured from 1850 to a new millennium. That's Texas.
- Sincerely, Josephine Metcalfe Smith, 2010
way to Watterson|
Photo courtesy Francis Smith, 2009
TE photo, April 2010