Skip to main content

Watkins Family Papers

Identifier: A-0051

Scope and Contents

Diary and autobiography of Richard O. Watkins, accounts of the Runaway Scrape and the Cherokee War, Republic of Texas legal documents, letters and family history. Chiefly photocopies and typescript.


  • Creation: 1836-1973

Language of Materials

The collection is in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Open for research.

Biographical or Historical Information

Jesse Watkins (1776 - 1839) brought his family from Tennessee to Red River County, Texas in 1833, and moved three miles north of Nacogdoches in 1835. Serving as a Justice of the Peace of Nacogdoches from 1837 to 1838, he was also commissioned by the government of the Republic of Texas to negotiate treaties with the Indians in East Texas, which he did until his death at the hands of the Cherokees led by Chief Bowles.

Jesse's son, Richard Overton Watkins (1816-?) was the first Presbyterian minister licensed to preach in Texas,and rode a circuit encompassing most of East Texas, based first in Nacogdoches and later in Kemp, Texas. During the unsettled times of the early Republic, Richard served as a Texas Ranger.

Another of Jesse's sons, Jesse J. Watkins (1828-ca. 1905) settled in Douglass and is represented here with reminiscences of the Runaway Scrape, the Cherokee War, and other early Texas events. Jesse J. Watkins served in the Texas House of Representatives from 1883-1884.

(Weatherly, Mrs. Jesse. "Watkins, Jesse Jernigan," "Watkins, Richard Overton," "Watkins, Jesse Jernigan Jr." Nacogdoches County Families. Dallas: Curtis Media Corporation, 1985. p. 688).


0.20 Cubic Feet


Legal documents of Jesse Watkins, Justice of the Peace of Nacogdoches (1837-1838); diary and autobiography of Richard Overton Watkins, Presbyterian minister and Texas Ranger of Nacogdoches; reminiscences of Jesse J. Watkins about the Runaway Scrape, the Cherokee Indian War and other early Texas events; and genealogical material of the Watkins family.


The collection consists of 13 items described across six folders and contained in one clamshell box. This box was consolidated into a single banker's box. The original folder numbering remains in place. There are four other collections in the banker's box.

Guide to the Watkins Family Papers
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the East Texas Research Center Repository