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Case Study - Chief Louis Watso
Parents, Siblings, Spouses, & Children


Facts, Oral Tradition, & Conclusions

Compiled Mar 1999 - revised Nov 2000

Research by "Canyon Wolf" for Ne-Bo-Ba

The Abenaki family name WATSO/WATZEAU is well known at the Village of Odanak and is believed to be the same family known as WATSAW in the Adirondack Region of New York. This case study is presented to; explore the ancestry of the Watso family name, explore the possibly connections between the two families, and to share the information that we have collected concerning the individuals involved.

The primary issue of this case study is the proper identification of Louis Watso. We begin with a study of the families of Joachim Otondosonne and Michel Agent and their Durham Land Grant Records to determine the identity of Louis Watso, who is heir to both these men. Once his proper identification is established, we explore the identity of his children and others of the Watso/Watsaw family name. Next we explore the possible links between Louis Watso and the others. Finally, we present a proposed 3 Generation Family Tree for Joachim Otondosonne as suggested by this case study.

After this case study first appeared, we received additional evidence relating to the proper identity of Louis Watso. The information supported our original conclusions and made much of our research work unnecessary. However, that is not to say that we wasted our time. We did learn a great deal from doing the research and presenting it to the public. The public will learn much about the problems of researching Native genealogy by reading through this case study.

See Case Study Abbreviations & Style for information on how to read the codes and abbreviations used in Case Studies.

Primary Individuals of this study


Other Individuals involved in this study


General Bibliography

See separate Information Pages for each source of information and transcripts.

 

<1> Joachim OTONDOSONNE

Facts, Oral Tradition, & Conclusions

Known Descendants:

Vital Records - Census, Church, Etc. Notes & Conclusions

The Durham records clearly show that Otondosonne had two sons and four daughters associated with St. Francois and Durham. There may have been others, possibly adults living at other places. Children identified in the Durham documents are daughters - Marie Alaine, Louise Catherine, Francoise Angelique, and Marie Anne, & sons - Lazare, and Louis Degonzague - the later generally given as Louis Watso [both names never appear on same list -NL]. Sally referred to by [HFN] is probably Sophie, a Gdau rather than daughter. The children of Francois Joseph, mentioned as heirs, are great grandchildren - their father and grandfather both being deceased before 1845. The last known son is the one in question -- is Louis Degonzague the same person as Chief Louis Watso and are they the son, Old Wajo, identified by [HFN]?

There are no vital records other than [OCD-DLGP] that relate directly to Joachim Otondosonne. Records that indirectly relate to him are included with the specific family members that they involve.

 

<2> Chief Louis Watso

Grand Chief at Odanak
Facts, Oral Tradition, & Conclusions

Known Descendants:

Vital Records - Census, Church, Etc.

Notes & Conclusions

The family name WATSO does not appear in our Odanak records before 1828.

 

<3> Louis Degonzgue <OTONDOSONNE>

Facts, Oral Tradition, & Conclusions

Known Descendants:

Vital Records - Census, Church, Etc. Notes & Conclusions

This Louis Degonzague can not be identified in our Odanak records after 1822 with any certainty. There were at least 2 others by the name Louis Degonzague in late 1700's early 1800's. The key to who's who is found in the 1822 Durham Land transfer record which gives "Louis Degonzague, son of the late Joachim Ododoson and Marie Annieces his spouse ...", as well as the marriage record which shows a marriage to Marie Anne in 1814 with him as widower of Marguerite. The other Louis' vital statistics do not support existance of these two wives - i.e. Louis Degonzague (pere) m. (1) bef 1798 Cecile and m(2) 1833 Marguerite Gill - Louis de Gonzague (grand Chief) was probably m.(1)1822 to Marie Louise Wonlinas, than m.(2) to Therese __, and finally m.(3) 1843 Theotiste Courchesne. For clarification, we give the vital statistics for the other two men in a separate document.

 

<4> Wajo OTONDOSONNE

Facts, Oral Tradition, & Conclusions

Known Descendants:

Vital Records - Census, Church, Etc.

Notes & Conclusions

This person is only identified by [HFN]'s informants and is in NY in 1869. [HFN] never mentions that he was a chief, but perhaps the informants or Mr. Harrington assumed that this would be generally known? There is also no mention of a wife, children, or siblings other than the sister, Marie Alaine.

 

<5> Marie Eulalie <GILL>

Facts, Oral Tradition, & Conclusions

Known Descendants:

Vital Records - Census, Church, Etc.

Notes & Conclusions

Saraphine widow of Paul in the census is the d/o Louis Watso by his first wife.

We believe that Day was mistaken when he inferred that Louis Watso's "father was a Watso, given name unknown to me". We find no evidence at this time that Joachim Otondosonne or any of his children, except Louis, ever used the name Watso. This concept probably came from a Gill family statement that descendants of Josephte Gill were called Wajo. Some of her descendants did use the name Watso, but that by itself does not validate a marriage by her to a Watso.

Was Louis the child of Marie Eulalie by a previous husband? This is possible but not very likely based on the records that we have access to. It is also possible that it was her father that was a Watso. That she used her mother's name of Gill, is not uncommon.

 

<6> AGENT Pierre Michel, War Chief, Captain

[probably Michel Pierre AGENT or
Pierre Michel AGENT, -NL]
Facts, Oral Tradition, & Conclusions

Known Descendants:

Family Vital Records - Census, Church, Etc.

Notes & Conclusions

From the Durham Papers we learn Capt. Agens had 2 sons and 2 daughters - all b.bef 1803; Michel, Joseph Louis [who most likely died without issue bef 20-Oct-1822 -NL], Marie Alaine, and Marie Anniece [Eunice -NL]. Louis Watso is given as an heir on lists that do not contain the name of Marie Anniece and [OSD-DDOC3] seems to be saying that he is the brother-in-law of Marie Alaine & Michel. Therefore, it seems very clear that Chief Louis Watso aka Louis Degonzague m.bef 20-Oct-1822 Marie Anniece, the d/o Pierre Michel Agent.

Capt. Agent's wife, Marie Angelique, and children, Michel and Marie Alaine can be traced in Odanak documents until 1852. There are periods when they do not appear by name, so perhaps they were living at other places at various times.

 

<a> Marie Alaine OTONDOSONNE

Facts, Oral Tradition, & Conclusions

Known Descendants:

Vital Records - Census, Church, Etc.

Notes & Conclusions

We can not make anything of the note in 1852 "to mother" but there is only 1 woman in the household in 1850 and 1852 and no data for 1851. It seems possible that Marie Alaine is somewhere else but the Gdau is still at Odanak or the other way around. Marie Alaine is often listed as Marie Allen in Durham records. We have found the names Helene, Allen, and Alaine to be somewhat interchangeable in early documents.

 

<b> Louise Catherine <OTONDOSONNE>

Facts, Oral Tradition, & Conclusions

Possible Descendants:

Vital Records - Census, Church, Etc.

Notes & Conclusions

Both she and her husband probably died before 1840, as 2 of the Durham lists only refer to the children of Louise Catherine and not directly to her. Her sister, Marie Alaine, is always mentioned in the Durham lists but not her child or grandchild because she (Marie Alaine) is still living. We do not find Laurent Pakikan in any of our census records, but we do find a Louise __ listed with widows and orphans in 1822 (0,1/0,0,0/1,0,0). [TVR-22SF]

 

<c> Marie Anne OTONDOSONNE

Facts, Oral Tradition, & Conclusions

Known Descendants:

Vital Records - Census, Church, Etc.

Notes & Conclusions

It is very likely that the marriage record of 1813 is actually that of Joseph Thomas Capino and Marie Anne Otondosonne. In Durham Land Records we find that Capt. Robert Pinawons/Capino had sons, Joseph Thomas and Francois de Sale in 1803. We find a Joseph Capino listed in 1822 with a family (1,1/1,0,2/0,1,0). [TVR-22SF] If this is Joseph Thomas, than the oldest male child is probably by his first wife. Francois de Sale Capino (1 of 2 listed in these census years) has a son (or sons) of Joseph Thomas (under age 15) with him in 1844 & 1845. Theophile Capino appears as a single adult (age 15+) in 1850-1852 at Durham. A Joseph Capino that appears as a single adult (age 15+) in 1850-1852 at Durham is probably another son.

 

<d> Francoise Angelique 'Sally' <OTONDOSONNE>

Facts, Oral Tradition, & Conclusions

Notes & Conclusions

A Francoise Angelique m. Francois de Sales Capino in 1812. In that record she is given as the d/o Joachim & Marie Eulalie. When the daughter of Francois de Sale Capino m. in 1834 at Durham, her mother is listed as Sally Joachim - not Francoise Angelique! So this seems to be the daughter 'Sally' that is mentioned in [HFN].

But, Harrington also says that Sally was m. to 'Maxi Woxel'. Some researchers believe that 'Maxi Woxel' is a very poor hearing by Harrington of the name, Alexis Maurice, the man who m. Sally's daughter.

See the next section for more on Sally.

 

<e> Sally <OTONDOSONNE>

Facts, Oral Tradition, & Conclusions

all the following from [HFN]

Notes & Conclusions

The Capino marriage records (previous section) make it very clear that the spouse, Francoise Angelique, was a d/o Joachim & Marie Eulalie and that she was also known as Sally Joachim. We CAN NOT prove through documentation that her father, Joachim, is Otondosonne, but we feel very confident that this is Sally Otondosonne. Additional resources are needed to prove this beyond a doubt.

 

<f> Louis Lazare <OTONDOSONNE>

Facts, Oral Tradition, & Conclusions

This is the s/o Lazare and grandson of Otondosonne. He is the brother of Francois Joseph. These two grandchildren show up as heirs on Durham lists because their father has died. There is another brother that should appear on these lists as heir. He is Augustus Lazare b.abt.1807 and d.1837. The fact that he does not show up on any lists with his brothers indicates those lists where created after his death. Augustus did marry but apparently had no child to inherit his share of the Otondosonne land.

 

<g> Francois Joseph <OTONDOSONNE>, his children

Facts, Oral Tradition, & Conclusions

Known Descendants:

Notes & Conclusions

This is the s/o Lazare and Gson of Otondosonne. He is the brother of Louis Lazare. These two grandchildren show up as heirs on Durham lists because their father has died. Francois Joseph dies between 1841 and 1844 and his children (Otondosonne's great grandchildren) become heirs to the Otondosonne lands. Therefore, any list mentioning the children of Francois Joseph as heirs must have been created after 1841.

 

<f> Lazare <OTONDOSONNE>

Facts, Oral Tradition, & Conclusions

Lazare died about 1811 when a dau. is born to 'late Lazar'. From that point on his children become the heirs to his portion of Otondosonne's Durham lands.

 

<2> Chief Louis WATSO
<3> Louis Degonzague <OTONDOSONNE>
<4> Watso OTONDOSONNE

Our Conclusions

We originally set out to show that Chief Louis Watso, Louis Degonzague Otondosonne, and Watso Otondosonne were all the same person. Our initial data did bring us very close to proving this, but came up just a little short of being conclusive. Since that time, another researcher has found the missing piece of this particular puzzle. In the Durham land records on a document dated 1836 [Bebe] found this statement 'Louis deGonzaque O'todoson alias Louis Watso' - so there we have it. This only goes to show that team work is frequently needed to unravel the mysteries of the past.

Besides the above statement, we believe that the Agent land transfer document of 1822 and lists of heirs from [OCD-DLGP] does confirm that Louis Degonzague and Chief Louis Watso are the same person, that he married Marie Anniece (Eunice) Agent and was the son of Joachim Otondosonne and Marie Eulalie. For the link to 'Old Wajo', we have numerous accounts and census records showing 'the old Chief' and Louis Watso being the person known at Lake George which compliments the oral tradition of 'Old Wajo' being at Lake George.

The picture does become a little hazy when we apply all of the information from oral tradition in a literal sense. Oral tradition is the memory of events and people of the past or of stories that were told to us by others. EXACT names, dates, relationships, locations, and details from our past can become confused or vague with time. When we view the oral tradition in this case study in general terms, it does appear to support the documented information. i.e. "Louis Watso's father was a Watso" does not appear to be true but may be true of Louis Watso's grandfather. "Sally married Maxi Waxel" is not supported by documentation, but the marriage of her daughter to him is.

Oral tradition is very important to any family study, but should be kept in perspective.

We propose the following vital statistics belong to Chief Louis Watso

He appears in documents at Odanak and Durham as Louis Degonzague until the year 1822, as Louis Watso from 1828 to 1852, and was known as Old Wajo or Wajo Otondosonne by oral tradition. His family was grown by 1841 when all members of the household are adults. He was heir to lands at Durham through his father (Otondosonne) and father-in-law (Agent). His second wife d. 23-Apr-1848 age 50 and her burial is recorded in Congregational Church records. His family came to Odanak from the Saint-Hilaire/Richelieu River region. At various times his mother, Marie Eulalie Gill aka Molly Swassin, and his sister, Marie Alaine Otondosonne, lived with him. His father was buried at Barton VT bef Jan-1813. His mother was at Bury VT "In the time of the boundry line dispute ...". His mother d. abt 1843 at Durham where she is buried. Louis was alive in 1875, collecting a military pension. While in Lake George, he lived on Sewell Street, which was known as a Native community. Several years after 1877, he and his grandson 'Boney' are reported to have saved a man's life in a forrest fire near Lake George NY. He is mentioned in a NY newspaper in 1882 as still living. Chief Louis Watso lived to be over 100 years of age.

It should be noted that Chief Louis Watso is the oldest person in documentation to use the name Watso. Therefore, it is not difficult to speculate that he may be the ancestor of all others that use the family name Watso.

 

Other WATSO at Odanak & the Adirondacks

Facts, Oral Tradition, & Conclusions
   

Known Descendants of Chief Louis Watso:

1841 Census names two adult sons (age 15+ -- both b. by 1829) living with Chief Louis Watso in this year, Joseph Louis and Simon. He also has three adult women (age 14+) with him this year. One would be his wife, but the others are not identified by name. They may be sisters or daughters.

<h> Joseph Louis Watso is m. with a young family in 1844 census. He continues to appear in census and is at Durham in 1845, 1850, and 1851. He appears to be at Odanak rather than Durham in 1852. He does not appear to be in the 1861 Pierreville Census (we do not have a complete copy of this census -NL). His wife is identified only as Marie, through the records of his children.

<i> Simon Watso appears with his father in 1841 and 1844. He is listed immediately after his father in 1845, 1850, 1851, and 1852 as a single man, but does not appear to be at Durham. His brother, Joseph Louis, is found in these census much further down the list, so it is a bit curious for Simon to be listed with his father - but does not appear to be at Durham. Another curiosity is the birth of Simon in 1847 and Martha in 1849 to Simon Watso & Catherine in Congregational records. The child, Simon, died a month after birth. We find no marriage record for Simon & Catherine and no death for wife or daughter. Yet in 1845 and 1850 Simon has no family.

 

<j> Jean Baptiste WATSO

In 1841 [OSD-41SF] we find the appearance of Jean Baptiste Watso with a young family. He appears in all census from 1841 to 1861. He is in Durham 1845, 1850, 1851 and 1852. He is in the 1861 Pierreville Census as age 46 (b.abt 1815). [OSD-61SF] His death is recorded in [OSD-ACO] as 13-May-1868 age 50 years 4 months (b.abt.Jan 1817). He was married to Marguerite Obomsawine. We have records for 10 children of this couple born between 1838 and 1861. We originally had no evidence to link Jean Baptiste as a son of Louis. That has now changed. [Bebe] has seen the baptism record and tells us that Jean was b. abt. Jan-1817 and is s/o Louis.

William Watso, a son of Jean Baptiste Watso was buried at Odanak in 1889. At that time he is referred to as a basket maker and having died in the United States. He appears in the 1861 Pierreville Census. [OSD-61SF] His birth and 2 marriages are recorded at Odanak.

Solomon Watso, a son of Jean Baptiste Watso, was b. at Durham in 1842, m. Suzanne Lagrave (b. Bennington VT.). One of their children was married at Caldwell NY in 1897. This Caldwell NY marriage ties this Watso line, through the spouse, to the same Johnson family that <l> Louis Watso married into.

 

<k> Suzanne WATSO

- from descendants & [ACR]

Suzanne Watso was b. abt. 1821 in Canada. She m. bef.1855 John Camp/Kemp, Jr.. [UNK-DM] On 3-May-1868 her five children were baptized in the Anglican Church at Odanak. [OSD-ACO] This record gives her son, John Bonaparte, as b.1857 in the U.S. and her husband is referred to as a hunter. According to [DAY-ID], John Camp was still at Odanak in 1873. According to descendants, the family was at Lake George NY by 1880. John Camp is mentioned in a NY newspaper in 1882. They are listed at Lake George in 1892 census as fancy basket makers. John Camp jr & sr. were well known guides in the Lake George region and both lived to be over 100 years old. Suzanne is the sister of <l> Louis Watso. Nothing is known of Suzanne's parents, except we have the following statement concerning her son, John Bonaparte, "According to the women at the Lake George Historical Society, Napoleon Bonaparte (Boney) grandson of Chief Watso and the Chief himself saved Dr.Ferguson from the fire." [UNK-ADRK] We believe this and other family oral tradition places her as d/o Chief Louis Watso and perhaps one of the adult females in his household in 1841.

Marguerite Camp, b. 1855, d/o Suzanne Watso & John Camp, m. Elijah Tahamont, b. 1860 at Odanak. [UNK-DM]

John Camp sr. is said to have married a daughter or grand daughter of Sabael Benedict. The Benedict/Panadis family is documented at Odanak.

 

<l> Louis WATSO (the younger)

- from descendants

Louis Watso was b.abt.Jun-1825. In 1860 he m. Alice Johnson, she b.1843 Johnsburgh NY. He is listed in the 1892 census at Minerva, NY. [UNK-DM]

He is much older than his wife, which would allow for an earlier marriage. It is possible that this person is <h> Joseph Louis Watso, s/o Chief Louis Watso. This is strengthened by the fact that Louis named his first son, Joseph Louis. We do not have enough records available to establish if Joseph Louis Watso remained in Odanak/Durham area or if his first wife died. But if Suzanne Watso is his sister and she is d/o of Chief Louis Watso, then he must be a son.

 

<m> Marguerite <WATSO?>

[UNK-LOU] has the identity of Robert Paquette's first wife as Marguerite Watso. If so, than she was b.bef.1827 and is another possible d/o Chief Louis Watso. However, we have not been able to rediscover the source of this information - a common error for many researchers when they first begin - forgetting to keep good records! Hopefully we learn from our mistakes and will eventually rediscover the source.

 

<k> Marie Sarafine WATSO

She was b.abt. Mar-1809 d/o Louis Watso and Marie Marguerite Taksus. [UNK-AFI] On 31-Jan-1830 she m. Michel Denis-Paul at Durham. He d. 20-Aug-1831 leaving her a widow with an infant son. She is with her grandmother in the 1841 census at Odanak. She is found as Mrs. Sophie Paul beginning in 1860 in NY, living with her father and other relatives at Lake George.  

Odanak & Adirondack
Conclusions

Is there a tie between the Odanak and Adirondack Families?

The Otondosonne family was by oral tradition from Saint-Hilaire on the Richelieu River. This information alone places the family near Missisquois and the Adirondacks before going to Odanak. The likeliness of family members staying behind or returning to family homelands at later dates raises a clear possibility for connections.

Suzanne Watso provides a clear link between Odanak and Adirondack regions, having been documented in both locations. Chief Louis Watso is documented at Odanak and at Lake George. Descendants of Jean Baptiste Watso are documented at Odanak and in NY. <l> Louis Watso of NY could be the same person as Joseph Louis Watso of Odanak. Solomon Watso of Odanak married into the same Johnson family as <l> Louis Watso. Descendants believe <l> Louis Watso and Suzanne Watso were siblings. And finally, someone at Lake George believed that Suzanne Watso's son was the grandson of Chief Watso.

We do have numerous reasons to believe that this is all one family. The circumstantial evidence is piling up. We have just begun to explore the possible sources of new information. Descendants have just begun discovering other descendants that share an interest, are willing to compare notes, research new areas, and share oral history. And Ne-Do-Ba has just begun the task of compiling source material into a central data base. Now is the time to start digging deeper, getting creative, and sharing knowledge. By working together, we can solve the puzzles of our past!

 

Descendants of Joachim OTONDOSONNE

Proposed Descendants Based On
Conclusions of This Case Study
27-Mar-1999

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