Agnes (Nancy) Elizabeth ACTON (1892-1981), Helen McNab WATSON (1890-1967), Isabella WATSON (1858-1904), James Muir WATSON (1888-1965), Jane MUIR (1865-1933), Jane Muir WATSON (1899-1988), Janet WATSON (1856-1935), John McCONNELL (1855-1913), John McConnell Muir WATSON (1903-1994), Thomas WATSON (1854-1932), Thomas WATSON (1887-1951)
(see ‘Thomas & Jane (MUIR) WATSON Family’ under heading ‘WATSON’)
[this post last edited, new information and/or images added 12 March 2013. Unless otherwise indicated all photos are from the author’s collection]
[For more Watson family photos also check out Donald Slater’s family history Flickr account www.flickr.com/photos/palaeoecogeek]
John McConnell Muir WATSON, born in 31 December 1903, was the eighth child and fifth son born to Thomas WATSON and his wife Jane MUIR. At the time of John’s birth, the nomadic tenant farmer Watson family had moved to Knockhouse Farm, Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland where John’s father had taken work as a dairyman.
Photo left: John McConnell Muir Watson, 10 June 1914, Rosewood District, Lemberg, Saskatchewan, Canada
One of John’s middle names was ‘McConnell’ after John McCONNELL who had married his father’s sister Isabella WATSON. The Watson and McConnell families were close as can be seen by surviving postcards. The Watson children seem to have visited the McConnell’s frequently.
John was the youngest in the family; sixteen years separated John and his eldest sibling Tom [Thomas WATSON]. Within two or three years of John’s birth his four elder siblings had already left home to work. In 1910 when the family immigrated to Saskatchewan John was seven: he continued his schooling once the family reached their new home. His boyhood in Saskatchewan was much different than that of his older siblings who were raised in Scotland.
Photo right: John, lower left hand corner, with a pet dog and sister Jean [Jane Muir WATSON]. Standing, left to right, John’s mother Jane, John’s aunt Janet [Janet (WATSON) SPEIRS], John’s sister-in-law Nancy [Agnes Elizabeth (ACTON) WATSON] and John’s brother Jim [James Muir WATSON]. The young children being held are John’s nieces and nephews, children of Jim and Nancy Watson. Photo taken about 1918 in the Rosewood district of Saskatchewan. From the author’s collection.
Photo left: John about 1928, Lemberg, Saskatchewan, Canada
From the author’s collection
During the early years of the 1900s John’s siblings left home to marry and his sister Jean moved to Regina for work. John and his parents continued to live together on his farm in the Rosewood district. It was here that his father Tom died in 1932. John’s mother Jane continued to live with him until her final illness in 1933 when she moved to her daughter Nell’s [Helen McNab (WATSON) ACTON] farm home just a few miles away.
John continued to live year round on his farm until 1957 when he built a home in Lemberg and lived there during the winter months, and continued to farm in the summer.
Photo right: John’s farm, the car is in front of the house
Photo left: John in mid-1940s
John never married although he was probably the most gregarious of his brothers, and enjoyed a social life. He was a constant fixture at the many Watson/Acton picnics and get-togethers, and community events. He enjoyed some travel to the United States and Churchill, Manitoba. He also visited his brother Jim and sister-in-law Nancy after they moved to Vancouver Island in 1945. He never spoke about Scotland nor returned there, but was only 7 when he arrived in Canada and his memories of Scotland may have been dim. He was active in the community, supported local events and activities and was a member of the Wolseley Hospital Board.
Photo right: John (with a new car?)
John eventually sold his farm to a neighbour and moved permanently into Lemberg, where he lived for some years. The last years of John’s life were spent in the senior’s residence in Balcarres, Saskatchewan, a neighbouring town of Lemberg. Popular opinion at the time was that he had “checked himself in early” as he was mentally agile, physically fit and in good health. However, he apparently knew what was best for him when he decided to move there. A life-long congenial bachelor, he enjoyed the activities, company and having someone do the cooking and cleaning.
John died in Balcarres on 19 April 1994, 91 years old. Ever the community minded citizen, John left his estate to the Balcarres Seniors’ residence, his home for many years, and to local charities.
He is buried in Ellisboro Cemetery, Saskatchewan beside his sister Jean.