Jane Watson (c. 1830 – ????), the Mystery Sister

I need to sort all this out, so I’m going to sort it here.

Our last subject, Rev. Elisha Watson, had ten siblings. I’ve accounted for nine of them – my 3rd great-grand aunt Jane remains the Mystery Sister. For a few years now, I’ve had a nagging suspicion that one particular Jane was actually my Jane. Here’s why I think so.

My Jane was named Jane Watson. So was the Other Jane. (Two annoyingly ordinary names – no big deal.)

My Jane was born in Saratoga County, New York, in about 1830.  The Other Jane was born in 1829 in New York; one source specifies Saratoga County. (Still not a huge deal… but intriguing.)

My Jane was last enumerated in the 1850 Census when she was 20 years old. After that, nothing. Interestingly, in 1851, the Other Jane married Richard Parks Thomas of Syracuse, New York – and became Jane Thomas. (Hmmm… the timeframe is right… the general area is reasonable…)

Richard & Jane Thomas left Syracuse for good in the late 1860s, and relocated clear across the continent to Berkeley, California. A bold move, to be sure.

Why Berkeley? I don’t know – obviously. But I find it really interesting that three (!!) of my Jane Watson’s brothers were already in the area (Oakland, specifically), and had been since the mid-1850s.

And that’s all I had – for a long time. Until today. Now, I don’t mean to say that today’s discovery is any sort of clincher, but it does add a bit more oomph to my case.

95729107_1393736302I knew Richard & Jane Thomas were buried, along with their adopted son, in the grand old Mountain View Cemetery here in Oakland. What I didn’t realize until today – their headstone is located in Plot #1.


That’s the same plot as at least two of Jane Watson’s brothers and their families.  (Note unflattering photo of Yours Truly standing beside a nifty Watson monument in the afore-mentioned Plot #1.)

Granted, it’s a large plot. And it’s to be expected that well-heeled area residents snatched up spaces in Plot #1 as soon as the Cemetery opened and offered them for sale.

But it’s interesting. Not conclusive evidence, certainly, but compelling.

I really, really hope I can prove all this some day. I would love to fill in the details for Mystery Sister. And I would REALLY love to pass along the stories of Richard & Jane Thomas in this family blog. Trust me, there are some doozies!!

UPDATE (5 Dec 2018): I dove back into the Jane Watson Thomas question over the weekend, and I found proof. Unfortunately, it’s not the kind of proof I wanted. I had found a Jane Watson in the Finger Lakes region of New York, with her parents – in the 1850 Census. (But no big deal – the right age, but a reasonably common name.) But I also discovered that those same people, Jane’s parents, are also buried in Plot #1 of Mountain View Cemetery. So I found her, and she’s not my great-aunt.

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