Category Archives: Watts

Two Watts Twice Counted

Charles Watts and his sister Blanche Watts were each counted twice in the 1940 census for Searcy County, Arkansas.

The first count for both was on sheet 4B of enumeration district 65-1, the city of Marshall in Bear Creek Township, Searcy County. Enumerator Blaine T. Myatt visited the Watts home on Walnut Street on Friday, 5 April 1940 and interviewed William Marley Watts. Mister Myatt recorded the family as follows:

1940 Census Marley Watts

1940 Census, Marshall, Bear Creek Township, Searcy County, Arkansas.

Recorded was Marley, his wife “Dealy” (Cordelia), and their children: daughter “Blanch” (Blanche), son Charles, and daughter “Ermidine” (Ermadean). Marley and Cordelia’s marital status was “M” for married, naturally. It was the same for Blanche and Charles, yet no spouses were recorded for either. Also, it was recorded that Cordelia, Blanche, and Charles all had completed an eighth grade education, while Ermadean had completed sixth grade. Marley was employed as a surveyor at the Dogwood Mill.

This enumeration probably seemed very routine to Mister Myatt. How could he have known that Marley gave him incorrect information? Charles and Blanche did not reside at Walnut Street at that time.

Elsewhere on that same April day, enumerator Alta Shillings visited the household of Charles Watts, who was renting a farm in rural Bear Creek Township. While interviewing Charles’ wife Ruby did Mister Shillings record the following:

1940 Charles Watts

1940 Census, Bear Creek Township, Searcy County, Arkansas.

Charles, then, was counted twice – once in the household of his parents and once as the head of his own household. Note the difference in his age here, 23, and his age given by Marley, 22. Charles’ education level was the same as Marley had given it: eighth grade. Charles and Ruby had been married for just over a year at this point and had a six-months old son, Billy Wayne Watts.

It took some time for an undertaking as vast as the Federal census to be completed. It would be over a month before Charles’ sister Blanche would get her second entry.

On 13 and 14 May 1940, enumerator Ella Parks was working to record the households in rural Red River Township. Mrs. Parks recorded the following upon interviewing John Henry Graham at the Graham farm:

1940 Census, Red River Township, Searcy County, Arkansas. This is the bottom of sheet 1A.

1940 Census, Red River Township, Searcy County, Arkansas. This is the top of sheet 1B.

John informed Mrs. Parks that his household included son Daniel, his wife Blanche, and their three children: Leroy, Janice and William. Note that John had given Blanche’s age as 25, while her father Marley had given it as 23. Also, John said Blanche’s education level was fourth grade, while Marley said eighth grade. Thus was Blanche Watts counted again.

Sources 1940 United States Federal Census. Census Place: Marshall, Searcy, Arkansas; Roll: T627_173; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 65-1. Retrieved 28 December 2014. 1940 United States Federal Census. Census Place: Bear Creek, Searcy, Arkansas; Roll: T627_173; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 65-2. Retrieved 28 December 2014. 1940 United States Federal Census. Census Place: Red River, Searcy, Arkansas; Roll: T627_173; Pages: 1A, 1B; Enumeration District: 65-13. Retrieved 28 December 2014.


Blanche Watts’ Application for Social Security Number

Most of the records I post here at stately Graham Ancestry can be found online, but sometimes we researchers can only obtain records an old fashioned way – by mail. I recently requested a copy of Blanche Graham’s Application for a Social Security Number, Form SS-5. Let’s take a closer look at it.


Blanche Watts’ Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Number, 1974.
(Click to view larger image.)

Block 1, Full Name You’ll Use in Work or Business: “Blanche B. Graham.” Her married name, of course.

Block 2, Full Name Given You at Birth: “Blanche Bamma Watts.” It seems like every time I encounter Blanche’s middle name, it’s slightly different. In the obituary for her son Jimmie Graham, it was spelled “Bami.” My own research compiled from family sources (i.e., Dad) had spelled it “Blamy.”

Blanche's full maiden name.

Blanche’s full maiden name.

Block 3, Place of Birth: “Watts, Sercy, Arkansas.” The name of Searcy County is misspelled here.

Block 4, Mother’s Full Name at Her Birth: “Adelie Kimborough.” This is a spelling variation – I have recorded “Cordelia Mae Kimbrell” as Blanche’s mother’s name, spelling sourced from census records.

Block 5, Father’s Full Name: “Marlie Watts.” A variation of William Marley Watts.

Blanche's parents' names.

Blocks 4 and 5, Blanche’s parents’ names.

Block 6, Your Date of Birth: 5 March 1915. Consistent with other sources.

Block 7, Your Present Age: “59.” Just to get very specific for a moment, 59 years, five months and eight days.

Block 8, Your Sex: “Female;” Block 9, Your Color or Race: “White;” Block 10: Have You Ever Before Applied…: “No.”

Block 11, Your Mailing Address: “15034 Maplewood, Harvey, ILL, 60426.” This was the final address in Harvey where Blanche resided before returning to Marshall, Arkansas in the late 1970s. Note the traditional three-letter abbreviation for Illinois.

Block 12, Today’s Date: 13 August 1974.

Block 13, Telephone Number. I’ve obscured the telephone number in the image because it may be in use today. It’s interesting to me that Blanche did not include the area code. In 1974, the area code for Harvey was 312. Presently, 312 is reserved for downtown Chicago and 708 is in use in Harvey.

Block 14, Blanche’s signature.

Blanche's signature.

Block 14, Blanche’s signature.

This card likely was filled out by Blanche herself. In genealogical terminology, this would be an original record created by a primary source. Therefore, this record has more relevance to Blanche than would a secondary source, like Jimmie’s obituary, or even Dad. So, I’m correcting the spelling of Grandma’s middle name in my tree!

Lastly, if you’d like to order a Form SS-5 for someone, you can do so at the Social Security Administration’s web site, Request for Deceased Individual’s Social Security Record.


Blanche B. Graham, 13 August 1974, Application for a Social Security Number (Form SS-5), Social Security Administration, Baltimore, Maryland.

Draft Registration of Charles Alexander Watts

On 16 September 1940, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940. The act established the first peacetime draft in United States history and required that men between the ages of 21 to 35 register with local draft boards.

Registration in Search County, Arkansas took place one month later, on 16 October 1940. Charles Alexander Watts submitted the following draft card.

Card Recto

Charles Watts Draft Card Recto.

Charles Watts Draft Card Recto.
(Click to view larger image.)

Block 1 recorded his full name: Charles Alexander Watts.

Block 2, his address: Marshall, Searcy County, Arkansas.

Block 4, his age in years, 24, and his birth date, 9 August 1916.

Block 4, his place of birth: Marshall, Arkansas.

Block 7, Name of Person Who Will Always Know Your Address, and Block 8, Relationship: Mrs. Ruby Watts; wife. She was the former Ruby Pauline Jackson, who married Charles in Searcy County on 21 December 1938.

Block 10, Employer’s Name: Fred Jackson. He was Ruby’s father.

Charles apparently provided his own signature to the bottom of the card (rather than have the registrar sign for him).

Charles' signature.

Charles’ signature.

Card Verso

Charles Watts Draft Card Verso.

Charles Watts Draft Card Verso.
(Click to view larger image.)

The Registrar’s Report recorded a basic description of Charles. Race: white. Height: 5’9”. Weight: 160 pounds. Eyes: hazel. Hair: red. Complexion: ruddy.

Mrs. Nancy Belle Mays was the registrar for Bear Creek Township and completed the card on 16 October 1940.

Graham Connection

Charles is connected to the Grahams via his sister Blanche, who married Daniel Graham.


“Arkansas First Draft Registration Cards, 1940-1945,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 03 Nov 2014), Watson, Pete – Watts, Johnie Lee > image 803 of 1107; National Archives and Records Administration, Southwest Region, Fort Worth, Texas.

Wikipedia contributors, “Selective Training and Service Act of 1940,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed November 3, 2014).

Billy Wayne Watts

I learned of the passing of Bill Watts last week via Barbara Van Camp’s Watts Family forum on Facebook.

Bill and his family were a big part of my childhood. In the 1970s and 1980s, they lived a couple of blocks away from us in Harvey, Illinois. Bill was my dad’s first cousin – Bill’s father Charles Watts was brother to Blanche Graham, dad’s mom. We would visit Bill and Stella often in those days. Mom and dad credit Bill and Stella with introducing them to each other (Stella is mom’s first cousin), so without Bill it’s possible I might not have existed!

Rest in peace.

Mr. Billy Wayne Watts

35395_memorialOctober 10, 1939 – August 20, 2014

Billy Wayne Watts, age 74 of Marshall, Arkansas passed from this life on Wednesday, August 20, 2014 at Washington Regional in Fayetteville, Arkansas. He was born in Marshall, Arkansas on October 10, 1939 to Charles and Ruby (Jackson) Watts.

Billy attended the South Mountain Freewill Baptist Church. He worked for eighteen years as a police officer on the Harvey Police Department in Harvey, IL. Billy also served as Deputy Marshall on the Marshall Police Department for four years and was an elected constable of Bear Creek 6 until his death. He loved eating his wife’s good cooking, watching TV, reading and when he was able, riding his tractor around the family farm. Billy enjoyed visiting with family and friends, especially spending time with his grandchildren.

His parents; two children, Lori Watts and Michael Watts; and one infant grandchild, Nathan Watts, precede Billy in death.

Survivors include his wife, Stella (Stephens) Watts of the home; sons, Christopher Watts and wife Robin of Romeoville, IL, Mitchell Watts of Chicago, IL and David Watts of Marshall; daughters, Debra Secor and husband Arthur of Chicago, IL and Mandy Watts of Newport; grandchildren, Brandi, Marina, Samantha, Alexis, Logan, Timothy, Aubrey, James, Adam, Ryan, David, Vanessa, Rubin, Kyle, Britney, Trinten and Jacob; seven great grandchildren; and one brother, Benny Watts and wife Betty of Marshall.

Funeral services for Billy will be 2:00 PM Saturday, August 23, 2014 at Roller-Coffman Funeral Home in Marshall, Arkansas with Bro. James Tibbitts and Bro. James Horton officiating. Cremation will follow the service with burial in Rambo Cemetery at a later date.

Honorary pallbearers will be Chris Watts, Mitchell Watts, David Watts, Jacob Watts, Keith Watts, Kevin Watts and Arthur Secor.


Roller-Coffman Funeral Home, “Mr. Billy Wayne Watts.” Retrieved on 29 August 2014.

Charles & Ruby Watts

This photograph of Charles and Ruby Watts was originally taken in 1987. This is actually a photograph of a photograph – when I visited my parents at Thanksgiving my wife captured this with my iPhone. That is why it is a little blurry on Charles. The original was professionally done at a studio, like Olan Mills.

Charles and Ruby Watts 1987

Charles was about 70 years old here and Ruby about 68 years old.

Charles was the brother of Blanche Graham, who was seen in the photograph in my previous post. And that is our Graham connection!

Obituary for William M. Watts

The following obituary was published in the Marshall Mountain Wave in 1988.

William Watts

William M. Watts[1] of Sutter died December 9, 1988 in Rideout Hospital. He was 72. An Arkansas native, he lived in Sutter for 35 years[2] and was a retired employee of the State Department of Water Resources.

He was a member of Hammonton Lodge No. 433, F. & A.M.[3] of Sutter.

He is survived by his wife, Tura Watts[4] of Sutter; a son, Ben Watts of Yuba City; three brothers, Vernon Watts of Pioneer, Cash Watts of Sacramento, and Earl Watts of Arkansas; and one grandson.

Services were held at Ullrey Memorial Chapel with the Rev. Robert Williams of North Highlands Missionary Baptist Church and Hammonton Lodge No. 433 F. & A.M. of Sutter officiating.

Burial was in Sutter Cemetery.


[1] William was the son of James Madison Watts and Sylvania Bohannon. His paternal grandparents were Siler Watts and Eliza Ann Graham.

[2] Based on this obituary, William moved to Sutter, California in 1953.

[3] Free and Accepted Masons. Hammonton Lodge No. 433 is now known as Corinthian-Hammonton Lodge No. 9.

[4] Tura Leona Ragland, James’ second wife.


Marshall Mountain Wave, “William Watts,” published 22 December 1988. Retrieved 8 November 2013.

Corinthian-Hammonton Lodge No. 9. Retrieved 8 November 2013.

See Also

For more information about James and his first wife, Louise Gertrude Turner, read the following previous articles:

Draft Card for Doctor Perry Watts

As a follow-up to the recent revision of Eliza Ann Graham’s article, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the 1918 draft card of Doctor Perry Watts, who was not a doctor.

Card Recto

Doctor Perry Watts Draft Card Recto

Perry Watts Draft Card Recto

Block 1 recorded his full name: Doctor Perry Watts. Most family sources refer to him as “Dock.” Should that be “Doc”?

Block 2, his permanent home address: Watts, Searcy, Arkansas. Watts was an unincorporated populated place (to put it in census terminology) located in Red River Township, Searcy County.

Block 3, age: 35 years. Block 4, birth date: 17 September 1883. Doc was actually 34, but since the draft card was filled out just five days before his 35th birthday, he rounded up.

Block 16 recorded his occupation: Farming. Block 17, his employer: Self. Block 18, place of employment: Watts, Searcy, Arkansas.

Block 19, name of nearest relative: Mrs. Callie Watts. That would be the former California Cassell, whom Doc married on 19 October 1902 in Searcy County. His marriage documents noted his name as D. P. Watts.

The signature block on the bottom of the card front has an “X” surrounded by the words “his mark.” This indicates that Doc could not sign his own name, and instead signed with just the “X”. The entire draft card was likely filled out by the draft registrar, P. A. Griffith, transcribing what Doc told him.

Card Verso

Doctor Perry Watts Draft Card Verso

Perry Watts Draft Card Verso

The back of the card noted a general physical description of Doc. Height: medium; build: medium; color of eyes: brown; color of hair: black.

Block 30 included the signature of the registrar, P. A. Griffith, and the date of registration, 12 September 1918. This was the third and final draft registration date, for men 18 through 45. Doc had been too old to register on the previous two dates, which required men between 18 and 31.

Graham Connection

Well, this journal is named Graham Ancestry. I suppose I have to explain what this Watts is doing here. Doc doesn’t have an apparent blood relation to the Grahams of Searcy County, but is related by marriage. His sister, Callie Dona Watts, married Jessie Cornelius Graham in 1917. Jessie’s aunt, Eliza Ann Graham, married Doc’s cousin James Newton Siler Watts in 1886. When Elizabeth Watts, the eldest daughter of Siler and Eliza, married Pearl Wilkey in 1907, Doc signed as security on the marriage bond.

Sources U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Name: Doctor Perry Watts; Registration State: Arkansas; Registration County: Searcy; Roll: 1530578. Retrieved 29 September 2013. Arkansas County Marriages, 1837-1957. Film Number: 1031120; Digital Folder Number: 4326242; Image Number: 00514; Page Number: 454; Names: D P Watts and Callie Cassell. Retrieved 29 September 2013.

“Selective Service Act of 1917.” (2013, September 16). In Wikipedia. Retrieved 29 September 2013. Permanent Link.

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