Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Louisa S. (Lipscomb) Watson - Lettie's mother

The continuing saga of researching Lettie Watson Mize...

Louisa S. (Lipscomb) Watson, the mother of Lettie W. (Watson) Mize, was born in 1845 on a farm in Jackson County, Missouri - the same year as Ellis Albert Swearengen (of HBO’s Deadwood fame).

Louisa was one of ten children resulting from the union of Joel Lipscomb and Henrietta Harris. Four of her siblings failed to reach adulthood. William S. Lipscomb, one of Louisa’s brothers, was a 2nd lieutenant of Company A, 6th Missouri infantry with the Confederate Army. He was killed at the Siege of Vicksburg, on June 25, 1863. Nathan Lipscomb, Louisa’s other brother that served in the Confederate Army, participated in and survived the same ordeal.

Louisa married Dr. John Ellis Watson at New Santa Fe, Missouri on November 1, 1871. I am working on the hunch that Lettie was the youngest of the three Watson children, following Dr. Frank Lipscomb Watson and sister Alma (Watson) Horton into the world.

Having already spent one lifetime at the eastern terminus of the Santa Fe Trail, presumably watching wagon train upon wagon train of settlers heading west into the great unknown, Louisa moved to Albuquerque in 1905 along with Lettie and Alma. I am interested to learn why exactly Louisa chose to relocate as a widow so far away from her friends and family, and to find out if any of her brothers or sisters also made the move. It appears that her son Frank did not make the journey west.

I assume that Louisa was the first owner of our house, but without a copy of the deed or any other documentation, that is pure speculation on my part. I have yet to uncover any evidence that Louisa was employed while living in Albuquerque, but it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest to learn that she was involved in education. Certainly she was greatly admired in the community as her passing away here at home was noted on the front page of the Albuquerque Journal on November 6, 1928.

Louisa’s obituary noted that she rarely missed a service at the Broadway Christian Church. It was reported that a severe illness left Louisa totally blind in 1923, but at the age of 78 retained enough desire and patience to learn how to read and write and to work with her hands. Not once did she complain of her physical handicap during the final five years of her life. An inspirational pioneer story if ever I’ve heard one!

I was confused when I initially discovered Louisa’s grave at Sunset Memorial Park since I had been under the impression that the cemetery didn’t even exist in 1928. Archival research provided an additional kink when it revealed that Louisa wasn’t buried there until the 1960s. Locating Louisa’s obituary helped clear up the mystery surrounding her final resting place somewhat as it stated that the interment was to be made in the Fairview Cemetery several miles to the south and east. It seems she wasn’t quite done moving after all.

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