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John Watkins Papers

 Collection
Identifier: MS-1161

This collection consists primarily of letters that John Watkins, then serving with the 19th Ohio Light Artillery, wrote to his fiancee, Sarah Probert, and other family members. In them, he discusses his experiences in the Civil War, including his unit's participation in the East Tennessee Campaign and the Battle of Fort Sanders. Also included are photographs, reunion announcements, and letters written to Watkins by former wartime comrades.

Another series of the collection houses a group of family diaries and account books created by John Watkins, Sarah (Probert) Watkins, Cornelia G. Watkins, Emma Watkins, and George Probert. These items date from between 1857 and 1958 and were created in the Pittsfield, Ohio area.

Dates

  • 1805 - circa 1985

Language of Materials

English.

Conditions Governing Access

Collections are stored offsite, and a minimum of 2 business days are needed to retrieve these items for use. Researchers interested in consulting any of the collections are advised to contact Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in this collection remain with the creator. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library.

Extent

3 Linear Feet (3 half boxes, 1 regular record box, 2 quarter boxes)

Abstract

This collection consists primarily of letters that John Watkins, then serving with the 19th Ohio Light Artillery, wrote to his fiancee, Sarah Probert, and other family members. In them, he discusses his experiences in the Civil War, including his unit's participation in the East Tennessee Campaign and the Battle of Fort Sanders. Also included are family diaries, photographs, and account books.

Biographical/Historical Note

John Watkins was born to English emigrants George and Mary (Cook) Watkins in Cleveland, Ohio on January 24, 1840. He enlisted in the 19th Ohio Light Artillery on August 9, 1862 as a Private and was eventually promoted to Corporal. The unit participated in the Siege of Knoxville and the Atlanta Campaign before mustering out at Camp Cleveland, Ohio on June 27, 1865. After the war ended, Watkins married Sarah Victoria Probert (1841-1916) and the couple had five children: Mary (Watkins) Mills (1868-1898), Eliza Tinnie (1873-1960), Cornelia Corla (Watkins) Crosier (1877-1931), Louis Greble (1879-1951), and Emma Frances (1881-1932). Both Mary and Tinnie attended Oberlin College and became school teachers in Ohio. John Watkins died of heart disease on November 23, 1924 in Pittsfield, Ohio and is buried in South Pittsfield Cemetery.

Arrangement

This collection is in six boxes and consists of approximately 400 pieces divided into 3 series:

  1. Series I: Correspondence and Other Papers
  2. Series II: Photographs and Ephemera
  3. Series III: Diaries, Journals, and Account Books

Existence and Location of Copies note

Transcriptions of a portion of the materials in this collection may be found in MS.3394: John Watkins Letter and Speech Transcripts, 1862-1865.

Related Archival Materials

Interested researchers may also wish to consult:

  1. MS.1781: John Watkins Letters and Poem, circa 1860s
  2. MS.2292: Sarah Probert Watkins/Probert Family Papers, 1838-1948
  3. MS.3394: John Watkins Letter and Speech Transcripts, 1862-1865

Repository Details

Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository

Contact:
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA
865-974-4480