Jane Watson was born 12 May 1848 in Delaware County, NY, daughter of John Watson and Eliza Kirkwood. She was my son-in-law’s third great-grandaunt. She was a school teacher,(1) married Alva Chandler in 1868, and died in 1902 in Rock Valley, Delaware County, NY.
Her parents probably came from County Downs in Northern Ireland, but their origin is still rather a mystery. The 1850, 1860, and 1870 census list their country of birth as Ireland. They were in the US before 1836, when their eldest son James was born in New York City (although the 1860 census has him born in Ireland). The 1880 census lists James’ parents as born in Scotland.
Their second child Martha was baptized in Fordham, NY;(2) the third Sarah was born in ‘York’ (1855 census) or Delaware (1865 census); the following seven children were all born in Delaware County. Clearly there is a migration: arriving in NYC they moved north and then west. However, in the 1840 census a John Watson is listed in Sheridan, Chatauqua County, NY, which is all the way on Lake Erie. While of course the names of the family members are not listed, the family composition (1 male 30-40, 1 female 20-30, and 1 male and 2 females under 5) would fit with ‘our’ John Watson.
There was an 1845 NY state census, but it is not indexed on Familysearch, and seems to be only partially preserved; the Sheridan returns are not on the Chatauqua County film, and there are no returns for Delaware County. In 1855 they are listed as having lived in Delaware County for 13 years, which fits with the eldest three children being born somewhere else in New York State.
On the other side of the ocean I found a marriage for a John Watson and Elisa Kirkwood on 7 Aug 1835 (prob. banns 25 Jul 1835) in Killileagh, County Down, Ireland.(3) No parents are mentioned, one of the witnesses is a Robert Watson. Whether this is the right couple, needs to be proven. If it is, they must have left for the US right after their marriage, but I have not been able to find any immigration records.
In other words, lots of loose ends and brick walls!
(1) History of Delaware County, NY, Munsell & Co, 1880 (avail. at NYG&B), pg. 214. Jennie Watson, schoolteacher, married A. M. Chandler.
(2) “New York Births and Christenings, 1640-1962,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V2CC-FJS : 11 February 2018), Martha Watson, 16 Dec 1838; citing DRC, Fordham, Bronx, NY; FHL microfilm 17,475.
(3) “Ireland Marriages, 1619-1898,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FGNQ-7L8 : 12 December 2014), John Watson and Eliz Kirkwood, 25 Jul 1835; citing Presbyterian, Killyleagh, Down, Ireland, index based upon data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City; FHL microfilm 928,510. “Ireland Marriages, 1619-1898,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FGNQ-72N : 12 December 2014), John Watson and Eliza Kirkwood, 07 Aug 1835; citing Presbyterian, Killyleagh, Down, Ireland, index based upon data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City; FHL microfilm 928,510.