Fawcett:Jessie Lois Watson Harrall
|Jessie Lois Watson Harrall|
|Interviewer||William Bloys Fawcett, Jr.|
|Person interviewed||Jessie Lois Watson Harrall|
|Approximate year written||1993|
|Description||Interviews by W.B. Fawcett on March 3, 1993, June 8, 1993, and June 8, 1994 with Mrs. Harrall of Cheapside, Texas.|
MRS. JESSIE LOIS WATSON (HARRALL) and JOE WATSON
Interviews by W.B. Fawcett on March 3, 1993, June 8, 1993, and June 8, 1994 with Mrs. Harrall of Cheapside, Texas.
Background: Mrs. Harrall is the sister of Joe Watson, who for many years ran the store in Cheapside, while she taught school. She is also the clerk of the Cheapside Community Church. She has copies of early church records. Both knew the Fawcetts, and are involved in maintaining the Cheapside Community Center and Bellevue Cemetery Association.
The local Presbyterian church was first known as Bellevue Presbyterian and affiliated with the Cumberland branch. Later they renamed it Cheapside Presbyterian, and at some point became affiliated with the Northern Presbyterian church. The church originally stood behind a home at the southwest edge of Cheapside. In 1949 they moved it to the present location near the former Cheapside Public School. They still hold services at 11 a.m. on Sundays, with ministers provided by Austin Seminary. The Presbyterians outlasted the Baptists at Cheapside. They are down to 12 members (1993).
The first public school was near the Bellevue Cemetery, and used by the Woodmen of the World as a lodge. Throughout its history they have linked this school to the Cuero school system. The Cheapside Community Center is the former Cheapside Public School. At some point they removed the upper story present when the younger Fawcetts attended this school in the early 1900s. The school closed in May 1949, and they bused students to Cuero.
Until the Fawcetts moved away from Cheapside in 1920 Jessie Watson would see them every Sunday at the Cheapside Presbyterian Church. Her older sisters, Bessie and Bella, were good friends with the Fawcett girls. Bessie Watson was Pearl Fawcett's best friend. They attended Cuero High School (1920-21) together, before Pearl moved to Johnson City with her family. Bessie died in October 1988, and her children have some papers and photographs.
Delta Fawcett was close friends with Jessie's and Joe's mother. Mr. Watson, their father, was born in England and came to the U.S. at age 7. Jessie has many photographs of relatives and placed back in England.
Phillip T. Elder's house and broom factory once stood just northwest of the intersection of Gonzales County Roads 297 and 288, about 0.5 miles west of Cheapside. Mansel Elder preached at the Cheapside church, and inherited his father's property.
The entrance to Frank Fawcett's farm was up the road (Gonzales Road 288) about 0.5 miles to the north (just north of a pond), and his farmland extended to the east and south back toward Cheapside. A Mr. Uhlman bought his land, and Claude Lee bought the Fawcett's house and 6-9 acres around it.
J. Curtis Fawcett lived with Brancie and John William Carson after Frank Fawcett and his family moved to Johnson City. The Carsons lived about a mile east of Cheapside, on the north-side of Gonzales County Road 332. Curtis Fawcett was a good roper, but people were afraid to hire him as a cowboy due to his fits.
One day when he was out on the Young place, just north of the Cheapside school, he chased some boys around a pasture trying to rope them after they teased him. They kept trying to hide behind trees in the pasture and he would chase them out by charging in close with his horse while twirling his rope.
In 1926 Jessie Watson went off to the University of Texas at Austin. She then taught math and was the librarian at the public school in Smiley. She retired in 1972 and became the librarian in Gonzales, until she finally retired in 1983.
Joe Watson continued to run his store until the end of 1988. By then there were only four mailboxes left in the post office. His store still stands, along with the former homes of the Carters, Freemans and Roger Carson. The Lord Home is on the hill southwest of town. An orange-red brick building held the Delco electrical generator installed in 1924 after a fire destroyed most of the business district. Joe Watson purchased the store from Mr. Freeman.
The Carter store was to the east of the Freeman/Watson Store. His house, built (1886), stands over a cistern, and is just northeast of the business complex. Across the street to the SE is Roger Carson's house, now owned by Mr. Omby of Houston.
Wood/Allrich confrontation took place in Cheapside in the early 1900s. Wood has a dog that chased cows. Allrich, a local blacksmith, tried to shoot the dog. Wood came up and fired a pistol three times at Allrich who hid behind the door of his shop.
Cotton was the major crop after the Civil War until about World War I. They piled bales at the base of the oak tree in front of the Watson Store. They weighted and eventually loaded the bales on wagons for shipment to Cuero, and later Westoff (after the railroad arrived in 1906). Cotton was abandoned due to the bole weevil. From the 1930s through the 1960s turkeys were raised and driven to Cuero. This business declined, and totally disappeared in the 1980s.
Jessie Watson picked cotton as a girl. People with sheep had trouble with coyotes killing them unless they kept them penned. It was a lot of bother to pen up the sheep every day. There are fewer deer today, because the coyotes and fire ants kill the fawns.
The third Sunday in April is Decoration Day at the Bellevue Cemetery. The Cemetery is south of Cheapside, right across the county line into DeWitt County.
The third Sunday in April is clean up /decoration day at the Bellevue Cemetery. Some Fawcetts used to come down from San Antonio for it. Until his death, R.B. Fawcett sent money to support the upkeep of the cemetery. When there's a funeral the local people organize a meal at the Cheapside Community Center. They did this recently for Mrs. Denmen (nee Arnold) of San Antonio.
From A History of the Fawcetts and Related Families in America by William Bloys Fawcett. Used by permission of Dr. Fawcett.
This book was first published in 1996 and some of the information is quite dated. If you find errors or want to add updates, contact me, and I will add notes to the page.
Copyright © 1996, 2007 by William Bloys Fawcett, Jr. All rights reserved. No copies may be made of this document through any electronic, photocopying or other means without permission of the author.