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George Israel Watson House
Basically an unaltered Queen Anne house--still in the Watson family
In 1896 George Israel Watson (1851-1917) and his second wife, Mrs. Susan Clay Murray Goelet Watson (1844-1935), commissioned a Mr. Kirk of New Bern to construct this elegant Queen Anne style house. Mr. Kirk boarded with the Watson's during the construction. Local tradition indicates that the bricks used in the chimneys were kilned on the shore of Wysocking Bay and the cypress timber used for the mortise and tenon frame was imported from Georgia via freight boat to Elizabeth City, across Albemarle Sound, Alligator River, Fairfield Canal, and across Mattamuskeet Lake to Wysocking. The house has multiple rooflines, a polygonal corner tower, polygonal side bays, and tall decorative interior chimneys. The unaltered interior features hand-painted graining on the upstairs doors and plastered walls throughout. Most of the interior of the house has remained as it was originally designed, all wainscoting, plaster, windows, etc.
Included in the intact farm complex is a two-story, T-shaped stock barn, a kitchen (which predates the house and was initially built as a dwelling and located near the site of the Fulford-Watson House), a smokehouse, woodhouse, shop, and buggy house. Also located on the southwest corner of the property is a store building in which George I. Watson operated a General Mercantile business and research has revealed that Samuel G. Watson operated a store in this building until September 1856 when he deeded his house, store, and warehouse to Nathaniel Beckwith. Beckwith was charged in the deed to sell the property at public or private sale and pay all debts incurred by Watson in his business. In 1856 Beckwith sold the property to James M. Boomer who in 1859 sold it to John Bateman. The property became known as Bateman's Corner, and in 1881 his administrator, N. Beckwith, sold the property to George I. Watson.
The house is situated on a 48 acre parcel of land deeded by Benjamin Fulford to Benjamin Chaney in 1804. In 1831 Chaney's son, William Tailor Chaney, deeded the property to William Watson, Jr. (1772-1834). In 1834 Watson devised the property to his wife, Dinah Bartee Gibbs Watson (1779-1857) for her natural life and at her death, to their son, Rev. James Marshall Watson (1817-1894).
The Rev. James Marshall Watson was married 3 times. First to Sarah Ann Brooks (1832-1854); second to Mrs. Mehetabel Fulford Ensley (1809-1887); and third to Emma Margaret Farrow (1844-1936). Known locally as "Preacher Watson", he only had one surviving child--George Israel Watson, which was his son by Sarah Ann Brooks. George Israel Watson died without a will in 1917 and in 1925 his widow, Mrs. Susan Clay Murray Goelet Watson, mortgaged the property to the Federal Land Bank of Columbia. She defaulted on the mortgage and in 1934 the property was sold to her daughter-in-law, Mrs. Ellen Constable Watson, wife of William Warren Watson. In 1960 Ellen C. Watson and her husband deeded the property to their son and present owner, Lt. Col. (Ret.) George I. Watson, reserving a life estate for Ellen C. Watson.
(Photo from Historic Lake Landing Landmarks brochure submitted by Margie Brooks from the Greater Hyde County Chamber of Commerce. Information on the house was taken from Hyde County History.)
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