Colonel Gassaway Watkins And "Walnut Grove" Family Cemetery

Gassaway Watkins (1752-1840) fought in the Revolutionary War, and later as a Colonel in the War of 1812. He lived at "Richland" until his father-in-law Capt John Dorsey died and with wife Ruth (Dorsey) Watkins moved to the nearby Dorsey lands and built their home "Walnut Grove". He and his third wife are buried on a hill by their home (right side of photo), which was cleared, sodded and the site of July 15 Boy Scout Eagle Project commemoration. Links with more info at end of post.
His unusual name - Gassaway - came from his great grandmother's maiden name.  Following John Watkins marriage to Ann Gassaway, there was a Gassaway Watkins in every generation.

His direct line: John Watkins (3d) m.Ann Gassaway -> Nicholas Watkins (Sr) m.Margaret Lamb -> Nicholas Watkins (Jr) m.Ariana Worthington -> Gassaway Watkins 1752-1840.

His mother Ariana Worthington was given part of the Worthington lands, including "Richland" which became Gassaway's share.

Gassaway Watkins married three times:
Sarah Jones (m1785), Ruth Dorsey (1760-before1803 m1788), and Eleanora Bowie Clagett (1783-1871 m Ap.1803).    

Also unusual, Gassaway and his 3 brothers all married Joneses: Thomas m.Elizabeth Jones; John m2 Mary Jones; Nicholas m.Ann Jones, Gassaway m.Sarah Jones.   Three were daughters of Isaac Jones (c1711-1768).  

Dorsey land "Friendship" to "Walnut Grove" -  Ruth (Dorsey) Watkin's parents were Capt. John Lawrence Dorsey (1734-c1779; son of Michael) & Ruth (dau of Philmean Dorsey).

“Browne's grant was through the friendship of Captain John Dorsey, of the Council. The evidence of this is shown in the name of the survey. "Brown's Chance" and Captain Dorsey's "Friendship," better known as "Walnut Grove," at Clarksville....The homestead of Captain John Dorsey was left to his son Philemon [declared insane], whose interest was bought by Colonel Gassaway Watkins and Ruth [Dorsey], his wife. By them it was named Walnut Grove."
7 Children (4 sons) with Ruth Dorsey:
Gassaway Jr. (d1817, m Rebeckah Richardson); Bonaparte (died early); Thomas (to Ky); Turenne (m Eleanor Stockett, to Ky); Charlotte (m. Alfred Coale); Ann Elizabeth (m. Lot/Lancelot Linthicum, daughter Eliza); Harriet D. (1792-1830 m. Basil Crapster).
10 Children (2 sons) with Eleanora Bowie Clagett:
Caroline Lyles (1804-96 m. Julius Watkins); Camsadel Bowie (1805-42 m. Dr. Horatio Grieves); Eleanor Clagett (1807-68 m. Wm. Ridgley Warfield); Amanda Fitzallen(1809- m. Thomas Watkins); Dr. William Washington (1810-80 m1. Laura Watkins and m2.Eleanor Harwood, “Richland”); John Sebastian (1813-93 m. Amanda Linthicum 1834-1859); Elizabeth Louisa (1815- m. William Watkins); Priscilla Agnes (1817-93 m. George Kenly); Margaret (1819-96 m.1842 Albert Gallatin Warfield 1817-1883 – built “Oakdale”, son: Gov. Edwin Warfield 1848-1920); Albina(1822-99 m. William Clark whose mom was Rachel Warfield).

Three names are novel... "Camsadel Watkins, was named for the Camden battle in which her father, Colonel Gassaway Watkins, was engaged."  and two French military leaders - Bonaparte and Turenne.
Perhaps due to his 10 children, in 1807 (and he would have 7 more) he applied for financial relief from the state assembly and he, then his widow (30 years younger, died in 1871), received a pension in addition to the war land warrants.  (more below)

Watkins family cemetery

Gassaway, born 1752 died on July 14, 1840 and was buried on the hill overlooking his “Walnut Grove” home.
7 family members are buried there, including his third wife Eleanora Bowie (Clagett) Watkins (1782-1871), their son John (1813-1893, who inherited Walnut Grove) and his wife Amanda (Linthicum) Watkins (d1859, age 25, with infant daughter Amanda). 
Two Dorsey descendants from his 2d marriage to Ruth Dorsey have headstones: his daughter Harriet D. (1792-1830 m. Basil Crapster 1787-1862, who married 3 Harriets); and a granddaughter Eliza Linthicum (c1817-1893) from Gassaway & Ruth's daughter Ann's marriage to Lot/Lancelot Linthicum.   More details at end of post.

From the book: The Founders of Anne Arundel and Howard Counties, Maryland by Joshua Dorsey Warfield  1905  --
"Gassaway Watkins entered the Revolution in 1776, and was mustered out with General Greene.
His Record in The Revolution.
The following partial sketch of his services during the Revolutionary War was found among his papers some years after his death. It is evidently incomplete, and no doubt the balance has been lost, as it is contained on one side of a sheet of foolscap-size paper, and stops very abruptly.

"I entered the Revolutionary Army with Colonel Smallwood's regiment in January, 1776, and was in the battles of Long Island and White Plains as sergeant. Was taken sick in November, and sent to and left at Morristown, Jersey. I put my clothing in the regimental wagon, and the driver carried all to the enemy. I traveled from Morristown to Annapolis without money or clothing, and got to Annapolis in January, '77, and lay confined to my room until the last of April. I was then inoculated for the small-pox, and remained in Maryland as lieutenant on duty until September. I joined the army a few days before the battle of Germantown and remained with the army and wintered at Wilmington, in 1778. I was in the battle of Monmouth and was attached to the command of General Scott's light infantry and after the battle, came to Brownbrook. Left camp the 24th of December, on furlough, and joined the army 26 of April, 1779. Continued in camp at West Point and wintered at Heck's farm. I was several times in the vanguard and was on Staten Island, in March, 1780, and was in Elizabethtown a few hours, after Major Egleston and his guard were taken. Was present when Colonel Hazen arrested Colonel Howard, for not keeping his men on the parade until they were frozen. I left camp the last of April for the South, and was in the battle of Camden. Was sent to a house by General Greene for information; was pursued by Tarleton's horse, jumped a fence eleven logs high and was two nights and days without eating and without seeing anyone and slept in the woods. Rejoined General Smallwood, at Elizabethtown. Was sent by General Smallwood, in September, with special despatches to General Marion. Joined the General at Hillsborough. Left Hillsborough under the command of Colonels Howard and Morgan.

Commanded a company in the battle of the Cowpens,1781. In February, the day General Davidson was killed, I left camp with orders from General Greene and was with the retreating militia, two miles from the battle ground. At twelve o'clock that night, I stopped at a house on the road, cold, wet and hungry, but got nothing to eat. There were at least one hundred persons in the house. My dress was noticed by an old man of the country, who asked to speak in private with me. He told me there were enemies as well as friends in the house and offered bis services to me. I started in a few moments after, and told him what I wanted. He was faithful. We rode all night and got to the foard, about ten o'clock next morning. The trees came tumbling one after the other down the Yadkin. The old man said it was impossible to cross. I was satisfied there was nothing to stop the enemy and the wish of my general to bring his troops to a point near action, so I immediately pulled off my coat and boots, put the despatches in the crown of my hat, tied it on my head, took leave of my friend, who, with tears in his eyes, wished me well, and with difficulty crossed the river. My guide and friend expressed his joy by throwing up his hat and I returned it with gratitude. About seven o'clock I got to headquarters and was received by Generals Greene and Morgan."
[Land warrants and pensions for service]Officers of the Revolutionary Army received from the United States government land warrants for their services, and the following was copied from the records in the Land Warrant Division of the Interior Department, Washington:
Gassaway Watkins, Warrant No. 2406 for 300 acres, located with others on lot 2, township 6, range 13, United States Military District, Ohio, Knox County. Patented to James Williams, March 21, 1800; warrant issued, May 11, 1790.
Mr. James Williams, being a son of General Otho Williams, of the old Maryland Line, was intrusted with the warrants of a large number of the old soldiers for lands, and located at the same time 4,000 acres of lands for them in Ohio, contiguous to the lot of Colonel Watkins. Captains received 300 acres, and privates, 100 acres. The possession of the warrant was the only requisite to carry title to such lands and authorized and empowered the holder to make the location. These lands were then considered of very little value by the old soldiers, and owing to the failure and subsequent death of Mr. Williams, and loss of papers, Colonel Watkins did not receive anything for his lot.
The State of Maryland, by an Act of the Legislature, passed November, 1788, ch. 44, granted to Colonel Watkins, in recognition of his services in the Revolutionary War, four lots of land in what is now known as Garrett County.The numbers of the lots are, 2244, 2245, 2246, and 2247, each containing 50 acres. These lots are now owned by his grandsons, Edwin Warfield and John Warfield.

[from the MdStateArchives:
"Finding himself with financial difficulties due to his large household, Watkins petitioned the Maryland House of Delegates for an annuity that could give him some relief. In November of 1807 his petition was approved and he began to receive half pay of the amount a Captain would receive. He later applied for a military pension and began receiving 20 dollars per monthon April 23rd, 1818. He reapplied for his pension in 1828, having not received any funds since 1820. Gassaway Watkins died on July 14th, 1840. Watkin's widow reapplied for his pension and began receiving 480 dollars per year on February 3rd, 1853.”]
The Watkins of Clarksville

Nicholas Watkins [Jr], of Clarksville, son-in-law of Thomas and Elizabeth (Ridgely) Worthington, was a descendant of John Watkins, of Nansemond County, Virginia…    John Watkins, Jr., in 1688, married Ann, daughter of Colonel Gassaway … Nicholas Watkins, Jr., married Ariana Worthington... and removed to her estate near Clarksville [include "Richland"]. Their heirs were Margaret, Thomas, Elizabeth, John, Nicholas and Gassaway Watkins.
[John Watkins (3) m.Ann Gassaway > Nicholas Watkins (1) m.Margaret Lamb > Nicholas Watkins(2) m.Ariana Worthington > Gassaway Watkins 1752-1840]

Soon after the war Colonel Watkins married Sarah Jones, daughter of Captain Isaac Jones, of South River, and settled upon his inheritance, "Richland." His wife died within one year, without issue. He next married Ruth Dorsey, daughter of Captain John Dorsey, of "Brown's Chance." He continued at "Richland" until the death of Captain Dorsey, when he bought his heirs interest in the homestead and removed there.
["Walnut Grove"]
The homestead of Captain John Dorsey was left to his son Philemon [declared insane], whose interest was bought by Colonel Gassaway Watkins and Ruth [Dorsey], his wife. By them it was named Walnut Grove.The old pioneer house was the typical Queen Anne hipped-roof cottage. Colonel Watkins built the present commodious one of stone and, from the spreading walnut tree immediately at its door, named it "Walnut Grove."
[Children]His oldest son, Lieutenant Gassaway Watkins was in the War of 1812. He married Rebeckah Richardson, daughter of Richard and Elizabeth (Thomas) Richardson. Dying in 1817, he left a son, Richard Gassaway Watkins.
Bonaparte, second son of Colonel Watkins, died early; Thomas and Turenne went to Kentucky. The former left a son, Thomas, now a prominent merchant of Louisville,
Charlotte, eldest daughter, married Alfred Coale, brother of Mrs. Commodore Barney; Ann became Mrs. Lot Linthicum, leaving a daughter, the late Miss Eliza Linthicum.
In 1803 Colonel Watkins brought his third wife to "Walnut Grove." She was Eleanor Bowie Clagett, daughter of Wiseman and Priscilla Bowie (Lyles) Clagett, of Prince George County...
Colonel Watkins and Eleanor Clagett had eight daughters and two sons. The oldest daughter, Caroline, widow of Julius Watkins, died several years ago, aged ninety-two years, leaving an only son, Captain Richard Watkins, of California; Camsadel Watkins married Dr. Horatio Grieves (of Wales), leaving two daughters, Mrs. Eleanor Crapster, of "Ellerslie," and Mrs. Dr. Moorehead. Eleanor Watkins—William Ridgely Warfield; Amanda—Thomas Watkins; Elizabeth—William Watkins; Priscilla—George Kenly; Margaret Gassaway—Albert Gallatin Warfield; Albina—William Clark. In 1893 four of these daughters were living representatives of an officer of the Revolution.
Dr. William W. Watkins, oldest son of Colonel Gassaway and Eleanor (Bowie) Watkins resided at "Richland." His whole life was an official one. Sent as a delegate to the Legislature in 1838, he urged and secured a subdivision of the large county of Anne Arundel, and when Howard District, which he created, finally passed into a County, in 1851, he was chosen its first State Senator. Dr. Watkins was a graceful and eloquent speaker. His large and handsome form, added to his inherited perseverance, made him a popular leader. For twenty-five years he was successively chosen Clerk of the Court, and when he retired the honor was given to his son Lewis, whom he had brought up in the office—a worthy successor.Dr. Watkins was twice married—first, to Laura, daughter of Thomas Watkins, and, second, to Eleanor Harwood, of West River. His oldest son, Thomas—Kate Welling. His namesake and successor in medical practice was Dr. William Watkins, Jr., who married his Watkins cousin.
Lewis J. Watkins held the office of Clerk during life; his widow resides on West River.
Harwood Watkins, youngest son, attorney-at-law, died in early manhood. He was editor of "The Times."
Ellen Elizabeth Watkins became Mrs. Joshua Warfield Dorsey. Issue, James Malcolm Dorsey, attorney of Howard; J. Worthington Dorsey, merchant of Baltimore; Benjamin Dorsey, attorney-at-law; William R. Dorsey, of Ellicott City.
Amanda Watkins, youngest daughter of Dr. Watkins, married Thaddeus M. Sharretts, of Baltimore. She is the only living child.
Hon. John S. Watkins, second son of Colonel Watkins, inherited the homestead, "Walnut Grove." He was State Senator of Howard at the outbreak of the Civil War. Genial, hospitable and popular, his home was an attractive centre of reunion. He married Amanda Linthicum [who died at age 25] and left two daughters, Mrs. Richard Owings and Mrs. John Bracco.
[Gov. Edwin Warfield  (grandson) and "Walnut Grove"]After the death of Hon. John S. Watkins [his uncle] the old homestead ["Walnut Grove"] was sold to Edwin Warfield, grandson of Colonel Watkins, now our popular Governor of Maryland. [he lived at "Oakdale"] He has made many improvements. His recent purchase of "Hayland," an adjoining estate of the late William Clark, with abundant limestone upon both, gives him some six hundred acres of the finest hay lands in Maryland. As elsewhere shown, these tracts cover the earliest surveys in Howard County."

Cemetery headstones

Col. Gassaway Watkins  //  Died // July 14, 1840 //  Aged 87 Years // An officer of the Maryland  //Line, which [he entered in 1776 / and continued with to the / close of the Revolution.]

In memory of  // Eleanora B. Watkins // Relic of the late  // Col. Gassaway Watkins// Born Decbr 6, 1782  //  Died May 31, 1871

Honorable  // John S. Watkins // Member of the Maryland // Senate, Sessions of  1860 and 1861 // Died May 23, 1893. // Aged 82 years

Amanda L. [Linthicum] //   Wife of Honorable // John S. Watkins // Died February 24th 1859 // Aged 25 years // Her infant daughter  // Amanda Watkins // Died August 4th 1859  //  Aged 5 mos. 

To our Mother  //Harriet D.  // Wife of Basil Crapster //   And daughter of  //  Col. Gassaway & Ruth Watkins // Born Feby 8 1792 // Died April 7, 1830
Eliza Linthicum  //   Died //  February  16  1893 // Aged 76 years  //Granddaughter of beloved //  Gassaway Watkins


A previous post with more details on the home and successful runaway slave Oliver Cromwell Gilbert HERE

More info and pictures of the homes -
HO-18 Walnut Grove HERE
HO-907 Richland Farm HERE
HO-282 Hayland HERE

Gov. Warfield painting from Maryland State Archives

©2017 Patricia Bixler Reber
Forgotten history of Ellicott City & Howard County MD