Let me just preface this by saying that the surname is likely going to be found as either Waters or Watters or both when it comes to a lot of things around this generation. And likely many before and maybe a couple since! So there’s your genealogy PSA for the day! 🙂 Don’t be TOO adamant about spelling when it comes to names. There really are all kinds of reasons why names might not be spelled the way “you’ve always spelled it”… and probably even a bunch I haven’t thought about or run across yet!
John Larkin Cleveland Payne… okay, we’ll call him JL… was born sometime in 1844 to Larkin and Rutha (Ruth)(nee Payne) Waters. You’ll see from the records that it’s not crystal clear if he was born in Franklin, Georgia or Randolph county, Alabama. The 1850 Federal Census finds him living with his parents in Beat 5, Randolph county, Alabama, and lists his birthplace as Alabama. While this census does list siblings, it’s all girls: Elizabeth (18), Catharine (16), Margaret (15), and Hariet (12). The 1860 Federal Census, however, lists his birthplace as Georgia, bringing us back to Franklin as the birthplace. In 1860 he is living with his parents and older sister, “Margarett”, and a baby named “E.W.”. A couple of interesting things… based on the age of Margarett and the baby, as well as the gap between JL and E.W., my guess would be that the baby is Margarett’s. Also, the location it lists for their home is “Northern Division, Randolph, Alabama” and the post office is listed as Rockdale. My guess is that they must have lived in the northern part of Randolph county pretty close to Rockdale.
Sometime before 1870 and most likely between 1860 and 1864, JL married Mary Elizabeth “Shug” Lashley. Their oldest child I found listed in a record was Mary Ellen who was about 6 years old at the time of the 1870 Federal Census. His son, John Robert Larkin, was 4 years old at that time and the middle child. Listed is Ruth P. or “Ruthy” who was about one year old. They are listed as living in Rockdale, Randolph county, Alabama with their post office being in Milner. (Interesting since Rockdale was the post office of record for his family in the 1860 Federal Census.) By 1880, the Federal Census has them living in Morrisons, Randolph county, Alabama. The household consisted of JL, Shug, Mary Ellen, John Robert Larkin, Ruthy, and had added Catherine, Joseph P., Hammet M., and George L. to the family. I’m sorry to say that at this point Granpa JL has been bedridden for two years and can not work. Mary Ellen is also listed as “diseased” which could mean any number of things in that day and age but obviously indicates something was wrong and had impacted her health/ abilities in some way. With the records from the 1890 Federal Census having been destroyed by fired and JL passing away in 1892, there are no further Federal Census records for him.
Information regarding his passing and bits of his life are recorded in what appears to be an obituary for Shug.
There is also a little bit recorded on a monument that was erected for the family in 1996. I’ve posted it before, but I’ll add it here again.
The obit and the monument are both a bit fascinating with all the details they seem to uncover. One of the things I have not added to the tree on Ancestry.com is JL’s Civil War history… should get on that! 🙂