ancestors were pioneering, brave, industrious people who came to America prior to the
Revolutionary War. They lived through hard times as well as joyous times. They cleared
land, planted crops, and married, had children and buried children, traveled by wagon and
walked the land. They fought disease, Indians, Englishmen and other enemies. They
persevered. They were Scots, Irish, Welsh, English, Dutch, and later intermarried with
Indians. We are proud to be their descendants.
This genealogy is not being written as an exact,
verifiable account of our ancestry and does make a disclaimer to this effect. We expect
mistakes to be found and would appreciate hearing of them. This genealogy is being written
to give my kin, especially the descendants of Reese Watkins (1731 - 1805), Joel Henderson
(1788 - 1868), Ralph Keeler (1637 -) and Joseph Cantey. Jr. (1780 -?), an understanding of
their roots, genetically, physically, culturally, intellectually, economically and
spiritually. We believe it is important to know from whence we came. (Our Roots) This then
is our mission.
Reese Watkins was the grandson of Cadawalader Watkins who
came to Merion in the Welsh Tract, County of Philadelphia, Province of Pennsylvania with
William Penn. Cadawalader was a Welshman. Records prove that Cadawalader was in Merion
early in the 1700's.
Joe Henderson was probably related in some way to Argulus
Hercules Henderson. Perhaps he was his grandson and his father being Lewis. He was in
Chatham County, NC at the same time as other descendants of Argulus Hercules. We believe
that Joel was of Scot descent.
Ralph Keeler was born in England about 1613 and was an
Englishman. He came to America and appears in the records of Hartford, CT as early as
1637. He was one of the original proprietors of Norwalk, CT.
Joseph Cantey, Jr. was born in SC about the time of the
Revolutionary War. We believe he is a descendant of Tiege Cantey who came to South
Carolina from Barbados around 1685. Joseph was of Irish descent.
We wish to acknowledge the assistance we received from the
following in researching the Watkins family: First and foremost we thank the late Frank B.
Russell whose book, "Reese Kelso Watkins and His Descendants" formed the
starting point for our research of the Watkins Family. Much of his work is incorporated in
this genealogy. Robert Cameron Watkins, Jr. gave me his research on the children of Reese
Watkins and their descendants. Much of the work I have on the descendants of Moses Watkins
is the result of work done by Greg McReynolds and Charleen Roberts. Amelia Painter, Ina
Painter, Doris Fountain, and Sally Terry provided me assistance on other Watkins family
members. Particularly we thank our Texas Cousin, Marion Ball Watkins Smith. Her initial
genealogy material help launch my research.
Wesley B. Keeler's book the "Keeler Family"
provided me an excellent beginning for my research of this family. The work done by my
wife's aunt, Nellie Keeler Yarborough traced the family from South Salem, NY to the
present day. She introduced us to the Kemp, Keith, Hendricks, Becknell, and Loftis
families and they are included.
My Henderson Family is very special to me. I learned much
about my Henderson kin from my mother and grandmother. Jim Tucker, Pegg Davis and Leah
Morris have been excellent resources for our Henderson research. Much work still remains
to be done and we hope to eventually find an immigrant ancestor who came from Scotland.
Joseph Cantey, Jr. has presented our biggest enigma. We
can document his marriage to Susannah Harrington, 5 May 1805, in Sumter District. SC but
we have not been able to find his parents. We acknowledge the help received from Robin
Langley, Lorelee Gandy and R. G. Young.
Genealogy as we all know is a never-ending quest. If you
have questions, additions, errors of omission or any information which you believe would
be helpful to me or you have any questions please contact me at Yank@AOL.com or call (912) 354-2708.