Woman of the Century/Ellen Maria Watson
WATSON, Mrs. Ellen Maria, church worker, born near Fayetteville, Washington county, Ark., 31st December, 1842. She is a daughter of W. T. and Maria Anderson. Her parents went to Arkansas from Virginia. Her father was a Methodist minister, and in the lap of Methodism she and her two sisters were reared. Early in life she showed fondness for the reading and study of the Bible. She became a member of the Methodist Church at twelve years of age. At fifteen she became a teacher in the Sunday-school. Her father's income being meager, she turned her attention to music as a means of self-maintenance and help to her family. At sixteen years of age she was able to draw a comfortable income from her class in vocal and instrumental music. In 1861 she became the wife of B. F. Perkins, a native of North Carolina, whose death eight months after, in the Confederate Army, and the exigencies of war, left her a widow and penniless. She put aside her own fate in administering to the sorrows of others. She nursed the sick and the dying in hospitals and visited the prisoners. Firm in her convictions of the justice of the southern cause, she rendered aid wherever she could. The war over, having lost both father and husband, she accepted a situation as governess in the family of the Rev. L. D Mullins, a Methodist minister, near Memphis, Tenn., where she remained two years. In 1867 she became the wife of Rev. Samuel Watson, D. D., a man of great prominence in the Methodist Episcopal Church South. By this marriage she had two daughters and three sons, one daughter and two sons are living. During those years the most important work of her life was done. Her first effort in charitable lines was sewing, making and supervising the making of garments for the poor. Her first contributions were devoted to the employing of a Bible-reader to the poor and ignorant of the city, and clothing and food to the destitute. She has been prominent in the Woman's Christian ELLEN MARIA WATSON. Association, visiting cities, attending conventions, acquainting herself with methods and plans of work corresponding to that which engaged her mind, and in which she has occupied the highest official position for ten years successively. A home for self-supporting and unprotected young women is a monument to her as its inaugurator. The Woman's Christian Temperance Union has in her a most devoted adherent and strong advocate, so far as the Christian basis of organization and of total abstinence extends. The Woman's Foreign Missionary movement of the Methodist Episcopal Church South feels her power in her consecration to the work. She has been the conference president twelve years in succession.