George Watkins Tombstone
27th Iowa Top Banner

Submitted by Sharyl Ferrall


George Watkins
Rossville Cemetery
Jefferson Township, Allamakee County, Iowa
(1817 - March 8, 1873)
(1831 - 1887 Co I IA 27 Inf)


I was originally working with this photo submitted to me by Sharyl Ferrall. But there are also cemetery records show that George Watkins died in 1887 and is buried in Rossville Cemetery, Jefferson Township, Allamakee County, Iowa

According to the roster, George Watkins was age 44 when he enlisted in 1862. That would make his year of birth approximately 1818. Census records confirm 1818 as an approximate year of birth. However, Cemetery records and the photo of his tombstone says he was born in 1831 - died 1887.

The listing for Rossville Cemetery actually has two George Watkins listed: (as does Find a Grave)

George Watkins, born 1831, died 1887 Remarks: Co. I IA 27 Inf (the photo that Sharyl submitted matches this listing - as does this memorial on FindaGrave)

George Watkins, born 1817, died Mar. 8, 1873. Remarks: NM (No Marker) FindaGrave  also has the military photo with this one.

I could not find either him or Sarah after the 1870 census, so the 1873 dates of death seem reasonable. (but I could not find a George born in 1831 either). The memorial for Sarah on FindaGrave says she died March 17, 1873. There is a memorial for George that says he was born 1818 and died March 8, 1873. You can't tell from the photos on FindaGrave, but the photo submitted to me by Sharyl Ferrall shows that the military tombstone and the tombstone that says 1831 - 1887 are side by side.

The two burial listings would indicate to me that there were two George Watkins in Allamakee County. But I did not find evidence of that on the census records. i.e. I did not find two George Watkins in the same years on the census records. However, there are enough discrepancies in the census records that I did find, that it is possible that the census records above are for two different (very similar) families. I actually doubt that, but have to consider the possibility. There is not enough age difference between the two for them to be father and son.

I also have one other thought: I note that his wife Sarah died in 1873. It would not be the first time I have seen a date attributed to a soldier of the 27th Iowa that turned out to be the date for his spouse. (However, FindaGrave does have different dates posted for them in 1873) And I still can't get past the year of birth. Why is it off so much? I don't doubt that he is buried in Rossville Cemetery. What I am not certain of, is his date of death. (if I had to guess, based on lack of census records in 1880 and 1885, I would guess March 8, 1873).

Were there two George and Sarah Watkins in Allamakee County, or is the tombstone engraved incorrectly?