Douglas Watkins (2005):
There is a great deal of uncertainty around the birth date of Joseph. His Baptism Certificate states that he was born on the 20th of July , 1838. In the 1911 Census, Joseph is listed as having been born in 1843 (age 68 at the time of the Census). In the 1901 Canadian Census, he's listed as being born on 2 July, 1838. His Death Certificate has him being born the 18th of July, 1835. At the time of the 1911 Census, Joseph is employed as a labourer for the railroad in Carleton Place. By April 1911, only Frank (age 25), John (age 23) and Annie (age 19) are living at home with their parents Joseph and Rose. William (age 29) may have moved to Ottawa or the United States (although he is believed to be buried in Carleton Place). Edward had moved out sometime prior to the 1901 Canadian Census. According to the 1921 Canadian Census, Joseph and Rosanna reside in a six room wood house (owned) on Lake Avenue in Carleton Place. None of their children reside with them at this time (although their son Frank lives only a few doors away on Lake Avenue). Joseph is listed as being 82 years of age and Rosanna is listed as being 65 years of age. This pegs his birth year at 1838.
Douglas Watkins (Nov 2011):
The uncertainty around his birth date is compounded by the fact that it seems that Joseph may have spent some time in the Wexford prison system for the crime of arson. According to the REGISTRY OF CRIMINAL PRISONERS - 1869, he was committed to the penal system on the 19th of July 1869 by a "Judge George". At the time, he is in the record as being:
Prisoner 97, Joseph Watkins, Age 25, height 5' 5", blue eyes, brown hair, pale complexion.
This is certainly "my" Joseph as his residence is listed as being Monalee, Enniscorthy. The problem with this record is that for Joseph to be 25 on the 19th of July 1869 (presumably one day before his 26th birthday), he would have been born in 1843 (which agrees with the 1911 Canadian Census). For some unknown reason, Joseph Watkins is not found in the same enumerated household as his wife Rosanna and sons Edward and Robert. This household is difficult to locate in the Census as the Enumerator wrote the family Surname as "Walkins"(forgetting to cross the "t"). The 1901 Census states that Joseph emigrated to Canada in 1878 (this is probably not correct as he is thought to have been married to Rosanna in 1876). The 1911 Census states that Joseph emigrated to Canada in 1868 (this is obviously not correct as he is known to be still in Ireland in July of 1869 - in jail). Interestingly, in the 1921 Census, he gives his year of emigration from Ireland as 1860 (which is also likely not correct). Best guess for emigration is from the spring of 1870 through to about 1875. I have not been able to locate a ship manifest that shows Joseph. the closest that I can find is:
Name: Watkins J., Date of Arrival (YYYY/MM/DD): 1870/06/13, Port of Arrival: Quebec, Quebec, Ship: STRATHBLANE, Library and Archives Canada Reference: RG 76, Microfilm: C-4525. This ship sailed from Liverpool on May the 8th 1870 and arrived at Gross Ile June the 12th, but was not detained.
In March 2004, Harold Douglas Watkins remembered: "On a Saturday afternoon he'd go into where we were living (at 8 Market Street, Smith's Falls circa 1921-1935), down on near the market and Ben Code had the Delivery Stable right there for the Marshes Funeral Home. I can see grandpa, he'd get into Ben Code's (who lived next door to Joseph's son John at 10 Market Street) and would get into a bottle. And him, racing up and down the front street with a cutter; Lady and Doll, two the horses he had - they were Bay mares. And he had a fox robe, with the fox tails hanging down on the back of the cutter, racing up and down the front street.".
It is understood that he worked at some point at the Findlay Foundry in Carleton Place. It is reported that Joseph Watkins was still working at 88 years - dragging a trench and installing electricity in the Findlay home in Carleton Place. This would have been around 1926 or so. One story is that, while dragging the trench, Joseph hit an electrical wire and was given a severe electrical shock. Joseph's grandson Bill Watkins tells a slightly different version of the story. "A junior person inadvertently turned on the electricity while Joseph was working on the wiring. He didn't die right there though, but lived for another year or so." Another of Joseph's grandsons Harold Douglas Watkins says, "He was never any good after that shock".
|Date of Birth||20th Jul 1838|
|Date of Death||25th Aug 1927|
|Father (First Name/s and Surname)||Joseph Watkins, circa 1793 Ireland, d. 17 Feb 1871 Monalee, Templeshanbo, Wexford, Ireland.|
|Mother (First Name/s and Maiden)||Catherine Margaret Leach b. circa 1801 d. 9 Feb 1876 Monalee, Templeshanbo, Wexford, Ireland.|