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Watt Family in Lynn,  Massachusetts

Watt family in Lynn Mass.
Watt family in Lynn Mass.

In 1921, Margaret Linton Watt (Peggy), Amy Louise Turner Watt, William Haig Watt and Thomas Watt sit on the front porch of their first floor apartment, number 17A in Lynn, Massachusetts on Minot Street. (The top image was a film scan of a 6x6cm negative and the other is a slightly different pose in a 1921 print)

According the the 1920 Census, Thomas was a carpenter at a local manufacturing/electric company known as General Electric, who immigrated to the U.S. in 1903. Amy Watt was shown to have immigrated in 1908.

Thomas was born on March 31, 1873 to William Watt and Margaret Linton in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Watt family in Lynn Mass.
1914 Marriage Tom Watt and Amy Turner

Hiding their true ages, Amy Turner was actually 34 and Thomas Watt was actually 41 years old when they were married in 1914. Tom correctly identified his age on his WWI draft registration. The incorrect ages complicated their social security benefits.

original letter

Tom's 1914 letter to Amy while at sea.
Tom is working as a steward on board the steam ship.
See the original letter - page 1 and 4 - page 2 and 3 - page 6 and 7
- page 8 (P.S.) and 5 .

Below is a typed version of the letter sent to:
Miss. A. L. Turner at 215 Forest Hills St., Jamaica Plains, Boston
1914 menu

"Sixola" February 15, 1914 menu. See larger versions: Page 1 - Page 2
Thomas on the boat stairs

Thomas on board the SS Sixola around 1914.

On Board
United Fruit Company’s
S.S. Sixaola
February 24, 1914

My Ain Dear Lassie,

It seems strange to me & I can scarcely account for it, but I have had such an uneventful trip so far that I find it difficult to know what to tell you, unless it be the old, old, story of how much I care for you & you know that already, and it will bear repeating.

Since leaving Boston we have had a very quiet trip with the exception of Friday night when we ran into a tremendous gale direct ahead which kept us back quite a bit, as we only made 219 miles for that days run. So strong was the force of the wind that it was impossible to go out on deck forward till nearly midnight when we retired for the night & I slept well through it but very few of the men did.

My new position has entailed so much extra time & responsibility that I have not enjoyed the trip so much as the previous one, but I am in very good health & looking forward to the end of the trip & being with you once more.

The weather has been much cooler this trip & today has been the first warm day since we left Boston, but Dearie, there have been no fine starry nights to rouse ones emotions & to make one dream of you & wish you were with me & I am a little disappointed.

I have 2 tables in the Dining Room & at one I have a party of 4 ladies & at the other 2 Gentlemen, the ladies leave tomorrow at Pt. Antonio & I can’t say I am sorry, though I hope to receive a substantial token of their appreciation of my services, which they say they regard highly.

I will tell you more about them when I am with you, Dearie, but want to tell you that they are delegates from some religious institution & it has resolved itself into a mutual admiration society of the most virulent kind, led by the usual strong minded specimen of the female persuasion who dominates all the actions of the other three, even to their eating, from which and all other diseases may I be preserved. You will no doubt think this awful, but my dear lassie, I would that you could just see & hear them for one day & you would break into more expressive language to give vent to your outraged feelings.

The two gentlemen seem to be what I said they were, gentlemen, but as such one only worth of passing mention as men usually are. I have just finished serving a very elaborate dinner & I am somewhat tired but in good spirits at the prospect ahead for us & I think that I have carried the regard of my bosses & certainly the well wishes of the men working with me, who all have surprised me with their willingness to do anything required of them & I do not have to ask them to do anything as they know & do all required of them.

Tomorrow we reach Antonio thence to Colon & Pt. Limons & return. I do not think I will write you a letter from Colon But will send cards, as you would not get my letter till day of my arrival in Boston & you will be better to have me tell you everything than to write it down.

I will also bring you some momentos from Colon which will serve later perhaps as a memory of this time, Sweetheart, when I had to be away from you. Absence may make the heart grow fonder but I think it is the looking forward to the meeting again of the loved one that is the star of hope that cheers one on & keeps one striving & longing for the time when parting will be no more & love will be rewarded by an ideal unity. Dearie, I hope & pray that all is well with you & that you are happy in the knowledge of my affection for you & though presently parted, I never cease to think of you & long to be with you always.

Please give my warmest regards to Mrs. & Mr. Van Der Voet whom I esteem highly because of their undoubted friendship for you & I & tell them that I will send them cards from Colon as I really cannot find time to write them a letter as I would like to.

Dearie, I will close now as it is time to retire, but you are with me always in spirit & I feel as if I were just bidding you goodnight & that you could hear me say it & feel my presence also with you. So goodnight sweetheart for the present & I will be with you again on Monday week to express more to my & your satisfaction the feelings I have toward you.

Yours affectionately,
Peg and Amy
Peg and Amy

Amy shakes a rattle in front of Peggy sitting up in her wicker stroller at Winthrop, Massachusetts, 1916. (Negative scan on top and print scan below with Amy's inscription)
1916 Peggy and Amy 1916 Peggy and Amy

1916 at Winthrop, Massachusetts, an unhappy and happy Peggy with her mother Amy Watt.
1918 Thomas Watt Draft Registration

Thomas Watt's 1918 WWI Draft Registration from Lynn, Massachusetts showing his employment as a carpenter at General Electric.
Watt family in Lynn Mass.

William, Amy and Margaret Watt at the beach about 1921.
1921 Margaret Watt with her doll Margaret in a string of school photos Margaret in a pair of school photos

Margaret with a big smile and her doll in about 1920 and a string of school photos a few years later and portraits into her teen years.
1921-4 Margaret Watt classes

At about 9 years old, Margaret Watt takes summer classes at Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church in 1924.
Tom Watt's 1925 Letter
Thomas Watt 1930
Thomas Watt, 1930
October 11, 1925

Mrs. T. Watt
21 Raddins Grove Ave.
W. Lynn, Mass.

Dearest Amy,
Just a few lines to let you know I have arrived safely in New York after a long & tedious train journey, & I’m going to beat it over to the Pennsy Railway for the trip to Phila. It was cold leaving Boston this morning but believe me they more than made up for it on this train which was heated up so that I felt as though I have been in the fireless cooker. When this trip is over I will work no more railroads for a long time to come as it’s the most tiresome ( ) I think any one could have. I didn’t eat anything till I arrived at New Haven at 3:10 P.M. when a fellow came aboard selling coffee at 10 cts. Per cup and it was pretty good & with the sandwiches you provided just saved my life. The price was high but to level things up the cup was small (paper ones) & I had to have 2.
A fellow came through the cards about 17,000,000 times selling candies small packages at 65 cts. per pack and I was thankful Bill was not with me as it would have cost about 15 Bucks to keep him satisfied.
My Dear, I hope everything is all right with you, take good care of yourself, don’t let the Hopkins job get your goat but rest up all you can. Tell Bill & Peggy that I have an eye on them & will bring them something from New York if you have a good report to make about them I will have to stop as we are nearing N.Y. & this train is wobbling something awful & I hope you will get these few lines by first mail tomorrow. (Monday)

With love,
From Tom

Envelope postmarked – New York, N.Y. & stamped October 11, 1925 – 7 P.M.
1925 George Turner letter to Peggy
Thomas Watt 1930
Grandfather George Turner in 1920s.
1515 Marine Drive E.
South Vancouver, B.C.
December 1925

Dear Peggie,
Another Xmas and another year nearly over. The years go by very quickly. I only know they are passing because my eyes cannot see things quite so well. Neither can I see the things that are far away. But there are so many things close up that are beautiful and so many people who are good come to see me and talk with me. That I can hear sitting in a chair all day at the window - watch the River Fraser flow by and the autos passing from Vancouver & New Westminster.
I am always glad of a letter from you telling me how you are getting along - do not forget the circles. I wish I were with you to teach you the ( ) on alphabet. Heb - Greek letters. Now is the age for you to begin them for once you have learned the Alphabets you will never forget. They will be second nature to you. O how much I wish that I had been able when at your age to have met with some one willing and able to direct me in the right way of gaining a good solid foundation for learning from. How much labor and sorrow it would have saved me - but I had no one able to do this and perhaps if I had, I should been too lazy or proud to take advantage of the opportunity.
I am glad to hear that you are getting along well at school and that you like your teachers and that you are not obliged to ask to be excused for bad spelling because your pin is cross-nibbed.

Your loving
War Relief thank you letter British War Relief Society bookmark

A 1944 letter and bookmark was sent to Mrs. Watt for her contributions towards the war effort through the British War Relief Society.
"There'll always be an England" sticker

Amy always loved her homeland and in her photos she had small "There'll always be an England" stickers.
1928 Margaret Watt standing in the yard

Peggy stands in the yard about 1928.
1926 Margaret Watt performs

On June 29, 1926, 10 year old Margaret Watt sings "Pixie's Waltz Song" by Brown in Mrs. Mathewson's class.
1932 Margaret Watt and Bill Watt 1929 Bill, Pegg and their father Thomas Watt

Brother and sister Peggy and Bill Watt in 1929 at Middleton, Massachusetts. Also about the same time, Bill and Peggy explore the waters edge as their father Tom watches over.
1929 Amy Watt Citizenship
1935 Amy Watt Vote

Amy Louise Watt becomes a citizen and receives a congratulations on March 18, 1929 from the President and Officers of the Republican Club of Massachusetts which included the U.S. President Herbert Hoover and the Governor of Massachusetts, Frank G. Allen. In 1935, she receives a registered voter card for Lynn, Massachusetts from the Election Commissioners' Office.
1929 Amy Turner Watt at Lynn Mass

Amy Turner Watt stands dressed up in her Lynn Massachusetts yard at 7 Houston Place. At the time she was working as a designer at a bow factory (1930 Census).
Theoligical College commencement listing Peg and Tabby 1933 Tom

Margaret, her father Thomas, and his son Bill (William) in 1929 at Middleton and Peg (Margaret) and Tabby in 1929. According to the 1930 Census, the family rented their house at 7 Houston Place in Lynn, Massachusetts for $32.00 a month. Thomas was still working at General Electric, this time listed as a box maker.

On July 24, 1933, Thomas stands in the backyard of 7 Houston Place, Lynn Mass.
1932 William Watt on his bike

William Watt, goofing off with friends poses on his Elgin bicycle in 1932.
1932 Peggy

Peggy stands in the same spot fashioning a neck tie.
1934 Margaret Watt graduation photo 1933 Margaret Watt graduation class list

Margaret (Peggy) Watt in her 1933 high school senior photo and listed on the June 14, 1933 program for Lynn Classical High School graduating class with a panoramic photo below where she is standing in the second row from the bottom, eleven over from the principal on the right.

1933 Lynn Classical High School graduating class panoramic photo

Peg's 1930 Breed Junior High and 1933 Lynn Classical High School diplomas.

1930 Margaret Watt junior high diploma 1933 Margaret Watt High School Diploma
1936 Burdett College

Now working for a living, in 1936 Peg took courses at Burdett College during the evening division while working the day and living at 65 Lawton Ave in Lynn. For 1936 she made $471.05 for the year.
1934 Amy and Bill Watt hang out with Jim Parsons 1944 Penny Post Card from Amy Watt

As Bill Watt chews grass, his mother Amy Watt and future brother in law James Parsons Jr. hang out in Asbury Grove June, 1934.

Over a decade later in 1944, Amy wrote her daughter, now married to Jim, stating "the Tel. where I am (working) is the Anthony Manufacturing Co. 184 Market Street, Tel. Ly 3-3346 if you or Billy want me." Her pay stub below shows her hourly rate of 75 cents an hour or $30 per week in 1949.

Anthony Mfg and Amy Watt
Tom and Amy Tom and Amy Tom and Amy

On June 30, 1935 - Amy and Tom take a trip with Peg and Jim Parsons and stop at Cold River in the Green Mountains of Vermont.

In 1938, Amy, Peg and Jim visit the Pilgrim Monument tower in Provincetown on Cape Cod.
1944 Bill Watt in South Africa 1944 Amy's pc to Peg

Lieutenant Bill Watt photographed by his future wife, Ruth Betts (shadow), in South Africa, 1944.

In a February, 1944 post card to her daughter, Amy wrote "this is Billy's address - Lt. William H. Watt, Base Weather Station, Sedalia Army Air Field, Warrensburg Mo. Now don't loose it." Months later, she penned on October 5, 1944, "Billy is in N. Africa."
1944 Bill Watt and his future wife 1944 William Watt in military uniform

Bill Watt and his future wife, Ruth Betts, in South Africa, 1944. Lieutenant William Watt served 1942-45 during WWII in North Africa in the U.S. Army Air Forces Unit, 396th Bombardment Group, Air Transport Command in Morocco. Earning the rank of Captain, Bill, worked as a meteorologist while serving.
1944 Bill Watt at Esso

Before and during the War, Bill worked at the Esso Everett Refinery. On December 18, 1942, Esso published their employees photos in the company newspaper, The Esso Refiner, of those who were serving in War. Bill, number 509 is pictured in the middle of the page.

A couple years later in 1944, Bill sends his mother a "V-Mail" address in New York. Short for Victory Mail, it was a hybridized method of sending secure mail to soldiers overseas.

1944 Bill Watt's V - Mail
1944 Bill Watt in Tunis, Tunisia

During leave, Bill explores the nearby Gibraltar, Tunis and Casablanca, Naples and Italy. In Tunisia, he stands in front of a church in Tunis and goofs off while riding a camel. In a letter Amy sent to Peggy, Amy wrote "Ola called up last night said she had some snap shots of Bill, one taken on a camel, his legs must be long as the camels."

1944 Bill Watt Letter

Bills letter from north Africa :

Lt. W. H. Watt O-865687 1258 AAFBO NAFD-ATC
APO 396 c/o PM NYC, NY
November 21, 1944

Mrs. James Parsons
154 Reservoir Ave.
Revere, Mass.

Dear Peg,
Got your letter (one page) and see that it has been quite some time since you have sat down and batted the breeze on paper. I suppose mom tells you most of what I write in my letters – life here is pretty soft – up and at 'em at 7:45 (or 7:50), breakfast at 8:00 and then down to the office by 0830. Toil away until 1130 and then dinner from 1130 and back to the battle by 1:30. We call it a day at 4:30. This grind goes on for six days a week however, when the weather gets bad we will probably be working 8 hours a day.

Got a letter from mom saying that Raymond Rogers had been gathered in. That is too bad. I can remember him driving a bus the last time I was home in March, it seems to me. I was planning to drop in on him the next time I went over to Italy. Suppose mom told you that I took a trip up the Mediterranean and managed to see Gibraltar, Tunis, Fez, Casablanca and then over to Foggia and Naples in Italy. It is a lot of fun poking around in the different places and looking around. There are so many inconveniences, some times the toilets don’t work in hotels – a roll of toilet tissue is worth it’s weight in gold in Southern France.

Went on a Red Cross picnic in Casablanca up to Fedhala and the Red Cross provided us with sandwiches. The sandwiches were wrapped in toilet paper which was later saved for it’s original purpose. Also, there are no lights in many places. In the Claridge Hotel in Tunis we used candles exclusively. So much for all of that. Have sent along some little trinkets that I have picked up and am also enclosing a check for you to buy something for mom, Jimmie and the kids. You can use it any way that you want. For Christmas, naturally.

Got a letter from Ols and she said that she had a good time while visiting you – that the evening was not dull.

Well, I guess this about all for the present – feel free to write whenever you want. (don’t hesitate to use more than one sheet). There is really nothing that I want here, however can always use reading material.


1944 letter Amy Watt writes to her granddaughter Carol

In 1944, Amy wrote her granddaughter Carol, "Bill says he is having the life of and Officer and gentleman, good eats & a jeep to ride in when he wants it & a porter to make beds & clean shoes etc."


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