25 March 2010

Ancestor Biography: David Watt (continued)

Train Accident (continued)
When I left off, at the last blog posting, David Watt had been urged to jump from his train engine after a train on the Soo Line failed to stop at the crossing intersecting the Duluth, South Shore & Atlantic line. David's train was hit by the other engine and David was badly injured. He was pinned in the overturned engine and his face and head were burned by steam and live coals from the firebox of the train. David's son, Burton, reported that his dad lay there about 20 minutes until the fireman realized that David must still be in the engine. An unknown salesman soaked his coat in water, put it over his head, and went into the engine and got David out, saving his life. The family was never able to identify the man who saved David's life. David recovered from his injuries, but lost his left ear due to the accident.
Onlookers at the scene of the accident at Trout Lake Station, Trout Lake, Chippewa, Michigan Derrick attempting to right one of the locomotives. The Locomotives David Watt sometime after the accident showing the loss of the left ear. David Watt worked for the DSS&A railroad for 52 years; retiring in 1932, at the age of 74. David Watt applied for a passport in 1920. He was going to Scotland to visit relatives. David's passport provides me with a lot of information. It has his birth date and place, father's name, emigration date and place, residence from 1882-1920, occupation, signature, picture, and physical description. 1930 U.S. Federal Census David and Katherine Watt can be found in the United States Federal Census. They are living in Marquette, Marquette, Michigan in 1900, 1910, 1920, and 1930 Census.
When researching at the J.M Longyear Research Library in Marquette, Michigan I found this. The only information I have is what is on the picture. What is 'Members of Div. 94 at Hiawatha Beach'? They were guests of Brother A. Danielson at his camp. David was a member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, could they be from this organization? I will have to do more research to find out.
David Watt's Death Certificate
David Watt died 21 March 1945 in Marquette, Marquette, Michigan from a cerebral hemorrhage. He was 86 years old.
David Watt is buried in the Watt Family Lot in Park Cemetery, Marquette, Marquette, Michigan.
David's obituary is from The Mining Journal, 22 March 1945; page 2, column 3
I never knew my great grandfather, David Watt. My father remembers visiting him as a child, they would travel from the Detroit area to the upper penisula every summer. This was before the Mackinac Bridge was built. I will have to write about that in the future.


  1. I love your blog! What a great idea! You might want to fix one error; it was David's left ear that was burned off in the train accident. It's on the right as you look at the photo, but it's his left....

  2. Thank you for the compliment. Good catch on the ear. I corrected it and should be accurate now. Thanks.

  3. Hi Brenda, Judy just shared your blog with me! I'm her sister Andrea and live next door with my husband, John. We have two children and 4 granddaughters whom we share with Judy. We love your blog. I am particularly interested in collecting family stories. Has your father ever told you any memories or particular information about Katherine and David. Our dad just told us that Katherine was a very warm and loving grandmother and we wish we knew more. Do you know who her parents were? Judy thinks they were Richard and Sarah McGee, but we have no proof. From another cousin, Andy Jewell

  4. Hi, Andrea, My dad doesn't remember his Grandmother Watt, he was 7 when she died. He does remember vaguely Grandpa Watt. He tells of going to Marquette and visiting him. This was before the Mackinac Bridge was built. He talks about the wait for the ferry to cross to the Upper Penisula. I have done a little searching on Katherine's parents. I found Catherine McGee living with Richard McGee, Sally J, and Isabella in the 1871 Census of Canada. In 1871, a brother was born-William J. McGee. From his birth record I discovered that his parents were Richard McGee and Sarah Jackson. Sarah died 11 May 1877 in Collingwood, Simcoe, Ontario. Richard remarried a Mary May and had 6 more children. I am currently researching Sarah Jackson's parents. I hope to have more on that soon. Feel free to email me at brae957{at}gmail.com and I can try to answer any questions you have. My dad is writing an autobiography I will check with him for more stories about David Watt.

  5. Brenda, do you need photos of Katherine? I can probably find several.
    Judy Watt

  6. Judy, I would love a couple more pictures of Katherine. Do you have any from her younger days? Thank you.

  7. Brenda, I'm a little late in reading this, but I am so glad I did. First, you were creative with Pt. 1, ending it as you did. Great photos, records, everything. Wonderful tribute to your great grandfather.

  8. So very interesting. I am just getting into my family genealogy; but will repost most interesting mutual facts later. My great-great Grandfather was named David Watt. He was a Scottish immigrant & served in the Civil War in the 1st Arkansas Inf. Raised many children in South Ark. When I learn more I will repost. Thanks for sharing all the info on your family member.

  9. Barbie, Good Luck with your family tree. As far as I know my David Watt lived in Scotland, Canada and Michigan. In my research I have come across 3 David Watt's.