History

Owners: The farm is said to have been first owned by a William Hudson, who, in 1791, sold 321 acres of land to a family of Quakers named Thomas Brackett.   In 1798, it became the property of Major David Watson Sr., of Ionia.  Two years later Major Bracketts road signWatson deeded Bracketts to his son, David, who remodeled and enlarged the house. David Watson was a brilliant man and a member of the first Board of Visitors of the University of Virginia. He was a lawyer, educated at William & Mary, and known tohave been a confidant of Thomas Jefferson and other notable figures of the period. He was elected six times to the General Assembly and represented Louisa at the 1829 Constitutional Convention. At his death in 1830, Bracketts passed to his son, Thomas S. Watson and remained the property of his heirs until 1896, when it was bought by H.C. Beattie. In 1903, it was bought by Carl H. Nolting and upon his death, in 1958, his cousin, Elisabeth Aiken Nolting, of Richmond, Virginia,  purchased the property.  Elisabeth, the founder of Green Springs National Historic Landmark District in 1974, died in 2000.  As she provided, Bracketts passed to the Charitable Foundation that bears her name, and continues to operate the farm according to her wishes.

Description. "Bracketts" was said to have been originally a log house, but when bought by David Watson, it was enlarged and weather boarded over. A brick in the chimney bears the date of 1806, with the initials "DW."

Historical Significance. David Watson, grandson of the first David, was a Major in the Confederate Army, in which he gave his life. He is buried in the family cemetery, as are three other soldiers, all brothers, who gave their lives for the Confederacy.  The Macgruder brothers mother was born at Bracketts.

Monacan burial moundBrick slave quarters
This may be a preserved Monocan burial mound; one of the slaves' quarters


CemeteryKitchen/herb garden
The Watson family cemetery and the kitchen garden



Fishing lakeIce pond
Fishing lake and ice pond

            Bracketts Relationships.   Many historic properties in Green Springs have extensive familial relationships that span many, many years.  Bracketts families are closely related to Ionia, Sylvania, and Westend.

             Ionia.  In 1772,  Major James Watson, Jr., purchased 458 acres of land in Green Springs from Achilles Mooreman.  Major Watson served in the Revolutionary War in the Louisa Milita.   He was the son of James Watson, Sr., and Barbary Watson who came to Louisa County in 1730 and they settled on patented land near Harris Creek, just south of the present Louisa Courthouse.  James Jr., was born in 1742.  James Jr. and Elizabeth Shelton Watson were married on New Years Day, 1773. Their son David was born later that year at Ionia as was their daughter, Ann.

             In 1798,  Thomas Brackett sold 321 acres with a dwelling house, to Major James Watson, Sr., who deeded Bracketts to his son David, then  56 years old.   In 1801, David married Sally Minor, daughter of Major Garrett and Mary Overton Terrell Minor of "Sunning Hill", which is near Lake Anna and just off Rte 522.  David & Sally raised their family at Bracketts.  During the War of 1812, David was captain of a cavalry company.  David died in 1830 at age 82.  Their son, Thomas S. Watson, inherited the house tract.

            Sylvania.   This home was built by William Morris and named for his grandfather, Sylvanus Morris.   In 1746, William had inherited 2500 acres of the original 4553 acres patented in 1729 by Captain Thomas Danzie.   Although he lived in Hanover County, his son, William Morris Jr.,  is said to have built the original portion of Sylvania around 1790.   In 1801,   William  Morris, Jr.,   married Ann Watson, daughter of Major James and Elizabeth Shelton Watson of nearby Ionia.   At his death, in 1831, Sylvania passed to their youngest son, James Morris who enlarged the mansion.  James' wife, Caroline Smith Morriss was the grand-daughter of Virginia Governor James Pleasants.

             Westend.  Around 1830,  Dr. James Watson and Susan Dabney Morris Watson began building Westend while they resided at Bracketts with his mother.   Susan was the daughter of William and Anne ("Nancy") Watson Morris of Sylvania.  James  died in 1837, before Westend was finished.  His wife continued construction and moved there in 1840 with her son, David and daughter Mary.  David never married.  When the Civil War broke out, he enlisted in the Richmond Howitzers and reached the rank of major before  he was killed at the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House .  Their daughter, Mary Minor Watson, married Henry Taylor of Westmoreland County in 1855.  Westend has remained in the Taylor Family to this day.

( This information is taken from a 1932 inventory of historic homes in Green Springs
as well as Old Home Places of Louisa, by Chisholm & Lille.)