Clan Watson People
George Watson, (1654 – 1723)
Famous Scottish Accountant and founder of George Watson’s College.
Born in Scotland, George Watson was orphaned at an early age, and sent in 1672 to be educated in book-keeping at Rotterdam. He returned to Edinburgh to become, in 1676, private secretary to Sir James Dick and was later appointed chief accountant to the Bank of Scotland when it was founded in 1695.
Watson built up a considerable personal wealth and in recognition of the assitance he received in his youth he left a generous sum in his will for the Merchant Company of Edinburgh, with specific sums being set aside for educating pupils at the Merchant Maiden Hospital, the Trades Maiden Hospital and Heriot’s Hospital (now George Heriot’s School).
A further £144.95,000 was left for the foundation of a new charitable school (“hospital” as they were then known) for “entertaining and educating the male children and grandchildren of decayed merchants in Edinburgh”. This was to become George Watson’s College. That school remains in service to this day (as does George Heriot’s), and “Watson’s” as it is known continues to celebrate an annual “Founder’s Day”.
George Watson is buried in Edinburgh’s Greyfriars Kirkyard, and although the precise location of his remains is unknown, there is a memorial plaque in a wall in the north-west of the graveyard.
Sir John Watson Gordon (1788 – 1864)
Scottish painter, eldest son of Captain Watson, R.N. He was educated specially with a view to his joining the Royal Engineers but his natural taste for art quickly developed itself, and his father was persuaded to allow him to adopt it as his profession.
During his career he painted many notable people such as Sir Walter Scott, who sat for a first portrait in 1820. JG Lockhart, Professor Wilson, Sir Archibald Alison, Dr Chalmers, Sir David Brewster, 1st Marquess of Dalhousie and Sir Alexander Hope.
John Watson Gordon was one of the earlier members of the Royal Scottish Academy, and was elected’ its president in 1850; he was at the same time appointed limner for Scotland to the queen, and received the honour of knighthood. Since 1841 he had been an associate of the Royal Academy, and in 1851 he was elected a royal academician.
Andrew Watson (1857 – 1902)
The world’s first black association football player to play at international level. He was capped three times for Scotland between 1881 and 1882 and considered one of the top ten most important players of the 19th century.
Andrew Watson was the son of a wealthy Scottish sugar planter Peter Miller and a local girl called Rose Watson. He was educated at King’s College School, and later studied philosophy, mathematics and engineering at University of Glasgow, where he began his football career.
On April 14, 1880, he was selected to represent Glasgow against Sheffield. He then signed for Queen’s Park F.C. – then Britain’s biggest football team – and later became their secretary. He led the team to several Scottish Cup wins, thus becoming the first black player to win a major competition. Soon Watson won three international caps for Scotland recording three significant wins.
The colour of his skin was of no significance to his peers and there is no historical record of racism on the part of the Scottish Football Association.
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