Watt Family Origins Page last modified:

Watt Family Origins

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(Expect it to look similar to the "Roberts Ancestors" - click Marion above.)

 First Years in Argentina

The Watt family arrival in Argentina and their history as told by their great-grandchildren, Jimmy Watt and Michael Mohr-Bell.  Their accounts are slightly different.

From Jimmy Watt’s email (in Spanish) of 2 April, 2000, grandson of Al & Hattie Watt,
[comments by Peter Benitz in italics]:

El comandante Patroncito se desperto, y entre mate y mate me cuenta.....

El abuelo de Watto, John Watt, junto a su hermano Henry Watt (los dos escoceses de nacimiento) cruzaron la Cordillera en el Año 1865, recién llegados de Nueva Zelandia en buque! John Watt se compro (o fundo) la Estancia "San Andres", al nor-oeste de Las Rosas, al norte de la estacion Los Cardos. (Los pueblos eran El Trebol, por los Irlandeses; Los Cardos, por losescoceses y Las Rosas, por los Ingleses).

El hijo de John Watt era Charles A. Watt (el viejo de Watto y abuelo mio), que se caso con Hattie Benitz (la primera Benitz nacida en la Argentina) ene1906. Charles A Watt "perdio" la Estancia paterna "San Andres" alla por el año 1920, el año que nacio Watto. De ahi Charles se fue a trabajar en la Estancia "Las Bebidas", situada cerca de Landetta, Prov. Santa Fe (Cerca de Carlos Pellegrini). Ente ahi la razon por la cual tanto May, como Watto y Jimmy Watt (mi tio, por el cual fui nombrado Yo, alias "Yemi" en Cordobes), vinieron a vivir a La California por un rato cuando eran pendejos.

Esta historia tiene mas vueltas que una calesita, pero interesante, no?

Espero que te ayude. Lo continuamos el 20 con una regia damajuana de Tinto para soltarle la lengua al comadante Patroncito!

The boss commander [Watto] woke up and between mates he told me…

Watto’s grandfather, John Watt, and his brother Henry Watt (both Scottish born) crossed the Andes in 1865, having just arrived by boat from New Zealand! John Watt bought (or founded) Estancia “San Andres”, north-west of Las Rosas, north of the Los Cardos train station. (The towns were El Trebol for the Irish, Los Cardos for the Scots, and Las Rosas for the English).

John Watt’s son Charles A. Watt (Watto’s old-man and my grandfather), who married Hattie Benitz (the first Benitz born in Argentina) in 1906. Charles A. Watt “lost” the family estancia “San Andres” about the year 1920, the year Watto was born. From there Charles went to work at Estancia “Las Bebidas”, located near Landetta, Prov. Santa Fe (Near Carlos Pellegrini). There you have the reason why May, likewise Watto and Jimmy Watt (my uncle, for whom I was named, alias “Yemi” in Cordobes), came to live at La California for a time when they were squeakers.

This history has more turns than a merry-go-round, but interesting, right?

I hope this helps you. We’ll continue on the 20th with an awesome demijohn of red-wine to loosen the tongue of the commander Boss!

[(i) Towns were named for the train-stations which, by custom, took the name of the estancia on which they were built.
(ii) The first estancia owned by the Watt brothers was “La Maya” about 4 sq. leagues 5-10 km. south of present day town of Monte Buey', in Córdoba – see Michael’s email next.  “San Andres” was their second attempt; after losing it, they hired on as manager(s) at “Las Tres Lagunas” working for Munroe.

From Michael Mohr-Bell's email of 25 January, 2017, grandson of Al & Hattie Watt,
[comments by Peter Benitz in italics]:

“...regards the estancias in Monte Maiz (La Leña and La Maya [in the SE corner of Córdoba province, next to John E. Benitz at “Los Algarrobos]).  The Watt brothers, John Alexander (Al’s father) & James, arrived in Argentina from New Zealand in 1865 and soon after joined forces with Lt James Stuart Trotter who had purchased Monte de la Leña in 1864.  In 1870 J.A. Watt marries May Stuart McGregor in Scotland and they come out to live in a new house, built on land probably leased from Trotter, which they named La Maya.  Not sure of the Watt movements after this, but apparently there is some map of 1876 which shows the La Maya house as abandoned. A lot of this info I got from my historian friend Juan Delius in Germany [La Maya was bought, and is still owned, by the Nottebohm family, of which Juan Delius is a member].

From Monte Maiz the Watts most likely moved to Estancia Tres Lagunas in Las Rosas, as I understand their first 3 children were born there (1872, 1874 and 1875). I have yet to find out whether the Watts actually owned or managed Tres Lagunas (Delius once told me he thought maybe Trotter had bought the estancia from F.C.C.A. railway, and John Watt managed it).

[During a visit to the TL in the 1960s Frank Watt pointed to the rooms adjoining the admin. office and told me his father had been born in one of them.  If so, then the Watt family were not living in the main house which implies they did not own the estancia.  Furthermore, per a sketched map drawn in 1874 or 1875 (for William Benitz when he purchased “La California”), Munroe owned the two leagues which include the TL.]

© Peter Benitz (Benitz Family)