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Reverend Alfred Augustin Watson, 1837-1886


Scope and Contents

This sub-sub-series contains educational and career certificates, correspondence from, and photographs of Reverend Alfred Augustin Watson (1818-1905), who was rector of St. James from 1864-1884. He previously held the position of associate rector in 1863 under Bishop Thomas Atkinson. He left the church in 1884 to become Bishop of East Carolina.


  • Creation: 1837-1886


Conditions Governing Access

Access to portions of this collection have been restricted by Special Collections in order to preserve the original materials and pursuant to extant statutory restrictions. Contact staff at the Center for Southeast North Carolina Archives and History ( for information on access to this collection.

Biographical Note

Reverend Alfred Augustin Watson was born in New York in 1818 and later graduated from NYU in 1837. He was ordained as a deacon in 1844 and served in several churches around North Carolina, before being ordained a priest by Bishop Levi Silliman Ives in 1845. Watson was chaplain for Confederate troops during the Civil War until 1863, when he became assistant to Bishop Thomas Atkinson during Atkinson's tenure as rector at St. James. He took over the rectorship when Rev. Atkinson left in 1864.

During Watson's tenture, Union troops occupied the church to use it as a hospital. He oversaw the repairs once the war was over to resume services. He then received a doctorate in divinity from UNC CHapel Hill in 1868. Watson was elected the first bishop of the newly created Diocese of East Carolina in 1883 and was consecrated in St. James in April 1884, whereupon he officially left his position with St. James. He was married three times and had one child, a daughter named Mary who died in infancy, with his first wife. Watson died in 1905 and was buried in Oakdale Cemetery.


From the Collection: 51 Containers (Contains 16 bankers boxes, 8 document boxes, 5 oversize boxes, 4 photo albums, 5 tube boxes, 7 card file boxes, and 6 flat files)

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English

Repository Details

Part of the Randall Library Special Collections Repository