Sailing the British Empire : The Voyages of The Clarence, 1858-73

An Illustrious Uncle

Below is the handwritten document of Joseph Watson's III lineage, now held by the University of Pennsylvania's Rare Books & Manuscripts Division.

This document revealed one eminent Victorian in the Watson family: Thomas Watson, a leading physician in the medical world of the nineteenth century.

     Sir Thomas Watson was born on March 7, 1792 at Montrath House, Broadhembury, Cullompton, Devon, the older brother of our captain's father Joseph.  In 1811 Watson entered St John's College in Cambridge, graduating in 1815 with a BA.  In 1816 Watson was elected a fellow, and then received his masters in 1818.  The following year he began to study medicine at St Bartholomew's Hospital in London.  Though he spent a year at the University of Edinburgh in 1820-1821, Watson returned to Cambridge to complete his studies, becoming an MD in 1825.

      Watson then married Sarah, daughter of Edward Jones of Brackley, Northamptonshire on September 15, 1825.  Together, the couple lived in a house on Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, London.  He established a practice nearby.  In 1826 Watson was elected a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in 1826.  He then continued to become a professor of medicine, teaching at King's College, London.  Watson was a remarkable physician, who not only established a thriving practice but also authored the leading English medical textbook of the mid-nineteenth century, Lectures of the Principles and Practice of Physic.

In a career full of professional honors, one of the most notable was Watson's appointment as physician-extraordinary to Queen Victoria in 1859. He also was one of the physicians who took care of the prince consort on his deathbed.  Thomas Watson was made a Baronet on June 27, 1866.  He retired from medicine in 1870, and died on December 11, 1882.  Unlike Joseph Watson, his nephew, Thomas Watson did have children; a son and a daughter.  

Norman Moore, ‘Watson, Sir Thomas, first baronet (1792–1882)’, rev. Anita McConnell,
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [, accessed 19 Oct 2015] 

Images from the History of Medicine (NLM)

-Ana Chisholm, Penn Class of 2019


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