Strangers to Us All Lawyers and Poetry

Thomas E. Watson


Used with the permission
of the Watson-Brown Foundation

Thomas E. Watson was born near Thomson, Georgia in 1856. He attended Mercer University, taught school, and then studied law. After passing the state Bar he returned in 1876 to Thomson, his home town, and practiced law. He was elected to the Georgia house of representatives (1882-1883), served as a presidential elector on the Democratic ticket in 1888. In 1891, Watson was elected as a Populist to Congress. He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1892 and 1894 and returned to the practice of law. Watson was a leader of the Populist Party in the 1880s and 1890s and was nominated for Vice President at the Populist National Convention in 1896 on a Populist Party ticket headed by William Jennings Bryan. He was a Presidential candidate on the People's Party tickets in 1904 and 1908. Watson was also in the magazine and newspaper business. He made still another unsuccessful bid for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1918, but in 1921 was elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate where he served until his death in Washington, D.C., September 26, 1922. Watson is buried in Thomson Cemetery, Thomson, Georgia.

Thomas E. Watson
Biographical Directory of the United States Congress

Thomas E. Watson Revisited
Journal of Historical Review

Thomas E. Watson

Joint Resolution of the Georgia Assembly
requesting Congress to authorize a stamp honoring Watson;
the resolution identifies Watson as a poet

Tom Watson


Statue at (Georgia) State Capitol a Memorial to Hatred


Tom Watson, Populists, and Blacks Reconsidered, 55 Journal of Negro History 99-116 (April 1970)


C. Vann Woodward, Tom Watson: Agrarian Rebel (Savannah, Georgia: Beehive Press, 2nd ed. 1973)(New York: MacMillan Company, 1938)

Robert C. McMath, Jr., American Populism: A Social History, 1877-1898 (New York: Hill and Wang, 1993)

Research Resources

1896 Presidential Campaign

William Jennings Bryant

The Populist Party