Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Snapshot: Watson & Mack

My friend is an avid coin collector. He started off collecting old domestic coins then branched out to special interest coins. One day I brought over some trade coins to have him help me post them to an online auction site. We were both fascinated at the history we learned when I began digging around. This sparked his interest in collecting some trade coins local to Stanislaus County and surrounding areas.

Here is one of his finds:
Watson & Mack were two fellows who lived and worked in Stanislaus County. They ended up in business in Patterson, California with a cigar/ pool hall business from about 1913 until the possibly the late 1930s or early 1940s. This token was good for $1.00 in merchandise at their business.

Charles Michael Mack was born 2 Dec 1884 in Sierra City, Sierra, California, USA to Thomas J. Mack of Ireland and Mary B. Gross of California. By 1910 he was working as a manager of a billiard hall in Oakdale, California. According to a 1910 directory listing it was called Mack & Co.

Walter Leon Watson was born 25 May 1886 in Oakdale, Stanislaus, California, USA to John Watson of Ireland and Elizabeth Gatzman of Germany. Though born in Oakdale, the family lived in various cities in Stanislaus County until 1910 when they settled back in Oakdale. At this time he worked as a barber. A 1910 direcotry listing shows that he is a barber and that his brother Roy is a clerk at W.L. Watson, meaning that Walter most likely owned his own barber shop.

According to Walter Watson's obituary, he and Charles Mack opened a barber shop and pool hall on South 3rd Street in Patterson, California called Watson & Mack's. In 1920 the men lived just three doors down from each other on North 3rd Street in Patterson and were both listed as merchants at a cigar store. By 1930 the men lived next door to one another and Charles was now listed a proprietor of a cigar store, while Walter was still listed as a merchant.

In 1934 Watson and Mack were accused of permitting gambling at their place of business. They plead guilty to the charges stating that other businesses in the area were doing the same, and both were fined $100 each.

According to Walter's obituary he and his wife, Berdina, moved to Modesto in 1937, and in 1940 he is listed as working at a liquor bar on 415 H Street in Modesto, California.

In 1940 Charles is working as the proprietor at a liquor and cigar store, though a directory listing says restaurant at 35 South 3rd Street in Patterson.

Charles Mack's obituary states that while he lived in Patterson he was chief of the volunteer fire department and later assistant chief of what became Patterson Fire Department. He also served as a member of City Council and of the Patterson Rotary Club. He died 17 Jun 1965 in Modesto, California.

Walter Watson's obituary states that he was at one time the owner of the Weltey Hotel on South Third Street in Patterson, converting the downstairs into a pool hall (more research will reveal if this was the same place as Watson & Mack's). He also at one time owned a place called Jack's on Highway 99, as well as a place called Walkie's on 10th Street in Modesto.

Because only so much of a person's life can be learned from the documents left behind, it makes me wonder what happened between Watson and Mack for them to part ways. Was it legal troubles over the gambling? Was it simply different opportunities arising for each?

If you know more of this story and would like to share, please leave a comment for us.

*As usual, proper source citations are available upon request, but the short and the long of it are: Patterson Irrigator, Google searches, Ancestry.com, rootsweb.com, and USGENWeb


  1. Welcome to Geneabloggers!! This is a great blogging community.

    Regards, Grant

  2. Welcome neighbor! Nice to see another California-based genealogy society join the GeneaBloggers family. We just celebrated our 2nd anniversary in the group. --Denise Hibsch Richmond

  3. Howdy, neighbor! Just found your blog today, thanks to a mention on GeneaBloggers! In addition, I want to send greetings to you on behalf of your fellow genealogical society to the north, the San Joaquin County Genealogical Society.

    Best wishes as you continue your blogging project here!


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