Posted in Black History, North Oakland, Oakland Tracts, West Oakland

The Watts Tract

William Watts was known in Oakland for having a tract of land named for him.

Watts Tract from 1911 Map – black dot shows the location of the Watts’ Home.

The land was 158 acres running from Chestnut to the Bay, and from 28th to 38th Streets. Looks like it now considered Clawson.

Family History

William Watts was born in Chelsea, Mass, in 1808. In 1831 he married Maria Francis Rollins. They had a son William Augustus Watts born in 1833.

Oakland Tribune 1949

In 1850 Watts traveled to California, via the “Horn.” After mining in Tuolumne County, he returned to San Francisco.

On May 04, 1858, William Watts took the title of 158 acres from Francisco Sanjurjo, who had acquired the property from the daughter of Domingo Peralta. Mr. Watts paid $5000 for the land and built a large ranch home at what is now the corner of 34th and Chestnut Streets. He farmed the property until 1876.

Oakland Tribune November 12, 1949
Oakland City Directory 1874

William Watts passed away on January 16, 1878, and the ranch was passed on to his son William.

The family also owned a Tannery that was a close to their ranch.

Subdivided

Oakland Daily Evening Tribune 1874

In 1874, 60 acres were subdivided, and a map of the Watts Tract was drawn up.

Oakland Tribune December 09, 1874

Watts’ Tract Auction Sale

In December of 1876, an auction sale was held at the Watts’ station, on the Berkeley Branch Railroad. Two hundred twenty-eight lots were sold in two and one-half hours.

Oakland Tribune November 12, 1949

Streets Named For

Four streets in the “Watts Tract” are named for the daughters of George Washington Dam. A friend of the family.

  • Eleanor Street
  • Louise Street
  • Hannah Street 
  • Ettie (Henrietta) Street 
Residence of G. W. Dam, Webster Street, Oakland, Alameda County. The Lawrence & Houseworth Albums, 1860-1870 California Views
Society of California Pioneers Photography Collection

Some homes in the Watts Tract

1400 Block of 32nd Street – Google maps
Corner of 34th and Hannah St.
On Helen Street – Google Maps
Corner of 32nd and Ettie Street
3214 Ettie Street – Google maps
Magnolia Street
3200 Block of Hannah Street – Google Maps
3320 and 3322 Magnolia Street – Google Maps
Engine Company No. 22 – 3320 Magnolia
3401 Adeline Street – Google Maps

More Info:

The End

Author:

I grew up in the Montclair District of Oakland, CA. I attended Thornhill Elementary School, Montera Junior High, Skyline High School, and spent some time at Merritt College.

2 thoughts on “The Watts Tract

  1. Look forward to every post. I was born in Oakland and lived there until I was married and moved away. Always love learning about its history. Thank you! I already get your emails, no need to duplicate .

    Liked by 1 person

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