Daniel Watson

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Portrait photograph of Daniel Watson, taken by Rufus W. Holsinger in 1914. Reproduced from the Holsinger Studio Portrait Project.

Daniel Watson was a decorated Black World War I veteran from Albemarle County whose portrait photograph forms a part of the Holsinger Studio Collection.


Watson was born on September 21, 1890 at a farm in Burnley, Albemarle County. His parents were Obis Watson and Betty Brown. In his youth, Watson worked as a stone quarryman for a stone company in Havre de Grace Harford, Maryland. On June 16, 1914, his portrait photograph was taken by Rufus W. Holsinger, with this picture later forming a part of the Holsinger Studio Collection.

On May 29, 1917, Watson enlisted in the military. According to a Daily Progress article from October of that year, he was called up for service towards the end of the month. Watson served in the famed 369th Infantry (nicknamed the 'Harlem Hellfighters') during World War I, rising to the rank of corporal. The French Third Republic later awarded the entire all-Black unit with a regimental Croix de Guerre in recognition of their valor throughout the course of the conflict.[1] Upon his return to the United States, Watson eventually came to reside in the Veterans Administration Facility in Aspinwall, Pennsylvania.

Watson died of pulmonary tuberculosis and tuberculosis peritonitis in O'Hara, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania on October 19, 1933. He was buried in the National Cemetery in Philadelphia.


  1. Web. Holsinger Studio Portrait Project, Twitter, 09/14/2022