Support the Burwell School

Caroline J. Watters


« return to database list
Caroline J. Watters
Caroline J. Watters
Historic Hillsborough Commission

At a Glance

Caroline J. Watters of Wilmington, NC attended the Burwell School in the late 1840s and married the boy next door Dr. William S. Strudwick, who lived opposite the school [1].


Caroline J. Watters was the youngest child of Joseph H. Watters and his second wife, Julia Hall, and therefore a member of an old and numerous Cape Fear family. Caroline came to the Burwell School, opposite to Dr. Edmund Strudwick House in Hillsborough, NC, in the late 1840s and was only seventeen when she married twenty-two-year-old William S. Strudwick on September 14, 1852.

William S. Strudwick attended the University of North Carolina between 1849-1851 and was 'reading' medicine with his father, Edmund Strudwick, when he married Caroline J. Watters. The young couple moved into a single bedroom at the Dr. Edmund Strudwick House in Hillsborough, NC. In 1854, Mary Susan Burwell  married Frederick Nash Strudwick, William S. Strudwick's brother, and also moved into the crowded Strudwick House. The two brides could give each other companionship, but as Mrs. Burwell's (Anna Robertson Burwell ) letters of 1855 indicate, however, each woman needed and wanted her own home.

In the early 1860s, Caroline and her growing family removed to Tusculum Farm in Orange County, NC, south of Hillsborough, NC, where Rev. Dr. John Knox Witherspoon, [Sr.] and his family had seen so much trouble (see profiles of Burwell students Mary Nash Witherspoon  and Denah McEwen Witherspoon ). Tusculum Farm in Orange County, NC, however, burned in 1871 or 1872, and the Strudwick's left Hillsborough, NC for a time to venture a medical practice in Wadesboro, NC with Dr. Edmund Ashe.

The Strudwicks had nine children: Edmund Strudwick, Ann Nash Strudwick, Mildred Watters Strudwick, William Watters Strudwick, Julia Elizabeth Strudwick, Joseph Watters Strudwick, Shepperd Strudwick, Mary Nash Strudwick, and Margaret McLester Strudwick.

In 1887, the Strudwick's eldest child, Edmund Strudwick, who was a wealthy businessman of Richmond, VA, bought the old Josiah Turner House, Hillsborough, NC on Churton Street, enlarged it, modernized it, landscaped the five-acre grounds, and set up a trust for his mother and three unmarried sisters. Dr. William S. Strudwick died in 1907, the trust was terminated in March 1911, and the grounds were subdivided and sold. The house and well-house remain much as they were; the office had already been considerably altered.

Dr. William S. Strudwick became a popular country doctor in the Hillsborough, NC area, and he was virtually the official and unpaid doctor at the Nash & Kollock School. He was exceedingly improvident, however, and apparently often forgot to collect fees, record debts--a circumstance which accounts for the home in trust set up by his son Edmund Strudwick.

The photograph of Caroline J. Watters shows a confident young lady with a taste for pretty frocks and jewelry. Caroline J. Watters died on June 25, 1914, at the age of seventy-nine. She is buried in the Hillsborough Townl Cemetery in Hillsborough, NC with other members of the Strudwick family [1].

Biographical Data

Caroline was called Carrie.

Important Dates

Caroline J. Watters was born on May 15, 1835, in Wilmington, NC. She died on June 25, 1914, and was buried in Hillsborough Townl Cemetery in Hillsborough, NC.

Places of Residence

Schools Attended



  1. Mary Claire Engstrom. The Book of Burwell Students: Lives of Educated Women in the Antebellum South. (Hillsborough: Hillsborough Historic Commission, 2007).