Malcolm Watson was born in Kingsville, graduated from H. M. King High School in Kingsville in 1968, and attended college for two years at Texas A&I. Malcolm grew up with nine brothers and one sister, the sister being the baby! His dad worked for the railroad, and his mother was an RN. When asked how she managed to raise such a bountiful family alongside a full-time job, Malcolm quipped, “The older siblings took care of the rest of us.” (Malcolm is third from the last.) He adds that his mother worked the 11-7 night shift, and when she got home of a morning, the boys had the house cleaned and breakfast waiting. He says they all had a healthy respect for obeying and for the law.
Malcolm recalls that when the boys misbehaved, his dad would sit them down – all ten of them – on the couch and around the floor for a scolding. With all the boys, two years apart in age, it created quite a sight. Once, Old Sheriff Scarbrough II came out to put the fear of the law into them. After a strong talk, he threatened to take them downtown with the other bad boys if he had to be called back out there.
Apparently, those admonitions worked! Malcolm proudly shares that he has two brothers who played professional baseball – one for the LA Dodger organization and the other for the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. Those two boys, and one other brother, became State Farm agents. One brother retired from the Texas Rehabilitation Commission. One brother retired as a Game Warden, working on the Texas upper coast. Two brothers were teachers. Two brothers had military careers. And his sister retired as a school teacher. That is quite an auspicious legacy for “the Watson boys who all loved baseball and could’ve made up their own team!”
Admitting that he was thrifty by necessity, Malcolm had to work to pay for college. And, because he always had a love of horses, he worked on the Northway Ranch taking care of the horses for Dr. Northway, a world renowned vet who worked on the King Ranch. Malcolm recalls that every day he would leave his classes and go straight to the ranch, often working till after dark. And, along the way, Malcolm also worked for a man who became his mentor and ultimately life-long friend, third-generation Sheriff James Scarbrough III, breaking horses for him on his ranch. This is where his introduction to law enforcement began. When the Sheriff encouraged him to go into that field, Malcolm said he had no interest. But, after at first resisting, Malcolm became a communications dispatcher and later, following his stint at A&I, was promoted to patrol. Today, Malcolm has served in law enforcement since 1973 when he went to work for the Sheriff.
In 1975, Malcolm went to the Parks and Wildlife Academy at College Station, and, after a four-and-a-half month course, he graduated as a Texas Game Warden. Malcolm’s first assignment was at Travis County, where he remained from 1975-80. He was then transferred back to Kingsville and stayed on that assignment from 1980-91. At this time, Malcolm was transferred to Medina County where he remained until his retirement in August of ’04.
The best thing about serving law enforcement as a Game Warden, Malcolm shares, is the freedom of working independently. A down side is that one is pretty-much on call 24-7. That is not exactly the case, but Malcolm explains that if he was off duty and a game warden was needed, the job had to be done by either him or his partner, who was typically located on the other side of the county or territory. Malcolm says it wasn’t unusual for him to be on the floor, romping with his girls, only to get a call to head out to a ranch for a disturbance.
When asked if he ever had to draw his weapon, Malcolm said that he had, three times. Once was when he was sent to deep East Texas “where they don’t like game wardens.” It was in the 80s, and the situation was particularly onerous because a law had been passed forbidding running deer with dogs. “The East Texas folks did not like that,” Malcolm emphatically stated. So, he had to confront a fellow back in the woods of logging country in his deep East Texas home. He says, again, “They hate game wardens.” There was friction, and weapons were drawn. But, eventually, the fellow apologized. That was a good ending, because, Malcolm adds, “They could’ve done away with me and even the buzzards wouldn’t have found me.” After 32 years serving as Game Warden, Malcolm states, “I’m very glad I never had to hurt anyone…. And I’m also glad no one ever hurt me.”
Malcolm loved serving as a game warden. He loved the outdoors. When working Medina County, his assignment encompassed everything from south of 90 down to Pearsall, right in the middle of ranch country. And, even though he had a partner, that fellow was working the north side of the county, so, Malcolm was on his own, going from ranch to ranch. He loved the freedom of knowing what had to be done and doing it well without anyone breathing down his neck. And, through it all, he gained a lot of respect. He says he still has people calling him for advice.
It is said that coming from such a large family and with 32 years of game warden escapades, Malcolm can keep the family entertained for hours. He had a reputation of being able to “outfox the fox.” He was able to read the signs, was keenly aware of the land around him, was able to catch the scents, was acutely observant – and still is! It was what he did for most of his life. He was able to chase down the bad guys in action and without the technology available today, but rather, of his own acuity and experience. In short, criminals respected him.
After leaving the Parks and Wildlife service, Malcolm went to work for the Medina County Sheriff as a School Resource Officer (SRO), or, school police officer. His position was at the Medina Valley Junior High School, so he was working for the county rather than the city – for the Sheriff’s office rather than for the town’s police department. After that job, Malcom went to the courthouse as a bailiff officer, seeing to all the court’s needs. In the meantime, he did numerous other law enforcement jobs, such as working security at the San Antonio Livestock Show and security on horseback at the Poteet Strawberry Festival.
In 2013, Malcolm went to the LaSalle County Sheriff’s Department as a Chief Deputy. Then, when the position as Constable of Precinct 4 in Medina County became available, Malcolm was appointed. He says he was very glad to “get back home.” Having just celebrated one full year on this job, he is grateful to have recently won the position outright.
Malcolm and his wife, Princess Dubose Watson, enjoy their combined family of six children and ten grandchildren. Five of the grandchildren are from Malcolm’s two daughters, Crystal and Victoria, all of whom live in Kingsville. Princess has four children: Brittany, Jordan, Clifton, and Mackenzie, and from the three oldest there are five grandchildren. Princess’ youngest daughter – and Princess says that Malcolm calls all of them his – attends high school in Devine. Princess goes on to humorously share, “Mackenzie, who just turned 16, was three when we married. She was all about wearing pink dresses, but Malcolm ruined her.” Princess adds that Malcolm introduced her to his horse and taught her how to swing a bat. “Now, it is only jeans, boots, T-shirts, and tennis shoes.” He also taught her to shoot, to follow a blood trail, and to recognize different animal tracks.
The couple lives outside of Devine on property where Malcolm still enjoys riding. As mentioned, he loves horses. From time to time, he even went back to Kingsville to work for the old Sheriff. In fact, he still owns, cares for, and loves the 30-plus-year-old horse, Hermoso Mia, that used to belong to that old friend, Sheriff Scarbrough. Malcolm also has fond memories of riding with another horse lover, Dr. Steve Yarbrough. When asked what he might like to do if he ever leaves law enforcement, he said “I can still sit a good seat, and I still love to steer rope.”