The DeLand Historic Trust has partnered with the daughter of a famous DeLand musician in an effort to place a special marker on his grave.

Dr. Noble “Thin Man” Watts is buried in Union Cemetery in DeLand. When he died in 2004, Jazz Times magazine and The New York Times were among the national news outlets that carried his obituary.

While working in the cemetery with the DeLand Historic Trust, the nonprofit group’s president, Dan Friend, discovered there was not a special monument marking Watts’ burial place.

“We just want to do something special for a man who was famous, and was special to the people of DeLand,” Friend said.

Friend found ready support from the West Volusia Historical Society and the MainStreet DeLand Association, as well as from Watts’ daughter, Natalie Brown, who lives in DeLand.

“I’m very pleased,” Brown told The Beacon.

After announcing the fundraiser on social media, Friend said, he received $365 in donations in just a few days.

Friend expects the cost of the monument to be about $2,000, and he said Brown will be involved in creating and approving its design.

“We are hoping people who respected him as an individual would contribute,” Friend said.

Any funds raised that exceed the cost of the monument, he said, will support the work of the DeLand Historic Trust, which includes the continued preservation and restoration of the headstones of African American veterans in Union Cemetery on Euclid Avenue, and in Community Cemetery on West Beresford Avenue in the Spring Hill area of DeLand.

The DeLand Historic Trust Inc. is a charitable IRS 501(c)(3) tax-exempt Florida nonprofit corporation that has been involved with historic preservation in the area for several years.

The organization’s major projects have included fundraising for the creation of local veterans memorial plaques for the Wall of Honor in Bill Dreggors Park, as well as cooperation with the Historical Society and the City of DeLand to coordinate and curate the military collections in the DeLand Memorial Hospital and Veterans Museum in Bill Dreggors Park.

To contribute to the effort, mail a check made out to “DeLand Historic Trust” to 2232 Holly Lane, DeLand, FL 32724. Write “Dr. Noble Watts” on the memo line.

For more information about the DeLand Historic Trust or the effort to honor Watts, contact Friend by email to or by calling 386-943-9537.