John W. Watkins, owner and editor of the "White City Register," and well known publisher, was born in Laurel county, Kentucky, Feb. 17, 1867, the son of James S. and Sarah (Williams) Watkins, who were born in Kentucky in 1844 and 1839, respectively. They were married in that state in 1875 and reared a family of nine children: John W.; David, who lives in Galesburg, Ill.; Belle, the wife of H. B. Reese of Wichita, Kan.; Frank C., who is in the real estate business in Hutchinson, Kan.; George, deceased; Morton, engaged in real estate at Winfield, Kan.; Edgar W., a druggist at Winfleld, Kan.; Harvey L., a baker at Independence, Kan.; and Arthur J., a farmer of Douglas county, Kan.
When John Watkins was about two years of age his parents moved to Indiana, where he was reared and educated. In 1883 he came with his parents to Dickinson county, Kansas, where his father purchased a farm. Here his early years were given to assisting his father in the management of the home place. In 1891 the family removed to Morris county and resumed farming in Elm Creek township. In 1899 John W. entered the employ of J. W. Leech, druggist at Council Grove; in 1902 he accepted employment on the "Republican," and later the "Guard" newspapers of Council Grove, where he learned the printer's trade. In 1903 he formed a company, bought the "White City Register" and became its editor. Within three years he had bought out all the other stockholders and became sole owner of the plant. He installed new presses and printing machinery of the most modern type; built up the circulation of the newspaper and is now one of the prosperous members of the Kansas press. He has built a beautiful home at White City and has a bank account that can be counted in large figures. Mr. Watkins is essentially a self-made man, as he has achieved his present position through his own unaided efforts. It has been sheer pluck and determination that have placed him in the front rank of the publishing business, as his educational advantages were limited and he may be said to be the product of that dear but thorough taskmaster, experience. Hard work and singleness of purpose are the qualifications which won. Although he takes a commendable interest in the public welfare, he has a strong aversion to holding office of any kindpolitical, civil or religious. He has repeatedly been importuned to become a candidate for mayor or councilman of White City, and also for representative to the state legislature, but all such offers he has steadfastly refused. He is opposed to the spectacular in all things and never seeks notoriety of any kind.
In 1901 Mr. Watkins married Estelle, the daughter of Frank W. Reynolds, of Connersville, Ind. Mr. Reynolds is a native of New York and his wife of Iowa. They were married at Wabash, Ind., in 1861, where they lived until six years ago, when they came to Council Grove, Kan. Mr. Reynolds served with the Fourteenth Indiana battery during the Civil war, enlisting at the age of sixteen. They have two sons, Allen Jesse and Cloyd, both living at Council Grove. Three children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Watkins: Velma Adelle, five years of age; Lou Belle, aged three; and Milford Murdock, an infant of six months. The family are members of the Christian church.Pages 1387-1388 from volume III, part 2 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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