William Thomas Watson.Among the strong men of Kansas who have achieved success and prominence through the sheer force of their own industry and ambitions, is Mr. Watson, who is a member of the Kansas state legislature and assistant state bank commissioner. Mr. Watson is descended from English ancestors on the paternal side and his maternal descent is from Scotch-Irish Presbyterian stock. He was born in Charleston, Coles county, Illinois, Dec. 13, 1858, son of John Watson, a farmer, who died when William T. was one year old. His mother, who was Miss Margaret Hunter McMillen before her first marriage, after the death of John Watson, married James C. King, who proved to be a true father to the children who came under his care. He has since died, and his wife, the mother of William T. Watson, died Oct. 25, 1911, at South Pasadena, Cal. The early death of Mr. Watson's father has prevented him from securing much information concerning his paternal ancestry. His maternal grandfather, George McMillen, lived in Ohio and was once superintendent of the blind asylum at Columbus. Mr. Watson has no brothers but he has one sister, Luella, the wife of George W. Burt, of South Pasadena, Cal. Upon the death of his father, his mother returned to the State of Ohio, the state of her birth and the home of her family. The early boyhood and youth of Mr. Watson was spent in Illinois, Ohio, and Louisiana. At the age of eighteen he went to live with his uncle, Hon. William L. McMillen, at the latter's plantation home, near Lake Providence, La. In the reconstruction period, this uncle was elected to the United States senate from Louisiana, but some question having arisen as to the validity of the election, he was not seated. Later he served as postmaster of New Orleans, receiving the appointment from President Hayes. In 1883 Mr. Watson left Louisiana and came to Kansas, locating first at Marion, where he was deputy register of deeds two years, and for two years thereafter was a clerk in the German Bank of Hillsboro, Marion county. In 1888 he went to Dodge City, Kan., where he spent five years and served as register of deeds during a portion of that time. For five years he was in the employ of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Company, with headquarters during that time at Hutchinson, Kan., his service with said company terminating in 1900. In that year he retired from the employ of the Santa Fe company and removed to Iola, Kan., where he resides. He first engaged as assistant cashier in the Iola State Bank, which position he held four years, until 1904, since when he has held his present position, that of assistant state bank commissioner. Mr. Watson is interested in the banking business, aside from his official position, being president of the Colony State Bank, at Colony, Anderson county, Kansas. In his earlier life he had studied law to some extent and while at Dodge City was admitted to the bar, but has never practiced his profession.
Mr. Watson has been twice married. His first marriage, in August, 1892, united him with Anna E. Edwards, who died in May, 1895. His second wife was Miss Grace E. Crutteden, to whom he was married in May, 1898. Both wives were from Wellsboro, Pa., where they were schoolmates and warm friends during school days and both marriages occurred in Wellsboro. Mr. Watson is a Republican in politics and an ardent supporter of the progressive branch of that party. He is serving his second term as a representative in the state legislature from Allen county, having been first elected in 1908 and reëlected in 1910. Mr. and Mrs. Watson are members of the Presbyterian church. Fraternally Mr. Watson is a member of the Masonic Order and of the Modern Woodmen. He is also a director in the Kansas Home Mutual Life Insurance Company and of the Aetna Building and Loan Association, both of Topeka, being vice-president of the latter corporation.Pages 608-609 from volume III, part 1 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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