Andrew Dwight Watts

ANDREW DWIGHT WATTS, ex-County Treasurer and one of the leading farmers of the county, resides in section 33, township 32, range 22, in Sheridan township. Mr. Watts has for many years made a specialty of raising fine stock, his imported horses being especially famous. He is a native of the "Green Mountain State," where he was born in Addison County, May 22, 1843.

The parents of our subject, John G. and Mary (Foster) Watts, resided in their early youth at Gardner, Massachusetts, whence they moved up into Vermont. In the summer of 1844, they moved out to Leesburg, Indiana, where they continued to reside the remainder of their lives, the mother dying in 1871, the father two years later. Both were consistent members of the Christian Church during their lifetime, and the father was a Democrat in political belief. He was a maker of wooden pumps and followed the business quite extensively and with considerable success. He was a man of strong characteristics and always took quite an active part in affairs, having been for 18 years justice of the peace at Leesburg. Of Nebraska; Hannah, of Wabash, Indiana; Maryrick, a retired carpenter residing at Humboldt, Nebraska; Hannah, of Wabash, Indiana; Mayett, of Andrews, Indiana; Marinda, of Ligonier, Indiana; and Andrew Dwight, the honored subject of this review.

Owing to untoward circumstances in his early youth, Mr. Watts had poor advantages of education. He attended school but three months each season in his boyhood, and later took a commercial course at Bryant & Stratton's Business College at Troy, New York. This, however, has not been a bar to his success, as he was possessed of an unusually observant mind and as years passed has become a well informed man. He learned the pump business at home and later, leaving home at 17 years, took up the carpenter's trade. For the following 11 years he followed this occupation with success in Indiana. Finally, in June, 1869, Mr. Watts resolved to see what was in the stories which were being circulated concerning the rich land that could be had for a "song" in Kansas. Fort Scott was the first town at which he stopped and there he spent the year 1870 as a patternmaker in a foundry at that point. In the meantime he picked a location four miles north of Columbus, preempting the southeast quarter of section 26, township 32, range 23, in Ross township. In company with his friend, William Benham, he erected thereon a sod shanty and thus humbly began his career as an agriculturist in the "Sunflower State." He soon brought to this primitive home the wife who has been so faithful a helpmeet in the ensuing years. Mary E. Wall, a native of Dayton, Ohio, but at that time residing with her father, John L. Wall, in Newton County, Missouri. Together they took up the task of making a home on the bare prairie, and a task it was, indeed. They passed through all the trials and privations of those early pioneer times, but by faithful toil succeeded in the 20 years which they passed on that farm in developing a most productive property. In 1891, Mr. Watts traded it for the farm where he now resides,—the east half of section 33, township 32, range 22, in Sheridan township. This farm was only partially improved, the general appearance of thrift now seen about the farm being entirely the result of Mr. Watts' labors. About 200 acres of this place is under cultivation, the crops raised being such as ca n be best used in feeding the blooded stock in which Mr. Watts deals.

Of late years, our subject has given much attention to blooded stock and always keeps on hand something fine in imported blood. At present, besides a fine jack, he has the splendid Shire horse "Nailor," and a German coach horse named "Dorn." In the line of hogs he favors the red Poland stock. The name which Mr. Watts has established in Cherokee County is the result of painstaking care in the selection of stock, never allowing anything inferior on the place.

As a citizen, the life of our subject has been one which has been helpful along the lines of general uplift. He has never shirked his duty in the matter of administering the minor offices in the township and school district and in the support of religious institutions. Reared a Democrat, he became the nominee of his party in 1892 for the office of County Treasurer, and such was his popularity that he received the certificate of election. Again in 1894 he was chosen to the office and served, in all, a period of four years with satisfaction to his constituents. Mr. Watts is a member of Prudence Lodge, No. 100, A. F. & A. M., of Columbus. His wife is a member of the Friends' Church. To them were born four children, whose names in order are: John Earl, who married Ollie Waller, has two children,—Myrle and Marie,— and resides on part of the home place; Carl K., who married Allie French, has two children,— Eva and Lucile,—and is farming part of the old farm; Lora, who is the wife of Laburtis Smith, of Sheridan township; and Judd D., residing at home, who is a barber at Hallowell. Mr. Watts and his entire family are much esteemed in the county. Portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Watts accompany this sketch.


History of Cherokee County Kansas and its representative citizens, ed. & comp. by Nathaniel Thompson Allison, 1904, transcribed by Carolyn Ward, instructor from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, 5/5/97.


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Tom & Carolyn Ward
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