John M. Watson
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Company D, 62nd Pennsylvaina Infatnry
Page 404 and 405 of: Portrait and biographical album of Marshall County, Kansas: containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of the state, and of the Presidents of the United States, Chapman Bros., 1889.
JOHN M. WATSON is not only one of the representative citizens of Marshall County, but one of the leading and successful business men of Frankfort, and an account of his career from his childhood to the present time finds an appropriate place in a work of this character. His father, Thomas Watson, was the son of Irish parents, while his mother traced her ancestry to the sturdy Scotch. The father was for many years a boat builder and carpenter, at Saltsburg, in the Conemaugh Valley, where he built boats for use on the Pennsylvania canal. He afterward engaged in farming near Elder’s Ridge, Pa., where he remained until 1870, when he removed to Saltsburg where he resided until his death, which took place in June 1888 he having reached the advanced age of eighty-eight. Our subject is the eldest of a family which embraced five boys and three girls. Thomas C., who is a farmer, lives on the old home place at Elder’s Ridge with his wife. Mary J. is the wife of Rev. A. T. Bell, a Presbyterian minister at Home, Indiana Co., Pa., they have one child, a girl of seventeen years. M. H. is a banker in Greenville, Mercer Co., Pa., is married and has two sons. Martha married G. P. McCartney, who operates the gas works, a paper mill and a tannery in Indiana, Pa. Emma resides in Camden, N. J., she is the wife of George W. Creighton, a civil engineer, and Division Superintendent on the Pennsylvania Central Railroad. William died in August, 1863, at the age of nine years. James P. is single and resides on the old home place.
Our subject, like the great majority of the successful citizens of Kansas, was reared upon a farm and early became acquainted with farm work. His early education was received in the common schools, and was supplemented by an academic course at Elder’s Ridge Academy. Shortly after the breaking out of the war, Mr. Watson enlisted as a private in Company D, 62d Pennsylvania Infantry. His regiment was assigned to the Army of the Potomac, and during the next three years participated in the campaigns against Richmond, and against Lee and “Stonewall” Jackson in Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania. Among the more important engagements in which our subject took part may be mentioned Yorktown, Gaines Mills, Malvern Hill, second battle of Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancelorsville, Gettysburg, Wilderness, Spotsylvania, North Ann River, Cold Harbor and Petersburg. Although present with his regiment in the above battles, as well as a number of sharp skirmishes, Mr. Watson had the good fortune to escape unhurt. A number of bullet holes received in his clothing at various times, however, bore eloquent testimony to uncomfortably close calls. The three years for Mr. Watson enlisted, expired on the 4th of July 1864, and he was soon after honorably discharged from the service. He returned to Pennsylvania and attended Elder’s Ridge College until the spring of 1865, when he was attacked by the Western fever and came to this county. He purchased 320 acres of land in Wels Township, about five miles west of Frankfort. Shortly after he filed on the adjoining 160 acres under the homestead act. He has since purchased an additional eighty, making his present estate consist of 560 acres, all improved and under cultivation. From the year he arrived in Kansas until 1870 Mr. Watson followed farming. In that year he was elected Register of Deeds of Marshall County, an office which he filled for two years. At the expiration of his term he returned to his farm, on which he remained until 1880. In that year he came to Frankfort, and engaged in the business of buying, shipping and selling live-stock. He continued in this business about three years, when he went into the lumber business, becoming the junior member of the firm of Brown & Watson. In 1888 he bought out his partner, and has since been running the business alone. He now owns the principal lumber yard in Frankfort, and his annual sales aggregate a large amount. His farm, which he rented, also yields him a satisfactory annual income.
On Feb. 4, 1872, our subject was married to Miss Emma McDougal, a native of Missouri. Her parents died when she was a little girl, and she made her home with her sister, Mrs. May Marshall, in Maysville, which city had been named after her. Mrs. Marshall now resides in Denver. Miss McDougal was educated at the convent schools of St. Marys, in Pottawatomie County, Kan., and of St. Joseph, Mo., and is a cultured, refined and accomplished lady. Four children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Watson—Frank W., Thomas H, Ida, and Wiley H., all of whom are living except Ida, who died at the age of seven years.
Mr. Watson is a member of Frankfort Lodge No. 67, A. F. & A. M., and has been Secretary of his Lodge for a number of years. He is also a member of Henderson Post No. 53, G. A. R., and is the Post Quartermaster. For the past seven years he has been a member and Treasurer of the Frankfort School Board. In politics he is a staunch Republican, and has been prominent in the councils and active in the work of his party. He has served repeatedly as a delegate to County, Judicial, Congressional, and State conventions, and as a member of the County, Judicial and Congressional Central committees. It will thus be seen that Mr. Watson is not only an active and energetic business man, but a prominent and popular citizen. During his residence in Frankfort he has engaged heartily and earnestly in every enterprise having for its object the prosperity and welfare of the city.
Mr. Watson is a man of medium stature and build; his black hair and beard are very lightly sprinkled with gray. His eyes and complexion are dark. In business Mr. Watson brings judgment and prudence to bear, and his decisions are based upon mature and deliberate judgment. His success as a farmer is attributable to the fact that he carried business methods and principles into the management of his farm. In the conduct of his present business he has earned a reputation for honest and honorable dealings, which insures him the respect of all who know him. He is a man of uniform courtesy, genial and companionable.
John M. Watson