From: "Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler and
Brown Counties, Illinois 1892", by Biographical Review Publishing
Company, Chicago, Illinois; pages 463-464, a reprinted by Stevens
Publishing Co., Astoria, Ill., 1971, is sold by the Schuyler County
Historical Society, Rushville, Illinois.
Thomas W. Watts, the oldest and leading merchant of Huntsville,
is numbered among the pioneers of 1838. He was born in Scott county,
Kentucky, November 5, 1834. His father, Simeon Watts, was also a native
of Scott county, being born in 1806. He was a farmer, and in 1829
married Harriet D. Scott, and resided in Kentucky until 1838, when he
removed to Illinois and settled on a farm near Rushville, where he
purchased land, and resided there about five years, and then removed to
Brown county and settled on a farm, four miles north of Mt. Sterling,
where he pursued farming until 1878, when he removed to Huntsville,
where he passed his remaining years and died in 1886. His wife died in
Huntsville in 1890. They had nine children, of whom eight grew up. Mary
Smith resides in Huntsville township; John F. also resides there;
Horace W. resides in Greensburg, Kansas; Simeon was a member of the
Christian Church and his wife was a member of the Missionary Baptist
church. He was a poor man when he left Kentucky, but became a
successful farmer in Illinois. He had a well improved farm of 240 acres
and dealt considerably in real estate.
Thomas was reared and educated in Illinois. He was raised a
farmer, but in 1859 he engaged as a clerk in a store in Rushville,
where he stayed five years. He then went to Des Moines, Iowa, where he
loaned money and also operated a shingle and lath mill, and while thus
engaged lost one finger of his right hand. He then went to Mt.
Pleasant, Brown county, Illinois, where he became a merchant, but in
1866 he resumed his business in Huntsville, where he has since
continued. His brother, Horace, was his partner for some ten years in a
large general store. He owns eighty acres of land near Huntsville, also
320 acres in Hall county, Nebraska, 160 in Kiowa county, Kansas, and
160 in Kiowa county, Kansas, and 160 in Grant county, Kansas. He also
is the owner of good property in Huntsville at Wood River, Nevada, at
Ford City and Huntington, Indiana, most of which is well improved, and
he has made all of this himself.
He was married in 1859 to Nancy A., daughter of Isaiah and Mary
(McCarl) Lewton, who were pioneers of Huntsville township. Mr. and Mrs.
Watts have five children: William O., Secretary of the Building and
Loan Association of Huntington, Indiana; Laura Snyder of Caldwell,
Kansas; Fred L., at home; Salena Denny, of Augusta, Illinois, and
Frank, still at home. In politics Mr. Watts is a Democrat and has held
local office, but only takes enough interest in politics to perform his
duty as a citizen. His business requires all his time. He is a
prominent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and a very
successful man in every way.