LaSalle County

Biography - CHARLES B. WATTS

Charles Brown Watts, supervisor of Earl township and a wealthy and substantial farmer of LaSalle county. Illinois, was born October 12, 1848, on a farm some four miles south of Ottawa, this state, and is a son of Phillip C. and Margaret Ann (Brown) Watts, who are among the oldest and most respected residents of this county.

Phillip C. Watts was born in Devonshire, England, January 22, 1822, and came to America with an uncle at the age of sixteen, locating in Genesee county, New York, where he remained one year, and then came to this state and acted as a guard in the penitentiary at Alton for a few years. In 1844 he came to this county, settling at Ottawa, and in November. 1847, married Miss Margaret Ann Brown, by whom he had nine children, all of whom are living. They have prospered in their business and own the farm four miles south of Ottawa, and are well-to-do people. His wife was a daughter of Charles Brown, who came here in 1830, and she remembers
the Black Hawk war and being driven into the fort at Ottawa. She tells of burning hickory wood to obtain saleratus and obtaining their meal by grinding corn. Her father entertained the Indian chief, Shabbona, but could never get that famous character to sleep in the house. The Brown family came here from New York, the journey being made by ox team and fifteen miles being considered a good day's travel.

Charles Brown Watts was the eldest of nine children — seven sisters and two brothers — and was reared on a farm. He attended the country schools and then entered the high school of Ottawa and later attended the Normal School at Normal, Illinois. Returning from school he took up the occupation of farming and has been remarkably successful. Some twenty years ago he purchased farm lands in Nebraska, which he afterward disposed of at a profit, enabling him to purchase a tract of fine land in Earl township, containing three hundred and sixty acres. Mrs. Watts also owns a quarter section in Kansas and a house and four lots in the town of Earl. He has made a neat income from stock raising and is a farmer who uses both brawn and brain in his work.

Mr. Watts was married in 1874 to Miss Anna Gillett, who was born on the farm upon which they now reside on June 13, 1850. They at once located on a farm in Livingston county, owned by Mr. Watts' father, and cultivated it for three years, moving, at the expiration of that time, in 1878, to the farm where they now live. The children born of this marriage were Clarence M., Harry W., Alice I., William W., Daisy, Archie T., and two — Grace and Margaret — that are dead. Mr. Watts is a Republican and has filled several minor offices, having been a school director nine or ten years and in 1898 was elected to the office of supervisor. He is a Master Mason, a Modern Woodman of America, and a Knight of the Globe, and is a man who makes many friends.

The father of Mrs. Watts was Thomas Gillett, who came to this state from New York in 1844. He was born in Kent, England. March 16, 1811, and in 1842 came to the United States and located in Syracuse for two years, whence he came to this county and lived in Ottawa for about four years, when he rented a farm in Earl township, and the following year, 1849, married Miss Sarah Hoadley, who was born in England in 1809. They had grown up in the same neighborhood and in 1842 she came to America with her uncle, Henry Hoadley. Thomas Hoadley, a pioneer of Earl township, was her brother. Thomas Gillett purchased a soldier's claim to one hundred and sixty acres of land in Earl township, on which he settled and which is now owned and occupied by Mrs. Watts and her family. He had but two children: Anna (Mrs. Watts), and Thomas H., who died in Kansas, in 1879. In 1884 Mr. Gillett retired from the active duties of agricultural life and took up his residence in Earlville, where his wife died in 1889 and he in 1891, both having attained to the advanced age of eighty years and having the love and respect of all with whom they came in contact.

Extracted 13 May 2019 by Norma Hass from Biographical and Genealogical Record of LaSalle County, Illinois, published in 1900, volume 2, pages 603-605.

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