Prominent in the development of LaSalle county, the Watts family, founded here nearly three-score years ago by the subject of this biography, is deserving of special mention. Loyal, patriotic citizens, always to be relied upon to use their influence and ballot for the right and best, for progress and improvement in all lines, their example is worthy of respect and emulation.
Philip C. Watts, of South Ottawa, comes from one of the honored old families of Devonshire, England. His grandfather in the paternal line was one Joseph Watts, a farmer, whose wife was Dolly (Reed) Watts. Our subject, born in Devonshire, June 24, 1822, is one of the eight children of John and Elizabeth (Challacombe) Watts. The Challacombes were direct descendants of William The Conqueror. The others were as follows: William; Joseph; Elizabeth, wife of James Parker, of Macoupin county, Illinois; John,, who served as a soldier in the war between the United States and Mexico and later engaged in gold-mining in Australia and California; James, who was drowned in the river at LaSalle, Illinois; Henry, a resident of Devonshire, England; and Rebecca, wife of T. Chammins.
When Philip C. Watts was seventeen years of age he came to the United States with the family, staying one year in New York, and since 1840 he has dwelt in LaSalle county. He has been an ardent Republican since the organization of the party, and has acted in the capacity of justice of the peace and as a member of the school board for many years.
A notable event in the history of P. C. Watts was his marriage, November 5, 1847, to Miss Margaret A. Brown, a daughter of Charles Brown, who came to Illinois in 1830 in a covered wagon from the east. He settled upon. a claim south of Ottawa, built a log cabin and proceeded to develop a farm. During the Black Hawk war he joined a military organization styled the home e:uards. The brothers and sisters of Mrs. Watts are Louisa, widow of Calvin Ells, and William, both deceased; Clarissa, wife of Christopher Mills,, of Marysville. California; Russell, a successful business man of Ottawa; and: Edward, deceased. The father died May 20, 1876, when four-score years of age, and the mother December 11, 1876, after having attained the age of seventy-eight years.
To the union of Mr. and Mrs. Watts nine children were born, and this happy family circle is still untouched by the angel of death. Charles B., the eldest, is supervisor of Earlville, Illinois, and by his marriage to Miss Anne Gillett he has six children: Clarence, Harry, Alice, Daisy, Willie and Archie. Elizabeth, the eldest daughter of our subject, is the wife of J. M. Poundstone, of Ottawa, and the mother of four children, - Ralph, Florence, Mabel and Grace. Henrietta, wife of J. Jones, of Livingston county, has three little ones, - Clara, Howard and Philip. Laura, now a resident of Peabody, Kansas, is the wife of Alexander Gray and has two children, - Arthur and Celia. Louise married Walter Trumbow, of Peabody, Kansas, and they have two sons, - Wesley and Ray. Florence wedded B. Holler, of Peabody, Kansas; Wallace lives on the home farm; and Lucy and Clara are still living at home.
The year which witnessed the fiftieth anniversary of the happy wedded life of Mr. and Mrs. Watts was celebrated by them in a very pleasant manner. It happened that the great jubilee in honor of Queen Victoria was held that year, and they decided to visit England. They went together to the childhood home of Mr. Watts, where he renewed his friendship with old associates, and the trip has left many pleasant memories in the minds of both. They have reared their children to be noble, useful citizens, have always striven to do their duty toward God and man, and without regret may look backward along the pathway they have pursued hand in hand. They are earnest members of the Methodist church, as are their children, and they feel that the promise of old has been fulfilled to them, that "goodness and mercy have followed them all the days of their lives."
Extracted by Norma Hass from Biographical and Genealogical Record of LaSalle County, Illinois published in 1900, volume 1, pages 117-118.