Page 438-439, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Butler County, Kansas by Vol. P. Mooney. Standard Publishing Company, Lawrence, Kan.: 1916. ill.; 894 pgs.


J. W. Watkins, a well known carpenter and contractor of Potwin, is a native of Virginia. He was born in Taylor county that State, March 4, 1863, and is a son of Samuel and Susan (Osborn) Watkins, natives of Pennsylvania, the former of Welsh and Scotch descent, and the latter of French and English ancestry. This branch of the Watkins family was founded in New England in Colonial times and later they settled in


Pennsylvania. Samuel and Susan (Osborn) Watkins were the parents of thirteen children, of whom J. W. was the tenth in order of birth. A brother of J. W., William, enlisted at President Lincoln's first call for troops during the Civil war, and served in a West Virginia regiment. He served under Generals Hooker and McDowell, and was with Sherman on his march to the sea and also served in the Army of the Potomac for a time under Grant.

J. W. Watkins was reared on the home farm in Virginia, and in early life learned the carpenter trade with his older brother, Richard, who was an expert workman. The father died in 1874, when J. W. was about nine years of age, and in 1882 the mother with her five children came to Butler county, Kansas, and settled on a farm one and one-half miles east of Potwin. One son, William, had preceded the family to Butler county, coming here in 1870, and homesteaded a quarter section in the vicinity of Potwin after coming to Butler county with his mother, J. W. Watkins, worked with his brother Richard, who at that time was the leading contractor and builder in and around Potwin, and eventually J. W. became a contractor and builder on his own account and since that time has successfully followed that line of work. He has built some of the best residences in Butler county, as well as many high class residences in Wichita and other places.

Mr. Watkins was married in 1898 to Miss Zooa Ella Poe, a daughter of Cornelius and Sarah (Rogers) Poe, natives of West Virginia and very early settlers in Butler county. To Mr. and Mrs. Watkins have been born the following children: Arthur Preston, Frederick Samuel Roger Williams, Elizabeth and Joseph Wade. Mr. Watkins is a member of the Knights of Pythias, and his political affiliations are with the Democratic party. During his career as a builder, he has won a reputation for honest and reliable work throughout this section of the State, which coupled with his high class workmanship places him in a class where much ordinary competition is eliminated.

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