Watson, William D.

Born: 1813-XX-XX Fountain County, Indiana

Died: 1858-10-09 Coles County, Illinois

William D. Watson was an itinerant preacher, farmer, and state legislator. Born near Vincennes, Indiana, Watson spent his early life as an itinerant Methodist minister, traveling extensively through Indiana until failing health forced him to give up the circuit. He married Mary Low, with whom he would have nine children. Watson moved from Indiana to Vermilion County, Illinois, settling in an area above Georgetown. In 1839, Watson and his family moved to the area of Coles County that would become Douglas County, settling in Brushy Fork southwest of Newman. After a year or two, Watson relocated to a farm southeast of Camargo, where he resided until his death. In 1846, Coles County voters elected Watson, as a Whig, to a seat in the Illinois House of Representatives, where he served until March 1847. In 1850, he was farming and owned real property valued at $1,200. He returned to the Illinois House in 1853, serving from January 1853 to March 1854. In November 1854, Watson won election to the Illinois Senate, holding his seat from January 1855 to February 1857.

John Gresham, comp., Historical and Biographical Record of Douglas County Illinois (Logansport, IN: Wilson, Humphreys, 1900), 250; U.S. Census Office, Sixth Census of the United States (1840), Coles County, IL, 179; Theodore C. Pease, ed., Illinois Election Returns, 1818-1848, vol. 18 of Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library (Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library, 1923), 428; U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Coles County, IL, 5; John Clayton, comp., The Illinois Fact Book and Historical Almanac, 1673-1968 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1970), 213-15, 218, 220, 221; Gravestone, Albin Cemetery, Newman, IL.