Transcribed from "An Illustrated History of The
Big Bend Country, embracing Lincoln, Douglas, Adams and Franklin counties,
State of Washington", published by Western Historical Publishing
WILLIAM M. WATKINS, a native of Randolph county, Illinois, born August 25, 1850, is a farmer residing two miles southwest of Davenport. He was the son of Washington S. and Amanda (Woldridge) Watkins, the former a native of Tennessee and the latter of Todd county, Kentucky. The father, however, removed to Illinois in an early day and spent the remainder of his life in Randolph county. His father was Noel Watkins, and his grandfather was Captain William Watkins, a captain in the patriot army during the Revolutionary War. The mother, now ninety-one years of age, is living in Sedalia, Missouri. The brothers and sisters of William M. Watkins are, Noel W., Abner J., Mrs. Mildred A. Brown, Mrs. Laura Edwards, and Mrs. Elizabeth Burton, all living in Missouri with the exception of the first named, whose home is in Douglas county, Washington.
William M. Watkins was reared in Illinois, and was there married on May 11, 1876, to Emma Gary, born near Memphis, Tennessee, May 18, 1856. Her father was William B. Gary, a native of North Carolina, who died near Memphis and her mother was Sarah (Madden) Gary, a South Carolinian by birth, who also died in Tennessee. The brothers and sisters of Mrs. Watkins are James R., Ludie F., Belle F., and Mrs. Sarah R. Curbo. Mrs. Watkins came to Randolph county, Illinois, after she became a woman grown.
In the fall of 1876 Mr. Watkins removed to Missouri, and farmed for eight years. About 1887, Mr. Watkins repaired to Sedalia and opened a wholesale and retail candy factory, which he conducted for four years. Then he sold and removed to Ionia, where he engaged in general merchandising, and later became postmaster of the town. This latter position he held with satisfaction to all for four years. Then he sold his business and in May, 1898, he visited Lincoln county, Washington. So well pleased was he with conditions as he found them that he purchased a farm returned to his Missouri home, sold out, and brought his family to its new home during the following June. He owns a quarter-section of choice grain land where he lives, and an equal amount all fenced and improved near Coulee City, Douglas county. He has a large seven-room house, a large barn, and all other improvements found on the modern and skillfully managed farm. His home place lies near the Central Washington railroad track.
Mr. and Mrs. Watkins have three children; Lulu Belle, wife of Albert Grube; Olive May, who has a partially improved homestead adjoining that of her father in Douglas county; and Amanda M., wife of Josiah J. Nichols, of the neighborhood of Davenport.