The subject of this sketch has been judge of the District Court for the last seventeen years, having been elected
to that position in 1898 and twice since that time without opposition. He ranks among the ablest of the district
judges in Minnesota. Before becoming judge he was county attorney of Polk county, city attorney of Crookston, a
member of its city council twelve years, member of the school board and referee in bankruptcy. He was born June
9, 1850, in Stanley, Huron county, Ontario. His father was Matthew Wat.ts, a native of Yorkshire, England, who
came to Canada in 1842 and his mother, Hannah (Simpson) Watts of Cumberlandshire, England, who came in 1832 at
the age of six years. They settled in the backwoods near the shore of Lake Huron in 1848, enduring the hardships
of pioneers who make farms from heavily timbered lands with their own hands, and there they are buried, the father
dying in 1854 at the age of thirty-four years and his wife in
1912 at the age of eighty-six.
Judge Watts received his education in the common schools and worked at farming, lumbering and, teaching school
in Ontario, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota until 1875 when he entered the law department of the University of
Michigan, graduating therefrom in 1877 with the degree of bachelor of laws, and was admitted to the bar of Michigan.
He came to Crookston in January, 1878, and has lived there continuously since that time, making him the first lawyer
now living to locate in what is now the Fourteenth Judicial District of Minnesota. He soon became a good trial
lawyer and had a fair share of the law business of the region tributary to Crookston while at the bar and has aiso
done considerable farming in the &d River valley.
Judge Watts was united in marriage with Edith E. Webb whose father, Rice Webb was one of the pioneers of Polk county
and who is a descendant of John Alden and Priscilla, immortalized in the verse of Longfellow. They have four children,
William A., lawyer, residing at Duluth, and Mary Ella, Anna M. and Matthew S., at home.
Compendium of History and Biography
of Polk County, Minnesota
Maj. R. I. Holcombe, Historical Editor
William H. Bingham, Feneral Editor
W. H. Bingham & Co.
Also see [ Railway Officials in America 1906