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Chicago: The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company

Page 541

ALVIN WATKINS, now deceased, was a farmer of Menard county, whose life was upright and honorable and won him the respect and confidence of his fellow men. He was born in this county, February 17, 1829, when it was still a frontier region, the work of improvement and progress being scarcely begun. His parents were Joseph and Nancy (Greene) Watkins, the latter a daughter of George Greene. Joseph Watkins settled in Little Grove, Menard county, at a very early day, coming to this state from Green county, Kentucky. He was the owner of land in Little Grove that is now in possession of Samuel Watkins.

Reared under the parental roof Alvin Watkins attended the district schools and early became familiar with farm labor in all of its departments. He engaged in agricultural pursuits throughout his entire life and began farming on his own account in Little Grove. There he resided up to the time of his marriage, which occurred March 22, 1853, Miss Nancy Potter becoming his wife. Her parents were Elijah and Elizabeth (Greene) Potter. Her father was born in White county, Illinois, February 24, 1813, and when a little lad of only two or three years was brought to Menard county, his parents settling in 1816 upon what is now the Edes farm. His wife was a sister of W. G. Greene and the home farm upon which Mrs. Watkins resides was the old homestead of William Greene. Bowling Greene, with whom Abraham Lincoln at one time boarded, was Mrs. Watkins' step-grandfather. He was among the oldest settlers of the county. The Greene family was established in this part of the state at a very early period in its development and they were among the most prominent and prosperous people of the locality. Her grandfather entered a large amount of land and her father was the owner of nearly one thousand acres at the time of his death. Mr. and Mrs. Potter had three children: Nancy, born in this county, December 20, 1834; Louisa, who was born June 11, 1837, and is the widow of Greene Purvines, now living in Pleasant Plains, Sangamon county, with her three children; Joseph W. Potter, who died before he had completed his first year. Mrs. Watkins pursued her education in the district and select schools and remained in her parents' home until her marriage.

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Watkins were born eight children: Mary E. became the wife of Byron P. Henderson and is now a widow living in Petersburg. She has three children living. Gaines, who resides on the home farm, wedded Emma Swartz and they have eight children living and have lost one. He conducts the old homestead property covering six hundred acres. Alice A. married Thomas Armstrong and both are now deceased. They left six children, one of whom has passed away. Minerva Jane is the wife of W. C. Roe, a resident of Nevada, Missouri, and they have two children. Joseph Elijah died at the age of nineteen years. John Brahm married Myra Hodgson, a resident of Fort Madison, Iowa, and they have four children. Beverly Scott, now deceased, married Bolletta Metzker in Alabama and his widow resides in Mobile, that state. Greeneberry died at the age of thirteen years.

Mr. Watkins followed farming in order to provide for his family, but in 1871 his death occurred. He was a Democrat in his political views and he lived a quiet, uneventful but useful and honorable life, so that he left to his family an untarnished name. Mrs. Watkins was left with the care of eight children when the youngest was only eight months old. She always kept the family together and provided her children with excellent educational privileges. Alice and Mary were students at Bethany, Pennsylvania, and Minerva at Jacksonville, Illinois, while Brahm was a student in Eureka College at eureka, Illinois. Mrs. Watkins has certainly done a mother's full part by her children, counting no sacrifice too great on her part if it would enhance the happiness or promote the welfare of her children, and she has lived to see them become useful and respected members of society. Like her all hold membership in the Christian church and the highest esteem is given them by their friends and neighbors. Mrs. Watkins is one of the older native citizens of Menard county and its history is familiar to her through the period of three score years and ten, so that she can relate many interesting incidents concerning the development of the county and events which have marked its progress.

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