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Chicago: The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company

Page 225

ELIAS WATKINS, whose farming interests claim his time and energies and return to him a good annual income, was born September 29, 1870, his parents being Samuel and Mary (Woolridge) Watkins. He was the fourth in order of birth in a family of eight children, four sons and four daughters. He began his education at Little Grove and was afterward graduated in the Tallula high school with the class of 1891, completing the course on the 29th of May, of that year. He has always engaged in farming, having assisted in the work on the old family homestead in his early boyhood days. He began farming on his own account in connection with his brother, Evan G. Watkins, upon their father's place at Little Grove, and there he remained for two years. In the fall of 1903 he located on his present farm, which consists of two hundred and twenty acres belonging to his father. He owns an adjoining eighty acres and is a very progressive agriculturist.

As a companion and helpmate on life's journey Mr. Watkins chose Irene Louise Fischer, the wedding being celebrated November 13, 1895. Her parents were John G. and Berta D. (Wright) Fischer. Her father was a native of Germany and came to America in 1853 when nineteen years of age, settling at Petersburg. He had been educated in his native country and after his arrival in the new world he conducted the first drug store at Petersburg, an establishment which has had a continuous existence, it being now the property of George F. Luthringer. He married Berta D. Wright and they became the parents of eight children, all of whom are living, three sons and five daughters, namely: Dora, the wife of Dr. J. B. Vance, a practicing physician of Springfield, Illinois; Ella, the wife of E. B. Lyons, who is principal of Browns's Business College at Danville, Illinois; Catherine, the wife of Dr. Paul Newcomer, a physician and surgeon living in Denver, Colorado; Irene Louise; John D., a ranchman living at Landers, Wyoming, where he has spent five years; George W., who is engaged in the telephone business; Francis B., who is at Gillett, Wyoming, where he has been connected with the sheep industry; and Ethel B., the wife of William Swift, a mechanic of Petersburg, by whom she has one son. Mrs. Watkins is a graduate of the high school of Petersburg of the class of 1894, and the following year she was married.

Our subject and his wife have a wide and favorable acquaintance in Menard county, where they have always resided and the circle of their friends is constantly growing. In his political views he is a Democrat and in November, 1901, was elected county commissioner by a majority of four hundred and twenty and at the present writing, in November, 1904, is a candidate for re-election. He and his wife belong to the Episcopal church in Petersburg and he is prominent in Masonry, being made a Mason at Petersburg in November, 1899, and now holding membership in Clinton lodge, No. 19, A.F. & A.M.; DeWitt chapter, R.A.M.; and St. Aldemar commandery, K.T., all of Petersburg. His wife is also connected with the Order of the Eastern Star and in his daily life he exemplifies the beneficent spirit of the craft, which has made this the strongest fraternal organization of the entire world. He is also venerable council of Atterberry camp No. 11554, M.W.A.

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