An enumeration of the representative citizens of Johnson county would be incomplete without specific mention of the well known and popular gentleman whose name introduces this sketch. A member of one of the old and highly esteemed families of this locality and for many years a public-spirited man of affairs, he has stamped the impress of his individuality upon the community and added luster to the honorable name which he bears, having always been actuated by a spirit of fairness in his dealings with the world in general, and leaving no stone unturned whereby he might benefit his own condition as well as that of his friends and the favored section of the great commonwealth in which he has been content to spend his life. Straightforward unassuming, genial and obliging, Mr. Van Nuys enjoys the good will and respect of a wide circle of friends throughout this part of the state.

Watson M. Van Nuys, who enjoys an enviable reputation in his part of the country because of his eminent success as a farmer and stock raiser, was born on July 22, 1877, in Franklin township, this county, and is a son of Charles C. and Adela M. (List) Van Nuys, his mother having been a daughter of Albert List. Charles C. Van Nuys was born in 1851, the son of John Van Nuys, a native of Mercer county, Kentucky, and a pioneer settler in Johnson county, Indiana, where he purchased a farm which had been entered by a Mr. Covert. John H. Van Nuys married Caroline Ditmars, and in the early life of the community they were highly respected because of their sterling character. Charles C. Van Nuys, who for the past sixteen years has conducted a summer hotel at Winona Lake, married Adda M. List, and to them were born four children: Watson M., the subject of this sketch; Edna, Mrs. Voorhies, of Rockwell City, Iowa; Ruth, Mrs. McGee, of Redondo Beach, California, and Kitty, Mrs. Granger, of Marion, Iowa.

Watson Van Nuys received his elementary education in the Hopewell schools, supplementing this by study in Franklin College, where he completed a fair and practical education. For the past sixteen years he has had charge of the home farm, which he has conducted in such a way as to realize very advantageous results. The farm comprises one hundred acres, located in Franklin township, and, besides the raising of the ordinary grain crops common to this locality, Mr. Van Nuys is a breeder of pure bred Duroc Jersey hogs, of which he handles about one hundred annually. He has thirty-five acres planted to corn, twenty-three acres to wheat and three acres to peas, while on an average he cuts about sixteen tons of hay. Practical in all his operations, no detail of the farm work escapes his careful attention, and the general appearance of the farm indicates the owner to be a man of sound judgment and wise discrimination.

Politically, Mr. Van Nuys is a staunch Republican, though not a seeker for public office, while his religious membership is with the Hopewell Presbyterian church. Fraternally, he is a member of the Masonic order, belonging to the blue lodge and to Franklin Chapter No. 65, Royal Arch Masons.

In 1902 Mr. Van Nuys married Daisy Alberta Branigin, a daughter of William D. Branigin, a well known and prominent citizen of this county. They move in the best social circles of the community and among their acquaintances they are deservedly popular. In agricultural circles Mr. Van Nuys stands in the front rank as a man who honors his calling in the present day and, because of his industry, integrity and courtesy, he is a man for whom the future holds much of promise and reward. His integrity is of the most insistent and unswerving character and no shadow has rested upon any portion of his career as a sterling citizen. Because of his honorable record and sterling qualities of character Mr. Van Nuys is eminently entitled to representation in a work of the province of the one at hand.

Branigin, Elba L. History of Johnson County. Indianapolis, IN: B. F. Bowen & Co., Inc., 1913. pp 796-798

Transcribed by Lois Johnson