Kansas History and Heritage Project-Anderson County Biographies

Anderson County Biographies
"Portrait and Biographical Record of Southeastern Kansas"
Biographical Publishing Co., Chicago, 1894

PETER H. WATKINS. Of all the numerous vocations by which men gain a livelihood, none is more honest and independent than that of tilling the soil. Prominent among the farmers who successfully manage their affairs in Washington Township, Anderson County, is the gentleman above named, who is located on a well cultivated tract on section 4, where he has resided since 1870. The grandfather of our subject, whose given name was Ebenezer, was a native of Wales, and came to this country when four years old. He was a gallant soldier in the War of the Revolution, and passed away in Virginia. The paternal grandmother bore the maiden name of Christina Marks, and was born in Loudoun County, Va. After the death of her husband, which occurred in Floyd County, she went to Washington County, Ind., where she spent the remainder of her life, and died some time in the early '40s.

The father of our subject, Isaiah Watkins, was born in Montgomery County, Va., on the 17th of April, 1811, and was there reared to manhood. He is a man of strict moral principles and good character, and is liked by all who know him. In the year 1835, he married a Miss Margaret Bierley, who was a native of Washington County Ind., where she was born in March, 1818. After their union, Mr. and Mrs. Watkins remained in Washington County for about four years, and then removed to Bartholomew County where the latter died February 12, 1858. Mr. Watkins continued to live there till 1882, when he came to Anderson County to live with his children. He is the father of nine children, namely: Peter H., John B., George W., Jacob T., Lemuel F., Isaiah M., Luther, Lafayette and Melissa.

Peter H. Watkins is a native of the state of Indiana, having been born in Washington County, on the 3d of October, 1837. He was about three years old when his parents moved to Bartholomew County, Ind., where he grew to mature years, during which time he was constantly in that county with the exception of about two and one-half years, which he spent in Pike County, Ill. In the summer of 1870 he came to Anderson County, purchased land in this township, and has ever since made this his abiding place.

For a life-companion, our subject chose Mrs. Rachael Vanscoyoc, who was born in Grant County, Ind., December 28, 1840. The marriage was performed in Washington Township, October 3, 1872, at the home of the bride. Mrs. Watkins' parents, Evan and Margaret (Scott) Benbow, were natives of North Carolina and early settlers of Grant County, where they died some years ago. Of the nine children born to them, five sons and four daughters, Mrs. Watkins was the fourth in order of birth. She was formerly married to Isaac Vanscoyoc, to whom she bore six children: Clara, John, Jane, Altice, Denny and Thomas. Mr. Vanscoyoc passed away May 18, 1870.

The union of our subject and his wife has been blessed by the birth of two children, William Clarence and Frank. Mr. Watkins finds time in the midst of his extensive personal affairs to bear an active part in the local and political transactions and in all movements which tend to the general welfare of the community. He has been Township Trustee and Treasurer, and has also filled the responsible office of Town Clerk, discharging his duties in every capacity in a trustworthy manner and to the satisfaction of the people. He is identified with the German Baptist (or Dunkard) Church, in which he is an active worker. Mr. Watkins has always been an industrious man and a good manager, and has made for himself and family a comfortable maintenance. He is now the owner of one hundred and sixty acres of fertile land, on which have been erected a number of convenient and valuable buildings. Personally he is a genial and companionable man, strictly honorable in all his dealings, and therefore is highly regarded by all with whom he has to do.

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