MARION S WATSON
One of the enterprising and public-spirited citizens of Reserve is Marion S. Watson, who is now efficiently serving as postmaster there. He is also numbered among the representative farmers of the neighborhood, having for some years been actively identified with the agricultural interests of this locality, and is proprietor of the Quarry Hill Poultry and Fruit Farm. He was born in Fulton county, Illinois, February 11, 1847, and in the common schools near the old homestead obtained his education. His parents were Ebenezer and Cassandra (Gould) Watson, the former a native of Gorham, Maine, and the latter of Ohio, their marriage having been celebrated in the Buckeye state. The paternal grandparents of our subject were John and Mary (Webster) Watson, the latter a relative of Daniel Webster, while the former was a son of Ebenezer Watson, who served in the Revolutionary war and was of English descent. After the establishment of American independence he located near Gorham, Maine. He was the father of seven sons. Both he and his wife attained an advanced age and, dying about the same time were buried in one grave in the cemetery near Gorham. Their son, John Watson, was reared in Maine, and after his marriage removed to Ohio, where he opened a distillery and also engaged in farming. Later he removed to Fulton county, lllinois, becoming one of its pioneer settlers. There he entered land from the government and improved a farm, upon which he remained until old age, when he sold that property and made his home with the father of our subject, at Perry, Pike county, Illinois, his death there occurring. In politics he was a stanch Democrat, but never aspired to office. His wife survived him and also died at the home of her son in Pike county. In their family were three children: Ebenezer, the father of our subject; Mary, wife of Asa Dutton; and Mrs. Alvira Gould. The parents and children were all members of the Christian church, and John Watson held membership relations with the Masonic fraternity.
Ebenezer Watson, the father of our subject, was born in Maine, accompanied his parents to Ohio, and with his father came to Illinois. During his youth he was a student in the same school which U. S. Grant attended. He was married in Ohio and afterward engaged in farming, which pursuit he followed in connection with carpentering. In 1850 he took up his abode upon a farm in Pike county, Illinois, and in connection with the tilling of the soil, engaged in contracting and building. His death occurred August 22, 1886, and his wife, who preceded him to the home beyond, passed away July 9, 1870. She was a daughter of Daniel Gould, a native of New England, and a soldier of the war of 1812. When his country became involved in hostilities with Mexico he again joined the army, and at the time of the civil war he offered his services to the Union but was rejected on account of his advanced age. He died near Astoria, Illinois, at the advanced age of ninety-four years. Prior to the war he was a stanch abolitionist in principles. His children, seven in number, were: Cassandra, Mrs. Rachel Vauderment, Mrs. Caroline Merrill, Mrs. Oletha Clark, Mrs. Lucetta Curry; Clinton, deceased; and Mrs. Susie Bradbury. All were church members. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Ebenezer Watson were: Mrs. Almina Swango, Mrs. Lucy Gold, Daniel, who served in the civil war and died soon after his return; Marion S., Mrs. America Clark, and James C., a druggist of Hiawatha. This family was also connected with the Christian church.
Marion S. Watson was reared in Illinois, remaining under the parental roof until his marriage, in 1866, to Miss Hester A. Beaver, an intelligent and cultured lady who was born in Fulton county, Illinois, March 8, 1845. Her parents were Levi and Sarah (Timmons) Beaver, both natives of Pennsylvania. They became early settlers of Illinois, where the father followed farming, and in 1876 they removed to Nebraska. where he purchased a tract of land near Seward. There he spent his remaining days. He was a man of many virtues, charitable and benevolent, and commanded the respect of all who knew him. In his family were nine children, namely: Elias, of Falls City, Nebraska; Mrs. Matilda Carpenter, Mrs. Jane Allison, Mary, who was the first wife of Mr. Allison, now her sister's husband; Lydia, wife of Hon. J. R. Dowty; Frank, of Nebraska; Hester, wife of our subject; Levi, and Mrs. Sarah Walters.
In 1872 Mr. Watson left Illinois, and located in Richardson county, Nebraska, where he engaged in farming. In 1878 he came to Kansas, locating in Brown county, near Reserve. He purchased a tract of raw prairie land, erected a small house, had some of his land fenced and broken, and in the course of time gathered abundant harvests in return for his labor. It was not long before his farm yielded him good financial returns. There is also a stone quarry on his land, from which he has sold large quantities of stone. He continued to successfully operate his farm, and later purchased another tract of land, so that he now owns two hundred and fifty acres, all under a high state of cultivation. His career, however, has not been one of continuous prosperity, for he has met with some misfortunes. The cyclone of 1896 did immense damage upon his place, destroying seven buildings and ruining his fine, large commercial orchard. There was no insurance upon this place, thus causing a total loss; but with characteristic energy he set to work to retrieve his possessions, and by careful management he has gained a place among the enterprising and prosperous farmers of his neighborhood. He has given considerable attention to raising fine hogs and is an excellent judge of them. Of late years he has also engaged in raising fine fowls and has made extensive shipments of these to all parts of the country. He is also engaged in horticultural pursuits on quite an extensive scale, and these branches of his business have yielded to him excellent financial returns.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Watson have been born seven children: Mary M., now Mrs. Syster; Frank L., a well known and talented artist of California; Mrs. Nellie I. Willard; Daniel, who is operating the homestead farm; Fannie a twin sister of Daniel, and the wife of Rev. W. F. Schulze, a minister of the Moravian church; Jessie M., who is deputy postmaster; Melvin D., at school, and Ella Grace, who died in infancy.
Mr. Watson is a very public-spirited and progressive citizen, and has contributed in no small degree to the progress and welfare of the community. It was through his efforts that the town of Reserve was laid out and he has always aided in its upbuilding. In politics he is recognized as a leading and influential member of the Republican party, attends its conventions, and does all in his power to insure its success. He has filled many offices, and has been school director, was justice of the peace for ten years, was township clerk, and by President McKinley was appointed to the position of postmaster of Reserve.
He is also a leading member of the Farmers Institute, and his close study of questions respecting different departments of farm work has gained him a broad and comprehensive knowledge of the subject and made him very efficient along those lines. Both he and his wife are members of the Christian church and enjoy the warm regard of their many friends throughout the community. Mr. Watson is truly a self-made man, for the success which has come to him is the result of his own efforts.