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William H. Watkins. For twelve years past William H. Watkins has been devoted to the newspaper business, and is now the owner and editor of three thriving papers in as many places, all in Oklahoma. He is well known and prominent as a leader in Helena, and in such other places as he has business interests, and especially in Helena has he been conspicuous for his activities.
Mr. Watkins was born on January 25, 1867, on a farm in Washington County, Ohio, and is a son of Edward T. and Marie (Thornton) Watkins.
Edward Watkins was himself a native Ohioan, born in 1836 at Stafford, and his parents were natives of Maryland. He has been a farmer and saw-mill man all his life, and is now living retired at Wichita, Kansas, at the age of seventy-nine. He is a veteran of the Civil war, having served as a private in Company M, Ninety-second Ohio Volunteers, for three years. He was with Sherman on his march to the sea, and saw much fighting in the years of his service. He was married in 1865 to Marie Thornton, daughter of Elijah and Mary Thornton. Mrs. Watkins was born at Stafford, Ohio, in 1835, and she was the mother of three sons and two daughters, all now living. The first of their children was William H. of this review. George W. was born June 24, 1869, and now lives in St. Johns, Oregon. Estella was born September 9, 1872. She married John Sellers in 1892 and now lives in Wichita, Kansas. Winifred was born September 29, 1874, and married George Jones in 1898 and lives at Cunningham, Kansas. O. E. Watkins was born on May 31, 1882. He is in the railroad service in Wichita.
William H. Watkins was reared on his father’s farm and educated in the public schools of Cunningham, Kansas. In 1891 he commenced the study of telegraphy - and a year later became station agent and telegraph operator for the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe. He was employed by them at different stations for twelve years. In 1903 Mr. Watkins established The Advocate at Sharon, Kansas, which he edited and published for a year. In 1904 he moved the plant to Ringwood, Oklahoma, buying The Leader and consolidating the two plants. he still operates The Leader. In 1914 he established a branch of the paper in Oklahoma, and in 1915 he bought out The Star at Helena, Oklahoma. He operates the three papers under the firm name of Watkins & Sons, his three sons being associated with him in the enterprise. They are John A., Virgil L. and Edward V.
Mr. Watkins is a Mason, and politically he is a staunch republican. He was married on January 28, 1892, at Crisfield, Kansas, to Miss Lillian M. Hutchings, daughter of Charles and Mary (Standley) Hutchings. She was born October 15,1873, at Walton, Kansas, and her parents are natives of Indiana, who pioneered to Kansas in young life. They live now in Major County, Oklahoma. The three sons born to Mr. and Mrs. Watkins have already been named. John A. was born on July 4, 1893; Virgil Lloyd on September 1, 1895; and Edward Vernon on January 28, 1898.