DAVID EDWARD WATKINS 1851 – 1935, by Wharton

From Texas Under Many Flags – Published in 1930

Transcribed by James M. Windsor

David E. Watkins, of Hood County, has lived long and prospered, and nearly half a century of his life has been spent in Hood County, where he has been first of all a farmer, later a merchant at Tolar, and is now retired in that village.

Mr. Watkins was born in Stewart County, Tennessee, December 16, 1851. His father, David Watkins, who was born in North Wales, December 12, 1812, came to the United States at the age of twelve years with his widowed mother. He grew up in Ohio and became a stage coach driver, and for a number of years operated a stage coach line. Subsequently he bought a farm in Tennessee, and had been farming only a short time when he was killed by a team of runaway horses on December 15, 1851, one day before the birth of his son David, who was one of two children, the daughter dying at Mayfield, Kentucky. David Watkins married Mary Jane Anderson, who was born in Tennessee October 14, 1827, and died in that state in 1878. Her father, Maxwell Anderson, was also a native of Tennessee. After the death of her first husband she married, in 1853, in Stewart County, J.A. McFolks, and of the four children of her second marriage one is now living, J.W. McFolks, a newspaper man.

David E. Watkins was taken to Illinois and he grew up in the southern part of that state, getting his education in Jefferson County. After the war he returned to Tennessee and in 1879 came to Texas and for six years rented a farm in Hood County, a mile and a half northeast of Tolar. At the end of this time he bought the place, and it was there he laid the foundation of his prosperity as a farmer and stock man. In January, 1907, renting his farm, he entered the grocery business at Tolar, and was active until 1925, when, at the age of seventy-four, he sold his merchandise, but still retains the ownership of the building. Mr. Watkins’ career has been one of plain and simple industry, close attention to his affairs, and has enjoyed a considerable degree of prosperity. Friends have urged that he become a candidate for office, but he has always declined any such honors. Mr. Watkins is a director of the Continental State Bank at Tolar.

He has been prominent in Masonry, joining Lodge No. 321 in Tennessee, and subsequently was a member of the lodge at Granbury and became a member of the lodge at Tolar when it was organized. For two years he was treasurer of the lodge at Granbury and for the past seventeen years has filled a similar position in the Tolar lodge. He has also given regularly of his time and means to the support of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Mr. Watkins married at Standing Rock Creek, twelve miles from Fort Donelson, Stewart County, Tennessee, January 11, 1872, Miss Caroline E. Daniel, who was born in Stewart County, February 20, 1856, being the second in a family of fourteen children. Her father, R.C. Daniel, moved out to Texas, became a farmer and stock man, and it was his farm that Mr. and Mrs. David E. Watkins lived on as renters when they first came to Texas. Mrs. Watkins has two brothers and two sisters living.

Mr. and Mrs. Watkins reared a large family of eleven children, and the most distinctive compliment that can be paid to Mr. Watkins is the fact that all of those who grew up have done well in life, have made themselves useful and have proved abundantly able to take care of themselves and families. The eldest, Edward I., born July 30, 1873, a meat cutter at Fort Worth, owning a grocery and filling station operated by his wife at Forest Hill, a suburb of that city, first married Nora Schilling, who died leaving one child, and he then married Ida Wood, by whom he has seven children. Robert Clifton Watkins, born May 9, 1876, was a farmer, later was with his father in the grocery business at Tolar until his death of the influenza, and his widow, Nora (Carlisle) Watkins, lives at Tolar. William David Watkins, born August 4, 1878, a cotton gin operator for twenty years whose home is at Ralls in Crosby County, married Lucy Nutt, and after her death Mabel Clifton, by whom he has three sons. Charles Watkins, born September 13, 1880, died January 10, 1889. Thomas Clyde Watkins, born July 28, 1882, was in the grocery business at Fort Worth and died while visiting his parents at Tolar in 1905, his widow, Mrs. Belle (Wood) Watkins and their only son living at Fort Worth. Grover Cleveland Watkins, born November 19, 1884, a street car motorman at Fort Worth, married Julia Berry and has eight children. George Watkins, born July 19, 1887, died when five years old. Fernando Emmett Watkins, born February 26, 1889, an employe [sic] of the Stone and Webster interests at Fort Worth, married Hazel Wood, whose father, A.C. Wood, is owner and operator of the waterworks at Tolar, and they have two children. Fred A. Watkins, born May 7, 1892, with the Louisiana Oil & Refining Corporation, with home at Springfield, Ohio, married Mattie Stewart and has three children. Forrest E. Watkins, born January 21, 1895, a postman at Fort Worth, married Laura Freeman and has one child. Gertrude, the youngest of the family, was born April 11, 1899, and is the mother of two sons by her marriage to O.H. Hollyfield, who is a traveling salesman for the Miller Hardware Company of Dallas.

David Edward Watkins was born December 16, 1851 and died in 1935. He was buried in the Strouds Creek Cemetery in Hood County, Texas. Click to view a 2nd Biography of David Edward Watkins.


Texas Under Many Flags, Volume III. Clarence R. Wharton, Author and Editor. 1930: The American Historical Society, Inc., Chicago and New York.