JOHN WATSON, who has been engaged in farming in Scotland Township, McDonough County, Ill., for more than half a century, is a native of Argyleshire, Scotland, where he was born March 9, 1824, a son of Hugh and Jane (McMillan) Watson, also natives of Scotland. Mr. Watson is the eldest of a family of five children, four of whom were boys. He learned the shoemaker's trade in Scotland after finishing his schooling in Glasgow, and worked there until he was thirty-two years old. The family then emigrated to the United States, proceeding directly to McDonough County, Ill., where they arrived in August, 1851. Three years later, together with his brothers and sister, he bought a farm in the north half of Section 12, Scotland township, and lived with them until 1857. He then build a house and moved to his portion of the farm, to which he added until he had 200 acres, eighty acres of which he has sold to his son. At first he worked at shoemaking together with farming, but later abandoned the trade work and devoted his whole attention to agriculture. When Mr. Watson came to this country the land was unbroken prairie, and very hard work was necessary in order to place it in cultivation. The timber used for his fences and buildings was hauled a distance of twenty-five miles.
On January 15, 1857, the subject of this sketch was married to Janette Douglas, who was born in Roxburyshire, Scotland, where she attended public school in her youth. Four children blessed this union, namely: Janette (Mrs. John McAllister), a resident of Scotland Township; Margaret (Mrs. Alexander McMillan), also living in that township; John H.; and Sarah, who lives across the road from the old homestead. Mr. Watson's religious belief is based on the creed of the Presbyterian Church. Politically, he is a Republican. He has done his full share in developing McDonough County, and the material and moral conditions, now observable in Scotland Township, attest the earnestness of his endeavors and those of his contemporaries.
Source: The Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of McDonough County, compiled by Dr. Newton Bateman, and Paul Shelby, 1907. Transcribed by Joanne Scobee Morgan