Transcribed by: Patty Gaddis
WATTS, BENJAMIN - one of Sangamon County's old and substantial citizens, now living in Springfield, Ill., came to the county when three years of age. He was born in the State of New York, June 10, 1830, son of Nicholas and Elizabeth (Palladay) Watts, both natives of New York, the latter born in Potsdam, the date of his birth being December 30, 1801, and hers 1817. The father of Nicholas Watts came from New York to Illinois at an early date and took up government land in Sangamon County, where he died. He was a native of Massachusetts and the father of sixteen children, nine of whom settled in Sangamon County. He was of Welsh descent. The father of Elizabeth Palladay was born in France and emigrated to New York, later moved to Sangamon County, Ill., and died in Bloomington, Ill. Nicholas Watts was a carpenter by trade and located in Illinois in 1842. He and his wife were married in St. Lawrence County, N.Y., and their only child was Benjamin. The father died in Farmington, Ill., May 7, 1843, at the age of forty one years, four months and eight days.
The childhood of Benjamin Watts was spent on a farm. He lived with his parents until sixteen years of age, and attended school at Atlanta, Ill. He has always taken an active interest in public affairs and is a Democrat in politics. While a resident of Macon County, Ill., he served as Road Commissioner. He is industrious and prosperous, and owns the family home at 1015 South Spring Street. He is considered a useful and upright citizen and is respected by all who know him. Both he and his wife are members of the First Christian Church and interested in many noble causes.
Mr. Watts was married, in Decatur, Ill., December 28, 1864, to Miss Catherine B. Simpson, and they moved at once to Springfield, where they began housekeeping on West Jefferson Street. Mrs. Watts is a daughter of Jordan and Clarissa (Sayre) Simpson, and was born in Cass County, Ill, August 20, 1843. Her father was a farmer and born near Lexington, Ky., July 17, 1808. He came to Illinois as a young man and settled first in Gardner Township, Sangamon County, moved from there to Macon County, and finally located at Pleasant Plains, Sangamon County, where he died December 27, 1872. Clarissa Sayre was born in New Jersey, October 31, 1816, and when a child was brought by her parents to Dayton, Ohio. Her father, John Sayre, moved to Sangamon County in 1834, and she was there married to Jordan Simpson, October 27, 1835. She died Monday, May 17, 1896. The immediate ancestors of Mrs. Watts were all early settlers of Sangamon County, as shown above. Jordan Simpson and his wife were parents of eight children, namely; James. W., of Pleasant Plains, Ill.; William J., of Chicago; Mrs. C. B. Watts, wife of Benjamin Watts; Mrs. Margaret Hillyard, of Kansas; Mrs. Julia Johnson, of Kansas City; Mrs. Jeremiah Gibson, of Springfield; Mrs. Lucy Smith, of Chicago; Isaac N., was a soldier in the Civil War and died in 1865.
Seven children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Watts, four of whom died in infancy. Leora May, born in Springfield, September 25, 1865, married (first) Jacob Faust, and had three children, and married (second) Albert Mercer; Della, born September 25, 1885; Bertha, born February 22, 1889; Roy, January 21, 1890; Edgar N., March 18, 1871, in Macon County, married Rhoda Dedman, in June, 1893, and they have no children; Charles N., born in Macon County, April 19, 1874, married Julia Levinger, April 27, 1899, and they have two children, Lela, born in Springfield, February 22, 1900, and Charles E., born November 12, 1902. Mr. Watts and his wife have three great_grandchildren: Velma, Ernest and Lloyd Smith, who are the grandchildren of their oldest daughter, Leora, and children of her daughter, Della (Faust) Smith, who married Elmer Smith, December 25, 1901.