Among the many old and prominent citizens of Clinton county there are none more deserving of notice in this work than he whose name heads this sketch. He is the thirteenth and youngest child of Hardin and Lesa WATTS (both deceased) and was born in Clinton county, Ill., June 23d, 1832. Richard remained at home, assisting his father on the farm until the latter’s death. He continued to reside on the old homestead, caring for his mother, until 1861, when President Lincoln issued his first call for volunteers to defend and protect the government. Richard Watts was among the first true patriots to lay aside the cares of business at home, and bid farewell to family and friends. He volunteered his services on the 4th of Aug., 1861, and be came a member of Company H, of the 30th Illinois Infantry. He served for three months, when, on account of failure of health, he returned home and remained with his family until Aug. 4th, 1862, when he re-enlisted and joined Company I, 111th Regiment, Illinois Volunteers, under command of Col. Jas. S. MARTIN. He faithfully served his country until June 27th, 1865, participating in the battles, skirmishes and marches in which his regiment was engaged. He took part in eleven well-fought battles, and came out without receiving any serious wounds. For meritorious service he was promoted to the rank of first sergeant. He was mustered out at Springfield, Illinois, and received an honorable discharge. He immediately returned to his home in this county, and has since been engaged in farming. The parents of Richard Watts were natives of North Carolina. They emigrated and settled in the territory of Illinois in 1814; they made their first stay in St. Clair county, and in 1818 moved to what is now Clinton county, and settled on land in Lake township, where Mr. Watts remained until his death, May 21st, 1846. On the 18th day of March, 1852, Richard Watts was married to Miss Elizabeth GIBSON, daughter of William and Sarah Gibson. She was born in Clinton county, Ill., April 8th, 1832. Mr. and Mrs. Watts have had born to them nine children, five of whom are deceased, and four are living. Mr. and Mrs. W. have had their share of hardships in life, but have borne their cross with fortitude and Christianity. In politics he is an ardent republican, and in religious faith, both he and his good wife are consistent members of the M. E. Church.

Source: History of Marion and Clinton Counties, Illinois, 1881, Brink, McDonough & Co., Philadelphia

Submitted by: Pamela Safriet

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