A great essay written once said that "when one has given the best that is
in him to a work, he experiences a feeling of satisfaction." While this
statement may seem rather broad yet a greater truth than this was never
spoken. Whether one is successful or not in what one undertakes if he
realizes that nothing on his part has been left undone, he should have no
regrets. This does not mean that the unsuccessful person feels just as good
over defeat as the successful over victory. When one does his best and is
successful he has a double reason to be happy. To this class belongs Mr.
Watkins, for he did his best and has succeeded.
Bartlett Y. Watkins was born near Asheville. North Carolina, July 20, 1842. His parents were good old Southern people. The father, James G. Watkins, was torn in North Carolina, while the mother, Mary D. (Patterson) Watkins, was a native of Virginia. To this union were born eight children of whom Bartlett was the oldest. On his mother's side he was of Irish and German descent, while on his father's side his ancestors were English and Welsh.
When Bartlett was ten years old the family came north to live in Richland county, Illinois. Here the father died November 9, 1872, and the mother died eleven years later in Christian county, Illinois.
The family being poor it was necessary for Bartlett to leave school with just a common school education, but this he made the most of. After leaving school he began working on the farm which occupation he has followed all his life. At the age of twenty-two years he was married to Elizabeth Lawless, daughter of Hiram and Catharine (Holden) Lawless, who had moved to Richland county from Highland county. Ohio.
To Mr. and Mrs. Watkins were born twelve children. Five boys and three girls are living, four of the children dying in infancy. The other eight are all living in Richland county, with the exception of Laura, wife of James R. Brown, a mechanic living at Evansville. Indiana. Nancy Jane is the wife of Ed. Stage, a fanner of Noble township: Lora, the other daughter, is the wife of Parker Bolby, a farmer of Olney township.
The toys are all married; Olis, with his family, is living on the home farm which he cultivates; Commodore D. and Edmond T., farmers, live in Noble township. William F., the only son who has not followed the occupation of the father, is a machinist living at Olney: Oliver B., is also a machinist at Olney.
Mr. Watkins was a member of Company E, of the Thirteenth Illinois Cavalrv in the War of the Rebellion. He saw little active service, however, for he was discharged on November 27, 1862, because of his physical condition. He returned to Richland county and November 22, 1864, the marriage of which we have already spoken took place. In 1887 Mr. Watkins, by hard, honest labor had accumulated enough to buy a comfortable little home, a farm of one hundred and four acres.
He farmed in a general way and was quite successful. During his long life he never allied himself with any church, but his wife was a member of the Christian church, and he attended the Elaine church with her.
Politically Mr. Watkins was a Democrat, but having never aspired to office, he took no active part in politics.
Extracted 21 May 2019 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 471-472.