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George Watt
Born October 27, 1848

Few residents of Cass township more justly deserve the proud American title of a self-made man than does George Watt, who, starting out in life at the early age of thirteen years to earn his own livelihood, has gradually worked his way upward from a humble beginning to a place among the substantial and representative farmers of this township. Born in Aberdeen, Scotland, on the 27th of October, 1848, he is a son of Andrew and Agnes (Henry) Watt, who spent the entire lives on the old Watt homestead known as Little Elrick Farm. The estate, which originally consisted of twenty acres but now includes thirty-six acres, has been in the family for many years and has been presided over by three generations of Andrew Watt, a brother of our subject by that name being the present owner.
George Watt, whose name introduces this record, was the seventh in order of birth in a family of five sons and five daughters, eight of whom still survive. All make their home in the old country with the exception of our subject. Spending the period of his boyhood and youth in his native land, he was early trained to agricultural pursuits and when only thirteen years of age started out alone in the business world as a farm hand. The two previous years were spent in herding sheep, and with the first money which he earned he purchased a lamb, which cost ten shillings or two dollars and fifty cents in American money. After starting out in his independent career as a farm hand he received but seventeen and a half dollars for his first six months and during the next six months was advanced to twenty-two and a half dollars, while during the entire period of his connection with agricultural pursuits in his native country be received only seventy dollars for the hardest year's work he ever did. He was engaged in this capacity until he reached years of manhood and then he learned, through an uncle who resided in Canada and had returned to the old country for a visit, that he could easily earn one hundred dollars per year as a farm hand in Canada. Consequently, in 1868, he bade adieu to friends and country and crossed the Atlantic, arriving in Ontario, Canada, with but ten dollars in his pocket. He immediately sought and obtained employment as a farm hand and was thus engaged for ten years in Ontario. He received sixteen dollars per month for the first six months, and that he was capable and efficient in the performance of his duties is indicated by the fact that he continued in the service of one man for seven years. Hearing rumors of the greater opportunities for advancement in business lines in the United States, however, in 1878, he came to Iowa, locating in Jones county, where he purchased eighty acres of land which form the nucleus of his present possessions. He later purchased other property until today he owns a well developed and highly cultivated farm of one hundred and fifteen acres located on sections 3 and 4, Cass township, the place being known as the Hickory Grove Farm. The soil is naturally rich and fertile and responds readily to the care and attention bestowed upon it. In his business he has combined his sturdy Scotch characteristics with the spirit of American progress, and so as the years have come and gone he has met with a very substantial success which ranks him among the representative agriculturists of his section of the county; He has placed many modern improvements upon the farm, including an attractive twelve-room house. which was built eleven years ago, and a substantial barn, forty by seventy-two feet, erected in 1909, and the place is lacking in none of those things which go to make up a model farm. In connection with his general farming interests he engages to some extent in stock-raising, making a specialty of breeding shorthorned cattle and Clydesdale horses. Both branches of his business are proving remunerative and he now enjoys a substantial annual income. It was on the 15th of March, 1878, that Mr. Watt was united in marriage to Ellen S. Horn., who was born in Green Bank, Ontario, on the 24th of August, 1857, a daughter of Alexander and Ann (Dobson) Horn, natives of Scotland and Canada respectively. Unto this union have been born four children, namely: Agnes Ann, the wife of Ernest Condit, of North Dakota; Andrew, at home; Mabel, the wife of A. J. Lake, residing in Amber, Jones county: and Ella May, a student of Highland Park College, of Des Moines, Iowa.
Mr. Watt is a faithful and consistent member of the Cass Congregational church, and he gives stalwart support to the principles of the republican party. He has never sought nor desired party preferment, however, the only office which he has filled being that of school director. His record has been characterized by steady progress resulting from the wise and intelligent utilization of every opportunity that has come to him.
He is numbered among those who left their native country to identify themselves with American life and institutions, who have pushed their way to the front and who are a credit alike to the land of their birth and that of their adoption.

Source: History of Jones County, Iowa, Past and Present, R. M. Corbitt, S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1910, p. 255.


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