REV. THOS. G. WATSON. – To the ministry more than to any other class of men does a community owe its moral progress; and with such development opportunity is given for progress in other directions. This is strikingly illustrated in the life of the minister whose name appears above. He was born in Geneva, New York, in 1836, and was educated in his native place, graduating in 1857 from Hobert College. He took his theological course at New Brunswick, New Jersey, and entered upon missionary work at Cayuga county, preaching eight years at Cato, Fair Haven and Victory, and assisting one church out of a heavy debt, and another to purchase a new church and parsonage. His field was then changed to Brighton Heights, Staten Island, at the urgent request of the secretary of Domestic Missions; and his ministry of two years was greatly blessed. His health, however, was broken by excessive labor; and he removed to Wisconsin in the fall of 1872, and settled at Waukesha, which was then becoming a watering place, popular on account of its numerous springs. There he was called to preach to the First Presbyterian church of that place, and consented to do half work, and after a year and a half was installed as pastor. He remained there, laboring also in the interests of Carroll College, until 1883.
Under the returning desire to enter the missionary field, he was appointed to the work which brought him to this coast. The Board of Home Missions assigned to him the charge of that portion of Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho whose natural center is Spokane Falls. He began the work in May, 1883, and the next month organized the First Presbyterian church with nineteen members. This church has since grown to a membership of one hundred and seventy-five. A lot was purchased for twelve hundred and fifty dollars in 1885; and in 1886 a pretty and commodious church was built at a cost of forty-nine hundred dollars. Having outgrown this church in two years, the property was sold for twenty-one thousand dollars, and another location selected on the south side of the railroad. During this period of labor, – six years, – Mr. Watson also organized churches at Rockford and Davenport, in Lincoln county, Washington Territory, at Spangle, Rathdrum and Coeur d’Alene City, in Idaho, and a second church, the Centenary, in Spokane Falls, Washington Territory.
Aside from his ministerial labors, he has taken an active part in the development of Spokane Falls, being one of the thirty who bought the water works to secure them until the city could float its bonds. He took an active part in the Board of Trade. He was one of the founders of the first Public Library Association, and was its president several years, and is now president of the new association.
Mr. Watson was married in 1861 to Miss Fannie C. Seelye, who died at their residence on Staten Island. he was married again in Waukesha to Mrs. Walker L. Bean. They have three children, Walker L. Bean, Fannie S. and Thomas S.