Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens
Lawrence County Pennsylvania 1897


[p. 468] a large owner and operator in real estate, and actively identified with many of the leading interests of New Castle, is one of that city's most active business men, and highly esteemed citizens. He was born in Susquehanna Co., Pa., July 3, 1851, and is a son of Jeremiah Watson, who was born in 1812, and died in 1877. Our subject's father was a prosperous and well-to-do farmer and dairyman, and lived late in life in Windsor, Broome Co., N. Y. He married Pamela Rockwell, who was born in Yonkers, N. Y., and died in 1889, when over eighty years of age. The children born to Jeremiah and Pamela (Rockwell) Watson were as follows: Edward M. of Westfield, N. Y.; Henry L. of Portland, N. Y.; Albert S. of Westfield, N.Y.; Julia, the wife of C. N. Whitmore, Great Bend, Pa.; Elizabeth, the wife of D. D. Terrell of Franklin Forks, Pa.; and Philip J., whom we have the pleasure of presenting to the readers of this book.

At the age of seventeen years, Philip J. Watson left his home to seek his fortune, and with a determination to make a successful voyage, and to weather the storms that threaten the prosperity of the ambitious young man, he set sail on the sea of business. When eighteen years old, he began teaching school winters, and doing carpentry work in the summer time; in this way about four years were employed, his last teaching occupying most of his time throughout the year; one season he even taught eleven months out of the twelve. For several years he sold Vermont and Massachusetts granite for monumental and building purposes. He then became a salesman for the Appleton Publishing House of New York City for eleven years, and in the Encyclopedia Department. He was then associated with the Bankers' Loan & Investment Co. of New York City one and one-half years; during this time he was investing his surplus earnings in Buffalo real estate, which eventually became very valuable and brought him large profits. In 1892, our subject came to New Castle, and purchased thirty-five acres of the old Mathew Irvin estate, which was a very rough and unimproved tract of land situated on Highland Avenue. For himself he built a house and barn, and platted the remainder into building lots as an addition to the city, and on these lots, which are the choicest in New Castle, ten houses have been built; the new streets laid out by Mr. Watson were named by him Winter Avenue, Leasure Street, Garfield Street, Sheridan Street and Summer Street. His next venture in the real estate business exhibited more forcefully than ever his enterprising zeal in doing all he could for the welfare and growth of New Castle; it was to buy Henry C. Fall's farm of 126 acres, and run through it Delaware Avenue and Neshannock Boulevard, and the streets named above, and to organize a cemetery association, which has, under the direction of a skilled landscape architect, laid out and beautifully improved forty-two acres for New Castle's beautiful Oak Park Cemetery. He was instrumental to a large degree in getting the electric line of cars extended through Highland Avenue, and is acting as trustee for the New Castle Electric Street R. R. Co. of the three hundred acre tract of land which he purchased under contract with the company at the north end of Highland Avenue, which property will be soon for sale in building lots. The cemetery mentioned above is known as Oak Park Cemetery, and our subject is the president of the association which controls it. He is president of the Y. M. C. A. of the city of New Castle, and an elder in the First Presbyterian Church, and is one of the trustees of the latter organization. Not only in business circles is he a leading figure, but also in church and society circles does he enjoy great popularity; in his elegant home, seconded by his capable wife, he delights to entertain his associates and acquaintances and to live a happy, unrestrained life, unburdened with any thought of injustice or wrong committed in all his prosperous career from almost nothing to his present position of affluence and independence.

Mr. Watson won as his wife and sharer of his joys and sorrows Miss Nellie C. Comstock, daughter of Abner Comstock, who was a very popular farmer and business man of Windsor, N. Y., and won the esteem of his large circle of intimate acquaintances. Our subject's marriage has been blessed with five children, who are as follows: Arthur C., born July 11, 1881; Ruth A., May 7, 1883; Phillip J., Jr., May 24, 1886; John R., Dec. 27, 1890, and Frances Dorothy, July 26, 1897.

Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens Lawrence County Pennsylvania
Biographical Publishing Company, Buffalo, N.Y., 1897

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Updated: 9 Jul 2001