Glendale, California Biographies

Thomas D. Watson

Thomas D. Watson, general manager and one of the publishers of the Glendale Daily Pres and the proprietor of the Glendale Sheet Metal Works, was born in Chicago, Illinois, July 27, 1878, a son of Matthew Dunlap and Emma (Dumont) Watson. The Watsons are an old Scotch family whose ancestry is traceable back to the sixteenth century. The family in America was founded by Thomas Watson, a native of Edinburg, Scotland, grandfather of the subject of this review, who located at Montreal, Canada, in 1848, and became widely known as a contractor and builder. In 1871 he, with his family, came to the states and located at Brazil, Indiana, where they became widely largest owners and operators of coalmines in the state. Later they established retail coal yards in Chicago, and were the largest distributors of coal in that city.

The Dumonts are an old Yankee family, of French ancestry, who came to America before the Revolutionary War, and members of the family participated in the Revolution. Ebenezer Dumont, grandfather of Thomas D. Watson, was a Lieutenant Colonel in the Mexican War, and in the Civil War was advanced to the rank of Brigadier General in September 1861. He resigned from the army in January 1863, after having been elected on the Republican ticket as Congressman from the Seventh Indiana District. He served two terms in Congress, after which he was appointed Governor of the Territory of Idaho, but died before he became the incumbent of that office.

Mr. Watsonís father died in Chicago in 1907, and his mother is now a resident of Washington, D. C. His only sister, Marie, is the wife of George N. Cole, of New York City. He was educated at Harvard Preparatory School, Chicago. At the age of seventeen he secured employment at Marshall Fieldís Department Store as a stock clerk, and on his merits was advanced to the position of head of the cutlery department. Being a hard worker, he made a sales record for the department during the holiday season for which he was given a two weeks vacation with pay, during which he tried out a position in the shipping department of Swift & Company with such success that he remained in their employ and continued with them for eight years. The last of these years he acted as their representative in Iowa, erecting and managing branch plants. He, then, went to Minneapolis, Minnesota, and opened the Thomas Watson Grocery & Supply Company, which he successfully conducted until he enlisted in the army as a private on August 27, 1917. He was sent to Ft. Snelling, and soon thereafter passed the examination necessary to admit him to the Second Officers Training Camp from which he graduated. He was commissioned at First Lieutenant and was assigned to duty with the Sixty-second Infantry of the Eighth Division at Palo Alto, California.

In October 1918, he was sent to France as billeting officer to billet his regiment, which was soon to follow, but his regimentís overseas orders were stopped and he was assigned to the Eighth Infantry of the same regiment and billeted them. He, then, went to Ft. Boguen, near Brest, as Commander of Casual Battalion, where he had direct supervision of all casuals that embarked from that port, having at times as many as 1700 men under him. He remained there until July 24, 1919, when he returned and was discharged from the service at the Presidio, San Francisco. He came to Los Angeles to rejoin his wife who was living there with her parents, and soon thereafter came to Glendale and bought the Burkett & Goss Sheet Metal Works on Glendale Avenue. To this he gave all of his time until he became a stockholder in the Glendale Press in March 1921, and in August of the same year was made its general manager, which position he has since held.

Mr. Watson is active in many organizations in several of which he takes a prominent part. His most important connection in public life is that of President of the Board of Trustees of the Glendale Union High School. He was first elected a trustee in March 1921, and a year later was re-elected as president of the Board. He organized two companies of National Guards in Glendale, in one of which he was Captain. He also aided in organizing a Company of National Guards at Pasadena. He is a Scottish Rite and Knight Templar Mason and Shriner, a member of the Shrine Club, White Shrine, Eastern Star, Elks, Yeomen, American Legion, Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, Sunset Canyon Country Club, Union League of Los Angeles, Southern California Editorís Association and belongs to the First Presbyterian Church of Glendale of which he was an elder. In Minneapolis he was Superintendent of Sunday School in the Knox Presbyterian Church.

At Red Oak, Iowa, on June 11, 1902, Mr. Watson married Valencia Kretchmer, a daughter of Edward and Caroline Kretchmer, who are residents of Glendale. They have a daughter, Dorothy Marie Watson, who is a senior in the Glendale Union High School. Mrs. Watson is a life member of the Tuesday Afternoon Club of which she is on the ways and means committee. She is also a member of the Thursday Afternoon Club, the Eastern Star, an officer in the White Shrine, and belongs to the First Presbyterian Church.

From History of Glendale and Vicinity by John Calvin Sherer. The Glendale Publishing Company, c. 1922 F. M. Broadbooks and J. C. Sherer. p. 448-450. A photo of Thos. D. Watson is located on page 448.