Woman of the Century/Margaret Anderson Watts
WATTS. Mrs. Margaret Anderson, temperance worker, born in a country place near Danville, Ky. 3rd September, 1832. She is the daughter of Hon. S. H. Anderson, a lawyer and orator of distinction, who died while he was a member of the House of Representatives in Washington, D. C. On the maternal side she is a granddaughter of Judge William Owsley, who was the fourteenth governor of Kentucky and a man of the highest order of legal ability. Her ancestors run back to the Rev. John Owsley, who in 1660 was made rector of the Established Church in Glouston, England, in which place he served sixty years. His son, Thomas Owsley, came to the Colony of Virginia, in America, in 1694, and settled in Fairfax county. From his line came Amelia G. Owsley, the mother of Mrs. Watts. Both the Owsleys and Andersons were talented, educated people, and from them Margaret Anderson inherited her talents She is the sixth child of her MARGARET ANDERSON WATTS. family, and ample means gave her fine educational advantages, her studies including classical learning and all the " accomplishments of the day. She became the wife of Robert Augustine Watts in 1851. She has three children grown to maturity. The oldest daughter is the wife of Commander H . W. Mead, of the United States Navy, the second daughter is the wife of a Florida orange-grower, and the son is a successful engineer. She has always been a deep thinker on the most advanced social and religious topics, and she has occasionally published her views on woman in her political and civil relations. She was the first Kentucky woman who wrote and advocated the equal rights of woman before the law, and who argued for the higher education of woman. During the recent revision of the constitution of Kentucky, she was chosen one of six women to visit the capital and secure a hearing before the committees on education and municipalities, and on the woman's property rights bill, which was under discussion. She is a successful adult bible-class teacher. She says that she regards the bible as "the Magna Charta of a true Republic." She felt a strong interest in the Chautauqua movement instituted by Rev. John H. Vincent. In the second year of that movement she became a student of the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle. She caught the true Chautauqua idea and has formed several successful circles in her own State. When the Woman's Crusade movement was initiated, she was living in Colorado, where business affairs called her husband for several years, but her hearty sympathies were with the women of Ohio and with those who formed the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, which she joined as soon as she returned to Louisville. She has worked actively in various departments of that organization, but her special work has been given to scientific temperance instruction in the public schools. Her work has attracted much attention and resulted in much positive good. She has recently assumed the national superintend- ency of police matrons. In the autumn of 1875 she, in connection with some other efficient women of the Woman's Christian Association of Louisville, established a Home for Friendless Women. She was the first secretary of the board of managers and its president for eight years. The work was begun with a few thousand dollars and has been sustained and carried on by gratuitous contributions from the Christian people of the city. Hundreds of outcast women have slept beneath its roof since its doors were opened. A new and spacious building has recently been erected. Mrs. Watts, in the fall of 1887, gave a course of lectures, treating woman from a stand point of culture, affection, industry and philanthropy, before the Woman's Ethical Symposium of Louisville. Of late years she has given much study to metaphysics and scientific subjects, and is a member of the Metaphysical Association of Boston, Mass. She now has enjoyment in the consciousness of having made a happy home for her husband and children. Music is one of her accomplishments, and it has formed a part of her home life. Her home, her neighbors, her State and her country have been the recipients of her thought, her loving heart and generous hand.