Charles H. Watts. Educational work is very exacting in the demands which it makes upon its devotees. Ostensibly the duty of the instructor is to instill in each of his pupils a proper and practical working knowledge; but equally important is his correlative, though less direct, function of instilling character and worthy precepts through his unavoidable personal influence. The first duty calls for an individual of knowledge and specialized training; the second for a capable and conscientious person whose manner of life and mode of living provide a fit criterion for the younger generation. When a man combines the possession of these attributes with the exclusion of strongly detrimental characteristics, the early years of future citizens may be safely entrusted to his care. Such a man is Charles H. Watts, county superintendent of schools of Champaign County and the incumbent of this office for fifteen years. His entire career has been devoted to the instruction of the young and he has gained a reputation as an educator which extends far beyond the limits of his immediate home community.
Mr. Watts was born November 16, 1867, in Coles County, Illinois, and is a son of Sinclair and Martha (Holiday) Watts, the former a native of Kentucky and the latter of Indiana. The parents of Mr. Watts came to Illinois about the year 1860, and when the Civil War came on the father enlisted as a private in the Seventy-third Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry, with which he served for a period of one year. The rigors of army life were too great for him, and after an illness he was invalided home and honorably discharged because of disability. When he had recovered Mr. Watts, who had made a good record for bravery and faithful discharge of duty, resumed farming operations, in which he had been engaged up to the time of his enlistment. He was an industrious agriculturist, who prosecuted his operations energetically and directed them ably, and as a result won success in his fanning activities. In 1895 he retired from active pursuits and took up his residence at Champaign, where he now makes his home, Mrs. Watts’ having passed away in that city October 31, 1914. They were the parents of four children, namely: Charles H.; William, who is a resident of Ypsilanti, Michigan; Sadie, who is the wife of Clay Gaunier, of Alvin, Illinois; and Mrs. Ovanda Martin, a widow, living at Longview.
Charles H. Watts attended the public schools of Champaign County, Illinois, and divided his time in his youth between his studies and the work of the homestead property of his father. As he grew to young manhood he evidenced a studious nature, and when he was eighteen years of age was sent to Danville, Indiana, where he attended the Danville College, a private institution, for one year. At that time he entered upon his career as an educator, and for three years taught in the public schools, but, realizing the need of further knowledge of an advanced character, he resumed his own studies, this time in a private school at Ada, Ohio, where he remained for three years. Once more he took up teaching, and with his advanced knowledge progressed rapidly in his calling, so that he was soon known as one of the best educators in the county. This reputation naturally brought his name to the forefront, and when the election for county superintendent of schools of Champaign County came on in 1902 he was chosen for the office, which he has filled to the present time, having been chosen through consecutive elections. Mr. Watts has met with very agreeable success in his chosen line of work. From the start he has been exceptionally well fitted for the duties and responsibilities involved, and he has invariably given his best efforts toward the progress and advancement of Champaign County’s schools. He has manifested a personal interest where some others might have shown only a business obligation, and has established in the hearts of his former and present students and coworkers a warm tenderness and respect.
Mr. Watts was married July 21, 1896, to Miss Blanche Irwin, a native of Champaign County, and a daughter of James W. and Margaret (Fisher) Irwin, the latter deceased, and the former now a resident of Longview, Illinois. Mr. and Mrs. Watts are the parents of two children: Helen, who was born April 30, 1897; and Harold H., born May 18, 1906. Mr. Watts is a Republican in his political tendencies. He affiliates fraternally with the Masons and Knights of Pythias, is also a member of the Sons of Veterans, and, with his family, belongs to the Presbyterian Church.