William H. Watterson, clerk and master of the chancery court of Hawkins County, was born in the county in what is now the Ninth Civil District, November 19, 1836. He is the son of Henry and Lydia (Hutchison) Watterson. His father was of Irish descent, and was born in Ireland. His mother came from Tennessee to North Caroling, and was of Scotch and German descent. Her ancestors came from Maryland to Tennessee at an early date. The father was born in Hawkins County before it became one of the United States, in 1795, and died in Hawkins County February 12, 1877. The mother was born in Hawkins County, July 22, 1799, and died in the same county February 28, 1876. They were married in this county about 1833. The father was a farmer, though he was engaged in teaching school in his early life. He was educated at Greeneville College. He was third or fourth cousin to Henry Watterson, of the Louisville Ky. Courier – Journal. Our subject is the second of four children. He secured a collegiate education in his youth, which was commenced in the common schools of the county, and completed at Emory and Henry College, Virginia, which college he entered in August, 1833, and continued his studies until June, 1859, at which time he received his diploma. He then read law two years under Hon. L. C. Haynes, of Knoxville. In May, 1861, he entered the Confederate States service, enlisting in Company K, which was the first company from Hawkins County, and served until July, 1862, at which time he received a discharge, on account of ill health, and, after an absence of two months, he reentered the service at Knoxville, Tenn., and afterward was with the Cavalry in Virginia. He surrendered in North Carolina in 1865, lacking only two days of being out four years. One year after the war he commenced the practice of law at Rogersville, and was thus engaged up to 1884, when, on account of ill health, he retired. In October, 1885, he was appointed by Chancellor C. J. St. John, and now holds his present office. On September 15, 1870, he married Miss Minerva B. Riley, daughter of John D. and Alice M. (Kyle) Riley. She was born April 5, 1849. This union has resulted in eight children. Our subject is a Democrat, and he and his wife and two daughters are members of the Presbyterian Church.
Transcribed by Betty Mize from Goodspeed’s History of Tennessee, 1886.