My Genealogy Hound

Below is a family biography included in Portrait and Biographical Album of Greene and Clark Counties, Ohio published by Chapman Bros., in 1890.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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GEORGE WATT, M. D. and D. D. S. This gentleman, although still nominally editing the Ohio Journal of Dental Science, has partially abandoned his literary work on that journal, with which he has been connected since its establishment in 1880, and to whose success his own fluent and profound writings contributed so largely. His literary ability and culture are of a high degree of excellence, while his understanding of dental science and of medicine is thorough. Possessing the power to interest those to whom he speaks or for whom he writes, and to place clearly before them his own knowledge and theories, he has been able to do much to advance the sciences in which he is interested.

Dr. Watt is a native of this county, being a son of Hugh Watt, who became a resident here in 1817, coming hence from Western Pennsylvania. The father was born in the North of Ireland, but was of Scotch blood, and emigrated to the United States when a young man of nineteen years. He located in the Keystone State, where in due time he married Miss Isabelle Mitchell, who was born near Pittsburg. He remained for some time in that State, occupied at his trades of a wheelwright and a chairmaker, and also doing agricultural work. Finally with a family of seven children he came to this section, settling in the eastern part of Greene County, near where Cedarville now stands, buying land that had been but slightly improved. There he made his home, and remained until his death in 1857, his wife having preceded him to the tomb, breathing her last in 1847. The land which he occupied was by his exertions and wise management made into an excellent farm, and marked with good improvements. The family were members of the Covenanter Church, and as one of the tenets of their faith is freedom to the entire human race, the elder Watt would not take any oath to hold office under a constitution that permitted human slavery. He was a believer in the principles of the Whig and Abolition parties, and his house was one of the depots on the underground railroad route from Maysville, Ky. (then called Limestone), to Detroit, Mich., which is known to this day as the Limestone road.

The eyes of George Watt opened to the light March 14, 1820, and he grew to maturity on his father’s farm, receiving his fundamental education in that district, and continuing his studies in the Boys’ Academy of Thomas Steele, where he learned to think, and in Ripley College. For a time he pursued the vocation of a teacher in this and in Adam Counties, after which he took up the study of medicine, under Samuel Martin, M. D., who had studied in Londonderry, Ireland. With that physician he read two years, attending lectures at the Medical College of Ohio, in Cincinnati, and receiving his degree of M. D. in the class of 1848.

After receiving his diploma Dr. Watt engaged in the practice of his profession in Xenia, in Fayette County, Ind., at Kenton, Ohio, and in Cincinnati, continuing his labors for a number of years. He also made a study of dentistry, being graduated from the Ohio Dental College in 1854, and subsequently occupying the Chair of Chemistry in that institution. He was the first man who adapted a chemical course of lectures to a dental class. He held the Chair in the above college until interrupted by the war, and after his return from fields of battle, was again a member of the faculty as long as he was able to continue the manipulations necessary.

On May 2, 1804, Dr. Watt enlisted in the United States service as Surgeon of the One Hundred and Fifty-fourth Ohio Infantry, which acted in West Virginia as a component part of Gen. Kellys railroad division. While in the service he received an injury from a horse, which has caused progressive locomotor ataxia. His connection with the dental college was resumed when he returned from the field, and continued until 1871. During a portion of this time he practiced his profession in Cincinnati, and he was also the proprietor and manufacturer of dental supplies. The Ohio Dental State Journal was established in 1880, Dr. Watt accepting the position of editor, which, as before stated, he still retains, although on account of paralysis of the hand, of a very recent date, he is partially unable to continue the contributions from his pen, which had so long been a feature of the journal. For twenty years he was connected with the Dental Register, of Cincinnati, and with Dr. Taft, of the University of Michigan, he became a joint proprietor and editor of the Dental Register of the West.

Many positions of prominence in various societies have been held by Dr. Watt, and his name is widely known to the members of the dental profession. He became a member of the Mississippi Valley Dental Society as early as 1852. He was a delegate to the American Dental Convention, held in New York in 1856, and Vice President of it. He has also been President of the American Dental Association, of the Ohio State Dental Society, and twice held a similar official station in the Mad River Dental Society. In 1854, the year in which he was graduated from the Dental College, a prize of $100 was offered for the best popular essay on Dental Surgery, a prize which was awarded to him; and a Philadelphia publisher has since published a collection of Watt’s Chemical Essays.

The estimable and cherished companion of Dr. Watt, with whom he was united in marriage, April 16, 1845, bore the maiden name of Sarah J. McConnell. Her father, Samuel McConnell, with his family floated down the Ohio River on the same boat with the father of our subject, and the two families lived but nine miles apart. Dr. Watt and the young lady who became his wife, however, never met until the latter was a young lady eighteen years of age. They have one adopted daughter, Mrs. W. S. Sillitto, whose husband is a dentist in Xenia. On her adoption Dr. and Mrs. Watt desired her baptism, but as she was the child of unbelieving parents it was refused by the United Presbyterian Church. They pressed the matter, and it was then referred to the synod, causing a revolution in the denomination. As the State made no provision for legal adoption, it was necessary to get an act passed, and the Doctor therefore was instrumental in revolutionizing the law of the State also.

Dr. Watt, his wife, and their daughter also, belong to the Third United Presbyterian Church of this city. Not only for the work which he has accomplished in the fields of professional science, but for his own upright manhood and personal qualifications and attainments, Dr. Watt is highly respected, and fills a prominent place among the citizens.

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This family biography is one of the many biographies included in Portrait and Biographical Album of Greene and Clark Counties, Ohio published by Chapman Bros., in 1890. 

View additional Greene County, Ohio family biographies here: Greene County, Ohio Biographies

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