Monterey County California Genealogy and History

Monterey County: Biographies


Major Rolin G. Watkins, formerly identified with journalistic interests in an editorial capacity, is a representative and influential young citizen of Monterey who has been chosen secretary of the Chamber of Commerce. His birth occurred at Van Wert, Decatur county, Iowa, on the 4th of December, 1884, his parents being Joseph L. and Luella E. (Pierce) Watkins, who established their residence in Oklahoma when their son Rolin was nine years of age. The father, a successful stockman, is a prominent figure in the public life of that state, but the mother is deceased. The Watkins family was originally established in Ohio, while the earliest representatives of the Pierce family in this country resided in Kentucky.

Rolin G. Watkins, the eldest in a family of nine children, obtained his preliminary educational training in the public schools of Iowa and of Oklahoma and subsequently spent one year as a student in the Northwestern State Teachers College at Alva, Oklahoma, while later he attended the Fort Worth Military Academy at Fort Worth, Texas, for three years. As a boy he had spent much time in printing shops and had familiarized himself with the art of printing. After leaving the military academy he wag identified with the theatrical business for a number of years, but abandoned this in 1908 to again turn his attention to the printing business. He edited newspapers in Kansas and in Oklahoma during the succeeding five years, on the expiration of which period, in 1913, he made his way to California, engaging in newspaper work at Visalia, Tulare county, this state, for three years.

It was in 1916 that Rolin G. Watkins entered the military service of the United States, joining the infantry, and at the end of one month was made regimental sergeant major. He became first lieutenant of infantry on the 26th of March, 1917, and was then assigned to the duties of assistant chief of staff in charge of military intelligence, with headquarters at the Western Department of the United States Army in San Francisco. In May, 1919, Major Watkins was discharged as physically disqualified for military service. The western department of which he had charge consisted of eight western states and the territory of Alaska, while his organization comprised two hundred and fifty officers and twelve hundred and fifty enlisted men in civilian clothing.

After being discharged from the army, Major Watkins once more engaged in journalism as editor of a paper at Dinuba, Tulare county, this state. In 1921 he came to Monterey county, locating first at Salinas, and in the following year took up his abode in the city of Monterey, where he assumed the editorship of the Peninsular Herald. On the 1st of February, 1924, he was induced to accept the position of secretary of the Chamber of Commerce of Monterey.

On the 24th of November, 1921, Major Watkins was united in marriage to Miss Hilda E. Krause, a native of San Jose, California, and a daughter of Otto and Eleanor (Volheim) Krause. The Major is a member of the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars and is connected with the Military Reserve as assistant chief of staff, A. C. S. G. 2, of the Ninety-first Reserve Division.

Source: History of Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties, California : cradle of California's history and romance : dating from the planting of the cross of Christendom upon the shores of Monterey Bay by Fr. Junipero Serra, and those intrepid adventurers who accompanied him, down to the present day. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1925, 890 pgs.