Dr. Pliny Rand Watts, one of the distinguished surgeons of Sacramento whose continued study, investigation and natural talent have long since led him from the ranks of the many to a position among the more successful few, was born in Nelson, New Hampshire, November 24, 1863. He is a representative of an old American family, back of which is an English and Scotch ancestry, including Dr. Watts, the famous poet and hymn-writer.
Benjamin F. Watts, the father of Pliny R. Watts, was born in northern New Hampshire and was a dentist by profession, but at an early age discontinued the practice of dentistry and afterward gave his attention to mercantile and agricultural pursuits, owning a large number of farms. In the year 1852 he came to California, but his early business career here was not profitable and he left the country for Australia. In the latter place he made his way to the gold mines and fortune favored him there in his search for the prized metal. With a goodly sum of money as the reward for his work he afterward returned to America and began business as a merchant in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, while later he located in Nelson, New Hampshire, and there continued his mercantile operations. As his financial resources increased he likewise made judicious investment in real estate and became the owner of a number of valuable farms. He married Miss Clara F. Hutchinson, who was of English lineage, although the family was founded in the new world in a colonial epoch in the history of this country and was represented in the patriot army of the Revolutionary war. Mrs. Watts was born in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, and in 1872 she was called upon to mourn the loss of her husband, who died in Nelson, New Hampshire. She still survives him and now makes her home in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. In the family were three sons and two daughters, the brothers of Pliny R. being Henry F., who is an electrician of Philadelphia, and Harry A., a physician who was associated with his brother Pliny R. two years, but is now engaged in practice in Chico, California. The sisters are Olive H., the widow of M. B. Stokes and a resident of Portsmouth, New Hampshire; and Nellie H., who makes her home with her sister.
Dr. Watts pursued his education in the primary, grammar and high schools of Portsmouth, New hampshire, which he attended successively, and then entered the jewelry business in connection with his uncle in order to learn the watch-maker's trade. He followed that pursuit for three years. While working in the jewelry store, however, he became imbued with strong desire to study and practice surgery. He made his own way through college, earning the money that enabled him to meet the expenses of tuition, and thus he displayed the elemental strength of his character whereby he has won for himself a prominent position in the professional world. Realizing that his literary education was hardly adequate to serve as a good foundation for professional knowledge, he entered Monson Academy at Monson, Massachusetts, where he was graduated in 1884. He afterward entered the New York Homeopathic College and Hospital, where he completed a full course by graduation in 1887, at which time the degree Doctor of Medicine was conferred upon him. Never feeling that his education was complete, he has by broad reading and study added largely to his efficiency and he has also pursued two complete post-graduate courses in the Post-Graduate College and Hospital of New York.
When he had prepared for the practice of medicine Dr. Watts in 1887 went to Worcester, Massachusetts, where he became associated in practice with Dr. J. K. Warren, one of the foremost men in the profession in that day. There he continued until the following spring, when he succeeded to the practice of Dr. Richards of Stafford Spring, Connecticut, remaining there for six years. His practice while there was the largest in the county. Owing to the illness of his wife, however, he gave up his work in New England and came to California in June, 1894, locating in Sacramento, where he has since made his home. Here his ability has also gained recognition and he has now a good patronage of profitable proportions. He devotes his attention largely to surgical work, and he has a close and accurate knowledge of anatomy, the component parts of the human body and of the onslaughts made upon it by disease. In operation he is most careful as well as skillful, of cool nerve and steady hand, enabling him to perform the highest commendation of his professional brethren.
He is a member of the American Institute of Homeopathy, the California State Homeopathic Society, of which he was formerly a vice-resident, and is an honorary member of the Homeopathic Medical Society of Western Massachusetts, of which he served as president at one time. He is also an honorary member of the Boston Medical Society, was a member of the Connecticut Medical Society, and has been chairman of many committees in these various organizations, whereby knowledge has been promoted among the members of the medical profession. He has also been a contributor to many medical journals, and has written various articles which have received the endorsement and attention of leading physicians and surgeons. For two years he was one of the collaborators of the Pacific Coast Journal of Homeopathy. His contributions to the press of late years have been chiefly upon the subject of abdominal surgery, in which department of his practice he has attained high rank, successfully conducting many notable operations.
Socially Dr. Watts is connected with the Masonic fraternity, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, the Woodmen of the World and the Ancient Order of United Workmen. He was married May 7, 1890, in Monson, Massachusetts, to Miss Alice G. Brockbank, a native of Connecticut, and a daughter of John and Martha Brockbank. The father was born in England, while her mother belonged to an old family that was represented in the continental army in the Revolutionary war. Dr. Watts and his wife have one child, Carl W. They have gained many friends during their residence in Sacramento and the hospitality of many of the best homes of the capital city is freely accorded them. His political allegiance is given to the Republican party. He was prominent in local politics, but gives his undivided time to his professional duties with a growing knowledge of surgry and a constantly enlarging efficiency in his chosen field of work.
Source: History of the New California Its Resources and People, Volume I
The Lewis Publishing Company - 1905
Edited by Leigh H. Irvine
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