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History of the St Andrew's Society of the State of New York
Biographies: Walter Watson



Thirty-second President
1882-1884.

Walter Watson, the son of Archibald Aitken Watson and Mary Yeaman, was born on the 20th October, 1830, in Edinburgh, Scotland, and died on the 3d April, 1900, at his residence in The Nevada, Broadway and Seventieth Street, New York City.

As a boy he attended the Edinburgh High School, and there laid the foundation of his sound financial knowledge and future executive ability. His first position after leaving school was with the Bank of Scotland at Edinburgh, and after serving this institution faithfully for some years he determined to seek his fortune in the Province of Canada, then rapidly growing in commercial and agricultural importance. Setting out from his native land in 1854 he first went to London, Canada, as manager of the Bank of British North America, in which place and position he remained for the next ten years.

In 1864 he accepted the position of manager of a branch of the same bank at New York, and took up his residence in that city. He resigned this office a few years later to enter the banking house of Messrs. Morton, Bliss & Co., where he soon became a member of the firm. After remaining with and sharing the success of this well-known house for ten years, Mr. Watson withdrew in 1874 to accept the post of manager of the New York branch of the Bank of Montreal. It was in this last important position that he earned his well-deserved reputation for commercial sagacity and financial acumen. Under his management the business of the bank notably increased and the institution became representative of the best banking interests in North America. After devoting over twenty years to this work, Mr. Watson in 1896 resigned as manager of the bank and retired from active business life. His integrity, ability and judgment in financial matters never were questioned and won for him the admiration and respect of commercial circles. He was considered an authority on all financial matters relating to Canada, and his opinion was widely sought and acted upon in regard to exchange and banking between the United States. Great Britain and her American province of Canada.

Of singular geniality of character, Mr. Watson made numerous and warm friendships both in business and social life. Two notable Canadian Peers, Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal and Lord Mount Stephen counted him among their intimates and held him in high regard.

Mr. Watson was a member of the Century Association and the Down Town Club, and joined the Saint Andrew’s Society on the 30th November, 1864. From the first he took a live interest in the work of the Society and actively engaged in advancing and extending its charities. He was elected and served as a Manager, 1865-1866; 1868-1870; 1871-1875; Second Vice-President, 1876-1879; First Vice-President, 1879-1882; and President, 1882-1884. After this long period of service he finally retired to a place of honor on the Standing Committee, serving on this important committee in 1875, 1884-1888, 1889-1900, the year of his death. He was also the last Treasurer of the so-called Centennial Fund, now discontinued, and it was largely due to his able administration that this fund proved of practical value.

Mr. Watson married on the 23d October, 1856, at London, Ontario, Canada, Louisa Goodhue, daughter of the Honorable George Jervis Goodhue, and Louisa Matthews, and had the following children: (1) George Goodhue Hepburn, born 14 August, 1857, at Montreal, Canada; (2) Louisa Matthews, born 9 September, 1859, at London, Canada; (3) Archibald Aitken, born 22 March, 1862, at London, Canada; (4) Walter Watson, born 24 June, 1864, at London, Canada; (5) Mai St. Andrew, born 30 November, 1867, at Staten Island, N. Y.

His portrait is reproduced from a photograph now in the possession of Mrs. Watson, his widow.


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