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John Watts Jamieson Biography


This biography appears on pages 897-898 in "History of Dakota Territory" by George W. Kingsbury, Vol. V (1915) 

John Watts Jamieson, proprietor of the Jamieson Hotel at Roscoe, has been a factor in the business life of the town since 1886. He was born in New York on the 22nd of April, 1846, and is a son of George and Rachel (Watts) Jamieson, both of whom were natives of Scotland, born in Paisley and in Edinburgh respectively. In childhood days they came with their parents to America and after their marriage began their domestic life upon a farm in northern New York, near the Canadian line. Subsequently they removed across the border, taking up their abode in the town of Baggott in the province of Ontario, where the father met his death by drowning in 1864. The mother passed away one month and nine days later, her death being attributed to the shock caused by her husband's demise.

John W. Jamieson was educated in the public schools and following his father's death entered the employ of the lumber firm of Mair & Company of Lanark, Ontario, being associated with them for nine years. He entered their service in a minor capacity but rose to be general manager of their extensive business. After severing his connection with that firm he engaged in the harness business in Lanark and in 1880 he once more crossed the border, returning to the United States. He settled in Grove City, Minnesota, where he conducted a harness store for six years, and in the fall of 1886 he removed to Roscoe, South Dakota, since which time he has been identified with the hotel business. He erected his first hotel building in the spring of 1887 and has since conducted the leading hostelry of the town, being accorded a liberal patronage because of the excellence of the cuisine and the effort which he puts forth to make his guests comfortable. In connection with his hotel business he has other interests. He was one of the organizers of the First State Bank of Roscoe and for some years acted as vice president of the Institution but afterward sold his holdings. He now conducts a coal and fuel business and has built up a good trade in that connection. 

In March, 1869, Mr. Jamieson was joined in wedlock to Miss Mary Foxton, of the township of Elizabethtown, Ontario. They have one son, Thomas G., who is engaged in the hotel business in association with his father. 

In his political views Mr. Jamieson is a democrat and in 1896 was elected county judge of Edmunds county, serving on the bench for one term. He likewise filled the office of justice of the peace for eight years and his decisions in both connections were strictly fair and impartial. For the past six years he has been a member of the town council of Roscoe and for seventeen years he served as clerk of the school board. He has been an elder in the Presbyterian church for the past twenty years and has twice been a delegate to the general assembly. He is a very charitable man, extending a helping hand to those in need of assistance, and a generous disposition and public spirit have also guided him in his relations to the community at large, his efforts in behalf of public welfare being far reaching and beneficial.