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Watkins, Arthur V. (Arthur Vivian), 1886-1973

 Person

Dates

  • Existence: 1886-1973

Biographical History

Arthur V. Watkins was a faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, worked as a lawyer in Utah for several years before serving two terms as a United States Senator between 1946 and 1958, Chairman of the Senate Select Committee, and Chief Commissioner of the Indian Claims Commission.

Arthur Vivian Watkins was born in Midway, Utah on December 16, 1886, the first of eight children born to Arthur Watkins and Adelia (Gerber) Watkins. When he was not working on the farm, Arthur (or Vivian, as he was called at home) attended school with his siblings. In 1903, he began attending Brigham Young Academy in Provo, Utah, where he studied hard and participated in the Rialto Club, formed in 1903 to discuss economic and political issues. Arthur dropped out of school in 1906 to teach fourth and fifth grades. He taught for one year and was called to serve a mission in the Eastern States for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After completing his mission on September 17, 1910, he decided to stay in New York and continue his education. In 1912 he graduated from Columbia University Law School.

While in New York, Watkins met Andrea Rich, the daughter of his mission president, Ben E. Rich. After he passed the Utah bar exam in 1912, he and Andrea were married at the Salt Lake Temple on June 18, 1913 by President Joseph F. Smith.

Arthur and Andrea Watkins settled in Vernal, Utah where he practiced law and joined Roosevelt's Bull Moose Party. In 1915 Watkins accepted the appointment as Assistant County Attorney of Salt Lake County. While working at the County Attorney's office, he began building a private practice. Two years later, the Democrats won the election and he lost his appointment.

Watkins quit his private practice in 1922 due to health issues but soon set up another practice in American Fork, Utah. In 1925 the family moved to Orem so they could be closer to schools and the church. Watkins began another private practice in Provo. He was elected as Utah County judge in the Fourth District Court in 1928. He lost the reelection bid in 1930 and decided to merge his law practice with Raymond B. Holbrook. When Holbrook left, Watkins continued to practice on his own.

In 1946 Watkins was elected to the United States Senate. While in the Senate, he and his wife resided in Arlington, Virginia. He ran for reelection in 1952 and defeated the Democratic challenger, Congressman Walt Granger. In 1954, Senator Knowland, the Senate Majority Leader, appointed Watkins as the Chairman of the Senate Select Committee, which censured Senator Joseph R. McCarthy for his conduct in the Senate. Watkins later wrote a book, Enough Rope, describing his emotions and experiences during the McCarthy hearings and debates. Partly due to his involvement in the McCarthy hearings, he lost the election for U.S. Senator in 1958.

Arthur V. Watkins was very involved in the community and in church. He helped organize the Sharon's Cooperative Educational and Recreational Association (SCERA), a not-profit organization dedicated to providing educational recreational activities for youth in the area. He also became the director and general counsel for the Provo River Water User Association and worked with the Bureau of Reclamation and other organizations and agencies associated with the Water Users Association. The Willard Dam in Utah was later renamed the Arthur V. Watkins Dam in recognition of his work on the Bureau of Reclamation. Arthur also worked with Orem City on the Deer Creek project and Geneva Steel Plant project. At church, Watkins was called to served on the High Council, was active in the Young Men's program, and served as a stake president for eighteen years.

After his defeat in the campaign of 1958, Watkins was appointed a member of the Indian Claims Commission and later accepted the position of Chief Commissioner. In 1965, while in the Indian Claims Commission, he received the Abraham O. Smoot Public Service Award from Brigham Young University. He resigned as Chief Commissioner of the Indian Claims Commission at age 80 to spend more time with with his wife, who had contracted a serious heart condition. The next year Andrea Watkins died due to complications from a stroke a few years earlier. On March 1, 1972 he married Dorothy Eva Watkins. As lung cancer began to deteriorate his health, Watkins asked that he be moved to Orem to die where he passed away on September 1, 1973.

Citation

Utah State memorial stone, 1951:p. 13 (Arthur V. Watkins, United State senator, state of Utah)

LC in RLIN, 11-5-92(hdg.: Watkins, Arthur Vivian, 1886-)

Who was who in Amer.(Watkins, Arthur V.,b. 1886, d. 1973)

Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, via WWW, March 5, 2014(Watkins, Arthur Vivian (1886-1973); a Senator from Utah; born in Midway, Wasatch County, Utah, December 18, 1886; attended the public schools, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, 1903-1906, and New York University, New York City, 1909-1910; graduated from Columbia University Law School, New York City, 1912; admitted to the bar the same year and commenced practice in Vernal, Utah; engaged in newspaper work in 1914; assistant county attorney of Salt Lake County, 1914-1915; engaged in agricultural pursuits, 1919-1925; district judge of the fourth judicial district of Utah, 1928-1933; unsuccessful candidate for the Republican nomination to the Seventy-fifth Congress in 1936; elected as a Republican to the United States Senate in 1946; reelected in 1952 and served from January 3, 1947, to January 3, 1959; was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1958; chairman, Select Committee on the Censure of Joseph McCarthy (Eighty-third Congress), co-chairman, Joint Committee on Navaho-Hopi Indian Administration (Eighty-third Congress), Joint Committee on Immigration and Naturalization Policy (Eighty-third Congress); member of the Indian Claims Commission, Washington, D.C., from August 1959 until retirement in September 1967; author; was a resident of Salt Lake City until he moved to Orem, Utah, in 1973 where he died September 1, 1973; interment in Eastlawn Memorial Hills)

Found in 156 Collections and/or Records:

Arthur V. Watkins anti-McCarthy news articles, 1951-1954

 Sub-Series
Identifier: MSS 146 Series 6 Sub-Series 8 Sub-Series 3 Sub-Series 14 Sub-Series 15
Scope and Contents note Contains news articles expressing anti-McCarthy views to the Senate Select Committee concerning the activities of Joseph McCarthy.

Arthur V. Watkins anti-McCarthy postcards, undated

 Sub-Series
Identifier: MSS 146 Series 6 Sub-Series 8 Sub-Series 3 Sub-Series 13
Scope and Contents note Contains postcards from citizens expressing anti-McCarthy views to the Senate Select Committee concerning the activities of Joseph McCarthy.

Arthur V. Watkins anti-McCarthy telegrams, undated

 Sub-Series
Identifier: MSS 146 Series 6 Sub-Series 8 Sub-Series 3 Sub-Series 12
Scope and Contents note Contains telegrams from citizens (some with no authors) expressing anti-McCarthy views to the Senate Select Committee concerning the activities of Joseph McCarthy.

Arthur V. Watkins biographical papers, 1887-1981

 Series
Identifier: MSS 146 Series 1
Scope and Contents note Contains newspaper articles, biographies, certificates, personal correspondence, and records concerning Arthur V. Watkins, his family and political activities between 1887 and 1981.

Arthur V. Watkins biographies and personal correspondence, 1905-1981

 Sub-Series
Identifier: MSS 146 Series 1 Sub-Series 1
Scope and Contents note Contains newspaper articles, biographies, certificates, correspondence, and records concerning Arthur V. Watkins and his family between 1905 and 1981.

Arthur V. Watkins brochure and article on federal water laws, 1950-1954

 Sub-Series
Identifier: MSS 146 Series 5 Sub-Series 1 Sub-Series 3
Scope and Contents note Contains a brochure about the Federal Water Law, printed November 22, 1954, and a photocopy of a newspaper article titled "Judge Rules Against U.S. in Water Fight."

Arthur V. Watkins congressional record and report on public recreation, 1957 April-May

 Sub-Series
Identifier: MSS 146 Series 5 Sub-Series 1 Sub-Series 5 Sub-Series 8
Scope and Contents note Contains a Congressional record and information on facilities for public recreation and reports on the Kerr Bill regarding public recreational benefits of the Upper Colorado River Storage Project in the Western United States from April to May, 1957.

Arthur V. Watkins copies of reports and hearings, 1954

 Sub-Series
Identifier: MSS 146 Series 6 Sub-Series 4
Scope and Contents note Contains Report of the Select Committee to study censure charges on S. Res. 301 from the second session of the 83rd Congress in 1954, a resolution to censure the Senator McCarthy from Wisconsin, and an original copy of the committee print of the report on S. Res. 301 from August 2, 1954.

Arthur V. Watkins correspondence against Colorado River Storage Project , 1954-1957

 Sub-Series
Identifier: MSS 146 Series 5 Sub-Series 3 Sub-Series 7
Scope and Contents note Contains correspondence, news clippings, statements, congressional reports, and notes and information from 1954 to 1957 about anti-Colorado River Storage Project views.

Arthur V. Watkins correspondence against Joseph McCarthy, 1951-1954

 Sub-Series
Identifier: MSS 146 Series 6 Sub-Series 8 Sub-Series 3
Scope and Contents Contains letters, postcards, telegrams, and other correspondence regarding the Senate censure proceedings against Joseph McCarthy. Primarily consists of mail received by Watkins during his service on the Select Committee, but also includes some responses that he prepared. Materials date from between 1949 and 1956.