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



Arthur V. Watkins was a 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.

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 157 Collections and/or Records:

Arthur V. Watkins war hearings and correspondence, 1947-1971

Identifier: MSS 146 Series 2 Sub-Series 1
Scope and Contents note

Contains letters, addresses, transcripts, and various other material from 1947 to 1971 relating to the controversy over who has the power to declare war and the power of the Senate.

Dates: Other: 1947-1971

Arthur Watkins sound recordings, approximately 1948-1950

Identifier: MSS 146 Series 7
Scope and Contents

Contains phonograph recordings of family friends, and congressional reports from Senator Watkins. Dated approximately 1948 to 1950.

Dates: approximately 1948-1950

Rhoda R. Dougall papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 7975
Scope and Contents

Contains materials related to a court case between Rhoda R. Dougall, representing her deceased husband, Hugh M. Dougall, Jr., and the G.S. Wood Mercantile Company. Dougall was represented in this case by Arthur V. Watkins. Materials include correspondence with him and the attorneys for Wood's company, abstracts of the case, court proceedings papers, and other documents. Dated 1937-1940.

Dates: 1937-1940

Roger Bryan Madsen papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS SC 407
Scope and Contents

Various letters, documents and notes (some photocopies) collected and created while Madsen was writing a thesis for the Political Science Department titled An Analysis of the 1958 Senatorial Campaign in Utah.

Dates: 1950-1972

L. Weston Oaks papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 1968
Scope and Contents Correspondence, notes, booklets, newspaper clippings, newsletters, photographs, drawings and publications relating to Oaks's family, religious activities, and professional life as a medical doctor. Included are files relating to his work with St. Christopher's Mission to the Navajo at Bluff, Utah, and his part in the creation of a new public health program for the American Indians. Correspondents include United States congressmen from Utah, Senator Arthur V. Watkins and Representative...
Dates: 1902-1965

Arthur V. Watkins papers

 Collection — Box 83: [Barcode: 31197232550365]
Identifier: MSS 146
Scope and Contents Contains biographies, brochures, pamphlets, newspaper articles, photographs, correspondence, speeches, phonograph records, and various other materials. Much of the correspondence deals with Watkins's work in the Senate, especially his work with the McCarthy censure hearings. Some of the material covers Watkins's pre-senatorial years. There is also information on Watkins's book, Enough Rope, his work on reclamation and water conservation, his time on the Indian Claims Commission, and his...
Dates: 1886-1973

Arthur V. Watkins photographs

 Collection — Box 1: [Barcode: 31197233280657]
Identifier: MSS P 28
Scope and Contents

Photographs depicting Senator Watkins, his family, and his political activities in Washington D.C.

Dates: 1903-1972