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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 memorabilia, 1910-1972

Identifier: MSS 146 Series 1 Sub-Series 3
Scope and Contents note

Contains newspaper articles, awards, invitations, photographs, programs, and records outlining various activities of the Watkins and his family between 1910 and 1972.

Dates: Other: 1910-1972

Arthur V. Watkins motion picture films, 1955

Identifier: MSS 146 Series 1 Sub-Series 6
Scope and Contents note

Contains three films from 1955 concerning new jet fighters and bombers, Joseph R. McCarthy censure hearings, and the Upper Colorado Storage Project.

Dates: Other: 1955

Arthur V. Watkins news clippings on Colorado River Storage Project, 1928-1973

Identifier: MSS 146 Series 5 Sub-Series 3 Sub-Series 3
Scope and Contents note

Contains news clippings from 1928 to 1973 regarding the Colorado River Storage Project in the Western United States.

Dates: Other: 1928-1973

Arthur V. Watkins news clippings on water policy, undated

 Sub-Series — Box 17: Series 5 [Barcode: 31197233276267], Folder: 17
Identifier: MSS 146 Series 5 Sub-Series 1 Sub-Series 5 Sub-Series 6
Scope and Contents note From the Sub-Series:

Contains correspondence from 1955 to 1958 concerning the Colorado River Storage Project in the Western United States and water policy, proposals, statements, congressional records, reports, bills, and newspaper clippings from 1954 to 1959, and brochures and notes regarding water policy.

Dates: Other: undated

Arthur V. Watkins newspaper clippings, 1946-1969

Identifier: MSS 146 Series 1 Sub-Series 5
Scope and Contents note

Contains newspaper articles, interviews, and letters concerning various members of the Watkins family between 1946 and 1969.

Dates: Other: 1946-1969

Arthur V. Watkins pamphlets and articles on Joseph McCarthy, 1952-1959

Identifier: MSS 146 Series 6 Sub-Series 1
Scope and Contents note Contains neutral correspondence concerning McCarthy and responses from Watkins on neutral correspondence regarding McCarthy all originating between 1954 and 1959; requests for copies of the McCarthy hearings and responses to those requests all originating between 1954 and 1955; correspondence from E. Wallace Chadwick from August 24 to September 6, 1954; six posters distributed by The Christian Nationalist Crusade prior to the Censure hearings of Senator McCarthy; a petition from the League...
Dates: Other: 1952-1959

Arthur V. Watkins papers for Enough Rope, 1950-1981

Identifier: MSS 146 Series 4
Scope and Contents note

Contains correspondence between Watkins, his publishers, and schools about his book Enough Rope, newspaper articles and book reviews about his book, and his book drafts from 1954 to 1970. It also contains newspaper and magazine articles, congressional reports and correspondence, and notes kept by Watkins about the Joseph McCarthy hearings from 1950 to 1981.

Dates: Other: 1950-1981

Arthur V. Watkins papers for reclamation book, 1939-1970

Identifier: MSS 146 Series 5 Sub-Series 11
Scope and Contents note

Contains materials intended for a book about reclamation. It contains notes by Watkins for a book to be written on reclamation, correspondence, news clippings, notes, information, reports, and brochures from 1939 to 1970 concerning reclamation in the Western United States. Also includes information on the Colorado River Storage Project.

Dates: Other: 1939-1970

Arthur V. Watkins papers from Indian Claims Commission, 1944-1970

Identifier: MSS 146 Series 3 Sub-Series 1
Scope and Contents note

Contains correspondence, articles, news clippings, and hearings concerning the work Watkins performed in regards to the Indian Claims Commission from 1948 to 1970. Some issues include self-government, health, and education.

Dates: Other: 1944-1970

Arthur V. Watkins papers from the Senate, 1944-1974

Identifier: MSS 146 Series 2
Scope and Contents note

Contains letters, records, speeches, articles, maps, proposals, debates, files, and various other material related to Watkins' time as a United States senator from 1947 to 1971. Some topics include the Korean War, the authority to declare war, and international affairs. Also included are general correspondence from 1944 to 1972, which is organized alphabetically, and letters of congratulations from 1949 to 1967 which are organized alphabetically.

Dates: Other: 1944-1974