Harry Legare Watson - Obituary - National Loan & Exchange Bank of Greenwood - President

HL Watson

07/11/1876 – Phoenix, SC
11/05/1956 – Greenwood, SC

Harry Legare Watson

Index-Journal Editor Dies This Morning
Harry Legare Watson, president of The Index Journal Company and dead of South Carolina newspaper editors, died at Self Memorial Hospital early today after a long illness.
Mr. Watson began his newspaper career Jan. 1 1900 when he and the late S.H. McGhee became co-owners of The Greenwood Index then a weekly newspaper.  Three years later he became sole owner of the paper and with the exception of a brief period, 1905-1906, as editor of the Spartanburg Herald he has been in Greenwood.
The Greenwood Index became a daily paper in World War one and in 1919 merged with The Greenwood Journal with Mr. Watson as president, editor and publisher.
He was born July 11, 1876 in the Phoenix community, the only child of the late Johnson Sale and Charlotte Louisa Moseley Watson.  He attended the community school and Furman University and graduated from the University of North Carolina.  He was awarded the honorary degrees of Doctor of Letters from the University of South Carolina in 1938 and Doctor of Laws from Lander College in 1956.
He was named trustee of the Greenwood schools in 1907 and chairman of the school board in 1915, and office he held until retirement in 1952.
Local history has been one of his principal interests and his collection of records and notes on families and events of this section is believed to be largest and most complete available.
For almost ten years he wrote a weekly column of historical sketches and pioneer family data.  In recent years he and his daughter, Miss Louise Watson, have been editing and revising these columns for publication in book form.
He has written numerous other articles on county history.  He wrote the historical introduction for “Ninety Six,” a book of photographs by Carl Julien, one of a series.  A later volume in this series by Mr. Julien is dedicated to Mr. Watson.
He has been president of the South Carolina Press Association, a trustee of Furman University and president of its Alumni Association, a member of the County Highway Commission and was twice elected a delegate to Democratic Party national conventions.  He was admitted to the South Carolina bar in 1908 and practiced law here for a year.
Dr. Francis Wright Bradley, dean of college arts and sciences of the University of South Carolina, and a native of this county, read this official citation as Mr. Watson was awarded the LL.D. Degree at the June commencement in 1938:
“A native of Greenwood county, educated at Woodside Academy, Furman University and the University of North Carolina, prepared for both law and letters, Harry Legare Watson devoted his life to the journalism of his state.  As past president of the South Carolina Press Association, trustee of the Greenwood library, member of the advisory board of the Greenwood Hospital, of the state board of charities and corrections, and the Greenwood city schools, and formerly a trustee of Furman University and Bailey Military Institute, he has long, faithfully, well served the civic educational interests of his people.  In recognition of his leadership as a political thinker he was twice sent as a delegate to the Democratic national conventions, including the one which nominated Woodrow Wilson.  But it is the trenchant pen, wielded by a clear, fearless and honest mind, coupled with unusual learning as a historian that has gained for him the widest recognition.  As a publisher of the Greenwood Index-Journal and as president of that company, he is recognized by his colleagues as one of the most forceful editorial writers of South Carolina.
“In recognition of his civic, political, educational and journalistic services and of his rewarding labors in the conservation of historical data with reference to his state, the faculty of the University of South Carolina recommends him for the honorary degree of doctor of letters.”
President J. Rion McKissick, in conferring the degree, commented:
“For 38 years an uncommonly able, useful and influential South Carolina newspaper editor and editorial writer, always faithful to the highest standards of journalism, friend of the fighter for all forms of education and for every other righteous cause, collector, preserver and publisher of much South Carolina history that would otherwise have been lost, and outstanding representative of the editors of the smaller daily and weekly press of this state whose immense service in its upbuilding is too little understood and appreciated.”
At Lander College last spring, after recounting the activities in which Mr. Watson had been engaged, the citation added:
“It is in the field of journalism, his chosen field of work, that he has been most effective.  It is a trenchment pen guided by a fearless and honest mind coupled with his unusual knowledge as a historian that has gained for him probably his widest recognition.  As publisher of the Greenwood Index-Journal and president of that company, he has been recognized by his colleagues as one of the most courageous editorial writers in the State.  His special field in writing is that of local history.”
He and his wife are charter members of South Main Street Baptist Church; he was chairman of the building committee or the erection of the first building and a longtime deacon.
Ill health many years ago restricted his activities, but he continued to write editorial and direct the policies of the newspaper.
He was a charter member of the Greenwood Rotary Club, a Mason, Knight Templar and Shriner, a member of the National Press Club and the South Carolina Historical Association.
He married the former Ella Dargan June 27, 1900.  She died last July 2.
Surviving are five children, Miss Louise and Margaret Watson, Greenwood; John D. Watson, Greensboro, N.C., Mrs. John F Potter, Oakland, Calif., and Mrs. W Hampton Logan, Jr., Charleston, and six grandchildren.
Funeral services will be conducted from the chapel at South Main Baptist Church tomorrow afternoon at 3 o’clock, with Dr. George H. Moore and the Rev. Allen W. Joslin officiating.  Interment will be in Magnolia Cemetery.
These newspaper associated of Mr. Watson will serve as active pallbearers: Arthur Lee, J.E. Chaffin, R. Frank Mundy, W.W. Wilson, Charles Baber, E.M. Loyless, Edward Shirley, Y.J. Bryant and Joel Henderson.
All employees of The Index Journal have been asked to form the honorary escort.
The family asks that flowers be omitted.