Saturday, June 16, 2012

Archie Watts 1921-1939

Today I want to spotlight my great uncle, Archie Watts, who passed from this life when he was just 17 years old. I spoke with his nephew, Bert Bulkley about him last week. Bert is now in his 80s but still remembers Archie fondly and says that Archie was kind and the best guy he knew.
My Grandma Palmer lost her father, Hyrum Henry Rose when she was 11 and her brother, Jack was 5. Their mother later married Ben Watts and had two more children, Lola and Archie. So Archie was my grandmother's half brother.
Archie Watts was born on the 27th of September 1921 in Aurora, Sevier County, Utah. He died during his senior year of high school on January 1939 in Aurora also.
According to his mother's journal Archie had been having trouble with his muscles in the week before his death and had complained about his jaw muscles hurting one day and his arms at another time. She said they'd decided that he wasn't getting enough exercise at school but he was doing the farm chores at home. In fact on that last morning he had got up and milked and carried the milk to the cheese factory before breakfast so his 75 year old father didn't have to. At breakfast he told them about the high school basketball game and dance he'd attended the night before and practiced some lines for an upcoming MIA play. He had earlier said he needed to diet because he had gained six pounds over the holidays and thought that might be why his muscles hurt. He finished breakfast before his parents and said he was still starving and drank a cup of milk then went into the living room and turned on the radio. His mother heard him cough and thought he was choking so headed to get him some water as he fell back. After he collapsed they sent for the doctor who arrived in seven minutes but it was too late. 
Archie's mother said that he was working on his autobiography, if it is around somewhere I'd like to see it.. His mother later mentions going to his class's graduation to accept his diploma and an award he'd earned.
I think of Archie every now and then. All of his immediate family have passed from this earth but I wanted to share a little of his life today. He grew up in a small town to a poor household during the 1920s and the depression years. I know he worked hard alongside his aging father on their farm. He enjoyed school and had a good but probably not healthy heart.

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