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John Watts (New York politician)

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Subject: Speaker of the New York State Assembly, James Watson (New York), Richard Varick, John Watts, Outdoor sculpture in New York City
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John Watts (New York politician)

John Watts

John Watts (August 27, 1749 New York City – September 3, 1836) was an American lawyer and politician from New York City who represented New York in the U.S. House of Representatives.


Monument to John Watts in the Trinity Church Cemetery in New York

He was the son of John Watts (1715–1789) and Ann (DeLancey) Watts (d. 1784), a descendant of the Schuyler family and Van Cortlandt family.

He completed preparatory studies and studied law.

He was the last Recorder of New York City under the English Crown, appointed in 1774.[1]

Watts was a member of the New York State Assembly from 1791 to 1793, serving as Speaker during these three terms. He was a member of the commission to build Newgate Prison in New York City (1796–1799).

Watts was elected as a Federalist to the 3rd United States Congress, and served from March 4, 1793, to March 3, 1795. He was defeated in his run for re-election by Edward Livingston.

He was a judge of Westchester County, New York from 1802 to 1807.

Watts married his cousin Jane DeLancey, and their only son was Robert J. Watts to whom John G. Leake, a distant wealthy relative who died childless, left his extensive properties. Robert inherited Leake's personal property (the real estate was escheated to the State because of technical problems of the "will") but died very soon. The grieving father then founded and endowed the Leake and Watts Orphan House with the Leake inheritance.

John Watts died in New York City and was laid to rest in a vault in Trinity Churchyard.

He was the grandfather of Philip Kearny, who was interred in Watts's vault until being removed to Arlington National Cemetery.

Archibald Kennedy, 11th Earl of Cassilis was Watts's brother-in-law, and Archibald Kennedy, 1st Marquess of Ailsa was Watt's nephew.


  1. ^ Richard M. Ketchum, Divided Loyalties: How the American Revolution Came to New York, 2003, page 385

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Legal offices
Preceded by
Robert R. Livingston
Recorder of New York City
Succeeded by
Richard Varick
Political offices
Preceded by
Gulian Verplanck
Speaker of the New York State Assembly
Succeeded by
James Watson
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
John Laurance
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 2nd congressional district

Succeeded by
Edward Livingston
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