William Watt (miner)

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William Watt (July 14, 1828 - July 5, 1878) was a California Gold Rush mining executive, California State Senator, Regent of the University of California,[1] Director of the Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad,[2] and owner of the Grass Valley Telegraph, the first newspaper in that town.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Watt was born in Scotland, and spent his early years as a marine engineer.[4] He came to the US when he was 20 and by 1852 was in California.[5] He was a Royal Arch Mason.[3]


He participated in the California Gold Rush by working and purchasing mines in the Grass Valley area. Watt was superintendent and part owner of the Eureka Mine.[6][7] He also owned the Massachusetts Mine in Grass Valley and discovered the Derbec Mine (near North Bloomfield).[8] From 1861 until 1863, he served as California State Senator from Nevada County. He served as Regent from 1868 until his resignation in 1871, when he became a candidate for Governor of California on the Democratic Party ticket.[9] Watt died in North Bloomfield, California following an accident involving runaway buggy.[5]


  1. ^ United States. Congress (1870). Congressional edition (Public domain ed.). U.S. G.P.O. pp. 71–. Retrieved 30 December 2011. 
  2. ^ Bancroft, Hubert Howe (1890). The Works of Hubert Howe Bancroft: History of Nevada, colorado, and Wyoming. 1890 (Public domain ed.). A. L. Bancroft & company. pp. 590–. Retrieved 30 December 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Bean's history and directory of Nevada County, California: Containing a complete history of the county, with sketches of the various towns and mining camps ... also, full statistics of mining and all other industrial resources (Public domain ed.). Printed at the Daily Gazette Book and Job Office. 1867. pp. 195, 200–. Retrieved 30 December 2011. 
  4. ^ Curtis, Edward (1880). Two California sketches: William Watt, representative miner, a tribute to his memory. Leland Stanford, ex-governor of California and president of the Central Pacific Railroad, a biography (Public domain ed.). Thomas' Steam Printing House. pp. 12–. Retrieved 30 December 2011. 
  5. ^ a b "Regents of the University of California". The Regents of the University of California. May 28, 2004. Retrieved 30 December 2011. 
  6. ^ United States. Dept. of the Treasury; Rossiter Worthington Raymond (1869). Statistics of mines and mining in the states and territories west of the Rocky Mountains: being the [1st-8th] annual report of Rossiter W. Raymond, U.S. commissioner of mining statistics (Public domain ed.). Govt. Print. Off. pp. 23–. Retrieved 30 December 2011. 
  7. ^ The Railway news ... (Public domain ed.). 1870. pp. 33–. Retrieved 30 December 2011. 
  8. ^ Brower, Maria E. (October 2006). Gold Rush Towns of Nevada County. Arcadia Publishing. pp. 2–. ISBN 978-0-7385-4692-6. Retrieved 30 December 2011. 
  9. ^ "CANDIDATES FOR NOMINATION". Vol. 1 , No. 51. San Luis Obispo, California: Democratic Standard. January 28, 1871. Retrieved 31 December 2011.