Volney Brockway Watts

Arkansas Conference President, 1907-1909

His Early Years

Volney Brockway Watts was born on September 5, 1872, to Cordelia and Zachariah Taylor Watts. He was the second of son of Zachariah and Cordelia. His mother died when Volney was six years old and his father married Sarah Jane Webster eight months later. Ten more children were born to this union. Volney B. Watts married Core Gertrude Shore on November 7, 1897, at Russell, Iowa, where they lived on a farm. Six children were born to this union, four boys and two girls, the eldest passing in infancy (Ancestry, 2020).

Years of Ministry

Elder V. B. Watts ca. 1907

Volney B. and Cora were united with the Presbyterian church until 1899 when they joined the Seventh-day Adventist church. In 1900, Volney attended Union College, entered the ministry, and the Watts labored together for the salvation of souls (Grave, 2016). Elder V. B. Watts “worked tirelessly all over Arkansas in pioneer evangelism and pastoral ministry from 1901 to 1907. Much of his effort was concentrated in and around Gentry, resulting in establishing the church there. He was also a strong promoter of Christian education. He organized a church school at Elm, a forerunner of the Lucky (Bonnerdale) school, and then taught it himself, when no other teacher was available. Watts ably served the Arkansas Conference as president from January 1907 until the 1909 conference session, when he asked to be relieved of the responsibility. He continued in pastoral evangelism in the state, especially at Lucky and Fort Smith. In 1912 he was called to be the president of the New Mexico Conference, where he served for two years. In 1925 Elder Watts was the Bible teacher at what is now Mt. Pisgah Academy, in North Carolina. Later he worked in Iowa and Tennessee. He was the father of R[alph] S. Watts and Ralph Watts Jr., both well-known Seventh-day Adventist workers” (Beeler, 1996).

Retirement Years

In 1938, the Watts moved to Upper Lake, California, where Elder Watts was pastor of the Seventh-day Adventist church, it having been through his efforts that the church was organized there (Star, 1951). Cora Watts passed away there in 1944. In 1945 Elder Watts married Myrtle J. Clark in Maricopa, Arizona. They moved to Calistoga, California, and in 1949 moved to St. Helena (Ancestry, 2020). Elder Volney B. Watts passed away Sunday, June 17, 1951, at his home after a brief illness. He had been in fairly good health and had attended the annual Seventh-day Adventist camp meeting in Lodi on Friday, so his death was unexpected (Star, 1951).


(1951, Jun. 21). Elder Volney Watts Dies After Brief Illness. The St. Helena Star, p. 1.

Ancestry. (2020, Apr. 12). Volney Brockway Watts. Retrieved from ancestry.com.

Beeler, Charles R. (1996). A History of Seventh-day Adventists in Arkansas and Louisiana 1888-1996. Keene: Arkansas-Louisiana Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, p. 55.

Find a Grave. (2016, May 18). Cora Gertrude Shore Watts. Retrieved from findagrave.com.

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