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Thomaston Historical Society Collection

Captain Samuel Watts

Captain Samuel Watts was a very successful sea captain, ship builder and entrepreneur. In addition to his businesses in Thomaston, he owned large properties in New York and invested heavily in railroads as our country expanded into the western territories. He and his wife, Clarissa,  and their two daughters, Mary Jane and Emma, spent considerable time in New York City but his first love was always the Town of Thomaston. He originally owned a substantial Greek Revival Cape on Knox Street, where his family lived beginning in 1842. As he gained in prosperity, becoming one of our nation's first millionaires, he moved that house to the lot directly to the south and built a huge mansion in 1873 which became a showcase of architecture. Both houses still stand and are occupied as private dwellings.

Watts showed his generous nature when he built a large brick building on the corner of Main and Knox Streets which he dedicated to the Town of Thomaston on November 29, 1890, for public use. Unfortunately, the building burned to the ground some years later in a fire that began in the stable behind the building. In a tribute to her late father, Mary Jane Watts had the building rebuilt in 1915 and donated it to the town once again. The building has a theatre and meeting room on the second floor and retail and office spaces on the first floor.

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