South Carolina Supreme Court Justices

Richard Cannon Watts
Date Born: March 15, 1853

 Date Died: October 13, 1930

Place Born: Laurens, SC (Laurens District)

Place Buried: Laurens City Cemetery, Laurens, SC


Chief Justice 1927 - 1930
Associate Justice 1912 - 1927

Richard Cannon Watts was born on March 15, 1853 in Laurens, SC, the son of John Watts and Elizabeth Watts. He received his education at the Laurens Academy, then at the University of Virginia.

On November 28, 1873, Richard Cannon Watts was admitted to the SC bar, under a special Act of the legislature. He began his law practice with later SC Supreme Court Chief Justice Young John Pope, and for six years the firm of Pope & Watts flourished. In 1882, he joined with Col. B.W. Ball and their lawfirm continued until he was elected a Judge of the 4th Circuit on December 1, 1893. He immediately moved his family to Cheraw in Chesterfield County.

On November 3, 1881, Richard Cannon Watts married Allein Eunice Cash, daughter of Ellerbe Boggan Crawford Cash and Allan Eunice (Ellerbe) Cash, and they had two sons and three daughters. She died in 1895. On April 16, 1896, Richard Cannon Watts married a second time, to Littie McIver, daughter of SC Supreme Court Chief Justice Henry McIver.

In 1911, an amendment to the SC Constitution added a fourth seat on the SC Supreme Court, and on January 12, 1912, Richard Cannon Watts was the first man elected to this new seat.

On January 12, 1927, Richard Cannon Watts was elected as the next Chief Justice of the SC Supreme Court after the death of Chief Justice Eugene Blackburn Gary the previous month. He remained in this position until his death.

On October 13, 1930, Richard Cannon Watts died, and he was buried in the Laurens City Cemetery in Laurens, SC.

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