Page 498-499 - Charles G. Watkins, as senior member of the Grand Rapids Insurance Agency, is associated with one of the largest insurance selling agencies in western Michigan. A son of Frank B. and Ella (Goodell) Watkins, he was born in Allegan county, Michigan, in December, 1875. Frank B. Watkins was a native of New York State and came to Michigan in 1860. With the opening of the Civil war he entered the Union army as a drummer boy although he was but fifteen years of age at the time. He returned to Michigan with the cessation of hostilities, settling in Kent county, which he soon left to go to Allegan county. There he was married, his wife's family being one of the pioneer families of that county. He opened a general retail store at Wayland, which he conducted for many years. Charles G. Watkins received his early education in the schools of his home community and in 1890 came to Grand Rapids and entered the junior high school, from which he graduated in 1895. He first entered the employ of the Lemon-Wheeler Grocery Company but soon accepted a better job as office boy with the Standard Oil Company. In this work he found congenial employment and applied himself to the work with such energy that he was rapidly promoted. He became assistant manager under S. B. Drake. Eight years in all he worked with the Standard Oil Company and in 1906 he first became interested in the insurance business in which he was destined to make a success of his career. At that time he became associated with his uncle, Charles W. Watkins, who had been conducting the business for many years, the offices then being located in the Michigan Trust building. Under the careful tutelage of his uncle, Mr. Watkins learned the business thoroughly and during the years which he worked with his uncle, he laid the foundation for his future success in the work. In 1912 a consolidation was effected among the agencies of C. W. Watkins, Heath & Byrne, and the Grand Rapids Fire Insurance Agency, under the firm style of the Grand Rapids Insurance Agency. The offices of the new partnership were then located in the Houseman building. The present partners in the business are Charles G. Watkins, F. K. Heath, and George C. Blickle. As senior partner of the firm, Mr. Watkins has been largely instrumental in building up the largest business which the agency now enjoys, and that he is largely responsible for developing the agency into the largest of its kind in western Michigan has gained for him the name of being one of the ablest executives in Grand Rapids. He is thoroughly conversant with every detail of the business in which he is engaged, and his native ability together with his apparently limitless capacity for work have made him one of the outstanding figures in the insurance field in this section of the state. In 1901 Mr. Watkins married Cecil Hastings, the daughter of Henry F. Hastings of Grand Rapids.

Transcriber: Gloria Paas
Created: 13 November 2002