John Watts (New York politician)

John Watts

John Watts (August 27, 1749 New York City – September 3, 1836) was an American lawyer and politician from New York City who represented New York in the U.S. House of Representatives.


John Watts was born on August 27, 1749 in New York City, the son of John Watts (1715–1789) and Ann DeLancey (d. 1784), a descendant of the Schuyler family and Van Cortlandt family. His maternal grandfather was the French born Etienne de Lancy (1663–1741), a minor member of the French nobility.[1] He completed preparatory studies and studied law.

His sister, Anne Watts (1744-1783), married Archibald Kennedy, 11th Earl of Cassilis and Archibald Kennedy, 1st Marquess of Ailsa was his nephew.[1]


He was the last Recorder of New York City under the English Crown, appointed in 1774.[2]

Watts was a member of the New York State Assembly from 1791 to 1793, serving as Speaker during these three terms. He was a member of the commission to build Newgate Prison in New York City (1796–1799).

Watts was elected as a Federalist to the 3rd United States Congress, and served from March 4, 1793, to March 3, 1795. He was defeated in his run for re-election by Edward Livingston.

He was a judge of Westchester County, New York from 1802 to 1807.

Personal life

Watts married his cousin Jane DeLancey. Their only son was:

John Watts died in New York City and was laid to rest in a vault in Trinity Churchyard.


Watts was the grandfather of Philip Kearny, who was interred in Watts's vault until being removed to Arlington National Cemetery.


  1. 1 2 Stevens, Walter Barlow (1921). Centennial History of Missouri, Vol. 2, 1921. Chicago : S.J. Clarke Pub. Co. p. 76.
  2. Richard M. Ketchum, Divided Loyalties: How the American Revolution Came to New York, 2003, page 385

External links

Legal offices
Preceded by
Robert R. Livingston
Recorder of New York City
Succeeded by
Richard Varick
Political offices
Preceded by
Gulian Verplanck
Speaker of the New York State Assembly
Succeeded by
James Watson
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
John Laurance
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 2nd congressional district

Succeeded by
Edward Livingston
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