Aaron Watkins: Major Prohibition Party Leader and Temperance Activist – Discover More!

Aaron Watkins
Aaron Watkins

Temperance leader Aaron Watkins (1863-1941) practiced law with his brother. He was later ordained as a Methodist minister.

Watkins held Ohio pastorates in the Methodist Episcopal Church. They were in Cairo, Cincinnati, Columbus Grove, Continental, Delta, Edgerton and Germantown. Also in Lima, Linwood, North Baltimore, Ottawa, Van Wert, Waynesville, Wesley, and Winton Place.


Aaron S. Watkins was very active in the Prohibition Party. He served as Prohibition Party candidate for many offices. They included Attorney-General, Representative, Secretary of State, and Governor of Ohio. He served as vice-presidential candidate in 1908 and 1912. In 1920, he was the Party candidate for the presidency of the US. In that campaign, he and is running mate, D. Leigh Colvin, received 189,408 votes.

Also learn about these other Prohibition Party candidates.

Marie C. Brehm 

Ben Bubar 

Earl Dodge (Highly controversial)

Rolland Fisher

Robert P. Shuler (Highest vote-getter)

Gideon T. Stewart (Also a Party founder)

Claude A. Watson  

Aaron S. Watkins was born on November 29, 1863, near Rushsylvania, Ohio. His parents, William White Watkins and Rebecca J. Elliott Watkins had ten children. He was the youngest of his siblings. They all predeceased him.


Dr. Watkins was an educator and educational administrator. He was the teacher in a one-room school, then an instructor at Miami Military Institute (Germantown, Ohio).

Watkins was next head of the English Department and vice-president of Ohio Northern University. Then he became president of Asbury College (now Asbury University). During WW I, he was an instructor and held the rank of Captain in the US Army.

Honary Degrees

Aaron Watkins received honorary degrees of Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, and Doctor of Divinity. In addition, Doctor of Laws, Doctor of Philosophy, and Doctor of Humane Letters.

During his career, Aaron Watkins was associated with such national figures as William Jennings Bryan. Also Clarence Darrow, Carrie Nation, and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Aaron Watkins was the grandfather of W. Dean Watkins. His grandson was the Prohibition Party candidate for vice-presidency of the US in 2000. The elder Watkins would have been proud.

Resources: Aaron Watkins


(One of six part series.) Temperance Timelines

(One of a seven part series.) Beginnings of Temperance in US

Prohibition Party

Political Graveyard

Prohibition Leaders (& Their Personalities)

Temperance Leaders

Prohibition and Progressives

Prohibition and Repeal Experiences of Various States