Thursday, November 24, 2011

Police Chief

by George Megeney
Chief James L. Watters son of James Watters and Sarah J. Dingle Watters, started his police career in Westville Nova Scotia as an officer in the early 1900's Then he was promoted to the office of Police Chief in Westville.  Around 1915, Chief Watters was offered the Chief of Police position in Stellarton, in which he accepted.  In the early 1920's moves onto the city on Mahone Bay NS, where he held the office of Chief of Police  for about a year.
 
The following is extracted from the book in the image to the left.   In 1915 Mayor W.C. MacDonald was again conducting the town's business.  He and the Council  appointed the Mr. M.A. Patterson to be Stipendiary Magistrate.   The census that year showed the town's population was 4,970.  In April of the year the Council located an experienced Police Office who was willing to accept the position of Chief of Police.  He was the James L. Watters, a former Chief of Police in Westville.  Chief Edward Fraser willingly submitted his resignation and stated that he was relieved.  He said that his nature was not that of a policeman and he had found it difficult to carry out some duties that were required from time to time. He was thanked by the Mayor and Council for his efforts and loyalty during his short tenure.

James L. Watters was born in Westville in 18591. He went to school there and married Margaret McNulty.  They had five children, one daughter and four sons2.  He started his police career in his native Westville where he became Chief of Police.  In 1915 when an opportunity came up for a police job in Stellarton he readily accepted and moved his family to Stellarton.  He remained in Stellarton as Chief of Police for many years until accepting an offer from the Town of Mahone Bay, to become their Chief of Police.

  In May of 1922, James renders his resignation to the Stipendiary Magistrate in Stellarton and takes the Chief of Police position in Mahone Bay, a fair distance away.  He remained in Mahone Bay for near a year, where he decide to moves his family back Stellarton..  Upon returned home and secured employment in the Acadia Coal company's machine shop, where he remained until retirement.  He maintained a life long interest in Police work but after leaving Mahone bay was never tempted to get actively involved again.  However, succeeding Chiefs of Police called upon him for advice up until the time of his death at age 74.  Chief Watters had been involved in many interesting cases during his career, however the most widely reported case which was jointly investigated by him and Sheriff J. S. Harris was the Marabilito murder case3.

The Stipendiary Magistrate expressed regret at the resignation of Chief Watters, stating that the Court had lost the service of a very capable Officer, who was well versed in the law.  He also praised Mrs Watters for having rendered a valuable for having rendered a valuable service as matron of the lock-up and noted that her kindness, tender sympathy and strong personality would be missed.


1.  The birth registry for James states his birth was Goldenville NS and the year was 1869.
2.  The children were;  Ellen R Watters, James G Watters, William D Watters, Harry T Watters, Hugh M Watters.
3. The Marabilito Murder will be told in a separate post.

The information presented here is from the book; The Stellarton Police Department 1889-1989, One Hundred Years of Service and Protection.  By George Megeney

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