NAME, Years Elected to City Council

William Watkinson (1848-1902) served on City Council for 4 terms: 1891 (At Large) and 1893-1894, 1895-1896, 1897-1898 (6th Ward).




Watkinson5Watkinson4William was born in England and lived in Oakland for 35 years before he died. Watkinson worked for Southern Pacific until the railroad strike when he lost his job. He then went into politics and later the liquor business. Watkinson died at age 54 at his shop on 13th street from apoplexy. He had gone to work because he knew it would be closed for election day (perhaps appropriate for a retired Councilmember) and was going to do some repairs.

Watkinson lived at 837 Harrison St. He had a wife and two children.2

Watkinson was one of the City Council members arrested in 1895. His 1895 re-election was contested; in a recount he won by six votes over challenger Edward Gilligan. In the initial count, he had led by 5 votes.3





  1. “ACROSS THE BAY.” San Francisco Chronicle: March 15: 1887.
  2. "DEATH CLAIMS AN EX-COUNCILMAN." San Francisco Chronicle: Nov 5, 1902.
  3. "WATKINSON WINS." San Francisco Chronicle: Apr 17, 1895.
  4. "FACED THE PRISON." San Francisco Chronicle: Feb 13, 1895.
  5. Alameda County: the Eden of the Pacific. Tribune Publishing Co: 1898.