David O. Watkins, the thirty-eighth governor of New Jersey, was born in Woodbury, New Jersey on June 8, 1862. His education was attained in the common schools of his native state. He went on to study law, and in 1893 was admitted to practice in the state of New Jersey. Watkins first entered politics as mayor of Woodbury, a position he held from 1886 to 1890. He also served on the Woodbury city council from 1892 to 1898; was president of the council from 1895 to 1897; and served as a member and speaker of the New Jersey House of Representatives from 1887 to 1899. On October 18, 1898 Governor Foster M. Voorhees resigned from office, and Watkins, who was speaker of the house at the time, assumed the duties of the governorship. He served in this capacity until January 16, 1899, when he then returned to his duties in the House of Representatives. From 1900 to 1903 he served as the U.S. attorney; and from 1903 to 1909 he was the New Jersey banking and insurance commissioner. He also served as a member of the Republican State Committee from 1904 to 1908. Governor David O. Watkins passed away on June 20, 1938, and was buried in the Green Cemetery in Woodbury, New Jersey.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 3, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.