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Owen Watkins

1842-1915. Wesleyan Methodist missionary. Born near Manchester, he entered the ministry in 1863. In 1876 he was sent to Natal for health reasons, and in 1880 became first chairman of the Transvaal and Swaziland district of the Wesleyan Methodist Church. He and his colleagues traveled extensively contacting independent African evangelists, setting up stations, purchasing mission farms, and providing pastoral care for white communities, especially on the Witwatersrand gold fields. In 1891 he visited Mashonaland with the Rev. Isaac Shimmin and obtained land grants from Cecil Rhodes. He contracted fever while walking two hundred miles from Umtali to Beira, and was invalided home in 1892. His ambition to lead an advance into Central Africa was unfulfilled, and he finished his ministry in British circuits.