African American physician and community leader. Simon J. Watkins was born on February 13, 1861 in Courtland, Alabama. His parents were Andrew and Mary Watkins. Little is known about Watkin’s childhood. It is known that he graduated from Tennessee State College (later Walden University). He then attended Meharry College in Nashville, Tennessee and earned a degree in dentistry in 1888 and medicine in 1889. He remained at Meharry from 1889 to 1891 as a member of the faculty.
In 1891, Simon J. Watkins relocated to the growing City of Covington, Kentucky. He was the first known African American physician and dentist in Covington. Watkin’s offices were located at 113 E. 9th Street. His later offices were located at 63 E. 9th Street and 429 Scott Blvd. Watkins practiced in Covington until 1946 when he retired. Simon J. Watkins died on November 6, 1948 at the age of 75. He was survived by his wife, Rosa A. Moore Watkins. He was laid to rest at Linden Grove Cemetery in Covington.
Kentucky Death Certificate 1948; Linden Grove Cemetery Records; Alvin C. Poweleit M.D., Bicentennial of Physicians of Northern Kentucky (1977), pp. 80-81; Alvin C. Poweleit M.D. and James A. Schroer M.D., A Medical History of Campbell and Kenton Counties, p. 88.