ebook  History of Watertown, Wisconsin


Dr. John Henry Ott

Northwestern University




06 24          In honor of twenty five years of professional activity in educational fields, Dr. John Henry Ott, vice president of Northwestern University, was feted by alumni and patrons of the institution on Tuesday.


Upon receiving the M. A. degree he was installed as professor of English at Northwestern in 1885.  At the same time he was placed in charge of the reference library which, due to his efforts, has been increased to a collection of 10,000 volumes.


Athletics were closely followed by him.  For a number of years he acted as supervisor of gymnastic instruction.  Having attended Amherst College for some time, he later continued his studies in philology and history at the universities of Oxford, Halle and Berlin, collaborating with such scholars as Prof. Lenz, the historian, and Dr. Treitschke.  In 1892 the degree of doctor of philosophy was conferred upon him.


Returning to this country after extensive travels in England, he again assumed the chair of English and history at Northwestern.  In 1907 he was chosen vice president, which office he still occupies.


He is a ranking member of the American Modern Language Association and correspondent for the Royal Chaucer Society of England.  WG



11 12          Drs. and Mrs. J. H. Ott gave a luncheon to a number of their friends at their home, 1530 Western Avenue, last Sunday evening in honor of their 20th wedding anniversary.  Dr. and Mrs. Ott proved excellent entertainers and all present report an excellent time.   WG




Jefferson County Wisconsin and its People, John Henry Ott, Ph.D., Supervising Editor, 1971


For thirty years Professor John Henry Ott has been identified with the Northwestern College at Watertown, Wisconsin, and is now serving as vice president of the institution and professor of English.  He was born in Tell City, Indiana, on the 4th of January, 1861, and is the son of Conrad and Maria (Senn) Ott, both of whom were natives of Switzerland. The father engaged in the manufacture of scales in the city of Zurich prior to his emigration to America in 1851.  In 1858 he joined the Swiss Colonization Society and became one of the first settlers of Tell City, Indiana, where he subsequently engaged in the planing mill business.  There both he and his wife spent their last days.  She came to the United States in 1855 and also settled in Indiana, where they were married.  One of her brothers, J. J. Senn, came to Wisconsin and located in Fountain City.  He represented his district in the state legislature for two terms; served as county treasurer repeatedly; and was filling the office of justice of the peace at the time of his death, which occurred in 1893.


John Henry Ott began his education in the public schools of Tell City and in early life learned the printer's trade, at which he worked both in Louisville, Kentucky, and St. Louis, Missouri, for five years.  One of his intimate friends in the latter city persuaded him to come to Watertown, Wisconsin, and enter the Northwestern College, a German Lutheran institution, from which he was graduated in 1885.  During the following five years he taught in the college and then went to Berlin, Germany, where for three terms he was a student in the Berlin University.  On leaving that institution he entered the university at Halle, Germany, where he completed the course in 1892 and was granted the degree of Ph. D.  His thesis at that time was "The Sources of Aelfric's Lives of Saints."


On his return to the United States Professor Ott again became a resident of Watertown, Wisconsin, and accepted the chair of professor of English in the Northwestern College, which position he has since filled.  He was also made vice president of the institution in 1908 and is regarded as one of the most capable educators in the state.  He takes an active interest in public affairs and has done much to promote the welfare of his adopted city.


1894:  Bittner-Ott Wedding

On the 11th of July, 1894, Mr. Ott was united in marriage to Miss Clara Bittner, a daughter of William and Bertha (Nowack) Bittner.  Her mother was born in Selesia, Germany.  The Bittner family, also from Silesia, came to Wisconsin in the early '40s and located near Milwaukee, where the Nowacks became residents of this state in the '50s.  To Mr. and Mrs. Ott have been born five children, namely: Conrad, Hans, Dorothy, Margaret and Walter, all natives of Watertown.


The Republican Party finds in Mr. Ott a staunch supporter at national elections but in local affairs he often votes independently, supporting the men and measures he believes best calculated to promote the general welfare.  For ten years he served as president of the [Watertown public] library board and is still a member of the same.  He took a very active part in securing the library for the city and never withholds his support from any enterprise which he believes will prove of public benefit.  Religiously he is a member of the Lutheran church.


For many years Professor Ott has taken an active interest in the history of his adopted county and no man living in the county today has a better knowledge of its history. 


In securing his services as supervising editor of this work the publishers feel that they have secured the best man in the county for that purpose.


Miss Margaret Ott



06 03       Orbit Dedicated to Miss Ott

Miss Margaret Ott instructor in German and Latin and leader of the Junior Red Cross in the Watertown High School, today was honored by members of the 1953 senior class of the school by having the annual edition of “The Orbit” dedicated to her.  The yearbook, which this year is volume No. 41 in the line of annual publications of the senior classes, is a handsome and well- planned volume.  “Because she has shown interest in the student as an individual and has made the Junior Red Cross enjoyable as well as serviceable, we dedicate this Orbit to Miss Margaret Ott,” reads the dedicatory inscription in the book.


1967:  Retirement of Miss Margaret Ott

01 18       The retirement of Miss Margaret Ott, veteran teacher of German at Watertown High School, takes from the school system another longtime and dedicated school teacher.  Effective Jan. 20. 


Miss Ott has chalked up an almost enviable record as an instructor and faculty member and the hundreds and hundreds of boys and girls who studied in her classes and came under her influence can look back with pride on her work. 


Miss Ott's father, the late Dr. John Ott who spent so many years as instructor of English and librarian at Northwestern College, was one of the state's outstanding educators and among the city's leading residents whose influence on and off the college campus is still felt today.   WDT









Cross References:

1917, Watertown library citation 





Table of Contents 

History of Watertown, Wisconsin