Biography of Thomas D. King

It is pleasant to see this gentleman, who operated in the vigorous labors of the pioneer in many places on this coast, now enjoying the land that he helped to develop with his sturdy labors and being one of the prominent and influential citizens.

Mr. King was born in Logan County, Ohio, in January 1834, being the son of Thomas D. and Susan (Berry) King. The father was a hatter, born in Virginia in 1779 and died in Burlington, Iowa, in 1872. He was a pioneer in Ohio, Indiana and Iowa. The mother of our subject was born in Pennsylvania in 1789 and died in 1857. The family came to Indiana when Thomas D. was young and thence they removed to Iowa, where he was educated and grew to manhood. Arriving at majority’s estate, he farmed for himself and in 1857 he went via Panama to California. From San Francisco, he went direct to Marysville and worked for his brother-in-law, Nelson Westcott. He and his brother William raised a crop of corn as an experiment and cleared nearly five thousand dollars from it. Some years later they bought a hotel in the mountains on Rabbit creek road and did well there. In 1862 he sold out and came to Idaho and joined the forces at Florence who were digging for gold.

Later he went to Walla Walla and farmed for a year and then went to Oregon. Returning to Boise, he took mining claims and later he secured the contract to carry the mail from Walla Walla to Colville. Later he took another contract from Walla Walla to Lewiston, and here he did a general express and passenger traffic. Seven years were spent at this and then he went to California, settling in San Luis Obispo County, where he went into the stock and dairy business. Here he continued until 1897, then sold out his stock, of which he had a considerable, also sold his land, nine hundred and sixty acres, and came to Idaho and settled on his present place on the reservation. He is one mile east from Lapwai and has a good farm, and his sons, George and Ira, also have nice farms here.

On December 25, 1872, Mr. King married Miss Nancy, daughter of James L. and Rachel (Linville) Bownds, natives of Missouri. Mrs. King has the following named brothers and sisters: Homer, Willard, Jennie Sumpter, Anna Gilchrist, Birdie Adron, Sallie Harrison, and the following who are deceased. Eliza Hawcroft, Martha and Ruth, who both died at the same time with diphtheria, Abie, Manda. Mr. King has brothers and sisters as follows, William B., Felix, Samuel John, George, Sallie, Harriett, Hannah, Jane, Ruth, Kate Louise, Julia Carroll and Mattie Morton, all deceased but the first one and the last two. To Mr. and Mrs. King have been born seven children, James, Minnie, Thomas, all deceased, George W., Ira F., Kate, deceased, Rachel. Mr. King is a member of the I. O. O. F., and he and his wife belong to the Christian Church. In political matters, Mr. King is a Republican and always active in that realm, but he has many times refused office himself. He was a member of the school board in California for twelve years. Mrs. King’s uncles were in the Civil war. Mr. King is expecting to handle stock on his farm altogether and will increase his holdings in this line.

Back to: Nez Perce Biographies

Source: An Illustrated History of Northern Idaho, Embracing Nez Perce, Idaho, Latah, Kootenai and Shoshone Counties, Western Historical Publishing Company, 1903

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