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John H. King


Posted By: Lyn Lysne - volunteer transcriber
Date: 10/7/2013 at 09:10:08

JOHN HEREFORD KING, who is engaged in the real-estate, loan and insurance business in the city of Huron, Beadle county, and who is a distinguished member of the legal profession, is distinctively a western man and imbused with its self-reliant and progressive spirit.

He was born at Salem, Henry county, Iowa, on the 3rd of October, 1845, and is a representative of one of the sterling pioneer families of that state. He is a son of Samuel and Content (Verion) King, both of whom were birthright members of that noble organization, the Society of Friends, to whose faith they adhered throughout life, the father being a native of Pennsylvania and the mother of Georgia. They removed, with their parents, to Ohio about 1815, and after their marriage removed to Iowa in 1844, settling in Henry county, at Salem, and later moving to Cedar county, Iowa, where the father entered the land whereon West Branch now stands.

The subject was reared on the old homestead farm, early beginning to assist in its work, while he also learned the trade of broom making under the direction of his father. His early educational advantages were such as were afforded in the common schools of the locality, and was supplemented by a three-months course in an academy conducted by Joel Beans, at West Branch, that state. He left school at the age of eighteen years and continued to work on the home farm until his marriage, at the age of twenty-one. He then, in 1866, located on a tract of land in Hardin county, Iowa, and engaged in farming on his own responsibility, breaking the greater portion of the ground himself and fencing the property, which was virgin prairie at the time when it came into his possession. In the meanwhile he was employed as teacher in an adjoining district school for three winter terms.

In the spring of 1869 he began the careful study of law at his home, and completed his technical reading under the direction of an able preceptor, Hon. H. L. Huff, of Eldora, Iowa, being admitted to the bar of Iowa in the winter of 1870, and located in Eldora, the county seat of Hardin county, where he initiated the active practice of his profession, and two years later he removed to Hampton, Franklin county, where he rapidly gained prestige in his profession, building up a large and lucrative legal business and being one of the leading lawyers of that section for many years.

In 1877 he was elected to represent his district in the state legislature, said district comprising the counties of Franklin and Cerro Gordo, and he was chosen as his own successor in 1879, receiving large and gratifying majorities on both occasions. He took a very prominent part in the legislative proceedings and held the important position of chairman of the house committee on railroads during the eighteenth general assembly. At the time of the Civil war he was most desirous of enlisting in defense of the Union, but his parents, being of the Quaker faith and thus opposed to warfare by principle and training, refused to permit him to become a volunteer.

In July 1880, he came to South Dakota and in the fall of that year laid out Chamberlain and became president of the town-site company, and soon removed there with his family. He was appointed postmaster in 1882 and became editor of the Chamberlain Register and actively engaged in the many enterprises calculated to build up a town.

Like many others in South Dakota, he lost his all in the hard times of the later ‘eighties, but stuck to the state and with keen foresight later saw the great development that might come, and he believed would come, to this great artesian section of Central South Dakota.

After a painstaking search he secured help from Dubuque capitalists and purchased a very large quantity of land, commencing in the latter part of 1899, in Beadle, Spink, Hand, Hyde, Hughes and Sully counties, fully eighty thousand acres, and nearly five years ago removed to Huron and commenced pushing and advocating the digging of artesian wells, and planting of trees, and bringing new settlers into the country, loaning money to help farmers and others who wished to build and buy more land. He improved a large number of farms, building good houses and barns, and infused new life and confidence in central South Dakota and built up a great business at Huron, in lands, loans and insurance.

In politics Mr. King has ever been an ardent Republican and has been a vigorous and effective worker in its cause. He made an uncompromising stand against the free-silver heresy in 1896, and in the presidential campaign of that year made a large number of strong speeches in advocacy of the single gold standard, the now established financial policy of his party. Fraternally he is affiliated with the Masons and the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. He was reared in the faith of the society of Friends, of which he is a birthright member, but both he and his wife now hold membership in the Congregational church.

On the 20th of September, 1866, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. King to Miss Permelia A. Andrews, who was born in Hamilton county, Indiana, being a daughter of William E. and Mary E. Andrews, who were early settlers in Iowa.

Mr. and Mrs. King have four children, namely: Guneath D., now Mrs. Gilbert E. Roe, of New York city; Laona M., now Mrs. Walter Montgomery, of Chamberlain, South Dakota; Lorena C., a graduate of Chicago University, now at home in Huron, and Grace E., now Mrs. Fred J. Hutchins, of Chicago, all of whom share their father’s loyalty in the belief in South Dakota’s future greatness.

~ “History of South Dakota, Together with Personal Mention of Citizens of South Dakota”, by Doane Robinson, Vol 2, 1904, pgs 1490-1491


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