Marshall County
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KING, Martin

Martin KING. There are few men more worthy of representation in a work of this kind than the subject of this biography, who is now living upon a fine farm on section 32, Magnolia township – the same place on which he first opened his eyes to the light of day on the 15th of April, 1835. His entire life has been passed in this locality, and those who know him best are numbered among his staunchest friends.

Silas KING, his father, was born in Kentucky in 1805, and was the son of Peter KING. He accompanied the family to Indiana and later went to the lead mines of Galena, from which he returned to Indiana, and there married Elizabeth SHIELDS, a sister of Calvin SHIELDS. After making their home for a time in Morgan county, that state, they removed to what is now Magnolia township, Putnam county, where they remained but a short time, removing to Roberts township, Marshall county, then a part of Putnam county, and were among the first to locate in that township, making their home in the edge of the timber. Until 1856 the father continued to improve and cultivate that tract, when he removed to section 27, Evans township, Marshall county, on a tract of raw land, which he broke and thereon erected a house. The mother of our subject died in 1838, leaving three children, the others being James C., now deceased, who married Mrs. Rebecca KNICKERBOCKER, also now deceased, and Sarah, widow of Henry GAGBY, by whom she had four children, Samuel P., James, Ida and Lizzie. The father was again married, his second union being with Mrs. CONDIFF, who is also now deceased, and they became the parents of three children, all of whom have been called to their final rest. Eveline, who was the wife of Selathial HALLAM, by whom she had two children, Emma Hotalling and Eva Dial; Matilda, who was the wife of James BROWN, and William. Two of the sons, James C. and William, were in the Union army during the Civil war. The father was a member of the Methodist church, took considerable interest in educational affairs and donated a log house for a school building. He passed away in February, 1858.

Martin KING was reared in Marshall county, receiving his education in the district schools and early became familiar with the duties that fall to the lot of the agriculturist. He continued upon the home farm until the death of his father, and after his marriage he rented land for two years. The next year was passed upon a small farm which he purchased in the timber, and then for two years lived upon his father’s old farm in Evans township. Being drafted for service in the Civil war, he had to sell his land in order to pay his conscription. His next farm consisted of one hundred and sixty acres lying east of Varna, for which he went in debt. It was all raw land, but he at once began its development, erected thereon a little shanty, and there made his home for twenty-four years, during which time he made many valuable improvements, including a good residence, barns and other outbuildings. Selling out to Jacob LENZ, he removed to his present farm in 1889, and in the fall of 1895 erected his comfortable residence. The place comprises three hundred and twenty acres, and he also owns sixty-six acres in Roberts township, Marshall county, and an interest in another farm in Magnolia township. He raises a fine grade of stock in connection with his general farm work.

On the 6th of October, 1859, Mr. KING led to the marriage altar Miss Ellen A. SMITH, who was born on section 33, Magnolia township, July 31, 1840, was there reared and was educated in the Caledonia school. They have become the parents of nine children, as follows: Silas, now of Iowa, who married Annie RUTAN, by whom he has four children, Harry, Myrtle, Lawrence and Marion; Frank, also of Iowa, who married Jane RUTAN, by whom he has two children, Ila and Dawson; Henry B., of Magnolia township, who married Naomi NORRIS, by whom he has two children, Blanche L. and Leonard C.; L. Benjamin, of Chicago; Laura E., wife of Grant TRONE of Magnolia township, and the mother of two children, Florence M. and Howard M., and Robert E., Hattie E., Annie Edith and Kate E., all at home.

Ephraim SMITH, the father of Mrs. KING, was born in North Carolina, in 1805, and a son of Philip and Elizabeth SMITH, who were early settlers of Sangamon county, Illinois, where they passed their last days. At the age of twenty-one, Ephraim left home, going to the lead mines of Galena, and making the journey from Springfield to that place with an ox team. It was in 1830 that he came to Putnam county, and was numbered among the first settlers of Magnolia township, locating upon section 33, where he made his permanent home. During the Black Hawk war he served as a ranger.

Mr. Smith first wedded Harriet Angeline TRUMAN, who was born in New York in 1817, and died in July, 1857. To them were born nine children – Ervin O., who married Annie JOHNSON, and has two children; Mrs. KING; Franklin, who married Hattie WEIR; Esther, deceased; Laura, wife of Casper WEBER; Hattie, wife of Gilbert HILTABRAND; Addie and Artilissa, deceased, and James C., who is also married. For his second wife Mr. SMITH chose Jemima KAYS, who still survives him, and to them were born three children, the oldest of whom died in infancy. The others are Katie R., wife of Vivian HAWS, and Eva, wife of Cyril HAWS. The father died on the 10th of February, 1885, and was buried in Magnolia cemetery. He was an honest, industrious farmer, who attended strictly to his own affairs.

Socially, Mr. KING is a member of the Masonic lodge at Varna, politically is a stalwart democrat, and has served as road commissioner in Roberts township, and school director for a number of years. Both himself and wife enjoy the friendship and acquaintance of a large number of the best people of Marshall and Putnam counties.

Extracted March 2011 by Norma Hass from The Biographical Record of Bureau, Marshall and Putnam Counties, Illinois, 1896.


Among the citizens of Putnam county who in former years were actively identified with agricultural interests, but who are now living retired, is classed Martin KING, who owns a well improved and valuable farm of two hundred and forty acres, a part of which is situated in Magnolia township and a portion in Roberts township, which is now being operated by his son, although the owner still continues his residence thereon.
 
Mr. KING was born upon his present farm April 15, 1835, the farm being purchased by his paternal grandfather, James SHIELDS, in 1833, from a man who had entered it from the government. His father, Silas KING, was born in Kentucky, in 1805, a son of Peter KING. He accompanied his father's family on their removal from the Blue Grass state to Indiana, where he remained for a time, and later made his way to Galena, Illinois, where he worked in the lead mines. He later returned to Indiana, where he was united in marriage to Miss Eveline SHIELDS, and the young couple then took up their abode in Morgan county, that state, where they made their home for a time, and then made their way to a farm in Roberts township, Marshall county, which at that time was included in the district which now forms Putnam county, the family being one of the first to locate in that township. They lived in the same house with James Shields for a time. Mr. KING was a valued factor in the pioneer development of this portion of the state, making his home on different farms in the two counties during a long period. His wife died in 1838, leaving three children: Martin, of this review; James C., who wedded Mrs. Rebecca KNICKERBOCKER, and both are now deceased; and Sarah, the widow of Henry BAGBT, by whom she has four children, Samuel P., James, Ida and Lizzie. The father was married a second time to Mrs. CCUNDIFF, who is now deceased, and by this marriage there were three children, but all of the number have been called to their final rest: Eveline, who was the wife of Selathial HALLAM, by whom she had two children; Emma Hotalling and Eva Dial; Matilda, who was the wife of James BROWN; and William. Two of the sons, James C. and William, were loyal defenders of the Union cause during the Civil war. The father was a member of the Methodist church and took considerable interest in the educational affairs of his community, and at one time donated a log house which was used for a school building. His death occurred in February, 1898, and thus passed away one of the highly esteemed and worthy pioneers of this part of the state.
 
Martin KING was reared in Marshall county, where he received his education in the district schools near his father's home. He early became familiar with all the duties which fall to the lot of the agriculturist, assisting his father in the operation of the home place until the latter's death. Upon starting out in life on his own responsibility he operated rented land for two years, after which he purchased a small farm-, which was in a wild state, and which he developed and cultivated for a time. He then took up his abode on his father's old farm property in Evans township, which he operated for the succeeding two years. About that time the Civil war broke out and Mr. KING, being drafted for service therein, was compelled to dispose of his farm in order to pay his conscription. His next purchase of land consisted of a tract of one hundred and sixty acres, lying east of the village of Varna, for which he assumed an indebtedness. It was wild and unimproved, but Mr. KING at once took up his abode thereon and began to clear his land, after which he planted his crops, and in due course of time gathered rich harvests. He further improved his farm by the erection of substantial buildings and in course of years replaced his original home, which was a log shanty, by a more commodious frame residence, and on this place he continued to make his home for twenty-four years, having in the meantime made it a valuable property, owing to the improvements which he had made. He disposed of this property to Jacob Lenz and in 1889 removed to his present farm, where he has since continued to make his home, although he is now living in well earned ease, his farm being operated by his son. Mr. KING was for many years engaged in general agricultural pursuits and stock-raising and as he prospered in his work and his financial resources were thereby increased, he added to his possessions from time to time until he was at one time the owner of three hundred and eighty-six acres, but he has since disposed of a part of this, retaining possession of two hundred and forty acres, situated on section 32, Magnolia township, and in addition to which he owns another tract in this township, and a farm of sixty-six acres in Roberts township, Marshall county, so that through his own well directed labors and careful management of his business affairs he is now enabled to lay aside the arduous duties of life and enjoy a well merited rest.
 
On the 6th of October, 1859, Mr. KING chose as a companion and helpmate for life's journey Miss Ellen A. SMITH, who was born on section 33, Magnolia township, and was here reared, white her education was acquired in the Caledonia school. Her father, Ephraim SMITH, was a native of North Carolina, born in 1805, being a son of Philip and Elizabeth SMITH, who were among the early pioneer settlers of Sangamon county, Illinois, where they both spent their remaining days. Ephraim SMITH remained under the parental roof until he attained his majority, when he went to Springfield, from which city he made his way with ox teams to Galena, where he worked in the lead mines. In 1830 he became a resident of Putnam county, settling on a farm on section 33, Magnolia township, being numbered among the first settlers of this township, where he made his home until his death, on the 10th of February, 1885, after which his remains were laid to rest in Magnolia cemetery. He served as a ranger in the Black Hawk war. He was first married to Harriet Angeline TRUMAN, who was born in New York in 1817, and her death occurred in July, 1857, when she was forty years of age. By that union there were nine children: Ervin O., who wedded Annie JOHNSON, by whom he has two children; Ellen A., who became the wife of our subject; Franklin, who wedded Hattie WEIR; Esther, deceased; Laura, the wife of Casper WEBER; Hattie, the wife of Gilbert HILTABRAND; Addie and Artilissa, both deceased; and James C. For his second wife Mr. SMITH chose Jemima KAYS, now deceased, by whom he had three children, of whom the eldest died in infancy, while the others are: Katie E., the wife of Vivian HAWS ; and Eva, the wife of Cyril HAWS.
 
The family of our subject and his wife numbered eleven children, of whom eight are still living: Silas, a resident of Virginia; Frank, a resident farmer of Magnolia township; Henry and Benjamin, likewise residing in this township; Laura E., the wife of Grant TRONE; Robert E., residing in North Dakota; Edith, the wife of Ed DEFANBAUGH, residing in Magnolia; Kate E., the wife of Oscar HIATT, residing in Toluca, Illinois; Hattie, the deceased wife of George LIPPERT; and two who died in infancy. The wife and mother passed away January 26, 1898. She was devoted to the interests of her home and family and during the forty-eight years which she and her husband traveled life's journey together she proved to him a worthy companion and helpmate.

 In his political affiliations Mr. KING is a democrat, giving stanch support to the principles in which he so firmly believes. He has taken an active part in local politics, having served as road commissioner and as school director for a number of years, the cause of education finding in him a warm and helpful friend. Fraternally he is identified with the Masonic order at Varna and is popular among the brethren of the craft. Mr. KING has now passed the seventy-first milestone on life's journey, and, having spent his entire life in Putnam and Marshall counties, is well known and enjoys the friendship of a large circle of acquaintances. He has ever been known for his reliable and straightforward dealing in all trade transactions and is today accounted one of the venerable and well-to-do citizens of Putnam county.

Extracted July 2011 by Norma Hass from Past and Present of Marshall and Putnam Counties Illinois, 1907.


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