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McLean County, Illinois
History and Genealogy



EDWARD W. KING, of the firm of King & Parks, is, with his partner, engaged in the grocery trade at Le Roy. Mr. K. was born in Toronto, Vermillion Co., Ind., July 22, 1848. His father, Alexander C. King, was a native of Connecticut, born in Suffield, Hartford County, May 20, 1803. His grandfather, John A. King, was also a native of Suffield, and his great-grandfather, Dan King, was the owner of a small farm near that town, where he spent the last years of his life. The grandfather of our subject was a practicing physician, and removed from Suffield to Phelpstown, N. Y., before the day of canals or railroads. He had hardly become fairly settled in his new home when he was seized with fatal illness, and died soon afterward. His wife was formerly Miss Caroline Rose, a native of his own town, and a daughter of Gad Rose, also a native of Suffield, where he spent his entire life, with the exception of the time in which he served as a soldier in the Revolutionary War.

After the death of his father, Alexander C. King who was then but a boy, lived with a neighboring farmer in Suffleld until eighteen years of age. He had improved his advantages for education, and at this time had taught two terms of school. He afterward attended an academy at Westfield and Lenox, Mass. He taught and studied in the academy alternately as his means would allow until twenty-four years of age. He then went to New Jersey, where he taught two years, and thence to Montgomery County, Md., where he followed the same occupation two years, and afterward returned to New Jersey, continuing his vocation of teaching.

He was one of the fortunate few who invested in a lottery ticket and drew a prize of $3,750 in cash, which enabled him to educate his sisters and start himself in business. In 1830, resolving to leave New England and try his fortunes in the West, he removed to Terre Haute, Ind., and engaged in mercantile business until the latter part of the year 1846, when he removed to Vermillion County, the same State, where he pursued the same business in Clinton and Toronto until 1851.

Mr. King then came to Le Roy, this county, and renting a suitable building, opened it for an hotel. The following summer he put up a building and purchased a stock of groceries. He operated the hotel and grocery store three years, then sold the former and devoted his time exclusively to merchandising. In due time he added a stock of dry goods, and finally abandoned the grocery trade, continuing the dry-goods business until 1874, when he sold out and is now living in retirement. The father of our subject was a man of strict integrity, and possessed the confidence and esteem of his business associates in a marked degree. In early times, before large scales were in use here, he was the authority in measurements of wagon-loads of corn brought to town to sell. He possessed a fund of general information, and until failing eyesight compelled him to abandon it, was an extensive reader.

Alexander C. King was three times married. His first wife, to whom he was united in September, 1831, was Miss Emeline F. Stebbins, who was born and reared in Springfield, Mass. She departed this life Oct. 21, 1842. His second marriage occurred in 1845, with Miss Mary Lyon, who was born in Newark, N. J., accompanied her husband to this State, and died at Le Roy in 1870. His third and last marriage was on June 8, 1875, with Mrs. Emeline (Booth) Cockran, the widow of William Cockran.

Of the first marriage there were born three children: James, now a practicing physician of Decatur, Ill.; Caroline R., who became the wife of Dr. J. W. Coleman, and lives in Monticello, Piatt Co., Ill., and William R., who died in Toronto, Ind. Of the second marriage there were two children: Ellen, who became the wife of David Simms, and died Jan. 6, 1881, at Watseka, Ill., and our subject.

Edward W. King was but three years old when he came to Illinois with his parents. He pursued his primary studies in the schools of Le Roy, and later attended the academy at Hillsdale, Mich. After graduating from there he became a clerk in his father's store, and continued with him until the latter sold out. He remained with his father's successor two years, and was similarly employed in other places until 1880. He then purchased a one-half interest in the store of Robert Murray, and a year later purchased the interest of his partner, and soon afterward Mr. Parks became associated with him in business. They have operated together since that time, and carry a large stock of groceries and queensware. The firm is wide awake and enterprising, and forms a prominent factor in the business element of this community.

The marriage of Edward W. King and Miss Nellie Smith was celebrated Dec. 26, 1871. Mrs. K. was born in Licking County, Ohio, being the daughter of Wesley and Mary A. (Evans) Smith. They have three children Alpheus C., Mary and Le Gran. The family residence is pleasantly located, and its inmates are surrounded by all the comforts of life. Mr. K is a member of the City School Board, and uniformly casts his vote for the Republican party.

Portrait and biographical album of McLean County, Ill. : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of Illinois, and of the presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), 420. Transcribed and annotated by Judy Rosella Edwards.


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