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.
Source: The Biographical Record of Bureau, Marshall and Putnam Counties, Illinois published in 1896, page 256.