Biography of James King

A leading representative of the building interests, of Boise, and the present register of the land office of this city, James King is a native of Pennsylvania, his birth having occurred in Pittsburg, on the 15th of August 1832. He is of both German and English descent, his ancestors of those nationalities having settled in New York in 1664. They came with General Braddock and always remained in this land. In the war of the Revolution the family was represented by loyal Americans, who fought for liberty, and throughout many years they were prominently identified with the Presbyterian Church. The grandfather of our subject was the first of the name to locate in Pennsylvania. He was an industrious farmer and reached the commonly allotted age of three-score years and ten. His son, Jacob King, the father of our subject, was born in Pennsylvania, July 25, 1799, and married Miss Mary Covert, who represented an English family equally ancient and honorable. Among her ancestors were likewise found those who aided in throwing off the yoke of British tyranny. Jacob King departed this life in 1883, at the age of eighty-four years, and his wife, who was born in 1804, died in 1878, at the age of seventy-four years.

James King is the second in their family of six children. He was educated in his native city of Pittsburg and is indebted to its public school system for the educational privileges he received. After putting aside his textbooks he studied architecture and then went to Missouri, where he was located when Fort Sumter was fired upon and the civil war thus inaugurated. He had anxiously watched the progress of events in the south, and resolved that if an attempt was made at secession he would strike a blow for the preservation of the Union. Therefore at President Lincoln’s first call for volunteers, he enlisted, in April, 1861, as a member of Company A, First Ohio Infantry, and when his three-months term had expired re-enlisted, remaining at the front until the cessation of hostilities. He served in the quartermaster’s department in West Virginia, and was commissioned second lieutenant by Governor Dennison, of Ohio.

When the war was over and the country no longer needed his services. Mr. King returned to the north and his family. He was married in 1862 to Miss Sarah B. Gorham, a native of Ohio, descended from early New England ancestry who located in Providence, Rhode Island. Three children were born to them, but at the age of ten, eleven and twenty years respectively they de-parted this life.

On resuming civil pursuits at the close of the war, Mr. King continued in business as an architect, following that vocation in West Virginia until 1888, when he came to Boise. Most of the best buildings of the city have been erected after designs which originated in the brain of Mr. King, and to-day they stand as monuments to his skill in his chosen profession. Since the civil war he has given his political support to the Republican Party, and in 1898 was appointed by President McKinley to the position of register of the United States land office, at Boise. He is now serving in that capacity, and is most’ conscientious, faithful and efficient in the discharge of his duties. Since 1860 he has been a member of the Odd Fellows society, and also belongs to the Veterans’ League. He is as true to his duties of citizenship today as when he followed the old starry banner on southern battlefields, and his record in business, social and political life has left his fair name untarnished.


Illustrated History of the State of Idaho. Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company. 1899.

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