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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


William King

The acquisition of a comfortable home and large holdings of land represents years of unwearied industry and the endurance of hardships innumerable on the part of William King, an honored pioneer of Sonoma county, who has risen to agricultural prosperity only after great toil and countless privations. Of Canadian birth, he was born in 1855 near the St. Lawrence river across that stream from New York state, and during the year 1876 he crossed the plains to California, where his adult years have been passed in Sonoma county. The land which he first secured still remains his homestead, but its boundaries have been greatly extended through wise investments and frugal thrift. At the time of settling on West Austin creek no roads had been opened to Cazadero or Guerneville, the nearest markets, and often he carried supplies on his back over the mountain in order that his family might not perish from starvation. For years his chief dependence was a trusty mule, on whose back supplies could be placed and the animal would then cross the mountain and swim the creek several times in order to reach the station. When it was impossible to get to the market the pioneer would shoulder his rifle and go forth into the woods in search of deer. When game was plentiful he would kill more than one animal, which would necessitate packing as much as possible on his back and hanging the balance on a tree to be taken home the following day. In that way the winter supply of meat was secured. In addition there were fish in the creeks and mountain trout was especially plentiful and appreciated by the family.

The parents of this western pioneer were David and Eliza (Colwell) King, both born in Canada in 1822 and continuous residents of that country until their deaths, when seventy years old. There were six sons and four daughters in the [parental family, namely: Thomas, James, William, John, Davis, Chester, Jane, Helen, Margaret and Eliza. James married Augusta Dahlman, who died after giving birth to one son, Chester; his second marriage was to Mabel Willis, of Petaluma, by whom he has eight children. David chose as his wife Miss Anna Barnes, and they have three children, Thomas W., John D., and Lora Belle. Margaret, wife of John Mills, of Canada, has three children, David, Hazel and Electa. During early manhood William King married Lora Z. Adams, who was born in 1862 near the St. Lawrence river in Canada. One daughter, Edith, blesses their union. Excellent advantages have been given to this only child and her education was completed in the State Normal School at San Jose, where she made a flattering record for progress in studies. The father of Mrs. King was a Canadian, Levi Adams, who was born on the St. Lawrence river in 1810 and died in Canada during the year 1876, after having spent his entire life in the same locality. Two children, George and Ruth, were born of his union with Sarah Sparahawk, who was born in New York in 1823 and died in Canada during young womanhood. After her demise Mr. Adams married Miss Zerviah Fenton, by whom he had seven children, named as follows: Azro H., John Q., Colin C., Sarah J., Edith, Lora Z. (Mrs. King) and Maruella J., wife of F. D. Trosper, a leading Democrat of his locality and for twenty-four successive years the incumbent of the office of township judge.

The possessions accumulated by Mr. King aggregate sixteen hundred and ninety0-five acres of land, a large part of which is in timber, some in meadow and a small tract in pasture. Twelve acres have been planted in choice fruits. From the home place a magnificent view is afforded of the mountains bounded by the great redwood trees. To the casual inspector the land on the mountains would seem barren. Experience, however, has proved that the soil will grow fine apples and luscious grapes. When the woodman’s axe shall have cleared away the giant trees and when the horticulturist shall have come into the now timbered region, then fruit orchards will arise with their wealth of golden fruit and this part of Sonoma county will take rank with the other rich sections of imperial California. Such is the theory of Mr. King and close observers hold this judgment in the matter to be correct. In the township he is a man of prominence and high standing. He is now county supervisor of the fifth district of Sonoma county and for fourteen years he held office as deputy assessor, while in other local posts of trust he has proved efficient and trustworthy. Fraternally he is identified with Mount Jackson Lodge No. 295, F. & A. M., in Guerneville.

History of Sonoma County, California
Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified With Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present
History By: Tom Gregory
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1911)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011