JOHN CHURCHILL KING, a prominent farmer of Palmyra, was born on a farm on section 32, of North Palmyra Township, November 14, 1837. His father, Joseph King was born in Todd County, Ky., as was also his grandfather. Joseph King was reared in Kentucky and after his marriage came from there to Illinois in 1835, accompanied by his wife and two children. They made the entire journey over-land with ox-teams, bringing with them all their earthly possessions. His financial circumstances were very limited and although most of the land in the county was for sale at $1.25 per acre he could not purchase. He rented land for a time and then soon as he had the means, he entered forty acres of timber and brush land upon section 32, of North Palmyra Township and built a log cabin on the place. He with his own hands rived the boards for the roof and chinked the cracks with chips and clay. At that time there were no railroads through this region and for a number of years, Alton and St. Louis were the nearest markets and the people lived altogether on the product of the farm. Somewhat later Mr. King purchased more land and finally had one hundred and sixty acres of arable land all under a high state of cultivation.
The maiden name of the mother of our subject was Abigail D. Floyd. She was born in Virginia, a daughter of Charles and Mary Floyd. During the early years of her pioneer life she carded, spun, wove and made the garments with which she clothed herself and the children, for homespun was not only the fashion but a necessity of those days. After the death of her husband she resided with her daughter, Mrs. George A. Norvel, and died at her home. She reared six children, Charles F., Mary A., James T., Cynthia E., John C., and Lucinda J.
John King attended the pioneer schools in a log school-house. In building this house one log was left out on one side the full length of the building to admit light. Along under this primitive window, holes were bored and pins inserted in them and upon them laid a board, which served as a desk for the larger scholars. Th seats were made by splitting logs and hewing one side smooth. There were no backs to these seats and the heat of the fireplace served in lieu of stove or furnace. He commenced to assist his father on the farm as soon as he was large enough to be of use and resided with his parents until he reached his majority. He then worked out for others for a year and afterward took charge of his father's farm for two years.
The young man was now given thirty acres of good land by his father, and he removed the log house which his father had built to its present location upon this farm and there commenced housekeeping. After four years he sold this property and bought sixty acres in the same township and also a residence in the village of Palmyra. After living there one year he sold the property and bought eighty acres in South Palmyra Township and made his home there until 1874. He again sold his property and purchased one hundred and sixty acres adjoining the village. He has made an addition to the village for which he platted some forty acres, much of which he has disposed of for residence lots and he is still carrying on the farm with the remainder of the land. In 1890 he platted an addition of four acres to Oak Hill Cemetery.
The marriage of John Churchill King to Sarah Elizabeth John was solemnized November 15, 1860. This lady was born in Sangamon County where her parents resided. Her father, Evan John, was a native of Chester County, Pa. He was a son of Owen John who, as well as his grandfather William, was a native of the same county. The great-great-grandfather of Mrs. King was also Owen John and a native of Wales, who came to America in the Colonial days and made his home upon a farm in that county. William John the great-grandfather of Mrs. King married Rachel Rodgers. His son Owen was married in Chester County and there spent the remainder of his days, and the father of Mrs. King went to Maryland when a young man and there married Angeline Mercer. She was born in Cecil County, Md., and was a daughter of George W. and Sarah (Everson) Mercer. In 1840 he came to Illinois and made his residence for awhile in Springfield, and afterward removed to Auburn, Sangamon County where he followed his trade of a cabinet maker.
The father of Mrs. King lived in Auburn until 1846, and then removed to Morgan County and settled on Hart's Prairie buying land and engaging in farming, while at the same time he worked at his trade. He resided there until 1858 and they removed to Palmyra and bought a home, and later bought land half a mile south of the village where they resided until the death of his wife and then made his home with his children until his own death which took place, February 22, 1889. He had been bereaved of his wife some eight years previous she passing away in July, 1881.
Mr. and Mrs. King have two children, both sons, Joseph E. and Lewis M. Mr. King is a member of the Palmyra Lodge No. 348 I.O.O.F. He is a man who is intelligent and wide awake to all matters of public interest and he casts his vote and influence with the Republican party. His intelligence and natural ability make him a leader among his townsmen and he has been placed upon the Village Board. His family stands well in social circles and is respected and beloved for its intelligence and hospitality.