KING, George W

Date of Death: 26 Jun 1868

Source: Johnson County Free Press, Franklin, Indiana Thursday, July 2, 1868

George W King - obituary - 
Died at his residence in Franklin, on Friday evening, 
the 26th ult. at 6 P.M. George King, in the 86th year 
of his age.

ANOTHER PIONEER GONE.
George King, the Founder of Franklin.
In another column may be read the announcement 
of the death of George King. Owing to his close 
connection with the early history of Johnson 
county and the town of Franklin, the occasion 
demands something more than a mere obituary notice, 
and we will from such records and memoranda as 
we have in out possession attempt such a sketch 
of his life and times as may be of interest to 
our readers.

George King was born on the 5th day of January, 
1782, in Wythe county, Virginia [sic], and was 
consequently in his 86th year when he died, five 
years older than the Constitution of his country. 
In 1792, his father having died, he was one of 
the company of 473 persons that emigrated from Virginia 
to the "dark and Bloody ground". He settled 
at or near Harrod's station, now Harrodsburg, in 
Mercer county, Kentucky, where he remained until 1798, 
when he removed to Shelby county, where he served an 
apprenticeship to a wheelwright. In 1801 he returned 
to Mercer county, and two years after married Eleanor 
Voris. In 1811 removed to Henry county [Kentucky] where 
he remained until the fall of 1823, when he removed 
his family to Franklin.

Up to 1818 the Deleware [sic] Indians held pos-
session of all the territory in this state, watered by 
the White River and its numerous branches. In that year 
Gov. Jennings, General Cass and Benjamin Park, Commissioners 
appointed by President Monroe, purchased the Deleware's [sic] 
title, and soon after a land office was opened at Brookville 
and these lands thrown into the market.

Early in the spring of 1820 the first settlements were made 
in this country. Joseph Bishop and John Campbell came 
into the Blue river bottom, by way of the Indiana trails 
from the south, and Abraham Sells and Thomas Lowe came 
from the White Water country along the Whetzells Trace. 
In the fall of 1822, George King accompanied by Simon Covert 
and Garrett C Bergen, both of whom are still living, came 
to the present site of Franklin. They found that Daniel 
Pritchard had entered the eighty acre tract located within 
the "forks" of Hurricane and Youngs creek. King entered 
the eighty west of Pritchard's and on which west Franklin 
is built, and bought Pritchard's tract at an advance of 
two hundred dollars on the original cost. Bergen bought on 
the north and Covert on the east. At that time Levi Moore 
was living in a cabin near the crossing of the Hopewell 
gravel road and Young"s creek, he having come from the 
settlements to the south by way of the Indian path which 
led from Blue river across to were Hopewell Church now stands.
At this time there were perhaps thirty or forty voters living 
within the territory now known as Johnson county, and one 
hundred and fifty to two hundred souls, certainly no more. 
The citizens being anxious for a county government, Mr. King 
took it upon himself the duty of procuring an act of the 
Legislature organizing a county. He accordingly attended 
the legislative session held at Corydon that winter, and 
after experiencing all the trails and hardships peculiar 
to the business he was engaged in, an act was passed and 
received Governor Hendricks's signature on the 31 of 
December, 1822 organizing Johnson county. A full narrative 
of the matter would occupy too much of our space and we 
accordingly pass it over without further narration.

Returning to his family in Kentucky, George King made immediate 
preparation for moving to his new purchase and in the month 
of March, 1823, with Simon Covert and David W. McCaslin, these 
two last with their families and Isaac Voris, a young unmarried 
man, they cam to this place, cutting a road for their teams from 
the house of Elisha Adams near Amity, to the lands thy had bought.
King’s cabin was first built near where the brewery is, in West 
Franklin, Covert's next near the Hurricane. The next fall Mr. 
King's family came out. On the first Monday in May of that 
year the Commissioners appointed for the "purpose of fixing the 
permanent seat of Justice" met at the house of John Smiley 
and two localities were submitted to them as proper places for 
locating the town, one near the mouth of Sugar Creek on the lands 
of Amos Durbin and the other on the lands of Mr. King, who donated 
to the county fifty one acres for County purposes. He continued 
for sometime to reside in the cabin first built and erected a shop 
in the place where he worked at his trade.

The second and third courts held in the county were held in his 
shop. For a time he engaged in the Mercantile business and was 
for fourteen years postmaster. He was always however, more or 
less engaged in Agricultural pursuits and by close attention to 
business and through the rise of property, he accumulated a handsome 
fortune.

He was a member of the Presbyterian church sixty-three years, and 
ruling elder from 1824 to 1857, when at his own request, on account 
of his age, and political intolerance of some of his eclesiastical 
brethern [sic], he was excused from further duty on the session.

His first wife having died, he was married the second time in 
1832 to Mrs. Elizabeth Shallady [sic] who survives him.

On last Sunday afternoon a large congregation of our citizens 
met at the Presbyterian Church where the Rev. A.B. Morey preached 
his funeral from Genesis 2, 8. After which his remains were escorted 
to their last resting place, "Earth to earth and dust to dust".  
Let his errors, for what mortal hath them not, be written in the 
sands of the sea beneath the ebbing tides, and his virtues engraved 
in brass. And let the young men of this fair and lovely county of 
Johnson treasure the memory of those hardy men who came in the "olden 
time" and who spent their days of prime in conquering the wilderness 
that it might bloom for the good of those now living.

Submitted by Lois Johnson

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