Joseph S. King

From the Portrait and biographical record of Hancock, McDonough and Henderson counties, Illinois : containing biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county (1894)
May, 1894. Lake City Publishing Co.

JOSEPH S. KING, who carries on general farming and stock-raising on section 3, Raritan Township, Henderson County, is one of the most extensive land-owners in this locality, and for the past fifteen years he has been extensively engaged in the raising of draft horses. He was born in County Monaghan, Ireland, on the 22d of July, 1824, and his parents, James and Margaret (Sharp) King, were also natives of the same country. Their family numbered eleven children: Elizabeth, who died in 1811? John, who died in 1822; Sarah; Joseph; Susan, who died in 1889; Jane; Mary; Alexander; Samuel; James; and John, who died in infancy.

Mr. King of this sketch attended the public schools of his native land, and was for a time a student in a select school and in an academy. He thus acquired a good education, which fitted him for the practical duties of life. On attaining his majority he started out to make his own way in the world, and, believing that he could benefit his financial condition by emigrating to America, he crossed the Atlantic in a sailing-vessel, which, after one month spent on the bosom of the deep, dropped anchor in the harbor of New York City. Mr. King then went to Washington County, where he began work as a farm hand for $7 per month, and half of his wages were paid in cloth for about five years. On the expiration of that period he rented land and began farming in his own interest. It was in 1855 that he came to Henderson County, settling in Walnut Grove Township, where he purchased ninety-five acres of prairie land, a small portion of which had been broken. There was also a log cabin upon it. After a year, however, Mr. King sold this farm and rented land for a year. He then bought one hundred and eighty-nine acres on section 3, Raritan Township, where he has made his home continuously since. As time has passed and his financial resources have been increased, he has made other purchases, until he now owns eight hundred acres of land, all in one body. It is well cultivated, and the well-tilled fields yield to him a good income. During the past fifteen years he has also made a specialty of the raising of draft horses.

On the 4th of March, 1858, Mr. King wedded Miss Julia A. McLain, a native of Ohio, and a daughter of James McLain. Five children graced their marriage: Margaret, wife of Robert Rankin, a farmer of Raritan Township; Ross, who also follows farming in the same township; Ira A., who died in 1862; and Joseph J. and Darius A., both farmers in Henderson County.

Since its organization, Mr. King has always been a stanch advocate of the Republican party. He holds membership with the United Presbyterian Church. When he came to America he had a cash capital of twenty-five cents, but, undaunted by the trials and difficulties in his path, he began to work his way upward, and has risen steadily, step by step, to a position of affluence. His success is certainly well deserved, for it is the reward of honest and untiring labor. Truly he may be called a self-made man.