DAVID KING (by Rev. Luther A. Gotwald, D.D., Circa 1880) with commentary by Hamlin Caldwell King, Jr., great, great grandson of David King and Almena Caldwell King
“Concerning his parents we knew nothing. He was left an orphan in the city of Baltimore. Being left parentless and homeless, he was taken, along with some other orphan children, to some orphan asylum.
There Mr. Robert Quigley who lived near Shippensburg, Pennsylvania and who often in those days wagoned to Baltimore, and who wanted a boy to raise, found him and took him home with him. This is somewhere about the year 1797 and when he was about 2 years old. For he was old enough to say that his name was David King. But who his parents were or where they lived, or what their names were, he could not remember or tell. His parents no doubt died of Yellow Fever, which was then raging fearfully in Baltimore and with which dozens and hundreds were dying daily."
[Commentary: The Hamlin Family history (The Hamlin Family: a Genealogy of James Hamlin of Barnstable, Massachusetts, Hon. Andrews H. Franklin, published by the author, 1900) very credibly reports that David was found wandering the streets of Baltimore, as a toddler, during this Yellow Fever epidemic, unable to give the names of his parents. My father's likely misinformed version was that David was left on the doorstep of an orphanage as an infant, with the name "King" pinned to his blanket. The Gotwald heresy trial book written by his Lutheran cleric great grandson, Luther A. Gotwald, Jr. (The Gotwald Trial Revisited. Davidsville, Pennsylvania, published by the Author, 1992 which tells the story of Luther A. Gotwald (1833-1900) who was tried for and acquired of heresy by the Lutheran Church in 1893 on the allegation that his teachings were too conservative) says Robert Quigley found David in a hotel in Baltimore. None of those stories is completely inconsistent with this one. For instance, just because David was the ward of an orphanage does not completely preclude the possibility that he happened to be in a hotel for some reason, where Robert Quigley came across him. However, this account is obviously the most likely to be accurate as far as it goes.]
"Mr. Robert Quigley having thus selected David, brought the child home with him in his wagon. Their home was some six or eight miles east of Shippensburg. Mr. Quigley was one of the early settlers in that neighborhood. He had settled there when everything around him was woods and when the Indians were numerous and hostile. His son, Joseph Quigley or uncle Joseph as we called him and who was sort of an older brother to David King, told me of several fights which his father and other settlers had had with Indians.
The Quigleys were of Ireland and were Presbyterians in their religious faith. They belonged to the Middle Spring Presbyterian Church, about 22 miles from Shippensburg. There, until he left for Ohio, David King attended church. He did not become a member of the church until he resided in Tarlton, Ohio, where after he was married, and when his first children were baptized, he also was baptized, and thus publicly confessed Christ and united with his church, of which he was a faithful and most consistent member up to the day of his death.
Mr. Joseph Quigley, who was raised with him, he ate, slept and worked with him for nearly 21 years, repeatedly told me that he was the noblest and best boy and young man that he ever knew. Indeed he could never find words adequate to express his great admiration for him. He was ever most industrious. He was honest. He was truthful. He was temperate and strictly moral. He was free from profanity. He was in everything a most superior boy. And this noble character, and these same traits which he possessed when he was a boy, he afterwards retained, and developed, in his life as a man.
David King remained with Mr. Quigley until he was 21 years old or perhaps a little older. During that time he worked upon the farm and also in a mill which Mr. Quigley had, doing whatever was to be done. He also, for a winter or two, taught school, in a schoolhouse 11 miles from Mr. Quigley's. His education, however was very limited. For in those days, a few months of schooling each winter, with very incompetent teachers, often was the only opportunity of a public character, to acquire an education. David King must have been a very diligent student at home, no doubt spending his evenings after the long and hard days work was ended, in study. For, as Quigley told me he was esteemed as one of the very best school teachers.
With no special advantages, with few books, with little schooling, with poor teachers, with constant hard manual labor to perform daily, with no incentive in the example of others to stimulate him to study, David King, when a boy still secured for himself a very respectable education, cultivated his mind and thus fitted himself for further usefulness and success in life.
To show his economy and energy, in a business way, let me write an incident or two. There is a large stream of water near Mr. Quigley's house, now spanned by a very fine bridge, and persons who wished to cross were compelled to wade or swim across. David King saw there was a chance for him to earn something, and so he went to work and made himself' a pair of high and strong stilts and practiced walking upon them until he was quite expert in their use, And then whenever foot passengers wished to cross the stream, if they were not too heavy, he would take. them on his back and carry them across, charging each one 6 ½ cents for his services.
He also on one occasion, asked Mr. Quigley whether he would allow him to plow up and sow with barley a certain piece of uncultivated land lying along the banks of the stream a short distance from the house. Mr. Quigley consented. And, then David King in his spare hours plowed and sowed it with barley, and made about $40.00. But poor fellow, this money, so nobly and well earned, did him little good, for loaning it to someone he felt perfectly safe, lost it all. He clerked for a while in Mr. McKinley's store in Shippensburg, after he was 21 years old. This store was in the frame building on the alley, on the other side of the alley or the street from Mr. Bridges present clothing store. How long he remained with Mr. McKinley I do not know. When he was about 25 years old or about the year1820 he went to Portsmouth, Ohio to clerk for Mr. Lodwick. This trip he made on horseback, riding the whole distance on a colt which Mr. Quigley had given him. As his outfit and as a reward for his long and faithful service. To show you the promptness which he acted, let me mention to you an incident. He was working in the harvest field at Mr. Quigley’s when he received a letter informing him that Mr. Lodwick wanted him. As soon as he read the letter, he at once, threw his cradle into the fence corner, got his saddle bags ready, mounted his colt and the same day was off for Portsmouth.
How long exactly he remained in Portsmouth I cannot say. He was married there in 1826 and very soon after his marriage he moved to Tarlton, Pickaway County, Ohio. He must have been in Portsmouth some 6 or 7 years during this time he continued in the employ of Mr. Lodwick. He must also during this time have saved for himself some money; for when he moved to Tallton he had means sufficient to open up a store of his own, and do business for himself. He kept store in Tanton from 1826 to 1841. There 7 of his children were born, 3 of them also died and are now buried.”
[Commentary: My late father’s version of how David ended up in Portsmouth was that he was driving pigs down Zane’s Trace to Portsmouth. Zane’s Trace was one of the first roadways through Ohio. It is on one of these trips that David supposedly met Almena. However, my father’s version seems to be badly misinformed. Rev. Gotwald says David ended up in Portsmouth to clerk in a store. Rev. Gotwald says that Almena and David were married in Portsmouth. David’s obituary says the same thing. However, the Hamlin Family History says they were married in Cincinnati. I think this latter version is more likely to be true. Rev. Gotwald later reports that Almena went there as the ward of her Uncle Hannibal Gilman Hamlin (a first cousin of but not Abraham Lincoln's first Vice President) after the death of her parents. I thoroughly searched the marriage records at the Scioto County, Ohio Court House. I found no marriage license for them there. The Hamilton County, Ohio Court House web site reports that that court house has had several fires and it is unlikely that any old marriage records still exist. Later in this narrative Rev. Gotwald also says Almena and David were married in Cincinnati. Another point is the account of the death of the first three children of the Kings while they lived in Tarlton. A note attached with a photo of their first son to survive, Robert Quigley King, says that these deaths occurred while David had taken his wagon away to get supplies for his store, which is to say that Almena had to deal with the occurrence of this tragedy alone. The note says that thereafter, when David went for supplies, Almena and young Robert Quigley King went along.]
“There also he connected himself with the Presbyterian church. In November 1841, he moved to Springfield, Ohio, living at l04 W. Main Street, the house in which Robert Q. King recently lived. In that house also he at last died.
He died in the year 1849 on the 8th day of August, in the front room, downstairs next to the alley. His death was very sudden. He died of cholera. But though thus stricken down suddenly, we have every reason that he was prepared fully for this end. For his life was a consistent and Christian one and this is ever the best evidence of a Christian character and a fitness for church and indeed by the whole community. He left behind him a widow and 6 children, 3 sons and 3 daughters."
[Commentary: According to the obituary of David’s son, Robert Quigley King, David contracted cholera because he was helping others afflicted with it during a cholera epidemic that was raging in Springfield at that time. That is easy to understand, considering the fact David had lost his own parents and probably three children to such an epidemic.]
"He was a most devoted husband, a firm and yet a most affectionate father, and eminently, honorable and successful, a consistent and faithful Christian, a. trustee of the First Presbyterian Church, and an intelligent, genial, liberal, talented and noble man in all things. You are indebted largely to him for most of your temporal blessings which you enjoy, for without his industry, economy and business success, your lot in life would be entirely different. Revere therefore, his memory. Ever think of him gratefully and affectionately, often visit his grave in the cemetery at Springfield., Ohio. And always seek to imitate his character and life, thus showing yourselves worthy descendants of such an estimable ancestor.
The maiden name of Mrs. David King; was Almena Caldwell, she was born in Hillsboro County, in the state of New Hampshire. Her parents' names were Alexander and (sic) Hannibal (should have been Hannah) Hamlin Caldwell. Her father was born June 15, 1777; her mother July 27th, 1789. Almena was their oldest child. Their other children were Hamlin, born February 29th, 1812; George born, March 14th, 1814; Dorcas Sarah, born January 16th, 1816;.Ason, born. January 8th, 1813; Eleanor, April 26th, 1819. Hiram, born September 1821. Her parents had moved to Portsmouth where they both died in 1824.
Alexander Caldwell was drowned April 10th, l824 in the Scioto River, also at the same time and place their son George. Hannah Caldwell died August 15, 1824 probably from grief over the sad double loss which she had thus sustained. The only children left behind were Almena Caldwell and her brother Hamlin, the other children having all preceded their parents into eternity. Almena, upon her parents’ death, was sent to Cincinnati to attend school. Her mother’s brother Hannibal Hamlin, resided there, and she was probably sent there so as to be under his care. The principal of the school she attended was Dr. Locke and the lady with whom she boarded and had her home was Mrs. Dr. Jesse Smith, afterwards Mrs. Wright, the wife of a Methodist minister. The church which she attended while in Cincinnati and with which she connected herself, was the First Presbyterian Church on Fourth Street, of which the Rev. Dr. Joshua L, Wilson was the pastor.
It was also here in Cincinnati that she was married, when she was only a little past 17 years of age. She several times spoke to me about her marriage at an early age, and gave as a reason or excuse for it the fact that she was an orphan and among strangers and longed for a home which she might call her own. She was always, however, opposed, as a general practice, to early marriages, and she was right. She and Mr. David King, no doubt, met and knew one another in Portsmouth before her parents’ death.
She was much younger than he, there being a difference of about 12 years, and yet there never was a more congenial and happy couple than they. Showing that wedded happiness depends not so much upon similarity. In this respect they were eminently fitted to render each other happy. They loved each other devotedly, lived for each others comfort and welfare and realized as much of pure and alloyed domestic happiness, as falls to a lot of mortals in that relation.
After Mr. King's death in 1849, Mrs. King moved from the old home on Main Street in Springfield to the new home on the corner of Market Street and Ferncliff Avenue, where she spent her remaining days and where she finally breathed her last."
[Commentary: The Gotwald Heresy book says Almena built this mansion on Ferncliff and moved there to keep her boys away from the Main Street bars. This elegant home on Ferncliff must have been out of town at the time it was built. It was called the “King Homestead” long after Springfield had pushed far beyond it. The early Springfield city directories located it as simply “North of Buck Creek”. The Luther Gotwald heresy trial book states that Luther and the King brothers were classmates at Wittenberg. He noted that their family was sufficiently wealthy to send all three of them to college at the same time. Not only that, they lived close enough to the Wittenberg campus that they were able to walk to class. Luther met Mary King through her brothers. However, he became so infatuated with her that his family feared it would affect his studies. So, they pulled him out of Wittenberg and sent him to Gettysburg Seminary instead, where he completed his Doctor of Divinity Degree. However, once he had completed that degree, he made haste to return to Springfield and claim Mary King as his bride. They married in the King Mansion on Ferncliff. She was reported to have been an excellent minister's wife. Rev. Gotwald ended up with a church in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, where Mary was able to thoroughly enjoy living among members of the Quigley family. Luther and Mary named their first born "David King Gotwald", who grew to become a highly respected physician in Springfield, Ohio.]
"In beauty of natural disposition, and of Christian character, Mrs. King was indeed a rare woman. Amiable, gentle in her manners, quiet in her demeanor, of few words, devoted to her home and children, firm in her family government, yet ruling almost by love, and by the silent face of her own sweet character. She rises before my memory, as I write, as a woman who was superior, in all that constitutes a true Christian woman, I have never known. Few persons loved and read more the word of god than did she. Few loved and frequented the closet of prayer than she. Few were more faithful in prayer. Few were more devoted to the church and were more regular in attendance upon all the ordinances of the sanctuary, than she. Humble, consistent, generous, charitable in her judgment, temperate in her language, forgiving, patient, meek, prayerful, ruling herself wholly, by the word of God, non-conformed to the world, full of faith in God, trusting the divine goodness in every trial and sorrow of life, ever submissive to the divine will, living the life of quiet faith in God's son as her only Savior. She was indeed the elect lady, one of God's purest, and best of saints. Her fidelity to conscience and her courage to do what she deemed her duty, no matter at what personal sacrifice, is seen in the fact that, after Mr. King's death, timid and shrinking as she was and inexperienced in everything of the kind, she yet, purely from a sense of duty, at once reared the family altar and continued it while she lived, so that in that home the sacred fire had never gone out from the domestic altar, from the day it was first kindled until now. May she ever be a model for the imitation of all her descendants.
In personal appearance, was ordinarily attractive. Her complexion was fair, her face rather small, her eyes blue, her forehead ordinarily full and high, her hair light and even at the time of her death, mixed with but little gray and her step rather measured and slow. In early life her form was slender and light in weight but during her later years she became quite corpulent, weighing from 175 to 200 pounds. Her face was, however, all in all, a very sweet winning face expressive of high moral loveliness and beauty and one was drawn to it by the goodness that shown out in every feature.
Mr. and Mrs. David King were parents of 10 children, the first 3 children died in the same year and within less than a single month. The stroke must have been a terrible one to her, so terrible that only the grace of God could and did sustain her. The 4th death in the family was that of a babe which died on the day of its birth, probably was still born. The death of Almena Caldwell or Aunt Minnie, occurred only 3 months after her mother's death and may possibly have been hastened by the occurrence. Her disease was pulmonary consumption. Four or five years previous to her death she had an attack of measles which settled upon her lungs, and developed into consumption. She had always before been perfectly healthy, with no indication of lung disease and no one of the family, that we know of suffered or died of this disease. Everything was done for her recovery that travel, change of climate, careful nursing and the best medical skill could do, but all was unavailing.
Of the remaining children, now living, are Robert Quigley married to Miss Harriet A. Danforth of New Albany, Indiana. They reside in Springfield and they have had children. Samuel Noble King, has been married twice. He was married the first time to Miss Alice G. Penny, of Springfield, Illinois. She died only six months after their marriage. His second marriage took place 2 years later to Miss May Reed of Ottawa, Illinois. They have no children and reside near Bloomington, Illinois.
Miss Mary Elizabeth King was married to Rev. L. A. Gotwald in Springfield, and lived for many years in York, Pennsylvania.
David King was married to Miss Mary M. Danforth, sister of Mrs. Robert Q. King, of New Albany, Indiana. They have 2 children.
Sarah Jane King remained unmarried and resides in the family residence, with her brother David in. Springfield, Ohio, and is without exception, one of the sweetest and best "Old Maids" that the world has ever had---a model Christian, a blessing and a joy and a help to all around her. May she live to be 3 times the age she now is, here upon earth, and then bloom, as a flower of paradise. In perennial freshness and beauty, in the garden of the Lord on high.
It should also be here stated that, while other families are often divided and embittered against each other over estates left them by their parents, these six brothers and sisters of the King family settled their whole large estate in a most amicable manner and made an equitable division among themselves of it, without any ill feelings whatever are today upon most friendly terms, one with the other.
The death of Mrs. David King occurred May 30th, 1878. Her disease was Diabetes of which she had suffered for a number of years gradually growing weaker, until at last her death released her of her sufferings and translated her to her everlasting reward. She died in the southeast room of her home, on the lower floor, surrounded by all her children, except Mary Gotwald (my wife) and Noble. Mary G. arrived about 2 hours after she breathed her last. I telegraphed to her to come as soon after the Dr. advised me that there was any danger and she also started promptly from York, as soon as she received my dispatch, but before she could reach Springfield her Mother had passed away. The only pleasure therefore, remaining her, was the sad pleasure of helping to lay her away tenderly in the grave, in Ferncliff Cemetery in Springfield. Noble and his wife arrived the next day, so that all the children were present at their Mother's burial. The funeral services were conducted by the Rev. W. J. McKnight, then pastor of the Presbyterian Church at Springfield, Ohio. He is now pastor of the Presbyterian Church of New Brunswick, New Jersey. It was a sad gratification to me to be present at Mother King's death. It was on way home from a trip to the Rocky Mountains, had simply stopped over for a day or two to see how they all were, found her very ill, and remaining, was with her when she passed away.
For nearly a day before her death she was unconscious and her death was simply a quiet sinking of her vital powers, until at last, without a struggle, she passed to the skies, to be forever with her Lord. For some hours after my arrival she was still conscious, told me that she was very sick, indeed, spoke about her end being probably near, but was wholly resigned to whatever God might see fit to do with her, and thus, without fear of death and resting all her hope upon Christ as her sure foundation, her soul winged its way to its eternal home.”
Commentary: Rev. Gotwald was more focused on the affairs of the spirit in this fascinating and very informative account of how Robert Quigley took in and reared orphan David King on Robert's Cumberland County, Pennsylvania farm and of the subsequent lives of my great great grandparents, David and Almena Caldwell King than on what he calls their "temporal blessings". As a result, he fails to discuss David King as the very talented business man and real estate developer. David had amassed a considerable fortune at the time of his untimely death. His store in Tarlton had thrived. I read a bio of one of his former employees, which merely said he had once worked for David King in Tarlton, without seeing the need to explain who that was. David's move to Springfield was likely prompted by the fact that several of Robert Quigley's grandchildren (the Rodgers) had already settled there. Most of Robert Quigley's children were already grown and gone at the time Robert took him in. So, Robert's grandchildren were more likely to have been David's peers. Anyway, the move to Springfield at that time was undoubtedly an astute business move, because Zane's Trace, which ran through Tarlton, would have been declining in importance by then. Whereas, Springfield, which was on the National Trail, was prospering. At the time of David's death, he had erected quite a few new buildings in Springfield. There was at that time and for many years thereafter a section of downtown Springfield known as "King's Block". As late as 1900, the Springfield City Directory was still identifying businesses as being located on King's Block. There was also a "Gotwald Block". However, I think it was probably the descendents of Luther Gotwald who developed that, rather than Luther himself. The YMCA building, where I learned to swim as a child, was called the King-Gotwald Building. If there had been no buildings in the way, the King-Gotwald Building would have been within sight of the King Homestead at 2 Ferncliff Place, where Almena's brother from Scottsboro, Alabama, Hamlin Caldwell and his family weathered the Civil War and where Luther and Mary King Gotwald lived after Almena's death. Of course, David's widow, Almena Caldwell King was no slouch either. She obviously kept that fortune together after David's death. The many, many Kings everywhere prosper to this very day. So, we collectively tip our hats to Robert Quigley, to whom we owe it all.
Postscript: After the death of Almena Caldwell King, Luther and Mary King Gotwald ended up with the King Homestead on Ferncliff, where they lived until their deaths. Rev. Gotwald became a professor of Lutheran theology at Wittenberg College. However, Rev. Gotwald was conservative in his religious teachings, which got him in trouble with the church officials of the day. He was charged with heresy by the Lutheran Church. His trial on that charge was held at Wittenberg College in Springfield, Ohio. However, he was eventually acquitted unanimously, with even the prosecutor voting for his acquittal. Even so, this battle between the liberal and conservative branches of the conservative church continues to this very day. Rev. Luther Gotwald, Jr., Luther's great grandson, also a Lutheran clergyman, wrote an excellent book that reports this trial as well as many of the events in the lives of Luther and Mary Gotwald in great detail. There still is an office building in Springfield, Ohio named the Arcue Building, which is a spelled out "R.Q." or Robert Quigley.
I have photos of the King Mansion, both the mansions of the Rogers Family, the Arcue Building, Rev. Luther Gotwald, Mary King Gotwald, Almena Caldwell King, Robert Quigley King, David King, and many others. I would be glad to e-mail them to anyone who is interested.
Hamlin Caldwell King, Jr.
5809 Carrington Court
August 29, 2007
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