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CHARLES JEROME KING, postmaster at South Amherst, Massachusetts, and leading merchant in the town, was born at Wynantskill, a village near Troy, New York, February 14, 1875. The family has made its home in the vicinity of Suffield, Connecticut, for successive generations since the first immigrant ancestor set foot in America, and the fact that the father of Charles Jerome King was born in Suffield seems to establish his descent from the first Kings to live in the United States. Although the origin of the name is uncertain, students incline to think it was derived from the practice of holding mock pageants and ceremonies in the olden times. The person assigned to the part of king took that surname forever after. The Kings are descended from early English stock. Some thirty-eight coats-of-arms are listed as belonging to the family, while fifteen others are borne by families who spell the name Kinge. Other forms of spelling are Kynge and Kyng. The coat-of-arms borne by the American ancestors who founded the family in New England is: Sable, on a chevron or, between three crosses-crosslet of the last, three escallops of the first. An esquire’s helmet surmounts the shield. The King family was seated in the vicinity of Ugborough, Devonshire, England, as early as 1389. Fowelscombe in the parish of Ugborough, an estate of large extent, has been the property of the King family for a long term of years, although the manor house is out of repair and untenanted, in the early part of this century. William and James King, who came to America, go back to the medieval days.
(I) Thomas Kynge was born at Ugborough before the parish registers were opened in 1538, and probably was the father of William King.
(II) William Kinge, son of Thomas Kynge, married Margaret, surname unknown.
(III) William Kinge, son of William Kinge, married Christina Lapp, September 27, 1621.
(IV) William Kinge, son of William Kinge, was born about 1622 in Ugborough, where he was married, about 1642, to Agnes Elwill, who was buried April 7, 1662. He became interested in the fisheries of the American coast, and was lost on the Newfoundland Banks. Children: William, baptized December 31. 1643; James, of further mention.
(V) James King, son of William Kinge, was baptized at Ugborough, November 7, 1647. Coming to New England he settled first at Ipswich, where he married (first), March 23, 1674, Elizabeth Fuller, born at Ipswich, May 31, 1652, died June 30, 1715, daughter of John and Elizabeth (Emerson) Fuller. Elizabeth Emerson’s mother received certain household goods as gifts from Queen Elizabeth, and among them was a piece of fine linen cloth which descended to Elizabeth (Fuller) King. She in turn gave it to her daughter, Agnes King, the wife of John Austin. James King was one of the original proprietors of Suffield, Connecticut, where the family removed after the birth of their first child. The grant he received on October 30, 1678, consisted of sixty acres on High Street, “next south of the school lot.” He built a house which served as the family homestead for a long term of years; and he had other grants of land. He was elected tythingman in 1685 and 1695, selectman in 1701; surveyor of highways in 1702; he served on a committee to build a school house; in 1709 he was town clerk; in 1710 sealer of weights and for five years thereafter. He was a cooper by trade. He married (second), February 27, 1716, Hannah Loomis, died 1720, widow of Sergeant Samuel Loomis. James King gave away most of his property before lie died on May 13, 1722, at Suffield. His will, dated May 10, 1722, was proved on August 30, following. The children of James and Elizabeth (Fuller) King were:
- James, born in Ipswich, March 14, 1675, died July 15, 1757; married, June 22, 1698, Elizabeth Huxley.
- William, born January 4, 1679, died September 30, 1680.
- Agnes, born July 15, 1682, died January 7, 1733; married, October 5, 1699, John Austin.
- Benjamin, born November 20, 1683.
- Benoni, born December 5, 1685, died June 17, 1686.
- Joseph, born June 15, 1687, died January 23, 1688.
- Joseph, born May 10, 1689, died March 6, 1756; married (first), May 2, 1717, Mary Jesse, widow; (second), June 2, 1740, Hannah Devotion.
- Mary, born April 30, 1692, died May 8, 1769; married (first), November 8, 1711, Victory Sikes; (second) John Harmon.
- William, born September 29, 1695, died January 8, 1774; married (first), June 29, 1717, Bethia Bedlake; (second), February 2, 1770, Anne Adams, widow.
(VI) Benjamin King, son of James and Elizabeth (Fuller) King, was born in Suffield, November 20, 1683, and died in 1733. He was a farmer, and lived in Suffield until after his father’s death in 1722. He removed thereafter to Stafford, Connecticut, where he had three hundred acres in farm lands. His will was dated November 20, 1732, and his estate was appraised, November 30, 1733. He married, in Suffield, April 24, 1712, Remember Hall, born in Taunton, Massachusetts, March 20, 1689, daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth (Bourne) Hall. Children, the first five born in Suffield, the others in Stafford:
- Agnes, born January 22, 1713, died in 1714.
- Agnes, born June 22, 1715.
- Benjamin, of further mention.
- Samuel, born October 4, 1719, died June 15. 1745; married, August 23, 1743, Hannah Bush.
- Elizabeth, born May 16, 1721; married, May 14, 1740, Benjamin Thomas, Jr.
- Joseph, born December 22, 1724; married, May 5, 1748, Abiah Old.
- Moses, married, February 9, 1758, Hannah Bement.
- Mary, married, August 8, 1751, Eleazer Talcott.
(VII) Benjamin King, son of Benjamin and Remember (Hall) King, was born in Suffield, September 11, 1717, and died in Enfield, Connecticut, March 6, 1777. He removed to Enfield prior to 1740, and had a blacksmith shop there, and a farm, where Longmeadow, East Longmeadow and Wilbraham join Enfield and Somers, the last two places in Connecticut. He married, in Enfield, September 26, 1741, Sarah Pease, who died February 24, 1800, daughter of John and Elizabeth (Spencer) Pease. Children, born at Enfield:
- Benjamin, born November 6, 1742, died in 1842, at one hundred years; married (first) Huldah Hills; (second) Hepzibah Pease; (third) Mindwell Terry.
- Abigail, born September 15, 1744; married Isaac Hills.
- Joel, born June 30, 1746, died January 2, 1813; married, June 5, 1775, Lucy Pierce.
- Amos, born June 9, 1748, died December II, 1831; married, in 1772, Lucy Perkins.
- Obadiah, born October 28, 1749; married, July 24, 1774, Zilpa Prior.
- Jonah, born February 23, 1752; married, May 18, 1775, Susanna Hale.
- Micah, born May 18, 1754; married Sarah, surname unknown.
- Nahum, of further mention.
- Elizabeth, married, February 7, 1788, John Gold.
- Sarah, born May 17, 1762; married, December 4, 1788, Julius Terry.
(VIII) Nahum King, son of Benjamin and Sarah (Pease) King, was born January 9, 1757. He was a wagon maker at Enfield, and also a blacksmith and farmer. He died there March 5, 1812. He married, January 21, 1779, Sarah Bugbee, born in 1757, died January 10, 1826. Children, born in Enfield:
- Nahum, born January 9, 1780, died January 10, 1826; married, June 20, 1798, Eleanor Hale.
- Jabez, of further mention.
- Horace, born September 7, 1783, died October 4, 1847; married, September 5, 1802 Mary Treat.
- Henry, born November 24, 1785, died December 1, 1822; married, December 15, 1808, Esther Terry.
- Sally, born March 7, 1788, died January 12, 1862; married, November 15, 1804, Sylvester Lusk.
- Mary, born September 7, 1792, died August 25, 1826; married (first), February 28, 1811, George Parsons; (second) James H. Bartlett.
- Adolphus, born July 21, 1795, died December 6, 1844, unmarried.
- Seth, born March 7, 1798, died January 3, 1882; married, February 9, 1824, Marcia Bugbee.
- Hannah, born January 8, 1801, died December 22, 1894; married, April 1, 1819, Jonathan Bartlett.
(IX) Colonel Jabez King, son of Nahum and Sarah (Bugbee) King, was born in Enfield, Connecticut, September 17, 1781, died March 4, 1868. He manufactured wagons and plows, sending thousands of plows to New Orleans and other southern markets for use on the cotton plantations. He was successful in business, public spirited and liberal, prominent in public affairs and holding many offices. He served as county commissioner, Representative and State Senator. He was colonel of militia and fond of military activities, although he never was engaged in actual hostilities. He was on the way to the front in the War of 1812, when peace was declared. He was fond of music, and led the choir of the Congregational Church, of which he was for years a member. His children were born and married at the house at Enfield which he built in 1811, and which his descendants still occupy. He married, in Enfield, December 24, 1801, Rebecca Terry, born December 9, 1780, died September 28, 1865. They were the parents of eleven children.
The great-grandfather of Charles Jerome King was killed in the War of 1812. He married Rachel Applebee, and they had children:
- Jerome William, of further mention
- Cordelia, who married a saddler
The widow married (second) Ebenezer Fitch, and had
- John Fitch
- Abbie Fitch
- George E. Fitch.
Jerome William King died in Holliston, Massachusetts, October 22, 1887, aged seventy-eight years. He was four years old when he lost his father in the War of 1812. He was a farmer and lived alternately in Connecticut and Massachusetts. He resided for a time in Hatfield, Massachusetts, but his later years were passed in Holliston, Massachusetts. He was married three times. His wife, Cordelia (Clapp) King, of Southampton, Massachusetts, was the mother of his only child:
- Jerome E. King, the father of Charles Jerome King, of further mention.
Jerome E. King was born in Suffield, Connecticut, February 29, 1836, and died in the National Soldiers’ Home at seventy years of age. He passed the early years of his life in Suffield, but afterwards lived in New York State where he was engaged in farming. He was in the Union Army in the Civil War, serving in Company F, Thirty-Seventh Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. He enlisted in 1862 and served until the close of the struggle. He married (first) a Miss Graves, of Hatfield, sister of Thadeon Graves, and they had one daughter living, Mary. He married (second) Lena Schultz, of New York State, and they were the parents of three children:
- Charles Jerome, of further mention.
Charles Jerome King was educated in Troy, New York, and attended the Mount Herman School at Northfield, Massachusetts. He farmed as a young man; worked in a hat shop; joined the United States Navy Marine Corps, February 9, 1900, and was in China at the time of the Boxer Rebellion. He was in the Philippines; in the Samoa Islands at the time of the massacre of Company C Ninth Infantry, United States Army, where his company was sent to apprehend the murderers; was in the naval service five years; and was honorably discharged, February 8, 1905, holding at the time the rank of corporal of the Marine Corps. He worked on the Boston Street Railway for a time; then went to Oregon, where he was employed on a ranch for a year. He worked in a woolen mill for a time; he operated a farm at Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, for two years; and after that ran a dairy farm at South Amherst, Massachusetts, for a year and one half. In 1910 he entered the employ of Mr. Merrick, who conducted a general store in South Amherst. In 1915 he was appointed postmaster, and in 1919 he engaged in business for himself in South Amherst where he conducts a general store, and is also postmaster. He is also one of the park commissioners and one of the cemetery commissioners, justice of the peace, fire chief, and Past Commander of the local post of Sons of Veterans. He is a member of Pacific Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, of Amherst; the Royal Arch Chapter, of Amherst; and the Greenfield Lodge of Perfection. He is a member of the South Amherst Congregational Church which he serves as auditor.
Mr. King married, May 20, 1905, Grace Francese Shaw, of Shelburne Falls, daughter of Elijah and Mary E. (Philips) Shaw. They are the parents of four children:
- Kathleen Grace, born July 25, 1907
- Donald Jerome, born November 6, 1909
- Francese May, born January 8, 1912
- Sherwin Davis, born December 15, 1915.
Mr. King’s address is the post office, South Amherst, Massachusetts.