Biography of Hon. William Rufus King

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Among those granted representation in this volume, none is more worthy of notice, than the subject of this sketch. As a public spirited citizen he enjoys the confidence of the people and has become well and popularly known, not only throughout Malheur and adjoining counties, but throughout the whole state.

On October 3. 1864, near Walla Walla. Washington, David R. King and Elizabeth (Estes) King, became the parents of a boy, whom they named William Rufus. His parents were pioneers of Walla Walla, Washington. Arriving from Arkansas in 1860 his father being captain of a large immigrant train, crossing what was known as “the plains”-the journey being through the dangerous Indian countries between the Mississippi and the Pacific coast. At the age of nine years he moved with his parents to Weston, Oregon, and five years later, in 1878, to Jordan Valley, in this County.

After receiving his preliminary education in the common schools, he entered the Agricultural College, at Corvallis, Oregon, where he pursued his studies for three years. He re-turned again to the farm, but in 1889 left it to take up the study of law at the law school in Danville, Indiana.

After graduating with high honors in 1891, he was admitted to practice by the supreme court of Indiana, and entered a law office in the city of Indianapolis. H remained there but a few months, when he returned to this County and opened an office for the practice of law at Vale, Oregon.

In 1892 Mr. King was elected state representative for Malheur County, on the Democratic ticket. Removing to Baker City in 1893 he was elected, in 1894, state senator for Malheur and Baker counties, receiving a majority of three hundred and eighty over Hon. C. A. Johns, the Republican nominee.

In his services in the legislature he exhibited the same devotion to the interests of the people as he (lid to his own affairs in private life. His whole legislative career was marked by such honest and fearless aggressiveness, coupled with a keen perception and sound, conservative judgment, that he became a recognized leader of the reform forces in the legislature and throughout the state. The confidence reposed in him was so great that, in 1898. He was chosen by the allied Democratic Repulist and Silver Republican forces, as the nominee against Hon. T. T. Geer, for the governorship of Oregon. Although Mr. King was defeated in his race for governor, he made such a clean, honest energetic campaign, that he greatly reduced the large Republican majority in Oregon, won many warm friends through out the state and increased his already enviable reputation as a leader in public affairs.

After his removal to Baker City he formed a law partnership with F. M. Saxton under the firm name of King & Saxton. On account of the large practice this firm soon enjoyed in this and Harney counties. Mr. King decided to return to Malheur County. and in 1899. established himself in Ontario, where he now has one of the finest and best equipped law offices in eastern Oregon, and enjoys a large and lucrative practice.

Fraternally he is a member of the A. F. & A. M., Baker Lodge, No. 47; of the K. of P., Lodge No. 46, of Ontario; of the Woodmen of the World ; and of the Royal Arcanum.

On December 6, 1892, Mr. King was united in marriage to Miss L. Myrtle King, of Danville, Indiana. to which union two children have been born, Eldon P. King and Myrtle M. King.

MLA Source Citation:

Whitman, Marcus. An Illustrated history of Baker, Grant, Malheur and Harney Counties: with a brief outline of the early history of the state of Oregon. Chicago: Western Historical Publishing Co., 1902, 871 pgs. Web. 16 December 2014. - Last updated on Jan 19th, 2013

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