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William Rufus King. the nominee for governor of the people’s, democratic, silver republican parties, in this state, was born near Walla Walla, Washington, October 3, 1864, of pioneer parentage, and was brought up on a farm. The rugged life on a frontier farm tended to develop the characteristics of honesty, courage, self-reliance, and strong individuality, with which he was endowed by nature and which at the early age of thirty-three, has made him one of the foremost young men within the state of Oregon.
He is truly what might be called a self-made man, for he has carved his way, practically unaided and alone, beset by obstacles, privations and trials which would have over whelmed any other less favorably endowed with nature. In every position in life, whether as a farmer’s boy, laboring to earn sufficient money to pay for his education at college, before the bar, as a private citizen, or in the halls of the state senate, his strong mentality, individuality, sound conservative judgment, honesty of purpose and devotion to principle, have inspired the confidence and respect of all, and marked him as a fearless, safe and intelligent leader of men.
When only thirteen years of age be traveled with another party from Walla Walla to Jordan Valley, in what is now Malheur County, Oregon, a distance of over 300 miles, he and his companions having but one horse between them, each riding and walking by turns. Young King worked upon a farm during that summer In Jordan Valley and in the fall, just after the close of the Indian war of 1578, traveled on horseback through what was then largely an uninhabited country to Walla Walla, Washington, to attend school, and when his school term had ended in the spring, returned to Malheur County to again take up his duties upon the farm, where he remained until 1882. By industry and rigid economy be earned sufficient money to take a course in college, and accordingly, In the fall of 1882 he entered the State Agricultural College, at Corvallis, Oregon, where he remained at school for three years.
Necessity compelled him to again return to the farm in Malheur County, where he remained until 1889. During that year he began a course in the law school of Danville, Indiana. graduating from there July 1, 1891, with distinction and honor. Soon after he opened a law office in Vale, Malheur County, Oregon. In the spring of 1892, Mr. King was nominated by the Democratic party of Malheur County for the office of representative and was elected by a handsome majority. He was married on December 6, 1892, to Miss Myrtle King, of Danville, Indiana. In search of a larger field for the practice of his profession he removed to Baker City, Baker County, Oregon, in the spring of 1893, where he has since lived In the enjoyment of a good law practice, and where he is esteemed and respected by all irrespective of party.
In the fall of 1893, Mr. King became dissatisfied with the democratic party, as interpreted by the Cleveland administration, and cast his lot with the people’s party; and in the spring of ’94 was nominated by the people’s party for the office of state senator for Malheur and Baker Counties, the democrats nominating no one against him, and was elected by a majority of 380 votes over his republican opponent. While in the Oregon legislature, though in the minority party, he was soon recognized as a leader of that minority party, and was its nominee as president of the senate. His associates in that body speak of him as an able debater, as an earnest, conscientious man, possessed of sound judgment, conservative in his views, honest and industrious in his life, genial, kind and courteous In his manner, generous and loyal in his friendship, firm and determined in his purposes, pure and untainted in both his private and political life. He was the author of several important laws now upon the statute books of this state, notably among which is the present irrigation district law distributing the five per cent. fund among the various counties of the state for road purposes. He introduced In the senate the only resolution ever submitted to our state legislature proposing an amendment to the constitution of Oregon, providing for direct legislation by the people. He also introduced the first and only resolution memorializing congress to recognize the belligerent rights of the Cubans and asking for intervention on the part of the United States