Lee County Biography

FRANK KING

Nelson Twp.


Frank is one of the famour '49ers who sought wealth in the gold fields of California after the discovery of the precious metal in that State, and wo afterwards made his fortune as a lumberman in the forests of Washington, near Puget Sound, where he formerly carried on an extensive business in hisl ine, has been identified with teh farmers and stockmen of this county since 1881. In that year he purchased a tract of more than 200 acres of valuable farming land on section 16, Nelson Township, and has placed upon it substantial modern improvements, and stocked it with fine herds of horses, cattle and swine of standard breeds.

Our subject was born on Staten Island, in New York Harbor and passed the early years of his life amid its pleasant scenes. His father WIlliam King, was a native of England, was reared and married in the land of his birth, Miss Catherine Simmons becoming his wife. In his youth he became a mechanic, and acquired grea skill in his vocation. He was in the prime and vigor of a stalwart manhood when he decided that the United States promised to be a better field of labor than his old home, and he migrated to this country with his wife and the two children that had previously been born to them. He settled on Staten Island, where he found employment at his trade, and there he passed the remainder of his life in peace and contentment. His wife survived him some years, and was quite aged at the time of her death. Sbe was a woman of true Christian character, and a devoted member of the Church of England.

Our subject is one of twelve children, seven of whom are living, and all are well-to-do, although their sole inheritance from their parents was an untarnished name and thrifty habits. He of whom we write was young when his father died and he has since made his own way in the world. He was a bright manly lad full of spirit and resolution, and though thus early thrown on his own resources made a brave struggle against heavy odds, and ere long was independent. He was but a boy when he left his island home to join the adventurers who were going to cruise to California in search of gold. He secured passage on a vessel bound around Cape Horn to the Golden State, obtaining a situation as cabin boy, and on August 8, 1849, entered the Golden Gate at San Francisco. After landing he acccpted a goud office to go to the gold fields as a driver of an ox-team up the valley of the Yuba River. He mined some, and afterwards drove a team for some time. He had a full experience of all the various phases of frontier life in the mining camp and elsewhere, and during his residence on the pacific coast occasionally revisited the East returning once hy the Isthmus, and making three trips across the plains, He eventually went into the lumber regions in Kitsap County, Wash., near Puget Sound, and for twenty-two years was in the lumber business in that and other counties. He made money by his transactions, and desirous of locating permanently in some more eastward locality, he came to Illinois, and selecting Lee County as the seat of his future home, bought the fine farm that he now occupies in Nelson Township, and is very pleasantly situated here. His farm consists of more than two hundred acres of land that is exceedingly fertile, and under his able management it has become one of the most valuable estates in the vicinity, and it is also a fine stock farm. Mr. King is a man of high personal standing, and his many genial social qualities have gained him the good will and friendship of the people among whom he has come to make his home. He is a Republicnn of no uncertain tone, who takes a genuine interest in local politics and he is regarded by his fellow-townsmen as a decided acquisition to the citizenship of this locality.

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