Years and Over
Of Akron and Summit County,
Samuel A. Lane, Akron, Ohio, Beacon Job Department, 1892
Judge Leicester King. - born in Suffield,
Conn. May 1, 1789; married to Julia Ann Huntington, October 12, 1814;
after a short residence as a merchant in Westfield Mass., went to
Natchez, Miss., but declining bright prospects of business there,
because of abhorrent impression in regard to human slavery, in 1817
settled, as a merchant, in Warren, Ohio; in 1831, with Gen. Simon
Perkins and Dr. Eliakim Crosby, laid out North Akron, and constructed
the Cascade Mill race, giving to Akron its start as a manufacturing
center; Associate Judge of Trumbull County one term of seven years;
State Senator, two terms, 1835-1839; large promoter of Pennsylvania and
Ohio Canal; in 1842 Liberty candidate for Governor and renominated
[sic.] in 1844; Liberty nominee for Vice President in 1848 but resigned
in favor of Charles Francis Adams, Free-Soil candidate; ever promotive
of Akron’s growth and prosperity, in 1836 erected a barn with the
intention of establishing his home on the grounds now occupied by Hon.
Lewis Miller. Mrs. King dying in 1849, June 10, 1852 Judge King
married, to Mrs. Calista M. Howard, eldest daughter of Dr. Crosby, who
survives; the Judge himself dying at Bloomfield, Trumbull County,
September 19, 1856, aged 67 years, 4 months, 18 days; five of his seven
children surviving him.
History of Trumbull and Mahoning Counties,
Vol. 1, Cleveland, H.Z.
Williams & Bros., 1882
LEICESTER KING was born May 1, 1789, at Suffield, Connecticut. He
married, October 12, I814, Julia Ann Huntington, daughter of Hon.
Hezekiah Huntington, of Hartford, Connecticut, and died at North
Bloomfield, Trumbull county, Ohio, September 19, 1856, at the residence
of his son-in-law, Charles Brown.
Mr. King removed from Westfield, Massachusetts, where he was engaged in
the mercantile business for a few years, to Warren, Ohio, in 1817, where
he continued the same business until 1833. At that time, becoming
interested in the project of building the Pennsylvania and Ohio canal,
he abandoned mercantile life, and devoted the most of his time to
forwarding that enterprise; and it was mainly through his energy and
labor that it was finally constructed-he being for a long time the
president of the company. He filled the position of associate judge of
the court of common pleas, and represented the Trumbull district for two
successive sessions (1835-39) in the State Senate. He was a decided
Abolitionist, although elected as a Whig, and at each session introduced
and advocated a bill to repeal the infamous " Black laws," which then
disgraced our statute books. After the spirited Presidential contest of
1840 he identified himself with the few who organized the Liberty
party, and was the first candidate for Governor nominated by that party
in 1842; and he was renominated [sic.] in 1844. As the champion
of that forlorn hope he thoroughly canvassed the State, discussing its
platform of principles in every county and in almost every school
district. He was president of the first United States Liberty party
convention, held in Buffalo in 1844, which put in nomination James G.
Birney as candidate for President, and Thomas Morris for Vice President
of the United States. In 1847 Mr. King was the nominee for Vice
President, with John P. Hale for President; both, however, declined the
nomination in favor of Martin Van Buren and Charles Francis Adams, as
candidates for the Free soil party-the Liberty party thereafter being
merged into this new party of anti-slavery principles. After the death
of Mrs. King, January 24. 1849, Mr. King withdrew from politics,
although he continued, until the day of his death, a warm advocate of
the principles for which he had declined all political preferment and
personal position from the old Whig party.
The earnest zeal with which be sowed the seed through the State of Ohio
required but a few years to bring forth an abundant harvest of right
sentiments, and had its due share in the successful contest for human
rights, which resulted in placing Abraham Lincoln in the executive chair
THE MAGAZINE OF WESTER HISTORY
Underground Railroad with Biography of Leicester King
[1886, pages 680-682]
HON. LEICESTER KING.
The early prominence of Mr. King in the
anti-slavery cause will justify a brief notice of his life and
character, more extended than was proper in the underground railroad
address. Leicester King was a descendant of the Puritans who fled
from England as early as 1640, to exercise in America that liberty of
conscience in matters of religion not then enjoyed in England without
the fear of fire and fagot. His father, David King, the son of
Ebenezer King, jr., and fifth in descent from James King (who settled
in Suffield, Connecticut, in 1678, emigrating from Devonshire, England),
was born in Suffield, April 16, 1758. His mother was the daughter of
Israel Holly, a descendant of John Holly, among the first setters in
Stamford, Connecticut. Leicester King was born in Suffield, Connecticut,
May I, 1799, and married October 12, 1814, Julia Ann Huntington, a
daughter of Hon. Hezekiah Huntington, who for many years was United
States attorney for the district of Connecticut, and the sixth in
descent from Simon Huntington, who sailed in 1633 from Norwich,
England, but died on the passage from the latter Place to this country.
Judge King received his education in the
schools of Suffield, Connecticut, always noted for their excellence, and
which school Judge Calvin Pease and Judge George Tod, two distinguished
pioneers of Trumbull county, whose judicial records constitute the
brightest pages of Ohio's judicial history, the Hon. Gideon Granger and
others received the elements of their education. Judge King's education
did not stop with his school life, for he was in the leisure hours of
his busy life a constant and intelligent reader of history and
literature, and on all subjects he was a remarkably well informed man.
His wife, an educated
and cultured lady, was a helpmeet for him in the exercise of his large
beneficence, in the education of their children, and in the discharge of
his many public duties and trusts. He commenced mercantile business
life in Westfield, Massachusetts; but in 1817 he came to Warren,
Trumbull county, and there successfully carried on the same business
till he removed to Akron in 1854. As a merchant he was eminently
successful in a place like Warren, a thriving village in pioneer times
and the county-seat of Trumbull county. He left an estate valued at his
death from $250,000 to $300,000 no doubt largely enhanced by the
purchase of real estate in Akron about the time of the location and
construction of the Pennsylvania and Ohio canal. In truth he may be
regarded as the father of that improvement, which at the time of its
construction, before the introduction of railroads, was regarded as of
first importance to the natural interests of the western reserve. His
energy and influence in the legislature and out of it secured its
completion, which was celebrated with great éclat at Akron, as many of
its older citizens will remember. I notice a circumstance connected
with that corporation which illustrates the character of judge King.
That company had important legislation in Mercer county, Pennsylvania,
which was submitted to the arbitrament of three distinguished men of
Pennsylvania. The trial was at New Castle, Pennsylvania. I was
associated in the trial of the case for the company with Judge R.P.
Ranney, and it was decided in favor of the company, a result mainly
attributable to the thorough and judicious preparation of the case by
Judge King, then president of the company. Mr. King's political life
may be said to have commenced with his appointment by the legislature
under the old constitution as an associate judge of the court of common
pleas of Trumbull county, a position he occupied with credit one term.
He was twice elected to the state senate, in 1833 and 1835, by the
electors of Trumbull county as a Whig, and he was a leading and
influential member of that body. The Whig party, was then strong in
the state, and if he had remained a member of it he might have secured
any position within its gift. From early life he followed his
convictions of political duty, although they might prejudice - his
political or business success. When he had been in Warren in business
about two' years he was persuaded by his brother-in-law to visit
Natchez, Mississippi, with a view of going into business there. At that
early day he saw the injustice of slavery, and was unwilling to subject
himself and family to its baneful influences, and at the sacrifice of
what he then regarded important interests which promised large success,
he returned to Warren, where he remained till his removal to Akron.
In 1842 he was the Liberty party candidate for governor, was
re-nominated in 1844 and secured both years the full vote of that party
in the state. I remember well the peculiar prayer of old Father Keep,
an anti-slavery minister of Oberlin, when he was running for governor: "
Grant, oh Lord, that we have a king for governor, whose name shall be
Leicester." The Prayer was not answered, but the spirit of anti-slavery
was then marching on to final and complete victory.
Judge King made a thorough canvass of the state, traveling in his own
carriage at his, own expense making speeches in every county and in many
of the townships. He was very effective as a public speaker,
presenting his facts and arguments in earnest, terse, plain language,
and with the comprehension of the people. The Liberty party was then
unpopular, and was regarded by the Whig party as a sort of tender to
the Democratic party, then claimed to be more pro-slavery than the Whig
party. Judge King had a two days’ public debate with Joshua R. Giddings
at Bloomfield, Trumbull county, in which the duty of anti-slavery men to
vote the Liberty party ticket was affirmed by Judge King and denied by
Mr. Giddings. The latter was an able lawyer, trained in debate, at the
bar and in congress, and thoroughly understood the subject of slavery
and its moral turpitude and political aspect, and as able a man as was
Judge Milton Sutliff, who listen to the debate, pronounced Judge King
the peer of Mr. Giddings in argument. Perhaps some allowance should be
made, from the fact that Judge Sutliff agreed with Judge King in his
views of political duty. Judge King’s house in Warren was the general
station for the passengers of the underground railroad. There they
received shelter, food and clothing. Judge King being better off in
worldly goods than a majority of anti-slavery men in Warren, especially
the younger men, was relied upon for a larger share of the expense, to
furnish rolling stock and equipment of that institution.
Judge King, G. Bailey, Salmon P. Chase and the Rev. Samuel Lewis, were
among the most influential men in the Liberty party organization in
Ohio, up to 1844. John P. Hale was a candidate for President and Judge
King vice-president on the Liberty ticket, nominated in 1847, but they
declined in 1848, when Martin Van Buren and Charles Francis Adams were
nominated at Buffalo, and thereafter they acted with the Free Soil
party, as did most the old Liberty party men. After the death of his
wife at Warren, on January, 1848, Judge King withdrew from active
political life. He married, June 10, 1852, his second wife, Calista M.,
daughter of Dr. Eliakim Crosby, by whom he had no children.
The children of his first marriage were eight, four sons and four
daughters, all of whom - except Susan H., who died at Warren in 1839 -
survived him. Henry W., his oldest son, then a resident of Akron, was
elected secretary of state by the legislature in 1850, and died in Akron
in 1857. Julia A., his oldest daughter, married Charles Brown, son of
Ephraim Brown of Bloomfield, at whose house Judge King died September
19, 1856, and up to the time of his dead, he took great interest in
public affairs and looked forward with hope to the time when every man
in this broad republic should enjoy that “inalienable right to life,
liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” which was his birthright.
Leicester, his second son, volunteered his service in the War of the
Rebellion, and was an efficient officer in the army; now resides in
Washington, District of Columbia. His daughter, Mrs. Brown, died in
Cleveland, January 1885. His daughter, Helen D. married James Atkins, a
citizen of Savannah, Georgia, and died in Brooklyn, New York, where she
had gone for medical treatment, November 2, 1886. His son, Hezekiah, now
resides in Savannah. His daughter, Catherine H. married President W.K.
Pendleton of Bethany college, West Virginia, and now resides there. His
son, David L., a prominent citizen and businessman, and who resembles
his father in appearance more than wither of his other sons, now resides
Western Reserve Democrat, June 23, 1938
AVE. HOME CENTER OF SOCIAL AFFAIRS
Would Not Permit Cards; Nor Wine Served in House
The Lovely Colonial home at 241 Mahoning ave., which adjoins
Monumental Park on the one side, and the Warren-Hiram campus on the
other, deserves special mention in a record of the early homes of Warren
and the Reserve.
It was built by Mr. and Mrs. Leicester King, who came to Warren
in 1817. Mrs. King, who could boast the proud blood of England within
her veins, was born in Suffield, Conn., in 1790. She was the seventh in
descent from Simon Huntington and Margaret Barte, who emigrated from
Norwich, Eng., in 1630; from John Kent, who arrived from Great Britian
in 1870; from Richard Lyman, who came over in 1631, and from John
Dwight, who reached the American shores in 1635.
From this lineage Mrs. King inherited great personal beauty and
great mental vigor. She was the first to openly protest against the use
of wine at social gatherings in Warren, and against card-playing for
money, both of which were common occurrence in those early days.
The Mahoning Avenue house was the scene of great social
activities. It lent itself admirably to entertaining, even when
considered by the standard of large homes of today.
The house is a pure style of Colonial architecture, and occupies a
commanding location. The wide hall, with its arched ceiling, extended
through the house. This hall, in the early days, was papered in large
panels, each panel representing some scene from :Lahla Rookh,” the
Indian princess, whom Thomas Moore immortalized.
When the house was built, the parlor carpet was imported from
England, and was an exact copy of a carpet made for George the Fourth.
In this home Mrs. King entertained the best and most celebrated of the
land. The frontier custom of having an extra plate on the table for the
passing guest was always observed.
Mrs. King was a strong anti-slavery woman, a Presbyterian in church
belief, until the presentation of the Campbellite doctrine when she
became an influential member of that congregation.
The house has been occupied by only three families in all these
years; those of Mr. King, whose occupancy dates back to the early 1800's;
Mr. H.C. Belden and Mr. Henry Smith, whose daughter, Miss Helen R. Smith,
is the present owner and occupant.