Minutes of the King Family Reunion

June 27, 1998

President Charlotte Wirfs presided over the meeting held at Kings Valley School.  About 30 family members and guests were present.


Janie King sent information on a walking tour of the King's Hill historic district in Portland.  Copies are available from the Goose Hollow Foothills League, Inc., 817 NW 23rd Ave, Portland, OR 97210.  Janie also sent other items of interest that had been mailed to them from Nathan King.

Carole (Norton) Putman recently completed a 22-page manuscript, Naughton-Norton Family of Bristol, CT and Canaan, NY. The booklet compiles considerable research done by Carole in recent years.  Copies will be printed and sold for $6.00 each.  The price will include postage and handling.

King Folk, No. 15  is dated Une 15, 1996 and should read June 15, 1998.

Charlotte Wirfs has resumed publication of the newsletter King Folk, after taking some time off.  Dues will remain $10.00 a year.  Six dollars for the newsletter and $4.00 for the tombstone project and misc. expenses for the reunion.  A dues notice will be sent out in King Folk No. 16 & 17.

Daniel Frommherz said next year he will bring a computer and scanner, so he can scan pictures into the computer.  He said if people will bring their own diskettes, he will make file copies for them.

David Trask was generous enough to bring his copier.  It was once again so popular that the machine ran out of toner.  Tom Hudson made an attempt to purchase more, but was unsuccessful.  David asked that someone kindly remind him next  year to bring some extra toner.  He also announced that his brother, Dean Trask, would be getting married in about three weeks.  And he reminded everone to send obituaries of family members to add to his collection.  He had it there for people to make copies.

Charlotte asked each descendant present to fill out an "I'm a King's Kid" paper listing their ancestry, to add to the display posted on the wall.  The wall display had a section for each of the 12 King children who had descendants.  Pat suggested that we need to also remember Hanna and Dulaney King and James Russel King, all of whom died young.  Someone else suggested that we also need to honor Saretta (King) Moore, the oldest daughter who remained in Illinois.

New Attendees

Tom Hudson was introduced, whose wife was Jean Dolores Read, daughter of Chauncey Read.  Tom said he is continuing his research for his daughter and grandchildren on behalf of Dolores.  Tom lives in California.  Mary Lou Long is a descendant of Hopestill (King) Norton.  Jim and Connie Stahlman of Salem attended for the first time.  Jim was trying to connect his King line to the Nahum and Sarepta (Norton) King family.  (Editor's note: during the nex few weeks, Jim learned that his ancestor, Samuel G. King, an Oregon pioneer of 1852, was not a relative of the Kings Valley Kings.  But members of his extended family had married into the Lucius and Hopestill (King) Norton family).

New Business

Daniel Frommherz reported that he visited the Benton County office yesterday and obtained maps and other information.  He displayed copies of portions of the Benton County land records indexes.  He gave a report, which is included in a separate article in this newsletter.

A discussion was held concerning the location of Nahum and Sarepta King's graves.  DAR reports and family oral history relate that they were buried on the site of their Oregon donation land claim, near Wren.  Owners of the property now are the Hemphills.  The chain of ownership for the poroperty went from Charles King to Mullers to Hemphills.

Dorothy Brown stated that Stephen King is also buried on that land claim.  David Morgan's family knew where Stephen's grave was, across the fence from the orchard, but no one now knows the exact location.  There was an orchard beside the old house.

The Hemphills have looked for the graves, but with no success.  It is believed the stones marking the graves are gone.  Jim King said he searched with his father years ago (about 1949-'50).  The area had been logged, and Jim remembered lots of rocks strewn about the area.  His dad, Hollis King, saw the graves once before that.

Joan Larsen added that Earl Price of Kings Valley always intended to show people where the graves were located, but never did.

Dorothy Brown said she believes a small group of us could get permission from the Hemphills to go into the area and look for the graves.  She said she would look into that and asked for a show of hands of people who might want to help.  She said she would let people know what she finds out.

Daniel had a copy of the 1855 survey that was done in that area and that Benton County Public Works Department sells copies of the original 1855 map.  He had one to display.

A discussion took place about the longevity of this King family reunion.  Some think it began in 1888, when Lucretia "Crish", Lovisa, and perhaps Hopestill (King daughters) got together with their families in the valley.  If so, that was 110 years ago.  Many remember attending the reunions in the 1930's, 40's, 50's, and 60's when the family was so large that they met at Avery Park in Corvallis.  This is a great old family tradition.  Sol King's family still celebrates their reunion on Sunday following this one at Avery Park.  Other King families are invited to attend.

Family Treasures

Pat Bearden brought a woven rug, made by Ashnah (Norton) Plunkett, her great grandmother.  Ashnah is said to have had a large loom that took up one entire wall of their home in Kings Valley.  The rugs were in excellent condition and very colorful.  Earl Greig reported that he has a weaving that is about the same size as the one Pat was showing us that was made by Ashnah's mother, Hopestill (King) Norton.  Hopestill also made red and white quilts for her offspring.  Earle has the one she made for his grandmother, Dora (Price) Allen.

Joan Larsen brought three crystal dishes, given by Ashnah (Norton) Plunkett to family members.  Joan explained that Ashnah's sister had several daughters.  One was Joan's great aunt Minnie Price, who was very fond of Ashnah.  When the Price girls got married, Ashnah gave each of them dishes.  It was their dishes that Joan brought to display and she thinks the third one was her Aunt Edna's.  They left the valley about 1910.  All three of the lovely dishes still have lids.

Joan then displayed a tan ceramic bedpan.  She said it came from the Watson/Price farm in Kings Valley, and belonged to Aunt Minnie's mother, Sarepta (Norton) Price.  Whenever someone in the valley was sick in bed, the kind lady would grab her hat and the bedpan and go loan it to the sick one.  It was the only such item in the valley.  The object was treasured not just for it's usefulness, but because it represented the neighborly concern people expressed for one another during a time when health-care facilities were located miles away.


Several people had stories to tell related to the King family.  Charlotte Wirfs related the recent story of the ghost of Isaac King, which was aired on a national TV program in the spring of 1997.  Since that time two more videotapes were made on the subject, but only one of the programs got aired.  Charlotte was interviewed for the third program, which hasn't been on TV.  It is a long tale, which reaches back into the mysterious death of Isaac King and involves another old Kings Valley family, the Cosgroves.  The two families became linked in this story because some of the old Cosgrove farm is on a portion of the Isaac King donation land claim.

Another great story had been told by Florence Gross concerning one of Sol King's children, George Newberry.  If you don't recognize the name, it's because George was not a legitimate son of Sol King.  But what makes the story even better is that George was raised in the family household and had a strong influence on the extended family, enough to make the story of George Newberry an endearing tale.

Carole Putman has the story written by Wiley Norton concerning his 1864 adventure to the gold mines of Idaho.  Wiley recorded the story in his own hand, written in a small 2.5" by 5.5" notebook dated 1926.  Retha (Allen) Greig tells of her childhood times growing up with her sisters in the Isaac King home.

And there's the story Daniel Frommherz tells of William King, who came to America from England in 1595 and was made a freeman of Salem, MA on March 25, 1636 and received a grant of 40 acres at Jeffrey's Creek, now known as Manchester-by-the-Sea.  William's holdings increased as he and his family settled into their New England home.  He was a grand juror in 1637 and during that same period he was a member of the First Church of Salem, and active in the religious controversies of that time, namely a group called the Antinomians.  This association caused great trouble for William Kinge and his family as well as other good citizens of that community.

At today's reunion C. W. "Bill" King told about his classmate, Pat Chambers, at Corvallis High School on Sixth Street, located across from the railroad station. Bill told his mother about his friendship with Pat and she said that the two might be related.  Pat and Bill were discussing the possibility at school one day and another classmate, Harlan McIntosh, overheard his conversation.  The young eavesdropper interrupted the discussion by blurting out, "Well, I don't know which one of you to feel the most sorry for."  As it turned out the two were indeed related.

Many of these stories are too long to publish in King Folk, but a separate publication could be considered.  In the meantime, Charlotte has been collecting a folder of the oral history of the family and of the Kings Valley area.  If anyone wishes to contribute a story, please send it to her.  They will be shared each year at the reunions and perhaps one day organized in a notebook that could be circulated.

The meeting adjourned at 2:50 pm.

Submitted by Patricia Bearden, Secretary