Back When in Benton County

Part 11

Hannah King and Stephen King's Family

by Chralotte L. Wirfs

Hannah King was born in Madison County, Ohio November 30, 1816, and died there August 28, 1825, at the age of ten.  Two worn stones mark the graves of Hannah and her sister, Dulany, in Plain City, Ohio, Cemetery.

Stehphen and his wife Anna Maria, had not children when they left Missouri in 1845.  Like Lucius Norton, Stephen was ill during most of the journey to Oregon and relied on help from his younger brothers and sisters.

Stephen, born July 13, 1818, in Madison County, Ohio, was the second son of Nahum and Sarepta.  Anna Maria, daughter of John and Anna Bangs Allen, was born March 26, 1823.  They were married in Madison County, Ohio on Christmas Day in 1843.

After they arrived in Benton County, Anna Maria wrote a letter to her mother and family and reported that she feared Stephen's illness to be "consumption," but that he seemed to have recovered.  The letter encouraged the Allen family to come to Oregon and described the land.

"...You perhaps wish to know how I like the country.  I like it well.  It is an easy place to make a living.  You can raise as many cattle as you please and not cost you a cent, for the grass is green the whole winter and cattle are as fat as they had been stall fed the whole year round.  Wheat is raised without trouble and will fetch anything, the same as cash..."

The letter than described what supplies were needed in order to make the journey.  The main supply was flour, at least 175 or 200 pounds, supplemented with 75 pounds of bacon per person.  Bedding was to be only the essentials and clothing was to last a year after arrival.  She advised to start with four or five yoke of young cattle per wagon and to bring coffee, sugar, and other supplies needed in case of illness.

This descriptive letter was published in eastern papers and was one of the more accurate reports, which encouraged other settlers to endure the Oregon Trail.

Stephen and Anna Maria settled on their claim November 1, 1851.  It was located between Wren and Blodgett.  At the age of 34 Stephen died on November 28, 1852, leaving a three-year-old son, Charles, who later inherited his father's claim.  Anna Maria didn't remain a widow for long, for in 1853 she married Stephen's younger brother Solomon, who was then 20 years of age.

Next:  Isaac King's Family