Back When in Benton County

Part 2

Nahum and Serepta Norton King

by Kenneth Munford

Nahum, the patriarch of the King family who first settled Kings Valley in northwest Benton County, was born in New Salem Mass., in 1783.  His parents, Amos and Hopestill (Haskins) King, whose ancestors had come to Massachusetts colony before 1638, moved as far west as Albany, NY., when Nahum was a boy.

Grown to manhood, Nahum married the local belle, Serepta Norton, daughter of James and Dulany (or DeLaney) Norton.  Nahum was 24; Serepta was midway between her 15th and 16th birthdays when they were married in ay 1907.

The family Bible shows that their first child, Saretta, arrived in March 1808 and a second daughter, Lucretia, in July 1809.  Both girls later became wives and mothers.  Lucretia and her family came to Oregon eight years after the rest of the family.

In all, Serepta and Nahum had 16 children.  Three of them died while still children.  Eleven, most of them born in Ohio, continued the westward trek with their parents.

In Ohio, they lived in Madison County for more than 20 years.  Nahum served briefly in the army in the War of 1812.

High water in flood periods may have been the factor in their decision to move on to Missouri.  They settled in Carroll County on the Big Bend of the Missouri in the central part of the state about 1841.

The flood of 1844 destroyed their farm, and the spring of 1845 finds them getting ready to move on to Oregon, where floods would never bother them again.

Other families, including the Arnold Fullers, who had lived near them in Ohio, joined them near St. Joseph with covered wagons, oxen, horses, cattle, and food and equipment for the long trip across the plains and mountains.  By this time two sons and two daughters had married and the King clan included seven grandchildren.  There were ten members in the Fuller family.

The Kings' son-in-law, Rowland Chambers, protested that he could not afford to take his wife, Sarah, and their two children to Oregon.  Father Nahum insisted, however, and provided funds for the purpose of equipment and supplies.  He wanted to keep the family together.

Next:  Preparing for the Oregon Trail