An American Family History

James King


James King was born on October 12, 1752 in County Londonderry, Ireland.

He was also a civil engineer, surveyor, and pioneer. He established the King Iron Works in Bristol, Tennessee.

He married Sarah Goodson on October 12, 1782 in Botetourt, Virginia.  

William King (1785),
James King (1791, married Mourning Micajah Watkins)
Sarah King (married William Williams)

James King died of gout on August 17, 1825. He was buried in Ordway Cemetery, Sullivan County, Tennessee. 

Watauga Pioneer Neighbors



from History of Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786 by Lewis Preston Summers

Colonel James King
The subject of this sketch was born at Londonderry, Ireland, in 1752. He was well educated, and emigrated to Virginia about the year 1769, and by purchase, entry and condemnation acquired about 50,000 acres of land in and around Bristol, Tennessee and Virginia, of the present day.

Colonel King married Sarah, one of the seven daughters of Colonel Thomas Goodson, in Montgomery County, Virginia, and settled a few miles southwest of Bristol near the Sulphur Springs.

Colonel King was his title through the Revolutionary War. Was captured and escaped and rejoined his regiment, and after some time resigned his commission and returned to his home, near Bristol, rather than deliver to the quartermaster a magnificent mare from which he had knocked a British officer, but subsequently rejoined his regiment, and was at Yorktown when Cornwallis surrendered.

Colonel King some time previous to the year 1800 erected an iron furnace (Barbary Furnace) near the Sulphur Springs, and made the first iron in what is now the state of Tennessee. Colonel King's partner in this enterprise was Governor Blount, of the Southwest Territory.The iron made at this furnace was hauled in wagons to Kingsport, a distance of twenty-five miles, the junction of the North and South forks of Holston River, and transported from that point by water. Kingsport took its name from Colonel King.

Some time previous to the year 1810 Colonel King purchased from Isaac Shelby, executor of General Evan Shelby, 976 acres of land, one-half the Sapling Grove tract, for $10,000, and it is said that the backs of two horses were ruined in carrying this silver to Frankfort, Kentucky, the home of General Isaac Shelby. Colonel King afterwards had this property conveyed to his son, the Rev. James King.

Colonel King was one of the three commissioners who negotiated the treaty of Holston, and afterwards laid off the site of Knoxville, Tennessee.

He was a man of considerable wealth, and furnished Andrew Jackson (afterwards President of the U. S.) the money with which Jackson and John Overton purchased the Chickasaw Bluff (now the site of the city of Memphis, Tennessee). The draft for this money is as follows:

Colonel James King
Please pay to Mr. Andrew Jackson or order two thousand five hundred one dollars sixty-seven cents which place to account of
Your Ob. Servant,
David Allison
May 13th, 1795.
Dolls. 2501 67-100

Colonel King died of gout August 17th, 1825, aged 73 years, leaving three children: Rev. James King, who married Mourning Micajah Watkins, daughter of the Hon. Micajah Watkins, of Halifax County; William King and Sarah King

Colonel Kingwas buried five miles west of Bristol, under an old coffin-shaped tomb of rock and an iron slab, on which the following inscription is cast:

Col. James King
August 17th, 1825
Aged 73 years
A Patriot


from History of Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786 by Lewis Preston Summers

The Rev. James King above mentioned was a distinguished Presbyterian divine, a man of considerable wealth, the founder of Bristol, Tennessee, and of King College. He left a large family of children....

Colonial Maryland
Colonial New England
Colonial Virginia & West Virginia
Quakers & Mennonites
New Jersey Baptists
German Lutherans
Watauga Settlement
Pennsylvania Pioneers
Midwest Pioneers
Jewish Immigrants

©Roberta Tuller 2020
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