The Honorable Rufus King, Signer of the U.S. Constitution

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Rufus King

Birthdate:
Birthplace: Scarborough, Massachusetts Colony
Death: Died in Jamaica, Queens, New York, USA
Place of Burial: Grace Church Cemetery, Jamaica, Queens, New York, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of Richard King and Mary King
Husband of Mary King
Father of John Alsop King; Charles King; James Gore King; Edward King and Frederick Gore King
Brother of Richard King II; Isabella King; Dorcus Leland; William King, Governor; Cyrus King and 3 others
Half brother of Mary Southgate and Paulina King

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About The Honorable Rufus King, Signer of the U.S. Constitution

A Patriot of the American Revolution for MASSACHUSETTS with the rank of CAPTAIN. DAR Ancestor # A064762

Rufus King ( born March 24, 1755 in Scarborough, Maine, and died April 29, 1827 in New York City, NY) was an American lawyer, politician, and diplomat. He was a delegate from Massachusetts to the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention. He represented New York in the United States Senate, served as Minister to Britain, and was the Federalist candidate for both Vice President (1804, 1808) and President of the United States (1816).

Parents were Richard King and Isabella Bragdon.

He married Mary Alsop on November 30, 1786 in New York City, New York, daughter of John Alsop and Mary Frogat.

Weblinks:

http://familytreemaker.genealogy.com/users/t/r/o/Maeva-Troup/WEBSITE-0001/UHP-0319.html

http://www.nps.gov/history/history/online_books/constitution/bio22.htm

http://www.archive.org/details/kingfamilyofsout00aker

http://www.laughtergenealogy.com/bin/histprof/founders/const/king.html

Biographical notes:

Rufus was graduated at Harvard in 1777, and studied law with Theophilus Parsons, one of the leading jurists of that time. In the Revolution he was aide-de-camp to General Glover, under General Sullivan's command, and proved

himself a brave and faithful soldier.

Of his war experiences, a thrilling story is extant. Young King, the General, and the officers were at breakfast

about a mile distant from Quaker Hill, where a lively cannonading was in progress. The meat had not been served when the General ordered King to ride over and ascertain how the engagement was going. The young officer shook his head sorrowfully at losing his morning meal, but nevertheless sprang from his chair on hearing his commander's words, and ran to where his horse was

standing. As he did so H. Sherbourne, another officer, slipped into his chair at the table, smiling at the departing aide-de-camp. King had scarcely mounted his horse when a stray cannon-ball entered the dining-tent and mangled

Sherbourne's foot and ankle so badly that the leg had to be removed. Sherbourne recovered and was on warm terms of friendship with King for the rest of his life, but ever afterwards he claimed that King owed him leg and

foot-service, while King, on the other hand, invariably removed his hat and thanked Sherbourne for his courtesy in substituting his own leg for King's in the trying ordeal.

Although one of the youngest delegates at the Convention, King was one of the most influential and spoke eloquently for the nationalist cause.

King was born at Scarboro (Scarborough), Mass. (present Maine), in 1755. He was the eldest son of a prosperous farmer merchant. At age 12, after receiving an elementary education at local schools, he matriculated at Dummer Academy in South Byfield, Mass., and in 1777 graduated from Harvard. He served briefly as a general's aide during the War for Independence. Choosing a legal career, he read for the law at Newburyport, Mass., and entered practice there in 1780.

King's knowledge, bearing, and oratorical gifts soon launched him on a political career. From 1783 to 1785, he was a member of the Massachusetts legislature, after which that body sent him to the Continental Congress (1784-86). There, he gained a reputation as a brilliant speaker and an early opponent of slavery. Toward the end of his tour, in 1786, he married Mary Alsop, daughter of a rich New York City merchant. He performed his final duties for Massachusetts by representing her at the Constitutional Convention and by serving in the Commonwealth ratifying convention.

At age 32, King was not only one of the most youthful of the delegates at Philadelphia, but was also one of the most important. He numbered among the most capable orators. Furthermore, he attended every session. Although he came to the Convention unconvinced that major changes should be made in the Articles of Confederation, during the debates his views underwent a startling transformation. With Madison, he became a leading figure in the nationalist caucus. He served with distinction on the committee on postponed matters and the committee of style. He also took notes on the proceedings, which have been valuable to historians.

About 1788 King abandoned his law practice, moved from the Bay State to Gotham, and entered the New York political forum. He was elected to the legislature (1789-90), and in the former year was picked as one of the State's first U.S. Senators. As political divisions grew in the new Government, King's sympathies came to be ardently Federalist. In Congress, he supported Hamilton's fiscal program and stood among the leading proponents of the unpopular Jay's Treaty (1794).

Meantime, in 1791, King had become one of the directors of the First Bank of the United States. Reelected as a U.S. Senator in 1795, he served only a year before he was appointed as Minister to Great Britain (1796-1803).

King's years in this post were difficult ones in Anglo-American relations. The wars of the French Revolution trapped U.S. commerce between the French and the British. The latter in particular violated American rights on the high seas, especially by the impressment of sailors. Although King was unable to bring about a change in this policy, he smoothed relations between the two nations in various ways.

In 1803 King sailed back to the United States and to a career in politics. In 1804 and 1808 fellow-signer Charles Cotesworth Pinckney and he were the Federalist candidates for President and Vice President, respectively, but were decisively defeated. Otherwise, King largely contented himself with agricultural pursuits at King Manor, a Long Island estate he had purchased in 1805. During the War of 1812, he was again elected to the U.S. Senate (1813-25) and ranked as a leading critic of the war. Only after the British attacked Washington in 1814 did he come to believe that the United States was fighting a defensive action and lent his support to the war effort.

In 1816 the Federalists chose King as their candidate for the Presidency, but James Monroe handily beat him. Still in the Senate, that same year King led the opposition to the establishment of the Second Bank of the United States. Four years later believing that the issue of slavery could not be compromised but must be settled once and for all by the immediate establishment of a system of compensated emancipation and colonization, he denounced the Missouri Compromise.

In 1825, suffering from ill health, King retired from the Senate. President John Quincy Adams, however, persuaded him to accept another assignment as Minister to Great Britain. He arrived in England that same year, but soon fell ill and was forced to return home the following year. Within a year, at the age of 72, in 1827, he died. Surviving him were several offspring, some of whom also gained distinction. He was laid to rest near King Manor in the cemetery of Grace Episcopal Church, Jamaica, Long Island, N.Y.

Supplemental reading:

Ernst, Robert. Rufus King: American Federalist. Chapel Hill: Published for the Institute of Early American History and Culture at Williamsburg, Va., by University of North Carolina Press, 1968. Print.

find in a library: http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/284601

King, Rufus. Rufus King Genealogical Research Papers. , 1720. Archival material.

find in a library: http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/671409784

Akerly, Lucy D, and Rufus King. The King Family of Southold, Suffolk County, New York, 1595-1901: Compiled from Public Records, Family Papers and the Manuscript Genealogy of Mr. Rufus King of Yonkers, N.y. New York: Press of T.A. Wright, 1901. Internet resource.

find in a library (ebook): http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/259979762

avail online: http://www.archive.org/details/kingfamilyofsout00aker -------------------- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rufus_King -------------------- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rufus_King

Rufus King (March 24, 1755 – April 29, 1827) was an American lawyer, politician, and diplomat. He was a delegate for Massachusetts to the Continental Congress. He also attended the Constitutional Convention and was one of the signers of the United States Constitution on September 17, 1787, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He represented New York in the United States Senate, served as Minister to Britain, and was the Federalist candidate for both Vice President (1804, 1808) and President of the United States (1816).

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Rufus King was born in 1755, at Scarborough, Maine. He received an excellent education at Harvard College, where he joined its band of students and graduated with honor as a classical scholar and accomplished speaker in 1777. He took part in the military expedition to Rhode Island, in 1778, conducted by General Sullivan. In 1780 he was admitted to the bar, and began the practice of his profession at Newburyport, Mass. In 1784 he was sent to the Legislature, or General Court, as it was termed, of Massachusetts. He was chosen a representative to Congress the same year, and continued a member of that body to the formation of the Constitution. In 1788, Mr. King moved to New York. Two years prior he had married Mary Alsop, the daughter of a wealthy, patriotic merchant of the place. He was chosen, together with General Schuyler, one of the first United States Senators from the State, under the new Constitution. Washington nominated King as minister to England, and he had been particularly recommended for the post by Hamilton. Kings nomination for this position was made to the Senate in May 1796, and immediately confirmed. He resided abroad, as minister to England for six years. When Mr. King returned to the country, not choosing to resume his professional life as a lawyer, he chose to reside in the country, the most dignified retirement for a statesman out of office. He purchased a country seat on Long Island, at Jamaica, in the neighborhood of New York, a spot still in his family (1864), and honored as the residence of his son, Governor John A. King Mr. King thus passed the few years intervening before the outbreak of the second war with England. One of the first incidents of the controversy was an utter depression of the moneyed interests of the country - one of those panics in Wall Street which still continue to be experienced at irregular intervals, when credit seems utterly extinct, and the banks on the verge of annihilation. In May, 1813, Mr. King again took his seat in the Senate of the United States, and was again reelected by the Legislature of New York, in 1820. His second term was marked by his advocacy of the prohibition of slavery in the admission of the territory of Missouri, as he had more than thirty years before introduced the resolution of 1785, in the old Congress, prohibiting slavery in the territory northwest of the Ohio. In 1825, on the termination of his senatorial career, at the age of seventy, he was induced by President John Quincy Adams to accept the mission to England. He was only able to spend a few months in residence in London, because of his health, before returning to America. He returned to his home in Jamaica, where his health deteriorated and he was required to move to New York city for care and assistance. He died there on April 29, 1827. -------------------------------- Rufus King, the son of Richard King, a wealthy merchant, who was born in 1755, at Scarborough, Maine. He received an excellent preparatory education under the direction of Samuel Moody, a teacher of repute of the Byfield Academy, in the town of Newbury, from whose hands he passed to Harvard College, where his studies were interrupted by the opening scenes of the Revolutionary war. The death of his father occurred about the same time. On the reopening of the institution at Cambridge, having pursued his education in the interim with his former preceptor, a rigorous instructor, he joined its band of students and graduated with honor as a classical scholar and accomplished speaker in 1777. We then find him engaged in the study of the law with Theophilus Parsons, subsequently the chief justice of Massachusetts, at Newburyport, and the war being still in progress, he took part in the military expedition to Rhode Island, in 1778, conducted by General Sullivan, with the expectation, through the assistance of the French fleet, of freeing Newport from its British occupants. In this affair young King acted as aid to the American general. In 1780 he was admitted to the bar, and began the practice of his profession at Newburyport, Mass. In his first case, it is said, he had his instructor, Parsons, as his antagonist. Thence he was sent, in 1784, to the Legislature, or General Court, as it was termed, of Massachusetts. He was chosen a representative to Congress the same year, and continued a member of that body to the formation of the Constitution. Mr. King and Mr. Monroe were sent by Congress to Pennsylvania because of the reluctance on their part to meet the provisions of the Old Confederacy, concerning the uniform system of imposts for the public revenue. He was also a prominent member of the Convention of 1787, which formed the Constitution, of which he was one of the most intelligent advocates, and was one of the committee appointed to prepare and report the final draft of the instrument. When the question of its adoption was brought before his own State, he rendered a no less important service in the ratifying convention, in which he sat as a member from Newburyport. In 1788, Mr. King moved to New York. Two years prior he had married Mary Alsop, the daughter of a wealthy, patriotic merchant of the place, a member of the old continental Congress, who had been driven from New York by the British occupation, and had taken refuge with his daughter, his only child, at Middletown, CT., but had return with the withdrawal of the British. Mr. King's position in the political world was so well understood and appreciated at New York, that he was chosen, together with General Schuyler, one of the first United States Senators from the State, under the new Constitution. He was at the time a member of the New York Legislature. He served through his term of office in the Senate, and in 1795 was reelected. In the matter of the Jay's British Treaty of 1794, the Federalists were of one mind, and King, by the side of Fisher Ames, and others of his personal friends, stood nobly by the administration of Washington. Because King and Hamilton were not allowed to speak at a public meeting in New York, on the subject, due to popular opposition, they jointly authored the "Essays on the Treaty," which bore the signature "Camillus." Washington nominated King as minister to England, and he had been particularly recommended for the post by Hamilton. Kings nomination for this position was made to the Senate in May 1796, and immediately confirmed. He resided abroad, as minister to England for six years, throughout the remainder of Washington's administration, all of John Adams', and two years of the first term of Jefferson. When Mr. King returned to the country The Federalists were not in power, and not choosing to resume his professional life as a lawyer, chose to reside in the country, the most dignified retirement for a statesman out of office. He purchased a country seat on Long Island, at Jamaica, in the neighborhood of New York, a spot still in his family, and honored as the residence of his son, Governor John A. King. He moved his family from the city in 1806, and found pleasure in planting and decorating his grounds. Mr. King spent his leisure time out of doors either on horseback or with his gun and dog. During this time he made note of the flowering plants and eventually transplanted them within the boundaries of his estate. Mr. King thus passed the few years intervening before the outbreak of the second war with England. One of the first incidents of the controversy was an utter depression of the moneyed interests of the country - one of those panics in Wall Street which still continue to be experienced at irregular intervals, when credit seems utterly extinct, and the banks on the verge of annihilation. At this crisis, in 1812, Mr. King made his appearance at a general meeting of the citizens of New York, held at the Tontine Coffee House, and gave the advice of forbearance towards the banks. In May, 1813, Mr. King again took his seat in the Senate of the United States, and was again reelected by the Legislature of New York, in 1820. His course in the earlier times was distinguished by his support of the administration in the contest with Great Britain, his speech on the burning of the Capitol at Washington being often spoken of for its eloquence and patriotic fervor. His second term was marked by his advocacy of the prohibition of slavery in the admission of the territory of Missouri, as he had more than thirty years before introduced the resolution of 1785, in the old Congress, prohibiting slavery in the territory northwest of the Ohio. In 1825, on the termination of his senatorial career, at the age of seventy, he was induced by President John Quincy Adams to accept the mission to England. He was only able to spend a few months in residence in London, because of his health, before returning to America. He returned to his home in Jamaica, where his health deteriorated and he was required to move to New York city for care and assistance. He died there on April 29, 1827.

http://capecodhistory.us/genealogy/getperson.php?personID=I27445&tree=Nauset

Info added per DAR's "Lineage Book of the Charter Members" by Mary S Lockwood and published 1895 stating he was sister of Elizabeth Lydden King; and that he "served during the Revolution, and was first minister to England under Washington"

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The Honorable Rufus King, Signer of the U.S. Constitution's Timeline

1755
March 24, 1755
Scarborough, Massachusetts Colony
1786
March 30, 1786
Age 31
New York City, New York, USA
1787
September 17, 1787
- September 17, 1787
Age 32
Independence Hall, Philadelphia,

The Signers of the U. S. Constitution

New Hampshire
John Langdon
Nicholas Gilman

Massachusetts
Rufus King
Nathaniel Gorham

Connecticut
Roger Sherman
William Samuel Johnson

New York
Alexander Hamilton

New Jersey
William Livingston
David Brearley
William Paterson
Jonathan Dayton

Pennsylvania
Benjamin Franklin
Thomas Mifflin
Robert Morris
George Clymer
Thomas FitzSimons
Jared Ingersoll
Gouverneur Morris
James Wilson

Delaware
George Read
Gunning Bedford, Jr.
John Dickinson
Richard Bassett
Jacob Broom

Maryland
James McHenry
Daniel Carroll
Dan of St. Thomas Jenifer

Virginia
John Blair
James Madison, Jr.
George Washington

North Carolina
William Blount
Richard Dobbs Spaight
Hugh Williamson

South Carolina
John Rutledge
Charles Cotesworth Pinckney
Charles Pinckney
Pierce Butler

Georgia
William Few
Abraham Baldwin

Biographies of the Founding Fathers

Colonial Hall now contains 103 biographical sketches of America's founding fathers. At this time we have divided them up into 3 groups:
As you will see there are still many biographies that need to be added to our site, including a new category: Other Founding Fathers.

The biographies on this site are primarily from 1 of the following 2 sources:
Lives of the Signers to the Declaration of Independence, by the Rev. Charles A. Goodrich. Published in 1829.
The United States Manual of Biography and History, by James V. Marshall. Published by James B. Smith & Co., in Philadelphia in the year 1856.
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http://www.usconstitution.net/const.pdf
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_signers_of_the_United_States_C...
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http://www.dar.org/signers-us-constitution
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The U.S. Constitution at the National Archives
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFAVKJAOWSc

1788
January 3, 1788
Age 32
1789
1789
Age 33
1791
1791
Age 35
1795
1795
Age 39
1802
February 6, 1802
Age 46
New York, New York County, New York, United States
1827
April 29, 1827
Age 72
Jamaica, Queens, New York, USA
????
Jamaica, Queens, New York, USA