Sunday, July 31, 2011

George W. King



Welcome to Favorite Family Photo Week here at OPOD. We kick things off with this picture of George W. King. Once again, the Evil Nate Maas sets the bar for any competition. This is a great photograph, as the guy is showing off his Colt revolver. Nate also included some amazing background on this ancestor, which I include below.


Captain George King, my third great-grandfather, was living in Gibson County, Tennessee, when the Civil War broke out.  He rode down to Mississippi to join up with the Confederate Army where it was determined that there weren't enough men back home to maintain order, so He was appointed by Gen. Forrest to be the law in Gibson and the surrounding counties.

Returning home, he put together a company of about 40 men known as King's Scouts.  As so many men were away with the army, the area was beset with thieves, raiders, and Yankees.  Captain King kept the law, but discovered without a regular judge that many times the criminals would escape from jail before trial.  As the war progressed, there were times when he was required to assume the role of lawman, judge, jury, and executioner, all in one person.  Naturally, this earned him the animosity of the relatives of horse thieves and their ilk, so in his own words, “I would sleep about eight yards from the house in an old wheat bed with four revolvers and two double barrel shot guns for my protection.  Many a time I would go home in the night by myself.  When I came within one-half mile of home, I would put spurs to my horse and go half speed with my pistol in my hand, expecting a thief to shoot me every minute from the bushes."

As he was also the lawman for neighboring counties, he later wrote of his activities in Dyer County, "After I had driven out all the desperadoes, thieves, pick pockets and murderers out of Dyer County – anytime I went to that place the citizens would give my men a ball if they wanted one... Everywhere we went the boys could get up a ball.  Because the Company had formed such a marvelous character the ladies were not afraid of them like the others...I went to Dyer County several times after I relived them of such a heavy burden...I was treated as well as a preacher everywhere I went."

The war ended and he was eventually given a parole as a Confederate on May 27, 1865.  However, years later in 1878, he was eventually ambushed and killed (most likely by relatives of one of the wartime criminals).

10 comments:

  1. It is amazing that such a good picture PLUS so much of the story has survived. Thanks for sharing, Nate. Thanks for posting,PJM.

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  2. Great kick-off. Thanks, Nate. Thanks PJM.

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  3. Almost sounds like the book "Cold Mountain".
    It is a story about the suppose to be "LAWMAN" that was there to hunt deserters and other criminals, but using his position to bully everyone and even kill at will.

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  4. Awesome picture! The revolver looks like a Remington or one of the similar copies to me, though.

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  5. TX Nate - love anything about the old west

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  6. I love the stories and pictures you share, thank you! :) Zoë

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  7. Cool story. I can't imagine having to be in charge of such a large territory. I'm sure whether he "misused" his power would depend upon the point of view. Obviously, the horse thieves weren't too happy with him. Unfortunately, they got the upper hand in the end.

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  8. Thanks for the nice comments everyone. RTD, I saw that movie Cold Mountain. The opening scene at the Battle of the Crater is worth the price of admission alone.

    History to a degree is always a matter of perspective, but based on his diary, he didn't seem so much like a brute, but rather a guy who was trying to do as much as he could, feeling very outgunned and outmanned (trying to recruit as much help as he could from an area populated with elderly, women, and children), and pretty much racing from one victim to another over three counties in area. Doesn't really sound like a job I'd want and one that he seemed relieved to be done with after the war.

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  9. Nate, Hello my name is John King. Captain George W. King was my great great grandfather. I have that picture on my livingroom wall.

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