Benjamin King and Family
of Washington County Indiana
In 1803 the King and Heywood families were "bound away" to the west, part of the great western migration of that time.
"O, Shenandoah, I long to hear you,
Away, you rolling river.
Across that wide and rolling river.
Away, I'm bound away, 'cross the wide Missouri.’
[There are many versions to this famous American ballad. It's origin and reference to the Shenandoah River are uncertain.]
Of course migration westward occurred from the time of the first settlements in the early 17th century. However, the period after the Revolution and after ratification of the Constitution and establishment of the Northwest Ordinance in 1787 was a period of major movement westward, known as the Westward Migration. The new nation offered free land and a chance for a better life to the west.
Benjamin and his extended family chose to go west early in 1803. Although we have no record, they most probably went by foot and wagon, probably using the Conestoga wagon to carry their 'movables'. The people walked if they could. The wagon driver walked, rode the left wheel horse or rode on the 'lazy seat', a board that could be pulled out from the left side of the wagon. It is said that this arrangement, driver on the left, led to our current left hand drive on the right side of the road. The Conestoga wagon was in widespread use from the early 1700s until the advent of the railroads for hauling heavy freight along the unimproved roads in the east and on the routes of migration westward. [http://www.dvhi.net/wagonworks/history.html].
Figure 6-1. Conestoga Wagon. Benjamin King went west most probably with a wagon such as this Conestoga wagon, named after the Conestoga Valley in Pennsylvania where they originated. "These vehicles were much in use by Virginia migrants, especially those from the western regions of the state." [from: Fischer DH, Kelly JC. Bound Away: Virginia and the Westward Movement. University Press of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA. 2000].
Benjamin, Martha and the Haywoods probably headed west on Old Mountain Road, toward Charlottesville and over the Blue Ridge mountains to Staunton. From there they would have turned south and followed the Great Wagon Trail to its junction with the Wilderness Road. The Wilderness Road took them across the Cumberland Gap into Kentucky. Passage through the Cumberland Gap had been established as early as 1750 as the best way to Kentucky. Starting in 1775 Daniel Boone led settlers into Kentucky following the Wilderness Road. Kentucky was admitted to the Union as a state in 1792.
Figure 6-2. Migration Streams in Virginia. The Great Wagon Trail through the Shenandoah Valley was the route south for emigration of the Scotch-Irish and Germans from Pennsylvania. The Great Wagon Trail met the Wilderness Road at Fort Chiswell. [from: Fischer and Kelly, Bound Away].
Figure 6-3. Wilderness Road map. The Wilderness Road crossed the Appalachian divide at the most favorable location, the Cumberland Gap. From there it headed northwest across Kentucky ending at the Falls of the Ohio (Louisville). [from: Fischer and Kelly, Bound Away].
Benjamin, Martha and the Haywoods followed the Wilderness Road all the way to Jefferson County, Kentucky (Louisville). The total distance traveled must have been between 600 and 800 miles and taken them at least three to four months. By the spring of 1803 they were in Jefferson County, Kentucky. (The Wilderness Road was the principal route for migration to Kentucky from 1780 to about 1830. We have no proof that they took this route, however it seems to be the logical choice. The alternate of going north and then across the Appalachians and by flatboat down the Ohio seems longer and less likely. And, had they gone this way they would probably have stopped their journey on the Ohio long before reaching the Falls of the Ohio.)
In 1805 Catherine King sold her remaining land held in common with her brother Thomas, Jr., to George Washington Trueheart, as shown by the deed below.
Deed Book K, Page 98 11 Jun 1805 Catharine King of Louisa to George W. Trueheart of City of Richmond £50 for 1/2 of a certain tract of undivided land on the north side of the South Anna River, adjoining the river, and held in common between my brother Thomas King and myself, being part of the tract of land that my father Thomas King Sr. dec’d, which was equally divided between his children, at which division my brother Thomas King and myself have our portion laid off together, supposed to contain 44 acres ....
The final connections of the Benjamin King family with Meadowood were ended June 2, 1813 when Benjamin sold his remaining (2/12) portion of land to George W. Truehart.
1813, June 2. Benjamin King and Martha his wife to George W. Truehart, for £445, 225 ½ acres both sides of the Pamunkey, mouth of Indian Creek, adjacent James Winston, Ambler, James Michie. (Louisa Deeds J:463).
Thomas, Jr., would eventually sell/will his remaining share
to Trueheart. With the death of Thomas,
Jr., the long connection of our King family with Meadowood and Louisa County
ended. For the next 100 or so years our
King family ancestors lived in southern Indiana in the region near Louisville,
Benjamin and Martha were hardy souls, walking from the Virginia piedmont to the Ohio River with a wagon full of their 'movables' and five children under the age of seven. Fortunately, they were accompanied by Martha’s parents, Deborah Budd Haywood and George Haywood. The five children were Elisha Budd, Zilla, George Thomas, William and Martha Haywood. Martha was pregnant with James, born in May 1803, in Jefferson County, Kentucky. Courageous would probably not be an inappropriate description of their effort. The hardship and risk must have been great. Yet they survived and succeeded.
After arriving in 1803 at Jefferson County, Kentucky, at the Falls of the Ohio, (present day Louisville, KY) they settled there for five years and had three more children, James, Benjamin, Jr. and Nancy Price.
Benjamin King bought 110 acres of land on Chenewean Creek, in 1806, in Jefferson Co. Ky.
In 1808 they moved across the river to Posey Township, Harrison County, Indiana, and had five more children. Martha died in 1820 at the age of 46. Benjamin married twice more but had no more children and died in 1852 at the age of 85.
Figure 7-1. This topographical map shows the region about one and one-half miles downstream from Fredericksburg along the Blue River in Posey Township where Benjamin King settled his family in 1808. He lived here for the rest of his life.
The following remarkable genealogy and history of Benjamin King is copied from a copy of notes on file at the Washington County Historical Society, Inc., Salem, Indiana:
Benjamin King of Harrison and Washington
Compiled by Mrs. C.P.Lesh of Indianapolis – typed record of “King Family of Virginia and Harrison and Washington County, Indiana – filed in State Library – and Washington County Historical Society.
Benjamin King, youngest son of Thomas and Sarah King was born in Louisa County, Virginia, on Sept. 11, 1767. He was married in Culpepper Co. Va. On Nov. 4, 1794 to Martha, daughter of George and Deborah Haywood. She was born Aug. 7, 1774, and she died in 1820, in Harrison Co. Ind. George and Deborah Haywood in 1795 bought 309 acres of land adjoining that of Thomas King, which later became the property of Benjamin King.
Oct. 30, 1802 Benjamin and Martha King sold to George Washington Truehard 222 one-half acres lying on both sides Pamunky River, and on Oct 4, 1802 George and Deborah Haywood (sold) their plantation, adjoining the King farm to James Michie. Early in 1803, both families removed to Jefferson Co. Ky. Where they appear on tax returns, filed at Historical Society at Frankfort, Ky. In July 3, 1799, Governor of State of Virginia, gave a bond to Benjamin King permitting him to preach and marry. Benjamin King bought 110 acres of land on Chenewean Creek, in 1806, in Jefferson Co. Ky. Benjamin King and Family moved to Posey township, Harrison Co. Indiana, in 1808, and June 2, 1813 sold balance of plantation in Louisa County, Va. “2/12 of land where in Thomas King lived and died”, to his brother Thomas King, Jr. (Deed filed at Louisa, Va.)
The Haywoods died in Jefferson County, Ky as they do not appear in tax lists after 1814. Martha Haywood King died in Indiana in 1820, and Mar. 23, 1820, her husband set aside land for a Methodist Church and Cemetery, naming John Hancock, Samuel Hancock, Thomas Polson, John Royse and Eli Wood as trustees (Book “D” page 93, Corydon, Ind.).
Benjamin King married Elizabeth Wood, June 13, 1822, and after death of this wife, married Rebecca Ramsey, Aug.1, 1842. He was one of the pioneer ministers of the state and endured many privations and hard ships, especially during the war of 1812. The land he bought in different surveys both in Harrison and Washington County was around the present town of Fredericksburg, Ind on Blue River. He built one of the first grist mills in the state, on the west side of Blue River below Fredericksburg. The Methodist Church and cemetery are on the east side of the river about one and half miles below Fredericksburg. Benjamin King died February 1852. His will filed in Book “C”, pp. 13 and 14 at Corydon, Ind is as follows:
“In the name of God, Amen, I, Benjamin King – of the county of Harrison and State of Indiana, being of sound of mind and memory, blessed be God, in the seventeenth day of March, 1848, make this my last will and testament in the following manner, to wit: first, I give my soul to God and my body to the dust. I desire to be laid in woolen by the side of my first wife, in one half chain of ground reserved for burying ground forever: Secondly, each and every one of my legatees, have received their full portion, as will be hereafter named, to wit: Elisha B. King; Zilla Polson; George T. King; Martha Hancock; Nancy P. Polson, James King; McKendrie King; Robert King, Deborah Cooper and William King or his heirs, all of whom have received their portion, claims, or allowances of my estate both personal and real. The meeting house and lot known as King’s Meeting house, I will to the Methodist Episcopal Church of Indiana – to the trustees of the same, viz: Benjamin King, Jr., David W. Stucker, and John Roberts as trustees in trust for the same, and their successors for ever. Thirdly, I will, bequeath, and deliver to Benjamin King, Jr. all of my personal and Real Estate – Bay mare, according to the first date. For which consideration he is to support me comfortably and creditably during my natural life for which, he and his heirs are to have all my estate forever.
In testimony where-unto, I have set my hand and seal this year and date first above written and in the presence of William Hancock and John A. Coomer. (Signed) Benjamin King.
Still further, I bequeath and give unto William King’s daughter, the only child he left at his death, five dollars, this third day of Nov. 1842.
Probated Feb. 14, 1832. (This date should probably be 1852.)
The old mill run by water power was sold by Benjamin King, Jr. and George King to a Mr. Green, who tore it down and moved it to Fredricksburg.
Children of Benjamin and Martha (Haywood) King.
- Elisha Budd King, born Nov. 2, 1795. He mar. (1) July 30, 1821 – Rebecca Rawlings. They had one daughter Sarah Jane, born Sept 1822, when the mother died. Elisha mar (2) Sarah Butlerton – she died Jan. 1, 1835, leaving five children. Elisha mar. (3) Ann Miller. They had six children.
- Zilla King born Jan. 7, 1797. She was married to Thomas Polson, Nov. 30, 1817, in Harrison County, Indiana. They had 11 children.
- George Thomas King, born Louisa County, Va. Aug 20, 1798. He mar. (1) Sallie Graham Jan. 25, 1824. She died Feb. 14, 1857. They had 6 children. George Thomas King mar. (2) Jane Ann Haines, Nov. 30, 1837 – no children. He mar. (3) Juley E. Bates – four children by this marriage.
- William King, born Feb. 22, 1800, mar. July 6, 1840 Mary Jane Dodds. He mar. (2) Margaret Dodds April. 21, 1847. They had one daughter, mentioned in will of Benjamin King.
- Martha Haywood King, born Sept. 7, 1801, in Louisa County, Va. Mar. John Hancock of NC. Jan. 27, 1820. They had 7 children.
- James King, born Jefferson County, Ky May 23, 1803. He mar. Sept 29, 1825, Tabitha Sherwood, of Washington County, Ind. They had 11 children. James King and his wife are buried in Crown Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis.
- Benjamin King, Jr. born May 16, 1806, in Jefferson Co. Ky, mar. Feb. 13, 1832 Lydia Sherwood, of Washington Co. Ind. They had nine children.
- Nancy Price King, born Mar. 8, 1808, mar. Benjamin Polson, Sept. 23, 1826. They had 3 children.
- Wesley King born Feb. 20, 1810, died 1814.
- McKindree King, born May 1, 1812 Harrison Co. Ind. Mar. Oct 1, 1838 Mary Cole. Eight children. McKindree King – died Feb. 12, 1849
- Robert King, born Harrison Co. Ind. Sept. 24, 1813, mar. Elizabeth Jolly, Dec. 29 1835. Twelve children. Robert King died Aug. 21, 1877 – Hardinsburg, Ind.
- Deborah King, born May 15, 1816, Harrison Co. Ind. She mar. Samuel Cooper, Aug. 18, 1835 – Nine children..
- Mary King, born Mar. 9, 1818, died Mar. 26, 1818.
Editor's Note. Records of the families of the children of Benjamin King and his parents Thomas and Sarah King of Virginia given in this fine Genealogy of the “King Family of Virginia and Indiana. [The original had a few typing errors and some letters that were not easily read, but were guessed at.]