Volume 9 , Number 4 , Summer 1986
KING FAMILY BACKGROUND, GALENA, MO By Mildred King Carlton
My parents and the parents of Henry and Clay in the story were John W. and Nancy Elizabeth King. Known to their friends and neighbors as Bill or Willie and Betty King. No two persons could ever love the Ozarks better than they, especially Betty. Both were born in the Ozarks; Willie in Lawrence County, Betty in Stone County. Bettys great grandfather and gr. grandmother, Bowling (Bolin) and Mary Baker were living in Stone County when it was divided from Taney County. Bowling Baker had eight children: sons George, Enos, Henry, William and James, daughters Jane Kelly, Martha Carr, Nancy Williams Jones Gentry. There are many descendants of this family living in or near the Ozarks - and there are many of us who live there in the memories of our childhood, or through the memories of our precious parents.
Nancy Baker was my great grandmother. Her children included Henry Williams and Mary Elizabeth Williams (Aunt Sis) from her marriage to John W. Williams (son of John B. Williams). After his death, she married Jonathan Jones who fathered Amanda Jane Jones (Aunt Mandy). Later, she married Sam Gentry who fathered Drilla Gentry and James Gentry.
Henry Williams m. Martha Gentry Meeks (later known as Aunt Sis Darrell)
Mary Elizabeth m. B.B. Hembreeseveral children
Drilla Gentry m. Andrew Hembreeseveral children
James Gentry in?.
Amanda Jane m. Henry Jackson Smith and their children were:
Nancy Elizabeth (my mother)
Arthur m. Nannie McCrackin-lived in Galena most or all his life
Drilla m. ? Biggerstaff, 2. Frank Oscar Sparks
Bessie m. Edd Standlee from Carroll County
My father, John William King, was the son of Joseph King and Malinda Shipman. His sisters were:
Bertha m. Newton Gamble
Mollie m. Will McCord 2. Frank Marshall
Lucy m. Fred? Moore
Rosa m. ? Eilsworth?
Bertha had two sons, Homer and Fern; Mollie adopted Rosas son after her death; Lucy had one son named King. My parents had four sons, Henry and Clay are the only ones living and I was the only girl born in this generation.
At one time, both Grandfathers operated the Club House (Limberlost), then Grandpa Smith went his way, leaving Joe and Linde King to continue the operation. My father, Willie, guided down the river and learned to cook the most delicate and delicious biscuits over an open fire. His sisters helped Grandma Linde in the kitchen, dining room - as well as changing bed linens, cleaning rooms and emptying thunder-mugs. Later, they operated the Hotel in the corner of the Town Square. Grandpa Joe became some sort of police officer because I remember his picture with a star piuned to his dark suit and Grandma Linde with a patch over one eye.
My parents operated a bakery which was located on the Town Square when Clay was about 4 or 5 years old. They left the bakery and lived or rented the Living-stone place. (It was known in our family as the Living-stone place.) Mr. Livingstone was a fine gentleman from Kansas City who liked to bring his friends to the Ozarks to fish. He built a summer house, made of canvas roof and sides of screen wire with canvas that could be dropped in case of rain or cold weather. He had several cots inside, and they enjoyed Mothers cooking. Dad guided them on the river. My brother, Henry, was born while the family lived there, because he was named Henry Livingstone King - a name he tried to hide all his life. Mr. Livingstone gave him his own very ornate shaving mug with his name, Living-stone, emblazoned in gold upon it.
Later, the family moved to the Standridge place where they grew tomatoes. This is the farm in the story that was up the rocky hill past Lovers Leap above the river. The cannery (near the Y bridge, I think) was in full swing, and Mother peeled tomatoes alongside Nannie Smith. Each tried to "outdo" the other. The tomatoes were steamed to loosen the skins, then placed in a small bucket on a moving belt. The ladies took a bucket, peeled the tomatoes, recovered the "chit" at the bottom of the bucket, and tucked them safely away. The chits were exchanged for nickels at the end of the day.
Clay added to the family income by driving his pair of calves hitched to a wagon and filled with tomatoes to the cannery. Dad tended the farm, picked tomatoes, and probably did his share of baby-sitting Henry and baby Paul.
Later, just before the family left Galena to earn their fortune in Idaho, the present Cornerstone of the Courthouse was dedicated and several items were
placed inside. The speaker asked if anyone had anything they would like to put inside the cornerstone. Clay stepped up and placed his Barlow knife inside where it still resides. One of his friends later asked him why or how could he part with his knife. He said that he didnt know why - he just wanted a part of him to be part of that building.
The family left Galena, Mo. and never returned to live there again. After Dad retired, they lived in Pittsburg, Kansas and made many trips to Galena.
Now both Mother and Dad are buried in the King plot in the Galena cemetery along with Rosa, Lucy, Grandad and Grandma King, in another plot Grandad and Grandma Smith and my baby brother, Clyde.
I have documented most of this material, but much has been from listening to my parents talk of their younger days in the Ozarks. I was a bonus baby coming to my parents after they were in their 40s. I never lived in the Ozarks, but I certainly have a soft spot in my heart for that beautiful bit of earth.
Copyright Ó White River Valley Historical Quarterly
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