Biography of Howard E. King
Franklin County, NY Biographies





Howard E. King, born in Putney, Vt., August 19, 1825, came to Malone with his parents in 1831, and for forty years from the time of attaining his majority was a conspicuous factor in the business and political life of the town and county. As a boy he worked in the old cotton factory, on a farm, and finally as clerk in his father's store, becoming a partner in the latter in 1849, and subsequently acquiring the business with his brother, William Wallace. This partnership continued until 1875, when the senior member retired, and John W. Fay and William H. King succeeded to an interest in the business. Then Mr. Fay withdrew, and H. E. King & Son continued it until they failed in 1899, with liabilities of $82,000. The King store had been regarded for nearly half a century as one of the strongest in this section of the State, and had enjoyed a remarkably large trade. It never pretended to offer low prices, but in a period when barter and charge accounts were more a feature of merehandizing than now it did extend practically unlimited credit, and never demanded settlements while a customer continued willing to he charged interest on balances. The failure was caused in large part by losses on hops, which the firm handled extensively. From the time of the failure to his death Mr. King, broken in health and spirit, lived quietly, and without occupation other than that of collector of village school taxes. He had been, supervisor of Malone for nine years, was for a long time president of the Peoples National Bank, and was always interested in politics and public matters. He was courteous, considerate and respected. He died July 9, 1909.

In connection with these King personal sketches it would be inexcusable to omit mention of King's Hall, a room to which attach more stirring and touching memories than any other in Malone except the churches. Its seating capacity was perhaps four hundred, and its furnishings only a small, low platform or stage, and benches for seats. Yet it was for nearly twenty years from 1850 the only assembly room in the town other than the churches and, the court room; and in it were given such lectures, concerts and minstrel entertainments as the place enjoyed, and, there also most public and political meetings used to be held. Down its stairs and pouring into the street, to the strains of martial music, came the Wide Awakes in uniform and with torches and banners in the memorable Lincoln campaign of 1860, and there, too, a few months later we had one of our first war meetings, when hearts beat riotously and blood ran hot because Sumter had been fired upon. Our first company of volunteers was recruited there in April of 1861. It was in this hail also that many war meetings were held during the ensuing four years, and that much of the Republican party's local history was enacted and written, it having been for twenty years the place for holding caucuses and conventions. Here, too, in the time when there was neither telegraph nor telephone reaching to most of the outlying towns, the Republicans were accustomed to gather on election night to receive the returns, men driving for long distances through mud and storm to bring tidings from their respective districts, and telegraphic reports coming in to tell of results in the State at large. All hearts overflowed with gladness if the news were good, and from time to time until early morning hours jocular or impassioned short talks were made by Wheeler, Dickinson. Parmelee, Seaver, Hobbs, Kilburn, Brennan. Gilbert and others. If its walls could but speak what a story they might tell! For all this Republican usage never was more than a nominal charge made, and often there was no bill at all, not even for the gas that was burned. In 1884 the hall was converted into a lodge room for the Odd Fellows, and is now the meeting room for the Grange.

From:
Historical Sketches of Franklin County
and its several towns.
By: Frederick J. Seaver Malone, New York.
J. B. Lyon Company, Printers Albany, NY 1918.


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