William Wallace King, born in Keene, N. H., August 18, 1823, came to Malone with his father in 1831. What his
boyhood was no now procurable data tell definitely, but as in his time children were seldom reared in idleness,
no matter what the circumstances of their parents, it is a safe assumption that in some way he had to "earn
his keep." In 1848 he became a partner with his father in the mercantile business,
and continued in that line, together with various outside enterprises, until 1875, when he relinquished his interest
in the store for some of the firm's other investments. In 1877 failing health and mind compelled his withdrawal
practically from all business activities. As long as he was himself, however, he was one of the shrewdest, most
energetic and dominating characters, and one of the most extensive operators, particularly in hops and starch,
that Malone ever had, and also one of the most successful. He was enterprising and puhlic spirited to a degree,
with an aggressive interest in politics, though never seeking or holding public office except that he was county
treasurer from 1852 to 1855, that he was once supervisor, and that he was village president, the first to hold
the last named position who distinguished his service by real progressiveness. It was under his administration
that Memorial Park was greatly improved; that care was exercised for the first time to keep the streets cleanly;
and that the space between the sidewalks and the curbs was made greensward and kept nicely trimmed. Much of the
new work of an adorning character was performed at Mr. King's personal expense, his own private employee devoting
most of his time to village service. The writer recalls having complimented Mr. King upon the great improvements
that he had accomplished, but with inquiry as to what the taxpayers would say when they came to learn the cost.
Mr. King's reply is worth repeating: "Don't worry about that, my boy; for the people never kick provided they
get their money's worth." He was right, and the amazing feature of the matter today is that the entire village
tax then was only about five thousand dollars, while now it ranges around forty thousand dollars. When not disturbed
by cares, or thwarted in his plans, Mr. King was one of the most genial of men, with a keen liking for fun, and
always willing to pay to have it provided. If anxious or annoyed, few could be more abrupt or gruff. He was an
excellent citizen, useful in a multitude of ways. For the last few months of his life he was helpless physically,
and a mental wreck. He died September 15, 1881.
Historical Sketches of Franklin County
and its several towns.
By: Frederick J. Seaver Malone, New York.
J. B. Lyon Company, Printers Albany, NY 1918.
Franklin County, NY
Names A to L
Names M to Z
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