Biography of Major Alonzo I King
Oneida County, NY Biographies

The military record of Major Alonzo I. King constitutes a most interesting chapter in his life history yet he displayed no greater loyalty to his country on the field of battle than he has manifested in days of peace, and New York numbers him among her valued citizens. He is actively engaged in business as a Member of the banking house and hop firm of Charles Green Son Brainard & Company, of Waterville. Many a man of younger years, grown weary of the struggle of business life, has relegated to others the responsibilities which he should share, but Major King still continues an active factor in financial and commercial circles although he has passed the seventy third milestone on life's journey. He was born in Sangerfield, near Pleasant Valley, Oneida county, September 13, 1838, a son of Ebenezer and Electa H. (Ferguson) King, both of whom were born in the vicinity of Hawley, Massachusetts. Both the King and Ferguson families came to Oneida county at a very early period in its development and their homes were not far distant. The paternal grandfather of our subject was Isaac King, who secured a large tract of land which he cleared and developed into a fine farm. He erected a fine home in the ton of Sangerfield and there spent his remaining days. His family numbered two sons and two daughters including Ebenezer King, who was born September 11, 1804, and was but a boy in his teens when he came to the Empire state. He married Electa H. Ferguson, who was born July 4, 1808, and was but ten years old when her father, Samuel Ferguson, brought his family to Oneida county, traveling with an ox cart and settling near the birth place of Alonzo I. King. The Ferguson's were of Scotch descent. Samuel Ferguson acquired a large tract of land which he transformed into fertile fields and erected upon his place a commodious and attractive residence which is still standing. His family numbered five sons and five daughters who became well-to-do farming people of Oneida county, settling near the old homestead after leaving the parental roof. Following their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Ebenezer King resided on the old Ferguson homestead which Mr. King purchased and which remained their home for many years. In 1859, however, they removed to Oriskany. Mr. King dealt extensively in cattle and hogs for many years while residing upon the farm.. He was a large buyer and would go to Ohio and Indiana where he would purchase as many as fifteen hundred hogs, driving them all the way to New York and then feeding them at the distilleries at Oriskany Falls until they were ready for the market. During the panic of 1857 he suffered severe losses and in 1859 went to Oriskany where he purchased the Kings Hotel which he conducted successfully for twelve years. He then retired and both he and his wife spent their remaining days in Oriskany, being laid to rest in the Waterville cemetery. They had five children: Albert R., now deceased; Mrs. Sarah R. Judd, the widow of J. J. Judd, living in Whites-town; Alonzo I.; Herbert, who enlisted at Whitestown in the One Hundred and Eighty-ninth New York Volunteer Infantry, serving for a year after which he was discharged on account of disability and is now deceased; and Mrs. Alice E. Echer, who has also passed away.

Major Alonzo I. King has resided practically all of his life in Oneida county. In his youth he assisted in the operation of the home farm, remaining with his father in the conduct of the cattle business and also the management of the hotel until after his enlistment for service in the Civil war. His common school education was supplemented by a year's study in Utica, the winter months being devoted to school work and the summer seasons being giving to the labors of the farm.

On the 29th of August, 1862, Major King became a private of Company K, One Hundred and Forty sixth New York Volunteer Infantry, sometimes known as the Fifth Oneida. By merit alone as manifest in constant service and continued loyalty he worked his way upward through the various grades until he was made captain of Company A. He participated in many of the important battles of the Army of the Potomac. In leading his command at the battle of the Wilderness on the 5th of May, 1864, he was wounded in the right arm near the shoulder and also in the left side His wounds were of a severe nature and he was carried to the Fredericksburg Hospital, spending ten days in a private home with other officers. On the 29th of March, 1865, he was again wounded at the battle of White Oak Grove while leading his command in a charge, a bullet striking his head, but on this occasion he did not leave the field until the engagement was over. On the 1st of April, 1865, Captain King led his command in charge against the Confederate stronghold at Five Forks, Virginia. They had to ford a deep and rapid stream under heavy fire from the enemy who were behind strong rifle pits. Captain King with his command and other troops of his brigade climbed the slope which was covered with underbrush and fallen trees and, making their way over the enemy's works engaged in a terrible hand to hand conflict. The little band of Federal heroes of the One Hundred and Forty-sixth, with Captain King as their leader, captured three Confederate battle flags and brought them off the field. For gallant and conspicuous bravery in this engagemet Captain King received from the President of the United States a brevet commission as major and was also the recipient of a beautiful letter which he still has in his possesion from Reuben E. Fenton, then governor of New York, complimenting him on his bravery and gallantry at Five Forks and in other engagements. He was slightly wounded at Five Forks but refused to leave the field, remaining on active duty with the One Hundred and Forty-sixth New York which belonged to Sykes' Brigade of Regulars of the Second Division of the Fifth Army Corps. At the surrender of Lee, Major King saw all of the Confederate officers. With several other officers of his own brigade he went to the Confederate camp, mingling freely with the men there and inviting twenty officers to come to the Union camp. They had the best kind of a banquet possible under the circumstances and at twelve o'clock the Union officers escorted their Confederate guests back to their lines, having spent a pleasant evening. This was a proof that among many at least there was no personal hostility and such events did much to bridge the chasm between the contending armies. Major King participated in the grand review, commanding his company on the long march down Pennsylvania avenue where the nation welcomed the return of her heroes. He was on the staff of General Root and served as judge advocate at the parole camp at Annapolis. While convalescing from his first wound he was put on special duty, commanding the provost guard of the city of Annapolis, where he was located when Lee made his raid into Maryland. He served as assistant provost marshal of the city for five months and then returned to his command in front of Petersburg. He was also judge advocate of the First Brigade of the Second Division, Fifth Army Corps. The following is an exact copy of a letter sent to the father of our subject at the time the Major was wounded:

Fredericksburg, Va., May 10, 1863.

Oriskany, N. Y. Mr. E. King,
Dear Sir Your son, an officer in the Union army, was brought into this city late last night from the Wilderness battlefield. Your son and several other officers of his regiment are quartered in my mother's house. All the officers are seriously wounded, one of them has his right arm shot away. Your son has a serious wound through his right shoulder and another wound in his side. This city is full of dead and wounded soldiers of the Union army. I am writing this letter at the request of your son. He requests me to say to you that a surgeon, Dr. Sands of New York city, has arrived here and dressed his wounds for the first time in five days. He sends his love and will let

you hear from him again soon, Yours in haste,
Caroline Hirsch.

Mrs. Hirsch's husband was a Colonel in the Confederate service, at the battle of the Wilderness.

After the war Major King returned to his father's home and later spent some time at Pitt Hole, Pennsylvania, during the oil excitement. He then rejoined his father and devoted his time to the conduct of the hotel and to the purchase of fancy horses for the New York market for two or three years. About that time Ebenezer King sold his hotel and retired.

On the 29th of December, 1866, Major King was married to Miss Amelia Jane Tibbetts, who was born in Whitestown, Oneida county, and pursued her education in the Whitestown Seminary and in Rome. She was a daughter of Joseph and Diantha (Davis) Tibbetts, both of whom died in Whitestown and were laid to rest on the large farm which they had owned. They were the parents of three children: Mrs. King; Sophia and Julius, who died in childhood. Mrs. King was a successful school teacher in her home district for several years before her marriage. She became the mother of four children: Harold Mason, mentioned elsewhere in this volume; Nina S., the wife of C. W. Monroe, of Waterville; Madge E., who died in infancy; and Lulu D., the wife of Stewart Berrill, of Waterville. The death of Mrs. King occurred January 4, 1909, when she was sixty two years of age, and her passing was a matter of deep regret to her family and many friends.

Following his marriage Major King had purchased a beautiful home near Oriskany and there resided for ten or twelve years until he became connected with the firm of Charles Green Son Brainard & Company, conducting a banking business and also dealing extensively in hops at Waterville. His connection with the business has covered thirty three years and he has long been recognized as one of the enterprising and progressive business men of the village. He took an active interest in political affairs until the past few years and has always given his support to the republican party since its organization. He has served as chairman of the board of water commissioners of the town and has been a trustee of the village board. He maintains pleasant relations with his old army comrades as a member of Rowell Post, G. A. R., of which he was a trustee for many years, and for a long period was a member of the Oneida County Veterans' Association. He is also a member of the first class of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion, this class being composed only of those who were officers in the Union army. He is a trustee of the Waterville Cemetery Association and the Waterville Monument Association and he attends and supports the Presbyterian church, of which Mrs. King was a very active and devoted member. In the long years of his residence in Oneida county Major King has ever enjoyed the good will and confidence of his fellowmen. His loyal defense of his country, his patriotic support of the nation in times of peace and his industry and enterprise in business affairs have gained him high standing both as a man and citizen.

History of Oneida County, New York
From 1700 to the present time
of some of its prominent men and pioneers.
By: Henry J. Cookinham
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
Chicago 1912

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