Family Profile

Franis King


Roger Howland

Source: This information was contibuted by Roger Howland, the owner of the original receipt.

Copyright 1999 Roger Howland

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Family Profile of Francis King

Generation No. 1

1. FRANCIS KING was born 25 Nov 1757 in Frederick co., Maryland, and died 24 Oct 1830 in Ithaca, Tompkins, New York. He married MARY JONES 31 Oct 1780 in , Somerset co., New Jersey, daughter of JOHN JONES and AGNES. She was born 15 Aug 1763 in New Jersey, and died May 1843 in Ithaca, Tompkins, New York.

The facts as to the origin of Francis King are unknown to me. The Howland family always said that Francis King was born in Maryland. This story apparently was widely accepted among various King descendants as all the applications for the SAR and DAR that I have seen say that he was born in Maryland, but no one says where. The family tradition was that Francis King was from around Frederick co., Maryland, about twenty miles from where he enlisted.

I have not found a record of Francis King's birth or a family to associate with him. I recently discovered a reference to a Francis King who died a year after our Francis King was born. He had served during the French and Indian war in Frederick county Maryland. If this is his origin, it may help to explain why there is no record of him. Frederick county was considered back country at this time, and it is likely that Francis faced plenty of difficult times growing up there in the 1760's and early 70's. It is likely his time would have been spent learning the practical necessities for making a living, farming, construction, hunting, fishing, maintenance, and making home brew. Francis King never learned to write, not even his name. This is demonstrated time and again in his making his mark on documents he was to sign.

The other story has its genesis in the Banfield Family Reunion and was published in the Cuba Patriot - Cuba, N.Y. 5 July 1928. It states that when James Banfield was twelve years old, he and Francis King were playing on the Royal lands in England. While playing with sling shots, James killed a royal goose. In fear for their lives, the boys stowed away on a ship that lay at anchor in London. They were discovered after the ship sailed and worked on ship board during the passage to America. When they landed, they were sold into indenture by the captain to pay for their transport to the the colony.

They served together during the American Revolution, married sisters, and remained good friends for the remainder of their lives. While there is good reason to doubt the first part of the story, the second part is true. Francis King and James Banfield served together in the 6th Maryland Line during the Revolution, they did marry sisters. James Banfield married Tabitha Jones and Francis King married Mary Jones, and they both came to Ithaca and lived to the end of their days there. Their descendants always referred to each other as cousins.

It was also said that James was the descendant of the Banfield Nobel line in England, and that the Jones were descendents of a royal Welsh line as well. [It was common in vanity genealogies at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th centurn to make unsupportable claims of nobal and royal liniage. Modern genealogy requires supporting documentation to back up a statement of descent.]

The problem with the first part of the story is that James Banfield was 10 years older that Francis King. For this tale to be true, Francis would have had to stow away with James when he was age 2. Further research has shown that James Banfield indeed came over on a convict ship and was sold as an indentured convict. This was a common enough event in those days. It was the practice to take many a poor person and convict them of a minor offence, and then transport them to the colonies which were in need of cheap labor. Over 50,000 English men, women and children were so transported as ''convicts" before the Revolution. One quarter of all those of English descent came to the colonies as an indenture, which were used primarily as labor contracts.

But could the story have been about Francis King and another friend, with James' name replacing the other mans so as to become more "acceptable" to later generations. I found a Francis King and a John Johnson record bound out for passage from London in the Philadelphia archives. I have come to believe, however, that this is the wrong Francis King. Ours would have been only 16 years old at the time. The term of indenture for this Francis King was only one year and nine months, while John Johnson was bound out for four years. Terms of indenture were often set by the value of ones labor, and for someone to serve only one year and nine months, they would have had to have a very special knowledge -- not something too likely for most illiterate 16 year olds.

The King and Howland family traditions are that Francis King was from Frederick County, Maryland. He was born 25 Nov. 1757, The date copied by his son, Alexander King, into the family bible that later ended up in the National Archives to support the Revolutionary War Pension application. Francis enlisted when age 20 on the 25 Feb 1777 at Carroll Manor or Alexandria, Anne Arundell Co. Md. He served three years in the the 6th Maryland Line during the American Revolution. James Banfield's record can be found there as well. National Archives records show that he fought in many battles which include: the Battle of Brandywine, Battle of Long Island, Battle of Stoney Point, Battle of Trenton, Battle of Germantown, and the Battle of Monmouth. Historians will note that both the Battle of Brandywine and Long Island took place before the time of King's enlistment. This means that either a clerical error was made in recording this information or he was a member of a State militia. There is no federal record of his early service. On 10 Apr 1779 he was promoted to corporal. Francis King was present on 1 January 1780, and was mustered out of service on 25 Feb 1780, at or near Madison, New Jersey.

Both Francis King and James Banfield remained in the area, as they soon became involved with the Jones sisters who lived on their father's farm in Somerset county, New Jersey. One 31 Oct. 1780 both Francis King and James Banfield were married to the two Jones girls, Mary (b. 15 Aug 1763) and Tabitha (b. 1765) respectively. The double wedding was performed by the Rev. Abner Sutton, a traveling Baptist minister. Among others, the wedding was witnessed by Mary and Tabitha's cousin, Moses Barpo who later wrote a letter testifying to the fact in support of Mary's widow's pension. His letter is part of the record in the National Archives. Moses Barpo's letter tells of the wedding at the farm. He also states that they stayed on to help run the farm for at least a year, at which time Moses Barpo was married.

I speculate that John Jones, Mary and Tabitha's father may have been in poor health. This may have been the reason that Tabitha married at a young age to the older James Banfield. I find no further trace of John Jones, and can only speculate that his wife's name was Agnes, based on the fact that both King and Banfield name children Agnes. I further speculate that the Jones found in the Township of Wantage in Sussex are brothers to Mary and Tabitha.

Francis King, James Banfield next appear on the New Jersey 1793 Military Census in the Township of Wantage in Sussex county, New Jersey along with a Moses and a William Jones. In the winter of 1796 Francis King, Mary and seven children started to seek a home in the new country known as the Lake Country and settled two miles south of Ithaca. They moved upon the ice a great part of the way along the Delaware River probably crossing over from Deposit to Windsor, down the Susquehanna River to Binghamton and Owego, and then across the country by the old Indian trail blased with marked trees to there place of destination. The journey occupied about three week with oxen and sleds. They had in their team two pair of oxen and two cows, the cows being driven in yoke to make it handier to drive them , and the oxen doing most of the work. At that time there was but one log house between Owego and Ithaca.

Although they settled on the "Military Tract", neither James nor Francis are among the first purchasers of land on the tract. It now appears that neither received bounty lands in lieu of pay for service in the Revolution. The Military Tract was made available for settlement in 1794/5 and immediately a great deal of land speculation too place. Property changed hands several times before King purchased his piece of wilderness on South Hill.

They moved to Ithaca with scanty possessions which included the old grandfather clock with all wooden works which is now (1999) owned by Nick Howland. King also brought the old sergeant's sword which, according to family lore, is said to have been removed from a dead Hessian after one of the battles. The sword was used as a cheese knife on the South Danby farm, and most recently as the ceremonial knife to cut the wedding cake at Charles B. Howland and Beth Saslow's marriage. Charles is also in possession of King's powder horn.

Francis King took up land on South Hill, across the road from the school house which is still called the King's schoolhouse. King's original house burned in 1827, and with it the king Family bible that he kept. His son, Alexander had copied the information recorded in it, and it is this copy of the birth and marriage pages that are included in the national Archive records. The second house he built is still standing, though much altered. At this place he ran a tavern for a time, the first stop for drink on the long haul from Ithaca to Owego, over which goods were carried from the head of navigation of St. Lawrence and Central New York waters at Ithaca, to the Susquehanna at Owego which carried the goods to the Chesapeake and Baltimore.

Francis King had a large family, some 11 children. He used to call them in the morning by standing at the foot of the stairs and in a loud voice shouting the name of each one, beginning with the oldest and going down the line to the youngest. It was said to be an impressive catalogue.

Francis King used to tell a story that illustrated frontier humor. At a dance held somewhere on South Hill, the talk turned to experiences with wolves and stories were told of certain people having been attacked by them. A young fellow present boasted that wolves held no terror for him and he would like to see them attack him. Some of the men left the party early and concealed themselves in the woods along the path the young man would take. He left the party very late and as he was going along the wooded road along, the concealed jokers began to howl like wolves. The young fellow raised his gun and pointed it first one way and then another but could not see any animals, only hear their howls. Presently his nerve gave way, he dropped his gun and climbed a tree. There he remained until daylight, when the jokers showed themselves and began to rag him about his terrors in the night. He never lived down the story but was always being twitted about the matter from that time on.

There must have been innumerable stories about the Revolution that were told and retold on long winter nights. One that Francis King's grandson remembered and passed along was that he he often heard grandfather King say that the best meal he ever had was a cat which he succeeded in killing when in camp. The old man used to add that he had often thought he would kill him another cat some time and see if it tasted as good as that first one--but he had never got around to do it.

Moses Barpo appears in Ithaca, and his wife Anne is buried in the King Cemetery in Ithaca. I have been unable to trace him further.

Children of FRANCIS KING and MARY JONES are:
i. ELEANOR2 KING, b. 27 Jan 1782; m. ARRON DAVENPORT, 27 Jun 1800.
ii. JOHN KING, b. 24 Sep 1783, New Jersey; d. 07 Jan 1857;
m. IRENE ELINOR, 27 Oct 1809.
iii. JACOB KING, b. 09 Feb 1786, New Jersey; d. 24 Oct 1868,
Kenosha, WI; m. BETSEY HOWDEN, 17 Feb 1807; b. 23 Jan 1789, Newark, N.J.;
d. 25 May 1853, Marshall, Calhoun co., MI.

Notes for JACOB KING:
Jacob King took up 160 acres of land in Bronson Michigan Territory in 1836. The property was subdivided and a portion sold to Selah Stout who married Almira King. The other portion was sold to one of Jacob's sons, John King in 1849. Selah sold his half with the exception of 2 acres which were left for a cemetery. John King purchased a plot in this cemetery. Jacob is not mentioned in Francis King's will.

2. iv. AGNES KING, b. 17 Mar 1788, New Jersey;
d. 19 Mar 1859, South Danby, Tompkins, New York.
v. REV. MOSES KING, b. 25 May 1791; d. 07 May 1851,
Ithaca, Tompkins Co., New York; m. BETSY BROWN; d. 31 May 1870,
Ithaca, Tompkins Co., New York.
vi. SOLOMON KING, b. 23 May 1793.
vii. CATHERINE W. KING, b. 14 Feb 1795; m. JOE ELLSON.
viii. JAMES KING, b. 14 Feb 1797; m. PEGGY CASSODY;
d. 29 Dec 1830, Ithaca, Tompkins Co., New York.
ix. MARY KING, b. 25 Feb 1799; m. JOHN TEETER, 29 Sep 1816.
3. x. ALEXANDER B. KING, b. 22 Jun 1801; d. 18 Oct 1884.
4. xi. CHARLES KING, b. 15 Aug 1804; d. 1851.

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Ernie Miles