John A. King

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John Alsop King
John Alsop King.jpg
20th Governor of New York
In office
January 1, 1857 – December 31, 1858
Lieutenant Henry R. Selden
Preceded by Myron H. Clark
Succeeded by Edwin D. Morgan
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 1st district
In office
March 4, 1849 – March 3, 1851
Preceded by Frederick W. Lord
Succeeded by John G. Floyd
Personal details
John Alsop King

(1788-01-03)January 3, 1788
Queens County, New York
Died July 7, 1867(1867-07-07) (aged 79)
Queens County, New York
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Mary Ray
Children 8, including John A. King
Parents Rufus King
Mary Alsop
Relatives John Alsop (grandfather)
Henry Bell Van Rensselaer (son-in-law)

John Alsop King (January 3, 1788 – July 7, 1867) was an American politician who was Governor of New York from 1857 to 1858.


John Alsop King was born in the area now encompassed by New York City on January 3, 1788, to U.S. Senator Rufus King (1755–1827)[1] and Mary (née Alsop) King. His maternal grandparents were John Alsop (1724–1794), a prominent merchant and Mary Frogat (1744–1772).[2]

He had four younger brothers, including Charles King (1789–1867), who was President of Columbia University, and Congressman James G. King (1791–1853), Edward King (1795–1836) and Frederic Gore King (1802–1829).[3][4][5]

When his father was appointed the U.S. ambassador to Great Britain, the family moved to Britain, and King was educated at Harrow School. Upon graduating from Harrow, King returned to New York City to study law. He was admitted to the bar and practiced in New York City.[6]


John King's law career was interrupted by a stint in the military; he served as a cavalry lieutenant in the War of 1812. After the war, however, he returned to his law practice and then ventured into politics. King was a member of the New York State Assembly (Queens Co.) in 1819, 1820 and 1820–21; of the New York State Senate (First D.) in 1823; and again of the State Assembly in 1832, 1838 and 1840.[6]

United States Congress

King was elected as a Whig to the 31st United States Congress, holding office from March 4, 1849, to March 3, 1851. His term as Governor of New York from 1857 to 1858 was noted for improvements to the State's education system and the enlargement of the Erie Canal.[6]

Governor of New York

Following a series of attacks (the so-called Quarantine War of 1858) on the quarantine facility on Staten Island, King dispatched several units of the New York State Militia to briefly occupy the island.

Personal life

He was married to Mary Ray (1790–1873), daughter of Cornelius and Elizabeth Elmendorf Ray. Together, John and Mary had:[7]

  • Mary King (1810–1894), who married Phineas Miller Nightingale (1803–1873)
  • Charles Ray King (1813–1901), who married Hannah Wharton Fisher (1816–1870) in 1839. After her death, he married her sister, Nancy Wharton Fisher (1826–1905) in 1872.[8]
  • Elizabeth Ray King (1815–1900), who married Henry Bell Van Rensselaer (1810–1864), a United States Congressman and member of the Van Rensselaer family.[9]
  • John Alsop King (1817–1900), a State Senator who married Mary Colden Rhinelander (1818–1894), granddaughter of Josiah Ogden Hoffman (1766–1837)
  • Caroline King (1820–1900), who married her first cousin, James Gore King, Jr. (1819–1867), son of James G. King
  • Richard King (1822–1891), who married Elizabeth Lewis (1822–1891), daughter of Mordecai Lewis in 1839
  • Cornelia King (1824–1897)
  • Ellen King (1825–1827)

King died on July 7, 1867, in Queens County, New York.[6]



  1. ^ Passos, John Dos (2011). The Men Who Made the Nation: Architects of the Young Republic 1782–1802. New York: Knopf Doubleday Publishing. p. 480.
  2. ^ McKenney, Janice E. (2012). Women of the Constitution: Wives of the Signers. Lanham: Rrowman & Littlefield. p. 98.
  3. ^ York, Saint Nicholas Society of the City of New (1905). The Saint Nicholas Society of the City of New York: History, Customs, Record of Events, Constitution, Certain Genealogies, and Other Matters of Interest. V. 1-. The Saint Nicholas Society.
  4. ^ McKenney, Janice E.; The District of Columbia Daughters of the American Revolution (2013). Women of the Constitution: Wives of the Signers. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 97–103. ISBN 9780810884984.
  5. ^ "The Founding Fathers: Massachusetts". The Charters of Freedom. Retrieved February 2, 2015.
  6. ^ a b c d "KING, John Alsop – Biographical Information". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved December 6, 2016.
  7. ^ Reynolds, Cuyler (1914). Genealogical and Family History of Southern New York, Volume 3. New York: Lewis Publishing Company. pp. 1166, 1341.
  8. ^ Battle, J. H. (1887). History of Bucks County, Pennsylvania: Including an Account of Its Original Exploration, Its Relation to the Settlements of New Jersey and Delaware, Its Erection Into a Separate County, Also Its Subsequent Growth and Development, with Sketches of Its Historic and Interesting Localities, and Biographies of Many of Its Representative Citizens. A. Warner. p. 760.
  9. ^ "A Day in the Life of the Civil War: From An Old Albany Family". A Day in the Life of the Civil War. March 23, 2014. Retrieved May 8, 2017.


External links

  • The John Alsop King Papers at the New-York Historical Society.

Further reading

 Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "King, Rufus". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.

New York State Senate
Preceded by
New district
New York State Senate
First district (Class 1)

Succeeded by
David Gardiner
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Frederick W. Lord
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 1st congressional district

Succeeded by
John G. Floyd
Political offices
Preceded by
Myron H. Clark
Governor of New York
Succeeded by
Edwin D. Morgan
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