King, John Sr.

Birth Name King, John Sr.
Gramps ID I2139
Gender male
Age at Death 72 years, 7 months, 10 days


Event Date Place Description Notes Sources
Birth [E1392] 1740-12-05 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Birth of King, John
Burial [E1393] 1813-07-15 Church Hill Graveyard, Franklin, Pennsylvania Church Hill Graveyard
Death [E1394] 1813-07-15 Philadelphia County Pennsylvania Death of King, John


Relation to main person Name Relation within this family (if not by birth)
Father King, Philip Jr. [I2120]
Mother UNKNOWN, Catherine [I2119]
    Sister     King, Elizabeth [I2138]
    Brother     King, Christopher [I2137]
    Sister     King, Hannah [I2140]
    Sister     King, Mary [I2142]
         King, John Sr. [I2139]
    Brother     King, Michael [I2136]
    Brother     King, David [I2141]
    Brother     King, Phillip III [I2113]


    Family of King, John Sr. and Daulton, Catherine [F0666]
Married Wife Daulton, Catherine [I2543]
Event Date Place Description Notes Sources
Marriage [E3301] 1757-09-13 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Marriage of King, John and Daulton, Catherine
  1. King, Samuel [I2544]
  2. King, John Jr. [I2545]


Licensed to preach 1767.
Ordained & Installed August 23, 1769.
Pastor of the Upper West Conococheague
congregation for 42 years.
DAR Marker

He was a member of the Presbytery of Donegal in 1776.

John King was born December 5, 1740, and being a studious boy was placed in a classical school at the age of thirteen, and continued there until he had acquired considerable knowledge of Latin and Greek. He taught school for a time, and came to this neighborhood, where he had a sister living, and for three years taught school. The Indian was increasing, and his sister, with whom he made his home, being killed by them, also the fact of his school declining, decided him to return to his home in Lancaster county. He remained for a year, perplexed as to what vocation he should follow in life. After much reflection and prayer, he decided to enter the ministry. He next went to the College of Philadelphia, where he graduated in 1767, studied divinity. After he was licensed to preach, he came to the settlement on a visit, and in the following spring, 1769, he was called to the pastorate of the Upper West Conococheague church, being ordained and installed the following August. At the time of his settlement here the congregation numbered 130 families and the session was composed of the following: William Maxwell, William Smith, John McDowell, William McDowell, John Welsh, Alexander White, John McClelland, Jonathan Smith, William Campbell, Robert Fleming, Samuel Templeton. In 1792 William Waddle, James Crawford, Archibald Irwin, and John Holliday were added to the session, and in 1799 John McMullin, John Johnston, Edward Welsh, William Reynolds, Robert McFarland and John McCullough were added.
Dr. King was here but a few years when the Colonies began to be excited from one extreme to the other on the subject of their connection with Great Britain. They had become more resolute, and determined to maintain their rights and defend them at all hazards. The historical Bancroft says: “The first public voice in America for Dissolving all connection with Great Britain came not from the Puritan of New England, the Dutch of New York, nor the planter of Virginia, but from the Scotch-Irish Presbyterian.”
The crisis had been reached, and the country was in arms. The same spirit which pervaded the country at large, pervaded the minds of the people here, and the spirit of patriotism was kindled in them. In calling out this spirit and fostering it, Dr. King was second to none of the Presbyterian clergymen of his day. He not only volunteered his services and went as Chaplain to the battalion which marched from his part of the country, but many were the sermons preached, and addresses which he delivered in behalf of the liberties of his country. Dr. King labored with great acceptance among his people. The state of the congregation was peaceful and prosperous; at every communion season there were accessions to the membership. He was greatly beloved by his people, and stood high with his brother ministers. They relied on his judgment and came to him for advice. He was honored, in 1792, by being made Moderator of the General Assembly, and in the same year Dickinson College conferred the degree of Doctor of Divinity upon him. He was a man of piety, a fine preacher and faithful pastor. His labors were owned of God, and eminently blessed in building up this church. His marriage record is the longest and best preserved in the Cumberland Valley, and his baptismal record is itself a genealogy of the Conococheague, which reaches over the United States.
During Dr. King’s ministry the original church building was twice enlarged. It stood across the road, just opposite the gate into the graveyard, and the land adjacent was all owned by the congregation. It was covered with the old primeval trees, which served as shade and hitching places for the horses…
Dr. King married Miss Elizabeth McDowell, a member of his church, and their home was a large house built on a hill a half mile from Bridgeport. It is still standing, well preserved. Dr. King was pastor of this church for forty-two years, during the last four years of which he was greatly afflicted with rheumatism and was obliged to preach sitting in a chair in the pulpit. This chair is still owned by the congregation, has an honored place in the church and is cherished as a sacred relic. Fearing his usefulness was at an end, he resigned his charge September 11, 1811. He became entirely helpless, but lived until July 15, 1813. His remains lie in the old graveyard at Church Hill, where stood the old church in which he so faithfully preached the Gospel of Christ. A marble tombstone was erected over his grave, bearing this beautiful inscription: “As a tribute of respect to the memory of the Rev. John King, D.D., upwards of forty-two years, the able, learned and faithful pastor of the congregation of Upper West Conococheague, whose life exhibited the beauty of holiness; whose death declared the triumph of the cross, this monument is erected by the grateful children of his pastoral care. ‘They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars forever and ever.’”

(Old Mercersburg, By The Woman's Club of Mercersburg Pennsylvania, Grit Publishing Co., Williamsport, PA. Second Edition 1949. pp. 123-124.)

Book that mentions Rev. John King and his involvment in the American Revolution. --History of the Presbyterian Church of Upper West Conococheague, now Mercersburg, Franklin County, Pennsylvania


  1. King, Philip Jr. [I2120]
    1. UNKNOWN, Catherine [I2119]
      1. King, Elizabeth [I2138]
      2. King, Christopher [I2137]
      3. King, Hannah [I2140]
      4. King, Mary [I2142]
      5. King, John Sr.
        1. Daulton, Catherine [I2543]
          1. King, John Jr. [I2545]
          2. King, Samuel [I2544]
      6. King, Michael [I2136]
      7. King, David [I2141]
      8. King, Phillip III [I2113]