1840 – 2012
Kaufman Historical Commission
One hundred and seventy two years ago, in the summer of 1840,
Dr. William P. King established King’s Fort in or near what is
now the city of Kaufman.
Dr. William P. King was probably born around 1800 in either
Virginia and even
He most likely lived in Tennessee where he studied to become a
Doctor. It was on
20 January 1824 in Rutherford Co. Tennessee that he married for
the first time to Sarah M. Edwards.
In Tennessee were born four sons to William and
Sarah, Samuel Hogg born 1826, John Randolph born 1829, William
Owen born 1831 and George Washington born 1833.
During the early 1830’s the lands in
Northern Mississippi were vacated by the Chickasaw
and Choctaw Indian Cession.
This opened up new lands for settlers, thus creating a
land boom. Dr. King
must have been attracted to this new land, for in the Fall of
1837 Dr. King and partner formed a Bank, the first in Northern Mississippi.
Due to the need for the printing of Bank Notes to replace
the scarcity of gold and silver, Dr. King and his partner over
printed and thus with a “run” on the bank could not cover the
notes. It was on 18
December 1838, with a capital of $5000,000, Dr. King with
others, established the Southern Land Company in Vicksburg,
Mississippi, to invest in Texas Land.
Around 1838, Dr. King came to Texas to select and
survey what was to become the King Tract.
In the Spring of 1839, Dr. King came to the actual area
and the survey began.
At this time the frontier settlements in Northeast Texas were
around Clarksville, in
Red River County
and some scattered along the
boundary line. The
nearest settlement South of what was to become King’s Fort was
Houston at Palestine and Parkers Fort at Mexia.
Settlers had not come North into the area of what is now
Kaufman County, due to a large Cherokee settlement, between
this area and that well settled area around Nacogdoches.
The Cherokees had been given certain squatters’ rights by the
They endeavored to obtain title to these lands on which
they had settled in East Texas.
It was early 1838, prior to the Battle of San Jacinto,
after Texas had established its
the Senate of the new republic refused to ratify the treaty made
by Houston and others.
This action of the Texas Senate aroused the anger of the
Cherokees and there was friction between them and the
neighboring white settlers.
Finally, in 1839, three companies of white settlers
invaded the Cherokee grounds and drove them out, the tribe
migrating northward across the Red River.
It was in this conflict, known as the Cherokee War, that
the courageous old Chief Bowl (or Bowles) was wounded and later
shot to death. The
Kickapoos and Delawares who had
settled in East Texas with the
Cherokees were expelled with them in 1839. With the expulsion of
the Cherokees in 1839, the white people of
had only the plains Indians to deal with, largely the Comanche.
Dr. King, on Aug 1839, contracted to survey 90 Leagues and
Labors of land to be known as Kin’s Block.
The contract stated that the survey was to be in a block
and located so as to be near a certain Bluff.
The first attempt to run the survey was in the Fall of
1839. In September
of 1839, a party of 55 men started from
Nacogdoches, but upon seeing some
Indians, returned. Warren Ferris with a group of 44 men
attempted again to survey the land, but were turned back to Nacogdoches by the Indians.
The third try came in October 1839, when Ferris and 60
men with three groups taking three different routes.
When one group was attacked, they all again returned to
In November, still
another try was attempted, and when J.H. Reagan, Ferris
and three others came on to the area and explored, but did not
About this time, Dr. King returned to
where on the 5th of March 1840, married the second wife, Francis
Shortly after their marriage, the couple returned to
On 3 June 1840, Ferris and King left Nacogdoches once again to
survey the King block.
They succeeded; locating these lands in what is now
Dallas, Collin, Rockwall, and
At this time, Dr. King and his party built King’s Fort which
consisted of four cabins enclosed with a tall picket fence
serving as a stockade on approximately three-fourths of an acre.
From the outpost they surveyed the selected land.
Mid 1841, the Texas Army was sent to destroy the village
of a group of Indians that had been causing trouble among the
pioneers. The group
from Fort Houston
was to travel along the East of the Trinity
River, thus passing through King’s Fort.
Four men came ahead of the troops and on 17 July 1841 at
5:00 in the evening, Indians were seen outside the Fort.
They made no attempt to attack, but apparently only
wanted the horses.
The ten men then living in King’s Fort fired back at the Indians
and they left in a cloud of dust leaving behind only one dead
horse, three mules, saddles and a quiver of arrows.
Shortly after Dr. King returned to Nacogdoches and brought
Judge John H. Martin to King’s Fort.
King, Martin and Philip Sublett had surveyed and added 50
more tracts in smaller blocks.
Dr. King and Judge Martin returned to
to bring the family of Judge Martin and perhaps to enlist
additional pioneers to settle on King’s Tracts.
After landing at
Vicksburg, Mississippi in September 1841, both Dr. King
and Judge Martin had contacted Yellow Fever.
Dr. William P. King died the 15th or 16th of September
1841 in Vicksburg.
News of Dr. King’s death reached Texas and Adolphus Sterne, or the mayor of Nacogdoches wrote in his
“This is a great loss to this part of
Dr. King was an enterprising man.
The country near the three forks of the Trinity will be
thrown (Back at least five years, unless some strong effort is
made by his heirs or successors to carry on the work he begun.”
Mrs. King was not able to continue.
She did not leave San Augustine County where she
remarried Mr. Tabor.
Nathaniel Amory acted as administrator de-bonis-non of
the estate of William P. King, deceased in San Augustine County,
where on February 3, 1846 the John B. Cole one league and one
labor of land was sold to William M. Beal.
This was by virtue of Certificate #500 to John B. Cole
and conveyed by Cole to Philip A. Sublett by deed dated July
18th, 1838 and by said Sublett to William P. King by deed dated
August 20th, 1840, recorded in the County Clerks Office in Nacogdoches County
on pages 532 and 533 of Book H.
known as the Kingsborough tract and numbered 93 in King’s Block
By Tabor she had one child, Emily, born circa 1842.
By 1850, Mr. Tabor was deceased and Francis A. Moore
Clark King Tabor is found
listed with the family of William Love.
The Love family had come from San Augustine County and settled
Why Francis Tabor was living with this family has not
been determined; it is likely that they were friends back as far
When in February 1850 the Legislature of Texas changed the
boundaries of Kaufman County,
the geographical center of the County was determined and a
location near that center was to be selected for the County
seat. The first
election was held on June 8, 1850 with five donations placed in
nomination for the County seat.
Donation #1 or the Kingsborough donation was made by
Bennett H. Martin, the Judge of the District Court, in behalf of
Mrs. King for 150 acres.
The issue of the location of the County seat was not to
be determined until March 31, 1851.
Francis A. Tabor then deeded the Kingsborough donation to
the special commissioners on April 17, 1851.
On October 27, 1853, Francis Tabor married for the third time to
William Johnson in Kaufman County.
She was not to live long, dying in May 1854, leaving as
her only heir Emily Tabor.
Mr. Johnson acted as administrator to her estate until he
was replaced by her brother Andrew M. Moore of
It was Mr. Johnson who asked to lay out lots and sell
twelve acres of land in North Kaufman, which is still referred
to as the Moore Addition.
In July 1881, an article appeared in the Kaufman Sun concerning
a petition signed by the citizens of Kaufman and presented to
Court asking that they set aside
sufficient County funds to place a tombstone and iron fence
around the grave of Mrs. King.
A committee consisting of Dr. Pyle, Judge Charlton and
Squire Hindman were appointed to ascertain the amount required
to do the project.
Minutes of the Commissioners Court
do not list an action of the fencing of her gravesite.
years several stories have been passed down as to where this
lady is buried – under a tree in a pasture, under the house on
Pyles Hill, between two oaks or in the
Does it matter these 126 years later exactly where she is
buried? What DOES
matter is that this lady married an enterprising man from
with enough frontier spirit to open up the area
we now call Kaufman County.
As best she could she tried to carry
on the desires of Dr. King, but what can be expected or a
lady, with her husband dead, and the land she owned several days
journey from her current home.