Rev. David H. King, D. D.
By Ex-Mayor Joseph A. Conwell
David H. King was born on December 8th, 1843, in Greene County, Pa. He was the sixth child in a family of eight boys, his father being Joseph King, and his mother's maiden name being Nancy MacClellan. The father died when David was six years of age, and the mother being unable to care for the children they were given away to strangers. David was fortunate in being received into the home of Mr. and Mrs. James Marshall, both being Scotch-Irish Presbyterians, who gave him kind treatment and correct training.
When David was about seven years old the Marshalls moved to West Virginia and were employed in building the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad from Wheeling to Grafton. At ten years of age David aided by driving a horse and cart.
There were no schools in that neighborhood at the time, but Mrs. Marshall being a good scholar and interested in education, she taught her own two children and young David reading, writing, spelling and arithmetic, making no distinction between them. When David was 12 years of age the Marshalls moved to Washington County, Pa. He being inclined to study would take books with him when working in the field. This pleased Mrs. Marshall, and she took the hoe herself and worked in the field and sent David to school.
He was an apt scholar and at 20 became a teacher. He walked three miles to the school building each morning, built his own fires and received $100 for four months' teaching, this being the first money he could call his own.
At the age of 18 he paid his real mother a visit, when they met for the first time since his father's death, 12 years before, and the event was cherished by Mr. King as one of the delightful memories of his life. Five of his brothers served in the civil war and he was preparing to enlist when the war came to a close.
In February, 1866, he became converted during a religious revival and united with the Concord Cumberland Presbyterian Church. He soon felt that he must prepare to preach the gospel. In 1868 he borrowed money to enter college at Waynesburg, Pa., during the summer and taught school in winter and kept up with his class. To save expense he rented a room, did his own cooking and as occasion offered preached in vacant churches. In 1871 he was granted a license to preach by the Pennsylvania Presbytery. He spent the year 1873 in Cumberland University in Tennessee, studied Theology and Hebrew under Dr. Beard. Later he returned to Waynesburg College and graduated with the degree of A. B'. in 1874. After graduating he was ordained as a minister and was installed as pastor of the church at Pun , Pa.
In 1875 he was married to Mary A. Archer, of Washington County, Pa., who died two years later, leaving one child. In 1876 Mr. King attended the National School of Elocution and Oratory in Philadelphia, and was granted a diploma. In 1878 he engaged in evangelistic work. In 1879 he married Miss Ellen A. Ruddell, of West Virginia. In 1880 he became the pastor of the Presbyterian Church at Lonacoming, Md., and in 1887 was called to the First Presbyterian Church of Vineland. In 1890 he was honored by receiving the degree, Doctor of Divinity, frorrr Waynesburg College, his alma mater.
In 1892 Dr. King instituted "Old Folks' Day," its observance taking place on the second Sunday of September. For 23 years Dr. King with enthusiasm and zeal celebrated Old Folks' Day without missing a single service and the prominence he gave the occasion caused many other churches throughout the country to adopt the custom so enjoyed by old people.
In 1904 Dr. King went as a delegate to the World's Sunday School Convention to Jerusalem and the Holy Land. He visited Egypt and Rome and other places of interest.
He retired from the Vineland church in 1912, locating at Millville Manor. His health having improved, he supplied the Presbyterian Church in Wildwood most acceptably from 1917 to 1920.
Becoming enfeebled in health he moved to Hollywood, California, in May, 1921, and built a new home. His strength, however, continued to fail, and on October 4th, 1921, after being up and around the new home he had occupied for only ten days, he lay down to rest and within a few minutes passed away.
Dr. King is survived by a widow; one son, Raymond, living in Philadelphia; two daughters, Vera X. and Mrs. Zeta Schreckengost, of California, and a granddaughter by his deceased son, Harlan. He was buried near his home in California, former Vineland friends acting as pallbearers, and Rev. I sett, formerly of Millville, officiating.