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Andrew Jackson King (1833–1923) or A. J. King, an early settler who played a part in the early history of the city of Los Angeles and held both State and city offices as a lawman, lawyer, legislator and judge.

Andrew Jackson King was born in Cherokee Purchase Land in Union County, Georgia. Later his father, Samuel King, who was a tanner and a saddler, took the family to Helena, Arkansas. In 1849 the family moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico Territory. In 1852, Samuel King brought his family and forty or fifty other families of pioneers overland to El Monte El Monte the oldest American settlement in Los Angeles County, located along the San Gabriel River, was inhabited by a mixture of emigrants, largely Texans. The King family laid out a town there which was called Lexington.

King studied law in Los Angeles with Judge Hayes, the first district Judge of the County. Then these two young lawyers and Judge Scott opened a law office on Main Street a short distance south of the Plaza. King became the first County Clerk of San Bernardino County in 1853.

In March, 1854, A. J. King was one of the members of the California Militia Company called the Monte Rangers, organized by John G. Downey and others.[1][2] The unit was active operating against Indian raiders and bandits that plagued Southern California after they were driven out of the San Francisco and the northern gold fields by vigilantes.

In 1859 King was elected a member of the California State Assembly and was on the committee which located the site for the State Capitol. From 1861 to 1865 A. J. King served as an Undersheriff of Los Angeles County and made many arrests. During the secession crisis of 1861, he tried to form another militia Company like the Los Angeles Mounted Rifles, the Monte Mounted Rifles, both units with secessionist sympathies. On Apri 26, 1861, the Monte Mounted Rifles asked Governor Downey for arms. However soon afterward when Fort Sumpter had been fired on, A. J. King, paraded the streets of Los Angeles, carrying a portrait of the Confederate general, Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard. He was arrested by the U.S. Marshal for the southern district of California, Henry D. Barrows, and brought before Colonel Carleton, who made him take an oath of allegiance to the Union and released him. Meanwhile the governor sent the arms, but army officers at San Pedro held them up preventing the formation of the Monte Mounted Rifles. He also did not flee to the Confederacy with the Los Angeles Mounted Rifles, and in 1862, he was married to Laura Evertson, and remained in office as Undersheriff to 1865.

While Undersheriff, King's investigation of the murder of the wealthy ranchero John Rains resulted in a bitter feud with Rain's friend and brother-in-law Robert Carlisle when he failed to get a conviction the suspected murderer Jose Ramon Carrillo. The dispute festered between the friends and families of both men for some time and became known as the King-Carlisle Feud. At a ball held in Los Angeles on July 5, 1865, Carlisle attacked King but friends separated the men. The next day, King's brothers, Frank and Houston, had a shoot out with Tom Carlisle inside the saloon of the Bella Union Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, resulting in the death of Frank King and Robert Carlisle.[3]

In 1865 he became a law partner of Judge Murray Morrison. From 1865 to 1870 he was also one of the proprietors and editors of the Los Angeles News. In 1866 and 1867 he was City Attorney and in 1869, County Judge. In 1873 he printed and published the first city directory. He was one of the founders of the County Agricultural Society in 1871. He was active in aiding and inaugurating many of the early municipal projects of the city of Los Angeles.

On October 14, 1923, Judge Andrew J. King died at his home in Boyle Heights, 90 years old and the oldest member of the bar in Los Angeles.



  1. ^ Monte Rangers
  2. ^ Military Units in Southern California, Part II Los Angeles, Monte Rangers
  3. ^ Harris Newmark, Sixty Years in Southern California, 1853-1913, containing the reminiscences of Harris Newmark, Edited by Maurice H. Newmark, Marco R. Newmark, Nickerbocker Press, New York, 1916.


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