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Thomas Butler King

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's At-large & 1st district
In office
March 4, 1839 – March 3, 1843
March 4, 1845 – March 3, 1850
Preceded by George W. Towns
Alexander Stephens
Succeeded by John B. Lamar
Joseph W. Jackson

Born August 27, 1800
Palmer, Massachusetts
Died May 10, 1864 (aged 63)
Waresboro, Georgia
Resting place Churchyard of Christ Church, Frederica, St. Simons, Georgia
Political party Whig
Spouse(s) Anna Matilda Page (c1800-1859)

Thomas Butler King I (August 27, 1800 – May 10, 1864) was an American politician from the state of Georgia.


Early life

He was born in Palmer, Massachusetts, the son of Daniel King and Hannah Lord. He attended the Westfield Academy in Massachusetts and studied law under his brother, Henry King in Allentown, Pennsylvania. He was admitted to the bar in Philadelphia in 1822. In 1823 he traveled with his brother, Stephen Clay King, to southeast Georgia and practised law in Waynesville, Georgia. In 1824 he married Anna Matilda Page (c1800-1859), the daughter of a cotton planter who owned the Retreat Plantation on St. Simons Island. After the deaths of Anna's parents, the Kings made Retreat Plantation their home. They had ten children who survived to adulthood. King made improvements to the Retreat property and in the 1820s bought other neighboring lands and plantations. He later lost these properties to his creditors, when the cotton economy collapsed in the 1830s.


King was elected to the Georgia Senate in 1832 to represent Glynn County, Georgia. He served in that position in 1834, 1835, and 1837. He was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1838 as an at-large Georgia representative to the 26th United States Congress. Once elected to the U.S. Congress, King allied himself with the Whig Party, continued the promotion of transportation, including the railway across the isthmus of Panama. He was also a supporter of the United States Navy. He expected to be appointed as the Secretary of the Navy under U.S. President Zachary Taylor, but was not chosen. King accepted an appointment as Taylor's special agent to the nascent state of California. King stayed on in California as collector of the Port of San Francisco under President Millard Fillmore, failing twice in bids to represent the new state as their U.S. Senator. He then went to work as a lobbyist for the Southern Pacific Railroad Company.


King returned to Georgia in 1859 to bury both his oldest son, Thomas Butler King II (c1820-1859), and his wife, Anna. He also served another term in the Georgia Senate in 1859. In 1861, King accepted the post of Georgia's representative to the courts of Europe and again left his plantation in the hands of his overseer. King returned from Europe in 1862 and died in Waresboro, Georgia, on May 10, 1864. He was buried in the churchyard of Christ Church on St. Simons Island.

See also


United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
George W. Towns
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's At-large congressional district

March 4, 1839 - March 3, 1843
Succeeded by
John Basil Lamar
Preceded by
Alexander H. Stephens
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's 1st congressional district

March 4, 1845 - March 3, 1850
Succeeded by
Joseph W. Jackson


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