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The dividing line between the agricultural and the business classes is becoming more uncertain and in time may become very obscure if it is not entirely obliterated. Business men combine farming with their commercial and financial enterprises and farmers combine business enterprises with their farming operations. Among the prominent men of Atchison county, Kansas, who are both farmers and men of affairs Samuel Elliott King occupies a conspicuous position. Mr. King is an enterprising, successful man, some account of whose antecedents and of whose experiences and achievements will be of interest in this connection.

Samuel Elliott King was born in De Kalb, Buchanan county, Missouri, October 2, 1847, a son of Preston R. King, a pioneer merchant of Mount Pleasant, Atchison county, Kansas, and elsewhere. Preston R. King was a native of Bowling Green, Kentucky, and was born in 1820. In 1839, at the age of nineteen years, he took his fortune into his own keeping and went to Indiana, where he soon afterward married Lucinda Lorance, a North Carolina lady, who died in Atchison county, Kansas, in 1857, aged thirty-two.

In early life Preston R. King learned the trade of a tailor, and it was as a tailor that he came to Kansas in 1854, but he possessed the business instinct and saw the advisability of acquiring land in a new and promising country when he could get it cheap. He took up the southeast quarter of section 3, township 17, range 20, which is now the property of the immediate subject of this sketch. At that time he was a poor man, whose only capital was days work and ability of a good quality. He was seeking in the west opportunities for a cheap home and a chance to establish himself in business under favorable circumstances.

Mr. King found himself a member of a representative Kansas community of those days -- a community made up of men of pluck and spirit who had a common cause and whose sympathies were mutual and generous. He engaged in selling goods at Mount Pleasant, then one of the thriving villages of Atchison county, and during the succeeding twenty-five or thirty years was identified with the trade of Atchison, Winchester and Waterville, Kansas, and De KaIb and Missouri City, Missouri. He invested in land in Atchison county and became one of the largest owners of real estate within its limits.

Upon the organization of Atchison county Mr. King was elected its first treasurer and he also filled the office of judge of the county court. Politically he was a Democrat, long influential in the councils of his party. He was without extensive learning, yet at all times in all emergencies he was master of the situation and met questions and conditions with a firmness, ability and just disposition that won for him such plaudits as were accorded to trained jurists and experienced men of affairs of the present day. His success was very remarkable. When he retired it was to his old home in De KaIb, Missouri, where he died in 1891.

The children of Preston R. and Lucinda (Dorance) King were as follows: G. F., now a resident of Holton, Kansas; Samuel Elliott; and Nancy, who is the wife of D. T. Fitzpatrick, of Mount Pleasant township, Atchison county. Samuel Elliott King spent his youth in his father's store, attended the public schools and completed his education at the business college in St. Joseph, Missouri. He engaged in farming about the time he attained to his majority, and possessing a business capacity suited to various conditions has since then divided his time between the farm and the city. His financial success has been noteworthy and he is now one of the large land-owners of Atchison county.

In 1869 Samuel Elliott King was married, in Buchanan county, Missouri, to Mary Ivy Henderson, daughter of W. K. Henderson, a native of Tennessee, and one of the early settlers of Leavenworth county, Kansas. They have a daughter, Mamie Catherine, aged five years.