RICHARD L. KING, the owner of a fine farm of 120 acres in sections 4 and 9, Waterford township, Oakland County, was born at Ardsley, Westchester County, New York, November 11, 1844, and is a son of John and Eliza (Dobbs) King.
John King was 17 years old when he left his home in Lincolnshire, England, for America, seeking his fortune. When he became prosperous, he sent for his parents whom he had left behind and with filial care watched their declining years. He spent three years with Captain Wilsey on a Hudson River boat and later owned and commended a boat of his own. He bought a small farm on the river and carried produce to the city of New York. Finding the raising of cucumbers profitable, he devoted his acreage mainly to that vegetable and supplied pickle factories in the metropolis. The growth of this industry induced him to continue the culture, where the soil had been found particularly suitable to the growth of cucumbers, and the result was that he accumulated large means from this source alone. He was a man of public spirit and exemplary character and died respected and esteemed at his home in Westchester County at the age of 54 years. The mother of our subject was born in Westchester County, New York, and was a daughter of Nathaniel Dobbs, a family name well known in the State of New York.
The following six children survive of the 10 children born to John and Eliza (Dobbs) King: John, who is a prominent citizen of Ardsley, New York, a justice of the peace and for 20 years a Sunday-school superintendent; Elizabeth, a resident of historic Dobbs' Ferry, on the Hudson; Mrs. Sarah Cole, of Ardsley, New York; James T., now of Ardsley, New York, formerly for 40 years a police court officer in New York City, with a salary of $1600 per year; George W., who is a master mechanic at Ardsley; and Richard L.
Mr. King's boyhood was spent on a farm and in a neighboring factory, and he obtained his education in the common schools. At the age of 18, with the assistance of his father, he engaged in a grocery business at Ardsley and continued some 10 years, during this time being interested with his father and brothers in growing cucumbers for the manufacture of pickles. At that time Westchester County was the commercial center of the trade. it was in the extension of this business that Mr. King came to Michigan in 1872, buying his farm of 120 acres, starting into the growing of cucumbers, and other garden produce, and his example was profitably followed by other farmers. He continued actively in this business for 15 years and then entered into general farming, now making the raising of small fruits a specialty, berries in particular. He is a large dealer in apples, buying the bulk of the fruit raised between Holly and Detroit, and his customers include private parties all over the country and in Austria, Germany, Ireland, England and France. During the past year he shipped over 200 cars of bulk apples and many barrels, and bought 20,000 bushels for evaporating and 40,000 for vinegar. He has so arranged his various lines that he can produce his own evaporated apples and his own vinegar, as he owns a cider mill at Waterford. He handles only reliable fruit and raises such choice varieties as the "Warefield," "Haviland" and "Jessie" strawberries; the "Cuthbert" red raspberries and the "Lawton" blackberries. While Mr. King is one of the leading fruit men of Michigan, he is also so reliable that his name carries with it proof of the excellence of the commodity. His energy and enterprise have made it possible for the dwellers in other less fortunate parts of the world to enjoy the choicest products of the Michigan fruit belt and in even far-off China the home-sick visitor has been regaled with a Michigan apple.
Mr. King married Maggie L. Lefurgy, who is a daughter of John J. Lefurgy, a large pickle manufacturer of Ardsley, New York. The six children born to this union consist of four sons, all married and successful farmers in Waterford township, namely: Irving, Frank C., William R., George and Percy, and one daughter,--May Louise, who lives at home.
In addition to his other interests, Mr. King has engaged in the breeding of Holstein cattle and now owns a very valuable herd of 10 head of thorough-breds, three of these being registered. His cream he converts into ice cream, manufacturing some 800 gallons a season, which, like his other products, receives a ready welcome wherever it is introduced.
Mr. King is a liberal, public-spirited citizen and , while he has devoted close attention to the upbuilding of his own enterprises, has always been interested in the development of all other industries in this section. His progressive methods have encouraged others and the result has been very beneficial to all concerned.