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First Name: Charles

Last Name: King

Birthplace: Albany, NY, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Date of Birth: 12 October 1844

Date of Death: 17 March 1933

Rank: Lieutenant Colonel

Years Served:
Charles King

•  American Civil War (1861 - 1865)
•  Spanish-American War (1898)


Charles King
Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army

Charles King was born on 12 October 1844 in Albany, NY.

King was from a distinguished family which included his great grandfather, Rufus King, a signer of the U.S. Constitution; grandfather, Charles King, president of Columbia College (now University); and father Rufus King, a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy and a Union Major General during the Civil War.

Charles King also graduated from the Academy, in 1866. He served as a Lieutenant in the 5th U.S. Cavalry and, while serving in Arizona in 1874 under George Crook, was wounded in the arm and head during a fight with Apache Indians during the Battle of Sunset Pass. The wound eventually forced his retirement from the Regular Army in 1879 with the rank of Captain. Before his retirement, he saw service in Arizona and on the northern plains. During this time he became acquainted with Buffalo Bill Cody. King would later write scripts for several of Cody's silent films.

In the spring of 1885, King (at that time Captain) was riding in the area of Delafield, WI, after visiting the Cushing homestead on the Bark River (present day Cushing Park) and the parents of the three historic Cushing Brothers. Captain King came upon a man dressed in a bathrobe drilling young men with broomsticks. Watching this futile exercise by toy soldiers, King began to chuckle. Reverend Sydney T. Smythe asked what was so funny, and the reply was, "I mean no disrespect, sir, but let me show you how it is done." He then proceeded to teach the young men the West Point Manual of Arms. The now impressed Head Master of the St. Johns Military Academy (now the St. John's Northwestern Military Academy) inquired as to the gentlemen's name. Upon answering, Smythe shook hands and inquired on the spot of King's availability.

In 1898, King was appointed Brigadier General of Volunteers and sailed to the Philippines during the Spanish-American War. The fighting with Spain was over by the time he arrived, but he assisted in the surrender negotiations.

During the following Philippine-American War, King was placed in command of the 1st Brigade in Henry W. Lawton's Division. He led his Brigade during the Battle of Manila and sailed for Santa Cruz with Lawton's Division. He was incapacitated by sickness during the Battle of Santa Cruz, but he returned to fight in the following Battle of Pagsanjan. He took part in the final major campaigns before the fighting turned primarily to guerilla warfare.

He returned to the U.S. and was active in the Wisconsin National Guard and in training troops for World War I. He wrote and edited over 60 books and novels. Among his list of titles are Campaigning with Crook, Fort Frayne, Under Fire and Daughter of the Sioux.

King and his wife lived in the Carlton Hotel in Milwaukee. He commuted daily by train to Saint John's Military Academy. He routinely sat on the porch of the Holt House on campus and told the cadets, which included his grandson, tales of the old west.

He was credited with nearly seventy years of active service with the military. A prolific author and editor of over sixty-two books among which is the classic, "Campaigning With Crook." 

Death and Burial

Charles King died on 17 March 1933 in Milwaukee, WI. He is buried at Forest Home Cemetery in Milwaukee, WI.

Honoree ID: 2708   Created by: MHOH




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