The King Family

The Three Kings Farm was owned by members of the King family for nearly 150 years. The history of the King family in Chester County starts back in 1740 with a young emigrant named Michael Koenig (Konig). Michael was the son of a Baron in Wittenberg Germany. He was born in 1714, and he was not the immediate heir. The Baron’s land was passed to his oldest brother, and Michael used patrimony money to lease/buy land and pioneer Pennsylvania. Michael leased/purchased over 460 acres in northern Chester County in areas we now call Charleston, Pikeland and Uwchlan Townships. The family house was off of Clover Mill Road. This area is about 5 miles from the Three Kings Farm. Michael and his wife Eva Kathler raised six children in the new world, and he was a prosperous farmer. He gave access of the land and founded the Pikeland Lutheran Church in 1771 which is still in that location today at the hilltop of Clover Mill Road in West Pikeland. Michael was a noted patriot in the Revolutionary War. Michael died in 1790 and is buried in the graveyard of Pikeland Lutheran Church with other members of the extended King family.

Micheal and Eva had six children: Lawrence, John, Philip, Conrad, Mary and Catharine. All of the children raised families in the area. The first King to own Three Kings Farm was the oldest son of Philip (Michael). Philip (Johan Philip Konig) married Mary Angle Moses and they had 6 children: Michael (1785-1863), Anna, Peter, Elizabeth, Eve, and Jacob. Mary was the daughter of another prominent citizen, Johan Adam Moses. There are many Moses in northern Chester County. Philip died in 1824 and is also buried in St. Peters Lutheran cemetery (renamed from Pikeland Lutheran but same location). Mary lived 80 years passing in 1848, and she was the recorded witness for most of the birth certificates, baptisms and wedding in the King family. Somewhere along the way the family name evolved from Koenig to Konig to King.

The 3 sons of Philip and Mary (Michael along with Peter and Jacob) served in the War of 1812 in the same Chester County company, John Beerbower’s Company from 1813-1814. They responded to the call of duty to protect Philadelphia after the original attacks in the Chesapeake Bay. It appears they never saw active combat, but they did work hard building fortifications along the Delaware River south of Philadelphia.

The King brothers returned to Pikeland in 1814 and Michael married Julianna Longenecker in 1815. Michael was a few days short of 30 years old when he married Juliana, who was age 26 at the time. Juliana was the daughter of another prominent local family and members of the same Lutheran church, Jacob and Juliana Longenecker. Michael and Juliana purchased the farm in 1816 from another member of the church, and it was less than 5 miles from his father’s farm and farms of brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles. The Kings first years of marriage were very busy with the births of three children in four years and the building of the big bank barn, which was completed in 1819. The initials of J M K are carved into the stone at the peak of the eve of the bank barn, standing of course for Juliana and Michael King. Michael and Juliana ended up having seven children (5 boys and 2 girls) prior to Juliana’s death in 1829 at the age of 40. Juliana’s first daughter, also named Juliana, was born in 1826 but only lived one year. Little Juliana is buried with her mother in St. Peters Lutheran cemetery next to other King family members.

The sons and daughters of Michael and Juliana King are: William (1816-1866), Philip (1817-1868), Jacob (1818-1831), Henry (1821-1899), Michael (1824-?), Juliana (1826-1827), and Mary (1828-1881)

In 1830 Michael King remarries Anna Rhoads who was age 43 at the time. Michael and Anne did not have any additional children. Catherine Shimer did live with the Kings, but she was Anne’s neice. The date stone on the house is dated 1833, and perhaps that marks the date the house was changed for Anna. Michael and a few other prominent residents of West Vincent founded St. Matthews Lutheran Church in 1833 at a site less than a mile down Matthews Road (road on the North side of the farm). Michael and the members of his family (other than Juliana and little Juliana) are buried there instead of St. Peters, the traditional King family church.

Michael died in 1863 at the age of 78. The family farm was then passed to Henry. Actually, Philip had the first option to buy the farm. When he chose to take money, Henry purchased the family farm. The oldest son, William, was not working the farm in 1860, rather he owned a tavern in Downingtown. Unfortunately William was murdered by a drunken man at the tavern on March 5, 1866. Michael, the youngest son, appears to have moved to Polk County, Iowa. Jacob died at the age of 13 in 1831. So the farm passed in Michael’s will to the two sons who had been working the farm for over 45 years. Philip and Henry apparently worked alongside their father until his death. It appears Philip might of been in poor health when the farm was willed in 1863. Philip died five years later in 1868.

Henry King continued to live on the farm until his death in 1899 at age 78. Henry never married or had children, and late in life he shared the farm with a young couple, George and Sadie Downing. Sadie was Anna’s niece, and she lived at the farm as a child with Michael and Anna. She returned to the farm as a married adult. Henry willed the farm to Sadie upon his death. (George died 1 year prior to Henry) Unfortunately Sadie and George’s only child, Clara, died at age 3, so there was not a surviving heir.

Margaret “Maggie” King Kenney (and husband John Kenney) bought the farm in 1910. Anna King, Michael King’s 2nd wife, was Maggie’s great-grandmother on the Rhoads side of the family (Anna’s first husband was John Rhoads). Maggie’s father, Charlie King, was a descendant of a different King family. It gets confusing, but simply put, Maggie was family too! The Kenneys owned the farm until 1964, or 54 years. In total, the extended King family owned the farm for almost 150 years, 1816 to 1964!