Monday, April 25, 2011

John King

Last week, while meandering through St. Louis Cemetery in the Highlands of Louisville, I took a couple shots of this imposing grave marker with peculiar architecture. I just liked the look of it.

Tonight, just out of curiosity, I googled the fellow - John King from County Mayo, Ireland - and hit the motherlode. Even with geneaology sites on the web closing in the gaps on many family trees (thanks in large part to the Mormons and their jaw-droppingly complete historical archives in their Granite Mountain Records Vault), sometimes a search isn't very fruitful. But this time, a search brought up this page which tells us more than we could ever want to know about John King.

He married Kate Fox, who was also from County Mayo, Ireland. Then she died on December 28, 1884 and he soon remarried, to Anna Cain - who, interestingly, was also from County Mayo, Ireland.

He had five sons and one daughter. He worked for L&N railroad. He could not read or write but spoke English. In 1900 he lived at 1727 Tyler Avenue, and by 1902 he had moved to 1846 Todd, according to old city directories. At the time of his death due to Bright's Disease in 1924, he was living at 1847 Lytle Street.

John's son William went on to work for L&N railroad himself, lived at 608 31st Street and then 1304 Everett, married Caroline Theodora Droppelman, and died in 1965 at the age of 86 at Norton Hospital. He had Basilar artery thrumbosis from arteriosclerosis and prostate cancer. He attended St. Agnes Catholic Church and was buried at Calvary Cemetery.

John's son Joseph married Delia Burke (from County Mayo, Ireland!) and worked as a "day laborer'. He died in 1927 when he fell off the running board of a moving car.

John's son Timothy worked for a distillery and lived at 1757 Mellwood Avenue. He married an Irish woman named Bridget Haskin. He died of heart problems in 1927 and was buried at Calvary Cemetery.

John's son Patrick was a traveling salesman who married Margaret Agnes Kahoe. Though he lived to 1961, we actually have less data on him than his more short-lived brothers.

The timespace continuum gives me a weird shivery feeling sometimes.

None of this, however, tells me why John's grave is so darn cool looking.


Anonymous said...


your article is very timely i am am John Kings Great Great Niece Eleanor Connell, My mothers maiden name was Patricia King, John King was her father Martins Brother. I only found out John King two days ago, he won the congressional medal of honour twice and was in the US navy as a coal passer! i cant believe the size of the mausoleum either he has a statue in his honour in County Mayo Ireland, John King is carbon copy of my uncle Dennis! I hail from Liverpool England X

Scott Leone said...

I am a professor at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut. One of my courses researches sites made of Stony Creek pink granite, and I ran across your blog post and photo of the unique John King site.

His entire complex looks like it might be made from one of the pink granites of New England, although I can't imagine why a Kentuckian would choose it.

Mr King's history with the railroads might be the connection. If he was invloved in railorading between 1850 and 1930 or so, he would certainly have traveled to Penn Station and Grand Central Station in New York, New Jersey Central, and South Station in Boston, all of which were buil using pink granite from Stony Creek, CT, Westerly, RI or Milford, Mass.
Stony creek granite was America's Stone during its heyday, and was used to build base of the Statue of Liberty, the Booklyn Bridge, Grant's Tomb, Columbia University, and thousands of other landmarks, later including the Key Tower in Cleveland (1991), to name only a few.

Our website, lists as many sites as we can discover, with articles tying together all known associations between the cultural icons of the day.

I would like to include John King gravesite, but will need to investigate it further. The only Kentucky location (that we now know about) to use "America's Stone" is the Lincoln Birthplace Memorial, in Hodgenville, KY. You may know many more.