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William S.

Colonel William Smith King (December 16, 1828February 24, 1900) was a United States Representative from Minnesotamarker from March 4, 1875 to March 3, 1877. He engaged in a variety of other activities, including journalism and surveying. He served as a Republican.

King was born in Malone, New York in Franklin Countymarker where he grew up and attended the local schools and did agricultural work. In 1846, he moved to Otsego County, New Yorkmarker and worked as a solicitor for mutual insurance companies. He eventually became editor of the Free Democrat of Cooperstown, New Yorkmarker in 1852.

In 1858, King moved to Minneapolismarker, where he continued in journalism and agriculture. He founded the State Atlas newspaper in 1859. King became known for his strong editorials. Later, he helped create the Minneapolis Tribune, and became a major stockholder in the Pioneer Press in neighboring Saint Paulmarker. There are also indications that he became a principal owner of the Minneapolis Journal.

King served as postmaster of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1861 to 1865 and 1867 to 1873. In 1874, he served as surveyor general of logs and lumber in the . Following that, he served one term during the 44th congress.

In Minnesota, Colonel King also became involved in railroads and related pursuits. There are indications he was among the first people to lay streetcar rails in Minneapolis, perhaps as early as 1867. In 1877, he built a large pavilion at Lake Calhounmarker in the city. A tourism boom was occurring at the time. He later sold it to L. F. Menage, who converted it to a hotel. However, the hotel was eventually destroyed by a fire.

Old King farm
During the 1870s, built his acclaimed 1,400-acre estate. Lyndale Farm reached south from 34th Street to Lake Harriet, allowing ample room to gather choice breeds of cattle for breeding purposes. His herd, including Shorthorn, Ayshire, and Jersey, evolved into the best in the nation—to some, the world’s finest. King’s land, originally located in Richfield, was annexed to Minneapolis in 1867 by the state legislature.

Upon his death in Minneapolis in 1900, his body was interred at Lakewood Cemeterymarker.

It appears that the "Colonel" prefix is probably a nickname rather than an official military rank.


  1. Johnson, Fred (2008) Richfield: Minnesota's Oldest Suburb, Richfield Historical Society

  • Russel L. Olson (1976). The Electric Railways of Minnesota. Minnesota Transportation Museum, Hopkins/H. M. Smyth Co., St. Paul.
  • Lake Calhoun. Accessed May 26, 2004.

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