52 Ancestors #2: Joseph D. King

Since I started the 52 Ancestors Challenge a week late, I’m publishing two ancestor posts back to back in order to catch up. While I probably won’t be following the weekly themes every time, this one was a bit too easy to pass up. The theme is “King,” which happens to be a surname in my family tree. Joseph King is the only one of my 2nd great grandparents that I haven’t been able to find parents for. Most of his life history has been maddeningly elusive, but I may be about to break through that brick wall. Joseph King is, of course, a very common name. The question right now is whether I can link two individuals and prove that they are in fact the same person. Right now there are circumstantial similarities, but no real evidence. I’m waiting on a record file I ordered to see if it can help me solve this problem of identity.

Joseph D’Arby King of South Carolina

The earliest record I have found that definitely belongs to my ancestor is his marriage license to my 2nd great grandmother, Hattie Bussey. On May 8, 1893, a marriage took place in Richmond County, Georgia between Joseph D. King of Chicago, Illinois and Hattie E. Bussey of Augusta, Georgia. Hattie was born in Edgefield County, South Carolina, which is near Augusta, and she had relatives on both sides of the state line. Although I have no direct evidence of Joseph or Hattie’s religion, there is evidence that much of the extended Bussey family was Baptist.

Joseph was significantly older than Hattie. On the 1900 census, his birth is given as October 1843 in England, while she was born in 1869. They were living in Edgefield County and had four children: Nina, Percy, Ethel, and Cecil. Joseph was listed as a merchant; he may have been the same Joseph D. King who served as postmaster in Clark’s Hill (now part of McCormick County, but then a part of Edgefield) from 1897 to 1904. By 1910, Hattie is married to another man. The only other information I can definitely tie to this Joseph King comes from a delayed birth record filed by his daughter Ethel for herself in 1945. She records that her father was born in Northampton, England and died in March 1904 at Clark’s Hill, South Carolina. She also gives him the middle name of D’Arby.

Reverend Joseph Derby King of Canada

Joseph Derby King was born in 1837 in the village of Long Buckby, Northamptonshire, England. Based on the English census records in 1841 and 1851, he was the oldest child of James and Ann King. Sometime before 1859 he married Charlotte Cooke, also of Long Buckby, and crossed the Atlantic. Apparently they stopped in the US for some time,  as their oldest child William Charles James King was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1859. By 1860 they were in Toronto, where they spent the majority of their married life.

The 1861 Canadian census has a very interesting entry. Members of the household in Toronto include T. F. Caldicott, a 59 year old clergyman; S. Caldicott, 65, male, no occupation; Jos. King, 25, editor; and Charlotte King, in her twenties (the second digit was written over and is illegible), wife, all born in England and all listed as Baptist. Also present are two children, W. C. J. King, male,  two years old, born in Brooklyn, NY, and an unnamed female King child, 1, born in Toronto.

It appears that Joseph and Charlotte were living with Thomas Ford Caldicott. S. Caldicott may have been his brother, Samuel. “Good old Dr. Caldicott,” as he is described in some church history writings, was born in the same village as Joseph and Charlotte in 1801. He came to Canada by 1827 and was a pastor in several Baptist churches in Toronto as well as Boston and Brooklyn. In 1860 he returned to Toronto after 26 years in the US. It would seem that Joseph and Charlotte went with him. I haven’t been able to determine if they were related, or simply stuck together due to their common origin and religion, but in 1862, Joseph and Charlotte named their third child Thomas Caldicott King, so the relationship must have been close.

Joseph, Charlotte, and their children (eight in all) continue to appear on the Canandian censuses in Toronto through 1881. A few other sources such as city directories provide some additional information as well. In 1863, Joseph is listed as editor of the Canadian Baptist, a publication Caldicott was also briefly associated with about that time. In the 1871 and 1881 censuses, he is listed as a Minister of the Gospel and a clergyman; in 1876 and 1880, I find references to him as pastor of the Yorkville Baptist Church, a church started as an outreach of Caldicott’s Bond Street Baptist Church. In 1881 that church had a split over the calling of a pastor named William Brookman the year before, so Joseph must have left the church in 1880. I do not find records of him as an active clergyman after this point.

Charlotte died in Brantford, Brant County, Ontario on June 30, 1891. I’m confident that this was the same Charlotte King: the age and place of birth match, her profession was given as “wife of minister,” she was Baptist, and the informant was J. D. King Jr., Joseph and Charlotte’s sixth child. Between 1885 and 1891, there are some clues as to the family’s life in Brantford – there is an insurance agent named Joseph D. King listed in city directories in 1885 and 1887, one of which gives his wife’s name as Charlotte. There is also a J. D. King in the local militia unit, the 38th Regiment Dufferin Rifles, from at least 1889 to 1891, by which time he was the second lieutenant. If these records belong to the same Joseph King, he must have had a very different career after leaving the church in Toronto.

Further tying the Brantford Kings to the Toronto Kings is a 1891 census record, just months before Charlotte’s death, that raises additional questions. There is a record for an Elizabeth King, of the same age as Charlotte, and six children whose names and ages exactly match Joseph and Charlotte’s youngest six children. That’s too much for a coincidence, so I must assume that Charlotte’s name was given incorrectly – perhaps it was her middle name, or a mistake was made. The curious thing, though, is that while Elizabeth/Charlotte is listed as married, there is no sign of her husband on the census record. At this point I have no clue where Joseph was. Recall, also, that the informant at Charlotte’s death was one of her sons rather than her husband. I have no further record of Joseph Derby King after 1891, although I note that at least three of his children later lived some time in Chicago or other parts of Illinois.


As I said at the beginning, there are circumstantial links but no direct evidence that these are the same man. Joseph Derby King disappears from the record in 1891 around the time of his wife’s death, while Joseph D’Arby King appears in 1893 and marries another woman. Joseph D’Arby King was most immediately from Chicago, while Joseph Derby King had children who lived in Chicago as adults. Both men were from Northamptonshire, England. Although Joseph D’Arby King’s daughter Ethel gave his place of birth as Northampton rather than Long Buckby, this statement was made many years after his birth, and by someone who was only about seven years old when her father died. She could easily have confused the county of Northamptonshire for the town of Northampton. Similarly, we have only Ethel’s report for the middle name of D’Arby; D’Arby, Darby, and Derby are all variants of the same location-based name, and could easily be confused or substituted. Joseph Derby King was a lifelong Baptist and at least for a time, a clergyman; Joseph D’Arby King married a woman from a Baptist family.

The only outright contradictory evidence is the difference in birth dates. Joseph Derby King’s birth in 1837 is consistently documented. Joseph D’Arby King’s birth was reported as October 1843 on the 1900 census. However, censuses are notoriously unreliable sources of birth information, especially that many decades after the event. Given that Joseph D’Arby King was married to a much younger woman and there were young children in the household, whoever gave or recorded the information may have shaved a few years off of his age either mistakenly or deliberately.

In addition, I am not the first to link these two men. Although Ancestry.com member trees are not at all reliable, it is worth noting that there are several trees that include Joseph Derby King and give his death as March 11, 1905 in Clark’s Hill, South Carolina – a date and place that clearly belongs to Joseph D’Arby King. There is no source for this assertion, so it doesn’t prove anything, but it does suggest that someone somewhere had reason to believe that Joseph Derby King came to South Carolina and died there.

Ethel’s DAR record

This is where things get really interesting. At least, this is what has me excited! Last week, I discovered that Ethel King Barnett, daughter of Hattie Ellene Bussey and Joseph D’Arby King, was a member of the DAR, claiming links to three patriot ancestors through her mother’s line. She first joined in 1930, at which time she gave her father’s name as Joseph Darby King, born in November 1844, died February 14, 1905. No locations were given; at that time, the DAR documentation requirements were not as strict as they became later. Notably, she indicated that Hattie was Joseph’s second wife.

In 1969 and 1974, Ethel filed supplemental applications to document two new ancestor lines, which were also approved and recorded by the DAR. At this point, the documentation requirements were stricter and Ethel would have had to produce stronger documentation of the dates and locations of her father’s birth and death, even if she was not claiming a patriot line through him. It appears that when she attempted to obtain this documentation, she found evidence that she had certain facts wrong. These later applications show her father as Joseph Derby King, born September 3 or 5, 1837 in Long Buckby, England, died at Clark’s Hill, South Carolina on March 11, 1905. She linked my Joseph D. Kings!

Needless to say, I immediately ordered copies of the documentation in Ethel’s DAR file and I am waiting eagerly for that package in the mail. I can’t wait to see what Ethel found that led her to believe these were indeed the same man.


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