King, John N.

Son of David King, John N. King was raised in Sangamon County, Illinois. Prior to joining his family in Illinois, John attended Bethany College in Bethany, Virginia. After finishing the school year in 1843, he joined his family in Sangamon County. When the Mexican War began, John enlisted in Company D, Fourth Regiment of Illinois Volunteers. He did his war service as a clerk in the quartermaster's office. After the war, he returned to Sangamon County and sought an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy, for which he secured a recommendation from Abraham Lincoln. Failing to gain admission to the academy because he was too old, King engaged in government service in the far west, conducting surveys for the U.S. Army. When the Civil War began, King sought an officers' commission in the Army, travelling in the fall of 1861 from the West Coast to Washington, DC, hoping to secure an appointment. Unable to get a commission in the regular army, King still took an active role in Union military operations, serving on General John G. Parke's staff during the Roanoke Expedition. In February 1862, he received a captain's commission in the volunteers. He participated in the battles of South Mountain and Antietam. Unhappy with his status and duties, King tendered his resignation and left the army for the west, settling in the Washington Territory by February 1863. By December 1863, he had returned to the army and was stationed in Washington, DC. On July 6, 1865, he received brevet to major for efficient and meritorious service. He mustered out of the service on July 7.

Walter B. Hendrickson, ed., "The Happy Soldier: The Mexican War Letters of John Nevin King," Part 1, Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 46 (Spring 1953), 13-14, 15; Abraham Lincoln to Simon Cameron; John N. King to Abraham Lincoln; John N. King to Abraham Lincoln; John N. King to Abraham Lincoln; Francis B. Heitman, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1903), 1:599.