When I was a boy we had many a hard row on the river up the rapids towards Old Malton, past the Doodles, which then were full of mystery to me, to Wykeham, where the Derwent and the Rye combine their forces.
On this expedition, King’s Mill and orchard Cottage (the house which Mr. Samuel King then occupied) were conspicuous objects, just after passing what I believe has been a ford from Roman times. Still the older men in the town give the name “Jordan” to it, and the historian says that this designation originated in the days when Paulinus baptised Maltonians in the river.
But that is another story. I am concerned now with the late Mr. Samuel King – tall, thin, white-haired, one of the fathers of our town, who lived to be eighty-eight years of age, and when he died was lamented by a large number of people in Malton and its neighbourhood. By trade, Mr. King was a corn miller and factor, and it is one of the commercial disappointments of the locality that in late years he felt unable to continue his business.
Mr. King was also closely connected with the Malton Gas, Light and Coke Co., having taken shares in it shortly after its formation, the year before Queen Victoria ascended the throne. He was secretary and manager for some time, and in 1880 was elected a director, along with Messrs. W. Simpson, Wm. Metcalfe, Henry Pickering, W.G. Searle, John Staniland, and W.H. Rose. He succeeded Mr. Simpson as chairman of directors.
A son of Mr. Samuel King is now one of the directors of the Malton Gas Co., and thus continues the family connection with industrial Malton. Another son resides in York. If I remember right, a daughter married a son of Mr. Bradley, who succeeded Mr. Barnby as the proprietor of the old Malton Gazette.
Mr. King’s connection with the local government of our town began in 1855 with his election to the Local Board of Health, which he served as member or chairman until the Board was given up in favour of the Malton Urban District Council in the year 1894. He was one of a committee to carry out the water supply and drainage of the town, in which work his energy was boundless. If the present generation finds faults in the system, Malton still owes its thanks to those gentlemen who did a very difficult piece of work with less opportunity and information than is available for their successors of to-day. The Board of Guardians was another public body on which Mr. King served.
These interests, along with his participation in the work of the Camalodunum Lodge of Freemasons, which he joined in 1856, practically absorbed the whole of Mr. King’s time. He was always most conscientious and painstaking in the work he undertook. If he did not possess any striking originality, his lavish expenditure of time and energy upon public business certainly entitles him to the grateful remembrance of all Maltonians.
SPECTATOR Bygone Maltonians, XI, Yorkshire Gazette, 21st December 1912
A well-known native of, and almost life-long resident in, Malton, Mr. William Wells King, died 3 November, 1903, aged 74 years. Mr. King was formerly in business with his uncle, Samuel King, a corn factor and miller in Malton. Deceased, who had been ailing for some time, died very suddenly. Mr. King was an old Freemason, having joined the Camalodunum Lodge in 1868. He was senior Deacon in 1872, and was subsequently Worshipful Master of the lodge for two years in succession.
Report: Sheffield Daily Telegraph, 4 November 1903
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