Lisa A. Neely, archivist for the King Ranch, was guest speaker at the monthly Daughters of the Republic of Texas(DRT) held at Driscoll Children's Hospital on Saturday, Mar. 8.
Neely spoke about the life of Henrietta Marie Morse Chamberlain King, telling the group that Henrietta was born in 1832 in Booneville, Missouri, daughter of Presbyterian Minister Reverend Hiram Chamberlain and his first wife, Maria. Three years later her Mother died so her father raised her with strong Christian character.
When Henrietta was 18 she received her education at Holly Springs Female Institute, in Springfield, Missouri, graduating in 1845. Later her father was called to Brownsville, Texas to serve the Rio Grande Female Institute in Brownsville, Texas.
Soon Henrietta was hired as a teacher at the Institute where she taught English to students whom spoke Spanish as their native tongue. She, in turn, learned fluent Spanish from her students.
It was in South Texas that she met and married Captain Richard King. King came with Mifflin Kenedy to Texas in 1847 and became involved in the steamboat business which later evolved into King and Kenedy Co. King speculated in land and cattle, prospered and built a home for his new bride when they married in 1854.
The couple had five children together. Henrietta watched and learned the business from her husband and when he died she took over management in 1885. Under her control the family prospered and controlled 1.2 million acres, gained right of way for the railroad in South Texas, contributed land for town sites, built churches, schools and hospitals in South Texas.
Henrietta died on Mar. 31, 1925. Her obituary in the local newspaper stated, “She remained ever true to her inherited trust, and more often sought opportunity to aid the cause of Christianity and church endeavor. Her generosity did not cease with these gifts, for every righteous cause has met with favor in her eyes for many years by every faith seeking aid in the spread of the Gospel.”
The Daughters experienced another highlight of the meeting when Mrs. Mary Nell Day was installed as a new member of the group.
The Daughters greatly appreciated and enjoyed Lisa Neely taking time to meet with them and inform them about the life of Henrietta King. It was a most informative and enjoyable talk. Thank you, Lisa.