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The TALES you probably never heard about

Dr. Richard S. King {1817-1885}

{compiled by “S”}

Dr. Richard King was born in county Wexford, Ireland in 1817. He graduated from the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin. He practiced in Manchester, England, before emigrating to Canada in 1844. He came to Fort Erie and lived with his brother-in-law, Dr. Morris. He first practiced in Humberstone. In 1846 he moved to Port Robinson to succeed Dr. Campbell.

Port Robinson was a busy area and he was joined by Dr. Augustus Jukes and Dr. John MacFarland.

Dr. King, along with Captain Verner of Port Colborne organized the Welland Canal Field Battery for the purpose of protecting the Welland Canal. This unit was voluntary, manned by men living along the waterway and Dr. King became the captain in charge.

The Fenian Raid in 1866 was an important event for the Welland Canal Field Battery. The day after the Fenians arrived in Fort Erie, on June 1st, 1866, Dr. King and his unit, along with the rest of the militia, were located in Port Colborne.

A daring plan was conceived to surprise the Fenians by attacking them from the river at Fort Erie. Early in the morning of June 2, 1866, the tug boat Robb left Port Colborne with Major Dennis in charge, and some men from the Dunnville Naval Brigade, along with Dr, King and a number of the Canal Field Battery and Captain Akkers. This group totaled 68 men. The trip to Fort Erie was uneventful, except that to avoid suspicion nearly everyone had to remain below deck. They landed at Fort Erie, there the party to split into two groups. One moving half a mile in from the river, and the other along the river road and both marched north to Black Creek. Enroute  several prisoners were captured. Then everyone embarked on the Robb, which had been following them down stream and returned to Fort Erie and tied the boat to a wharf. At this moment the unit was told that 800 Fenians were in the town. The men were first ordered to board the Robb and then this order was changed and they formed a line on the wharf. Thus a force of 64 men suddenly found themselves confronted with 800 Fenians, all experienced soldiers. Major Dennis disappeared and did not contact any of the unit until the following day..

The men of the Robb held their ground. Dr, King was hit in the ankle, he emptied his revolver and jumped over the side of the wharf where he was found hanging onto the pier.

The fight was short duration and they all  became prisoners of the Fenians. Colonel O’Neill in command of the Fenians allowed Dr Morris to take Dr, King to Buffalo. There his leg was amputated below the knee. On his return to Port Robinson Dr. King was greeted as a local hero. He disembarked at the lock, which stands in the centre of the village.

Dr, King received an inscribed sword from the citizens of Fort Erie and another from the county of Welland

For many months after the Fenian Raids, permanent troops were stationed along the Welland Canal .

By 1870 Dr. King had been promoted to the rank of Major and was in charge of all militia in the district. He retired with rank of Lieutenant Colonel

Dr. King was a conservative. He had one unsuccessful entry into politics in 1872, when he ran for the federal seat and was defeated by W.A. Thomson, the reform candidate.

Dr. King’s wife was Elizabeth(Jane) There is recorded in the registry of St Mark’s church, Port Robinson the death of Elizabeth King due to acute fever. She is buried in the Drummond Hill Cemetery.

Dr. Richard King died August 5, 1885 in Welland county. His death was caused by Atrophy of the liver, six months.

His house was located on Canby Street on the north side, second east of the tracks. The house was larger at one time and faced a large garden on the east side. The canon now located in front of the Welland county buildings was owned by Dr. King and graced this garden.

There is note of an auction sale appearing in the Welland Tribune, on September 4, 1885 “On Wednesday next, September 9t all the household goods and personal effects (excepting horses) of the late R.S. King will be sold by public auction at the old residence, Port Robinson, sale to commence at 10a,m.. Eight months credit on all sums over $5.00. E.R. Hellems, Auctioneer.

Dr. Richard S. King had a son Dr. Frank King, who practiced in Humberstone and the moved to St. Catharines. He was interested in the military and became a captain in the Welland Canal Field Battery.

Dr. Frank King was born October 15, 1846 in Fort Erie..He married Mary Louisa Wolley Berchall on November 24, 1870 in York.

Dr. Frank King had one son William Birchall King, who as a major fought in the Crimean and First and Second World Wars, In the war of 1914-18 as a Major. He participated in the first and second battle of Ypres, in charge of the 10th Field Battery, which was exposed to the first use of gas. At the time of his death he held the rank of Major General

Dr. Frank King had  7 daughters according to some records,

More information located in “The History of the County of Welland Ontario” Welland Tribune Printing House 1887.

  1. On 15 June 2015, Anna Said,

    Does anyone know who Major Dennis was?

  2. On 22 May 2017, Tim King Said,

    Does anyone know where Dr Richard King was buried?

  3. On 25 May 2017, B Said,

    Hello Tim

    I suggest you contact the Welland Public Library as I see the death notice for Dr. Richard S.King is listed in their genealogy section. Someone can most likely do a newspaper search (microfilm) for you that might give you the information you are seeking.

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