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Wilburn Hill King

1839 – 1910

Wilburn Hill King was born June 10, 1839, in Cullodenville, Georgia. He studied both law and medicine in Americus, Georgia and settled in Cass County, Texas, in 1860. The outbreak of the was found King in Warrensburg, Missouri, engaged in business. He immediately enlisted in the Missouri State Guard and was elected lieutenant of the “Johnson Guards” which became part of the 3rd Infantry Regiment which King led as captain in the Battle’s of Carthage and Wilson’s Creek and where he was wounded. Upon discharge he returned to Texas and enlisted as a private with the 18th Texas Infantry. On May 13, 1862, he was elected major, promoted to lt. Colonel February 25, 1863, and colonel on August 10, 1863. The 18th was attached to McCullough’s (later Walker’s) Texas Infantry Division. The fall of 1863 found the 18th temporarily attached to Tom Green’s cavalry division fighting in Louisiana. In his first action as colonel, King led his troops with “undaunted firmness” successfully attacking in the Battle of Bayou Bourbeau, November 3, 1863. By 1864 the 18th rejoined Walker’s division, and at the April 8, 1864, Battle of Mansfield , they helped smash three Union divisions in a whirlwind assault. King was severely wounded in the attack and spect several months recuperating. On April 16, 1864, Gen. Kirby Smith assigned King to duty as a brigadier. The intention was that king would take command of the Texas brigade formerly led by Camille Polignac, but due to his wounds king was unable to do so until October. In February, 1865, king was assigned to command the newly formed 4th Brigade in Walker’s old division and by the end of the war he was divisional commander.

Upon the collapse of the Confederacy King fled to Mexico and then briefly operated a sugar plantation in Central America. He then returned to Texas and practiced law in Jefferson. In 1875 he moved to Sulphur Springs where he was mayor of the town, a state representative 1875-1881, and adjutant general of Texas 1881 to 1891. After 1891 he retired to his home in Sulphur Springs and devoted himself to Masonic Order affairs. He died on December 12, 1910, in Sulphur Springs and is buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Corsicana.



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