R. D. King - Waco Presbytery
[Source: Minutes of the General Assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 1882, page 40]
It seems to us eminently fitting that on this thanksgiving day Cumberland Presbyterians shall be reminded of their church's humble birth and early heroes. Accordingly the columns of this issue contain many things about our beginnings, with much also of past progress and present prosperity. In examining the still unpublished pictures of "our dead heroes" it occurred to us as a proper acknowledgment of denominational indebtedness to some of our history's greatest, that the picture and biography of Rev. Robt. D. King should embellish this number, not alone be because his own life was so useful and consecrated as to entitle him to a place in the series, but also because he was the son of Rev. Samuel King, on of the church's founders. It has not been possible to secure accurate information as to his birth, conversion and other dates of interest. He died in 1882, after a service of 63 years in the ministry. He probably entered the ministry not later than his nineteenth year, in which case he was about ten years old at the time the Church was being brought into being, Feb. 4, 1810. He was ordained by McGee Presbytery in 1823. From hardship and exposure upon his missionary tours, he was so ill at the time of the ordination that he had to be lifted from his bed that he might receive the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. A letter written by Rev. R. D. King's daughter, Mrs. A. E. Coleman, and dated at Temple, Texas, May 18, 1896, contains the following: I have received your communication in regard to the life and labors of my father. As I am visiting some distance from my home, I have no dates except from memory. He left all his papers with me when he died, but B. W. McDonnold, D.D., requested me to let him use them in compiling the history of our church, which I did. In all his ministerial life of sixty-three years, he never missed an appointment without being providentially hindered. I have heard him say he never missed but one judicature of his church; then he was delirious with fever. He was true to his convictions. He loved his church, and thought he was serving God and his cause when he was preaching a free and unlimited atonement. He was called by some sectarian, but he loved God's people wherever he recognized them. He was, however, an uncompromising Cumberland Presbyterian, always ready to give a reason for the hope within him of the gospel he so loved to preach. In company with his father he made a tour of the Church. I think, 1834-1836, traveling on horseback visiting the destitute and weak churches and organizing new ones. When leaving a city or neighborhood they were always urged to remain and break the bread of life. My father entered the ministry at an early age. He could truly say with Paul, "This one thing I do." Like Paul also he was chargeable to no man, although he was a strenuous believer that he who preached the gospel should live of the gospel. He was a staunch advocate of the tithe law. He was twice married, first to a Miss Ewing, a niece of Rev. Finis Ewing; and afterward to a Miss Wear. In his own Texas home the editor of this paper, then a very small boy, remembers to have seen this venerable hero of the Cross, probably about 1873. "Uncle Bobbie" was then, as always, seeking souls. It is recorded of him that he preached a sermon on his deathbed, and that a conversion occurred. Many thrilling things are said of him in the History of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church (McDonnold). Read these incidents on pa. 157, 159, 179-181, 191-5, 261, 635, 641. A perusal of the pages here cited will impress the reader that R. D. King was God's own man for that time and trial--doubtless because full of faith, devoted and tireless because he believed he was a God-sent messenger of salvation, and courageously loyal to his Church because he believed in its doctrines and its noble destiny. Let us thank God to-day for our inheritance, for verily we are the heirs of much of the loftiest Christian zeal and self-sacrifice in all this great century of religious achievement.
[Source: The Cumberland Presbyterian, November 26, 1896, page 703]