James Gore King

May 8, 1791
October 3, 1853
Home Town:
New York, NY
Later Residences:
London, England
Paris, France
Boston, MA
Weehauken, NJ
Sarah Gracie King (February 4, 1813)
Biographical Notes:
James Gore King was the son of Rufus and Mary (Alsp) King. He had been named after his father's close friend and Harvard classmate Christopher Gore. King was never admitted to the Bar and instead went on to great prominence as an international banker and businessman. In the War of 1812, he served as an Assistant Adjutant General in the New York militia. At the end of the war he opened a commission house in New York City.

King and his wife, Sarah Rogers Gracie (the daughter of Archibald Gracie), had four daughters and three sons. In 1818, they established the English house of 'King & Gracie' in which he was senior partner until 1824. King then joined the New York City banking house of 'Prime, Ward & Sands.'

In 1835, King accepted another prominent position as the President ...
Additional Notes:
In February 1811, former Litchfield Female Academy student Elizabeth S. Wolcott, accused King and fellow students William Channing Gibbs and Thomas Sowers Aspinwall of eating her sister Laura Wolcott Gibbs' wedding cake. Elizabeth wrote to her uncle Frederick Wolcott asking him to detain the men in jail and, if necessary, impose a sentence on them for the offense.

The letter is considered an excellent parody of legal procedures being studied at Litchfield Law School and shows the familiarity of young women with legal terminology.

Elizabeth S. Wolcott, NYC
[Uncle] Frederick Wolcott, Litchfield
24 Feb 1811

Dear Uncle,
I sent by Mr. W. Gibbs a small trunk containing pieces of Laura's wedding Cake, directed to Aunt Wolcott Mrs. Reeve ...

Years at LLS:
Other Education:
Studied at Harrow in London, England from the age seven to ten and then was sent to the Paris Ecole Polytechnique from the ages of ten to thirteen. He was then tutored for Harvard College by Rev. Dr. J. S. J. Gardiner, the Rector of the Trinity Church in Boston, MA, and graduated from Harvard in 1810 at the age of nineteen.

Profession / Service
Business; Political Office
Training with Other Lawyers:
He began reading the law with Peter Van Schaick of Kinderhook, NY before attending the Litchfield Law School.
Political Party:
Federal Posts:
U.S. Representative (NJ) 1849-1851

Related Objects and Documents
In the Ledger:
help The Citation of Attendance provides primary source documentation of the student’s attendance at the Litchfield Female Academy and/or the Litchfield Law School. If a citation is absent, the student is thought to have attended but currently lacks primary source confirmation.

Records for the schools were sporadic, especially in the formative years of both institutions. If instructors kept comprehensive records for the Litchfield Female Academy or the Litchfield Law School, they do not survive. Researchers and staff have identified students through letters, diaries, family histories and genealogies, and town histories as well as catalogues of students printed in various years. Art and needlework have provided further identification of Female Academy Students, and Litchfield County Bar records document a number of Law School students. The history of both schools and the identification of the students who attended them owe credit to the early 20th century research and documentation efforts of Emily Noyes Vanderpoel and Samuel Fisher, and the late 20th century research and documentation efforts of Lynne Templeton Brickley and the Litchfield Historical Society staff.

Catalogue of Litchfield Law School Hartford, Connecticut: Press of Tiffany, Case and Company, 1849.

Litchfield County Bar Association Records, 1810, Litchfield Historical Society, Helga J. Ingraham Memorial Library.
Secondary Sources:
Cole, Arthur H. "College Expenses of 1806-1810." Harvard Alumni Bulletin 31 Jan 1936.

Brush, Edward Hale. Rufus King & His Times. NY: Nicholas L. Brown, 1926.

Contact Us

Do you have more information for the Ledger?

If you have family papers, objects, or any other details you would like to share, or if you would like to obtain a copy of an image for publication, please contact us at curator@litchfieldhistoricalsociety.org.