Man, George could never catch a break. The morning of October 28th, 1855 started out like any other day. George Elisha King, a young 27-year-old father, who had already seen a lot of heartache in his short life, was enjoying a peaceful autumn morning surveying his new homestead along the White River, south of present-day Seattle.

In a short span of time, the star-crossed George had been married twice, divorced once, buried two children and three younger siblings while trekking the Oregon-California Trail to Utah twice. His final trek had begun in Iowa mid-May 1854. George, Mary Susan Kinsley King and their little family arrived in Utah sometime in 1855. But soon after, the restless George bid farewell to his parents and headed off for Fort Hall in hopes of settling down in the northwestern coastal region of Washington Territory. George and Mary arrived in July and quickly purchased land. It appeared things were calming down in George’s life.

George came in from the brisk morning air with an armful of wood, as Mary prepared corn bread and cracked some boiled eggs. George, Mary, five-year old George Alma, and their baby Mary Susan sat down to their breakfast with little George praying over the food. No sooner had they begun to eat when they heard shots fired and a whoopin’ and a hollerin’ outside of their little cabin. Surrounded by White River Native Americans (most likely belonging to the Duwamish tribe), the Kings were trapped. What happened next is unclear, but it didn’t end well for the King family. Mrs. King’s body was found cut open with one breast cut off, and Mr. King was found burned to death. Their two children were kidnapped during the raid.

The youngest child, Mary Susan, was never found, but George Alma King was brought to Fort Steilacoom the following Spring. Reportedly, he had been well cared for by an older Indian named “Spoon Bill” — a nickname he never cared much for. Under the guardianship of family, George Alma returned to life on the east coast, but lived a short life, dying single at the young age of 25 on January 1, 1875 in the New Haven area of Connecticut.

Hell on Earth

 “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven, yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell on earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be cured against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reach the age of reason or those who never will: to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.” —C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock.

 Three Gates

If you are tempted to reveal
A tale to you someone has told
About another, make it pass,
Before you speak, three gates of gold.
These narrow gates: First, “Is it true?”
Then, “Is it needful?” In your mind
Give truthful answer. And the next
Is last and narrowest, “Is it kind?”
And if to reach your lips at last
It passes through these gateways three,
Then you may tell the tale, nor fear
What the result of speech may be.
—Arabian Saying