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King, Wilburn Hill (1839–1910)

David S. Walkup Biography

Wilburn Hill King, Confederate officer, state legislator, and adjutant general, son of Alexander and Mary (Douglas) King, was born in Cullodenville, Georgia, on June 10, 1839. He received his education at Americus, Georgia, and was considering a career in either law or medicine. He started his military career in 1861 as a private in the Third Missouri State Guard Infantry and advanced to the rank of captain. After the battle of Oak Hills (Wilson's Creek) and the Missouri troops' inability to get service in the Confederate States Army, King resigned and moved to Texas.

He enlisted as a private in Company B of Colonel William B. Ochiltree's Eighteenth Texas Infantry. When the regiment was mustered into service on May 13, 1862, King was promoted to major and shortly thereafter to colonel. He was severely wounded at the battle of Mansfield (Sabine Cross-Roads) in April 1864. While in the hospital recovering from his wounds he was promoted to brigadier general by order of Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith on April 16, to date from April 8. After returning to duty King was put in command of Walker's Texas Division but had to transfer to a less strenuous position because of his wound. He took command of Polignac's Brigade, Mouton's Division, when General Polignac departed to France. King was later transferred back to Walker's Division, where he remained until the end of the war.

After the war he went to Central America and purchased a sugar plantation. He then returned to the United States. In December 1867 he married Lucy Furman. The couple left for Central America soon afterward. King returned less than a year later, after the deaths of his wife and infant. He made his home at Sulphur Springs, Texas, and served Hopkins County for two terms in the Texas House of Representatives. From July 25, 1881, until January 23, 1891, he was adjutant general for the state of Texas.

In retirement King wrote a "History of The Texas Rangers," which was included in Dudley G. Wooten's Comprehensive History of Texas (1898). King died in Sulphur Springs on October 12, 1910. His body was taken by train to Corsicana and was met at the depot by a contingent of Confederate veterans from Camp Winkler and a large group of Masons. King was given Methodist funeral rites and a Masonic burial in Oakwood Cemetery, Corsicana.

Confederate Veteran, August 1908, April 1911. Marcus J. Wright, comp., and Harold B. Simpson, ed., Texas in the War, 1861–1865 (Hillsboro, Texas: Hill Junior College Press, 1965).

Time Periods:

  • Civil War

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

David S. Walkup, “King, Wilburn Hill,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed September 30, 2020,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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