King is a relatively new town when compared to the others in Stokes County. At one time, there were four tiny villages in all directions from King’s current location. On September 11, 1812, John Fulk sold two acres to Frederick Fiscus and Adam Fulk on which they built the Bethlehem Lutheran Church. A school was operated there from 1840 to 1864 and the township’s first voting precinct was in this vicinity. This area was about one mile north of present-day King. Trinity Methodist Church was organized nearby in 1873 and H. C. Coe’s general store and shoe shop were also at this site.
M.T. Choplin, a dealer in general merchandise, saddles, bridles, etc., operated a large store at the intersection of Kirby Road and East King Street. Charles King and his wife, Francis Kiser, built a cabin near that location in 1826 on land that was given to Frances by her father, Harmonius Kiser. The general area therefore became known locally as “King’s Cabin.”
The village of Five Forks, so named because of the five roads that converged there, was a lively place beginning about 1871 when a post office was established in that location. Five Forks was on the stage coach road which connected Bethania to the Hollow Road at Trinity Church and continued north. Although the center of business shifted to the King area and the Five Forks post office eventually closed, the construction of Highway 52 and Interstate 74 have encouraged a second growth of business in the Five Forks area in more modern times.
The Hollow Road served King, but there was little business activity there until 1880, when John Wesley Spainhour bought 100 acres from W.M Watts. Lewis Grabs and his sons Lazarus and Virgil purchased a portion of this land from Mr. Spainhour on which they established a large store and manufacturing plant. Once King’s Cabin Post Office opened in March 1888 and the first train came through in June of 1888, the center of town shifted in that direction.
King developed around the new railroad line. S.R. Slate, first postmaster, named the post office “King’s Cabin” because the area had been known by that name for 60 years. King would only have been a whistle stop on the railroad had it not been for the far-sighted planning of the Spainhour, Grabs, Slate, and a few other families. Although the railroad had gotten right of way across D.N. Dalton’s property by promising not to build a depot, the business leaders built the depot and then sold it to the railroad for $1.00. The railroad changed the name to King, the post office did the same in 1894 and the town of King began.
Public-spirited citizens and community cooperation have always been an important part of King. Just as the depot was built by local volunteer labor and funding, so too was the octagonalshaped “Tabernacle”, constructed for trials, entertainment, preachings and other public meetings.
A two-room elementary school was established in 1896. The County Board of Education later approved a high school for the community. Local citizens cooperated to elevate the existing building and to construct two rooms beneath. In 1915 a four-room schoolhouse was built on the location of present day King Elementary School.
King is a bustling small city today with large schools, many churches, shopping centers, manufacturers, businesses, a public library, an American Legion post, county fairgrounds, a police department, a fire department, a large recreation center, a public park, the YMCA, and medical and dental services.
These leaders of a century ago set the example for a town noted for its community spirit and citizen involvement. The current citizens of King continue to join together in cooperative efforts to lead the community in progress and growth. King citizens are proud to be close enough to urban areas to enjoy those opportunities, and yet far enough away to preserve their hometown values.