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William Norris King


He was born on 3rd December 1890 Beresford, San Mateo, California, USA the son of Frederic Randolph King (a lawyer) and Edith (nee Boswell). His grandfather was Thomas Starr King an American Unitarian and Universalist minister, influential in California politics during the American Civil War. Starr King spoke zealously in favor of the Union and was credited by Abraham Lincoln with preventing California from becoming a separate republic. He is sometimes referred to as "the orator who saved the nation.

Above his grandfather Thomas Starr King

As part of honors originally paid to Rev. King, he was judged worthy of representing California in the National Statuary Hall Collection displayed in the United States Capitol. In 1913 King was voted one of California's two greatest heroes and funds were appropriated for a statue. In 1931, California officially donated a bronze statue of King to be mounted in Statuary Hall.

On August 31, 2006, however, the California Legislature approved a joint resolution to replace Thomas Starr King's statue in Statuary Hall with a statue of Ronald Reagan. The resolution was authored by State Senator Dennis Hollingsworth, who stated the reason for the resolution as, "To be honest with you, I wasn't sure who Thomas Starr King was, and I think there's probably a lot of Californians like me." He also went on to observe that King was not a native of the state. However, Junipero Serra, who is California’s other contribution to Statuary Hall, was in fact born in Majorca, and Ronald Reagan was born in Illinois.

Bill King was educated at the University of California where he played rugby.

Above the University of California side in 1911.J.Schaeffer (Coach), 2. Pauley, 3. Watts, 4. Hardy, 5. Jordan, 6. W.Christie (Trainer), 7. M.Farmer,(Manager), 8. C.Voltz (Assistant Trainer), 9. C.Phleger, 10. Schwartz, 11. Markwart, 12. King, 13. Evans, 14. Elliott, 15. Stroud, 16. Morris, 17. Allen, 18. Dwiggins, 19. Peart, 20. Dills, 21. H.Phleger, 22. Emerson, 24. Wheeler, 25. Hansen, 26. Brandt.


Above the University of California side in 1911. Back Row (L-R): David Brandt, Harold Ashley, Ray Jordan, William King, George Hansen, Myron Harris, David Hardy, Tio Emerson, Thomas Dills. Middle Row: Edward Watts, Carl Phleger, Irving Markwart, Burton Schwartz, Charles Pauly, Amos Elliott, Clinton Evans. Front Row: Herman Phleger, Charles Wheeler, Chester Allen, Jan Dwiggins, John Stroud, Stirling Peart, Laird Morris.

Above the USA side that played Australia in 1912. Back Row (L-R) Guerin (Olympic RFC) (not used), Robert Howe Fletcher (University of California) (not used), William Norris King (University of California), Chris Martin Momson (Santa Clara University), Karl Ludwig Schaupp (Stanford University), Frank Jacob Gard (Stanford University), James Lee Arrell (Olympic RFC), Warren L. Smith (Stanford University), Chester Arthur Allen (University of California), Eugene Francis Kern (Stanford University) (not used), Glasscock (Olympic RFC) (not used), Phillip Frederick Harrigan (Stanford University). Front Row: Charles Allphin Austin (Olympic RFC), Augustus Mudge Sanborn (Stanford University), Joseph Louis McKim (University of California), Stirling Benjamin Peart (University of California), Laird Monterey Morris (University of California) (Captain), Benjamin Edward Erb (Stanford University), Ralph Matthews Noble (Stanford University), Louis Cass (Stanford University) (not used) , Bertram Risling (Stanford University) (not used).



In the match against Australia the USA were beating the Olympic Champions 8-6 with five minutes to go before Australia finally won 12-8.

Above the 1913 University of California rugby squad. Back Row (L-R): Cerf, Fleming, King, Fletcher, Dills, Voltz (Trainer), Schaeffer (Coach). Second Row: Peart, Saunders, Miller, Hoskins, Douglas, McKim, Donald (Manager. Third Row: Allen, Carpenter, Stroud (Captain), Morris, Evans, Brant. On Ground: Hazeltine, Fish.

He played rugby twice for the USA in 1912 against Australia and 1913 against the All Blacks.

Above the USA side that played New Zealand in 1913. Back Row (L-R): Daniel Brendon Carroll (Stanford University), Clark Lewis Boulware (not used) (Stanford University), Haley (not used) (Stanford University), William Pettigrew Darsie (Stanford University), Herbert Rowell Stolz (replacement) (Stanford University), Brant (?) or Flemming (not used) (?), Joseph C. Urban (Stanford University), A.Knowles (replacement) (?), Charles A. Austin (Olympic), G.Voight (Santa Clara University), Frank Jacob Gard (Captain) (Stanford University), Roland Roy Blase (Stanford University), William Norris King (University of California). Front Row: Forbes (not used) (?), Stirling Benjamin Peart (University of California), Joseph Louis McKim (University of California), G.Glasscock (Olympic), E.B.Hall (Stanford University), Benjamin Edward Erb (not used) (Stanford University), Louis Cass (Stanford University), Mowatt Merrill Mitchell (Los Angeles Athletic Club), Quill (not used) (Santa Clara), J.A.Ramage (Santa Clara University).

Above University of California rugby squad 1914. 1. Christie (Assistant Coach), 2. Hunt, 3. Brant, 4. Fleming, 5. Schaeffer (Coach), 6. King, 7. Lockhart, 8. Sanders, 9. Fenstermacher, 10. Volz, 11. Donald (Grad. Manager), 12. Russell, 13. Lane, 14. Abrams, 15. Peart (captain), 16. Hazeltine, 17. Gianelli, 18. Canfield, 19. Fish, 20. McKim, 21. Crane.

After rugby he was a rancher.

He died in 1937


© Patrick Casey, 2011
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