Married with Children–Victorian Style

Frances KingWife of Horace KingTroup County Historical Society

Frances King
Wife of Horace King
Troup County Historical Society

As I searched for a 19th Century Southern Heroine, I thought if I could only trace her from a well known Georgian (CSA) gentleman that my search may be easier. Then I remembered Horace King who was a renowned 19th Century architect, civil engineer and bridge builder in West Georgia (CSA) and Alabama (CSA). Was he married? Could there be information about Mr. King’s wife? Through research, I found that he was married twice. His first wife and mother of his children, Frances, lived during the American Civil War. She died towards the end of the war in October 1864.

What was life like for Frances as a Free Woman of Color? What obstacles did she overcome? Did she wear a Victorian dress with 3 or 6 hoops? At some point, I will have to identify the type of dress that she wore–but not today.

As I conducted research, I found the attached picture of Frances King. To enter Frances King’s world would be illuminating to many communities. The blurb that I read about her life was fascinating. Different factions drew opposing conclusions about Mrs. King as a Woman of Color whose husband was known as the 19th Century “Bridge Builder of the Confederacy.”

Highlighting the good in humanity,
Ann DeWitt

Photograph: Courtesy of Troup County Historical Archives