Thomas King was born in Craigmore, Londonderry County, Ireland, August 1870. He immigrated to the United States in 1893 at age 23. King worked his way through Oberlin Academy, Oberlin College and the Theological Seminary, graduating 1900. In May 1905, he was ordained at the Oberlin First Congregational Church. A month later, he married Estelle Reed of Weeping Water, Nebraska. At the time she was an instructor at the Oberlin Music Conservatory. They left for Africa soon after to serve as missionaries with the American Board of Commissioners in Southern Rhodesia.
The Kings would serve at Mount Selinda and nearby Chikore Missions for the next 14 years. Between 1908 and 1912, Rev. King taught and oversaw “industrial work” at Chikore while Mrs. King did evangelistic work among the women. As of 1917-18, they were back at Selinda where Rev. King was in charge of the church, evangelism in the outstations and was mission treasurer. Mrs. King taught music in the schools.
They retired from the American Board in 1920. After a year’s furlough, the Kings returned to their farm near the Chikore Mission (named “Craigmore farm”) where they carried on missionary work. Rev. King opened a store and may have been responsible for helping to establish the Craigmore post office.
He died May 1947 at Umtali Hospital. Mrs. King died on the their farm November 1948. Both are buried at Mount Selinda.
- King obituary, The Oberlin Alumni Magazine, p. 26, Nov 1947
- King obituary, “The Vinton Book,” 1885-1910
- Mark Loomis