Mortimer King (blackunionsoldiers)

(b. circa 1830 – d. 1911)

Mortimer King was born around 1830 to William King and an unknown enslaved woman. In December of 1834, Montgomery County slaveholder Samuel Riggs inherited the four-year-old King. Riggs usually appeared in records as “Samuel Riggs of R,” identifying him as the son of Reuben Riggs and differentiating him from other relatives with the same name. In 1864 King was one of thirteen enslaved people on Riggs’ farm, along with Albert King (b. 1823), Hanson King (b. 1841), and Rachel King (b. 1838). The farm, which Samuel Riggs inherited from his father, stood in the Cracklin District of Montgomery County just north of Laytonsville. A number of Kings were also enslaved on the nearby farms of Thomas Griffith and Samuel O. Dorsey.

On March 28, 1864 Mortimer King enlisted as a private with Company K of the 30th Regiment, USCT, Maryland Volunteer Infantry. Mortimer King’s service record describes him as 5′ 7″ tall with a “griff” complexion, a term loosely signifying both African and European ancestry. According to his service record, King was promoted to the rank of corporal on March 31, 1864, just three days after enlisting.

Shortly after enlisting, King paid fifty cents for a pair of shoulder scales commonly worn by privates and corporals in “full dress.” In June of 1865 he paid $5.03 for a “Stop for Transportation,” which referred to a furlough that he took from May 21 to June 20, 1865. In August he paid thirty-one cents for a gun sling. During his entire service, King paid a total of $37.53 for clothing and $6.00 for ammunition.

Mortimer King was mustered out on December 10, 1865 in Roanoke Island. He returned to the Cracklin District of Montgomery County, where he lived near Brighton. King and his wife Amelia (b. circa 1840) had one daughter, Margaret, born around 1856. He passed away on April 2, 1911 in Baltimore and was buried at Loudon Park National Cemetery. His headstone, number 1452 in section C, reads “Corpl. Mortimer King, U.S.C.T.” In 1998 the African American Civil War Memorial in Washington D.C. commemorated Mortimer King along with the 209,145 soldiers listed on its Wall of Honor. King’s name appears on plaque B-46.