“The Murder of Deputy Sheriff King:” Carlos B. King

by Kristine Schmucker, HCHM Curator

The whole town of Newton was on edge following the “General Massacre” in the early morning hours of August 20, 1871.   Five men were dead.  Hugh Anderson, one of the instigators had disappeared, as had the primary shooter, a man known only as Riley. The Texans and the townspeople both had an interest in restoring order or as the reporter Allegro noted;

“All parties, and particularly the Texans, who own at least a third of the town, are keen and unyielding in the determination to preserve peace and the majesty of law.” (Commonwealth, 27 August 1871.)

Meetings were held “to appoint a police force composed of both Texas men and Newtonians.” Allegro further noted that “an ordinance is published and rigidly carried out which disarms any and all persons who may be found carrying dangerous weapons within the township of Newton.”

At an informal  meeting of the citizens, two men were nominated as deputy sheriffs, Tom Carson and Carlos B. King. The first jail, a modified caboose, was ready to go.  Judge R.W.P. Muse declared “that the history of Newton is now to begin afresh.”

The peace was short lived.  The Texans were not happy with the appointment of Tom Carson and tensions continued to simmer.  In late September, the worst happened. Reporter for the Daily Commonwealth, Allegro again described the “details of the murder of Deputy Sheriff King.”

Around 10:00 pm, on the evening of September 23, 1871, Officers King and Carson,  disarmed Thomas Edwards, a Texas cowboy, outside of a Hide Park establishment “in accordance with the requirements of  the law.” Edwards was released after he gave up is pistol.  King remained in Hide Park, while Carson returned to Newton.

About two hours later, Edwards returned to the Hide Park dance hall with a derringer. He approached Marshall King and pushed the weapon against King’s chest and fired.

“King staggered into the house, exclaiming ‘Who shot me?’ and immediately fell over . . .and a moment later he died.”

Edwards “fled” town.”  In his account Allegro put forth the idea that Edwards had not acted alone, but that “it was a premeditated act – plotted by others and accomplished by Edwards.”

He concluded with words of praise for Carlos B.King.

“Thus perished Officer King, than whom there was no better gentleman nor truer friend, and no more respected man in Newton.” –Allegro, Commonwealth Reporter.

King’s funeral was well attended and many of Newton’s businesses closed during the ceremony. Carlos B. King was only 29 years old at the time of his death.

King was born on March 19, 1842 in Pennsylvania or New York to Senaca and Maryette King.  In 1850, Senaca and Carlos were living in the household of Gilbert King in Orleans, Ionia County Michigan. Carlos was 18 when the Civil War broke out.  He served as a Union soldier during the Civil War with two Michigan units; 3rd Inf (2nd Org.) Co. C, Capt., and 16th Inf. Co. B, 1st Sgt.  He married Amanda Arnold on January 23, 1864 in Ionia County, Michigan.  They had two daughters, Nina born in 1864, and Edith in 1868.  Two years after the birth of Edith, Carlos was living in Wichita, Kansas while Amanda and the girls stayed with Amanda’s parents in Ionia County.

After Carlos was killed in Newton, Amanda applied for a Civil War pension, but was denied.  In 1885, Amanda married Daniel P. Chapman and they had one son, Arthur. Carlos’ two daughters also died early, Nina in 1887 and Edith in 1891.

Carlos B. King Marker, Greenwood Cemetery, Newton, Ks.

Carlos B. King Marker, Greenwood Cemetery, Newton, Ks.

In 1872,  King’s body was moved from the ‘Boot Hill’ cemetery to Greenwood Cemetery. He was one of the first to be buried there.

Because the shooting occurred before the official organization of Harvey County and Newton was part of Sedgwick County, King is also the first law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty for Sedgwick County. His name is listed at the Law Enforcement Memorial in front of the City Building at Central and Main in Wichita, Ks.


  • Kansas Daily Commonwealth, 25 August 1871, 27 August 1871, 27 September 1871.
  • Muse, Judge RWP, “History of Harvey County 1871-1881.”
  • U.S. Census, Ionia County, Michigan, 1850, 1860, 1870.
  • U.S. Civil War Soldiers Index, 1861-1865.
  • Marriage Record of Carlos B. King and Amanda Arnold, Ionia, Michigan.
  • Michigan Deaths, 1867-1897.
  • Ionia Standard 12 February 1915, Obituary for Amanda Arnold Chapman.” Ionia County, MI Archives Obituaries.
  • Find A Grave: “Amanda E. Arnold Chapman” Memorial #65086284.