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Fain White King

Fain White King, prominent Kentucky lumber magnate and collector of minerals and Indian artifacts, was born in Paducah, Kentucky on September 3, 1892, the son of Katie May Andrews and Charles Harry King, a lumber merchant. As a young man he worked for his father's company, the King Mill Lumber Company, in Paducah, and eventually inherited it, becoming quite wealthy. He married his first wife, Lula Reed, in 1918 (IGI) or 1920 (1930 census).

King's interest in Indian artifacts began in the early 1930s or before. In 1932 he purchased Wickliffe Mounds, the site of a Native American village of the Mississippian mound building culture, located in Ballard County, Kentucky. He began excavating the mounds and developing the site as a tourist attraction. Later joined by his second wife, Blanche Busey, he opened the site to the public as a tourist attraction, at first calling it the "King Mounds" but eventually renaming it the "Ancient Buried City." King and his wife directed excavations from 1932 until 1939. King also served as State Archeologist of Kentucky until retiring in 1947, at which time he sold his collection of Indian artifacts to the University Museum, University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.

Col. Fain White King (presumably the rank designation originated with his World War I service) began advertising as a fossil and Indian relics dealer in Rocks & Minerals in May 1944, adding Illinois-Kentucky fluorite, sphalerite and galena specimens to his dealer stock in July 1944 and continued through August 1946.

In 1946, the Kings donated the Ancient Buried City to Western Baptist Hospital in Paducah. (The hospital owned the site from 1946 to 1983, when it donated the property to Murray State University.) Following the donation, King said in January 1947: "Now I can do some of the things I have wanted to do for years, [including] play with minerals. Mrs. King and I are leaving in a couple of days for the West to be away for a month or longer, to visit friends, mines and dealers." In October 1947 through March 1948 he advertised fluorescent calcite from Cairo, Illinois, other fluorescent minerals from Mexico and Canada, and fluorescent calcite from northern Sonora, Mexico.

Fain White King and his wife retired to California. He donated part of his mineral collection (328 specimens from localities worldwide but heaviest in specimens from the Rosiclaire/Cave-in-Rock, Illinois area) to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County in 1955-1956, and part he sold to Los Angeles mineral dealer Leroy Pascoe in 1955. He died in San Diego on June 5, 1972.

U.S. Federal Census, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930.
World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918.
Federal Register: July 23, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 141).
International Genealogical Index.
California Death Index.
Who Was Who in America, 1969-1973, volume 5 (1973), Chicago: Marquis Who's Who.
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WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
Mineralogical Record
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