James King (in process of editing)


James King is often referred to in Albany history as a real estate opportunist. Although little has been found to report in depth about his life, this assessment should be considered a simple one.

The son of a minister who emigrated from Ireland to North Carolina in 1758, King graduated from Princeton University in 1810 and located in Albany to start a law practice. His first wife was Eleanor (Ellen) James, aunt of philosopher William and author Henry James. She died in childbirth in 1823. King married again in 1828 to Harriet Maria Kane. The Kanes were a prominent family of merchants early in Albany's development as an important commercial crossroads.

It was undoubtedly for the purpose of starting a new family that King purchased what was formerly John Stafford's house and Gov. Yates' executive residence. His opportunity came in 1828 when the house was auctioned at the Mansion House Hotel on Broadway to help pay the Stafford family's debts.

King formed a law partnership with Isaac Denniston, and was an injunction master in chancery. He had been a member of the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York since 1823, and became its Chancellor in 1839. As a real estate speculator, King was one of the earliest to develop land in what has become the Arbor Hill neighborhood. His concerns lay primarily with the estate formerly of General Abraham Ten Broeck. An arched opening between two houses on North Swan Street is all that remains of an enclave clustered on King Place behind the Ten Broeck “Mansion.” The Kings moved from Madison Avenue to the Mansion in 1836, and James King died there five years later.

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