Sensing a call to ministry, he applied in May 1886 to the MECS for an exhorter’s license but was denied. He felt there was prejudice against his Holiness views.
). Clergyman. Born on August 11, 1869, in Anderson County, one of eleven children of poor sharecroppers, King moved with his family to Franklin County, Georgia, in 1883. On his sixteenth birthday he experienced salvation in a Holiness camp meeting near Carnesville, Georgia, under the preaching of the Holiness advocate Reverend William Asbury Dodge. On August 17, 1885, he joined the Methodist Episcopal Church, South (MECS). On October 23, 1885, he experienced sanctification under the ministry of the Reverend A. J. Jarrell, president of the North Georgia Holiness Association. Sensing a call to ministry, he applied in May 1886 to the MECS for an exhorter’s license but was denied. He felt there was prejudice against his Holiness views.
After serving a short term in the U.S. Army, King married Willie Irene King in 1890, but the marriage soon ended in divorce because she was not interested in being a minister’s wife. In 1891 he was licensed by the northern Methodist Episcopal Church. He served several circuits, including Lookout Mountain near Chattanooga. While there, he completed a three-year course at the U. S. Grant University School of Theology. He also became acquainted with the Iowa preacher Benjamin Hardin Irwin, who taught a “third work of grace,” baptism with fire. King was holding revivals in Horry County, South Carolina, in the summer of 1898. He traveled to Anderson in August when Irwin and others formed the national Fire-Baptized Holiness Association. Irwin then sent King to plant churches in eastern Ontario, Canada. In 1900 Irwin called him to the church’s headquarters in Iowa to assist in the editing of Live Coals of Fire. When Irwin resigned in disgrace soon after, King became overseer of the national church. In 1902 he moved the headquarters to Royston, Georgia.
Although King was initially skeptical about G. B. Cashwell’s reports of the Azusa Street revival, he and most of his denomination accepted the Pentecostal message. White members of the Fire Baptized Pentecostal Church merged in 1911 with Cashwell’s Pentecostal Holiness Church, taking the latter name. King did not initially head the new body, but in 1917 he was elected general superintendent, a post he held for most of the rest of his life. After his first wife’s death in 1920, he married Blanche Leon, a teacher at the church’s Franklin Springs (Georgia) Institute. They had four children. King was named bishop in 1937 and died in Anderson County on April 23, 1946.
Synan, Vinson. The Old-Time Power. Rev. ed. Franklin Springs, Ga.: Advocate Press, 1986.