Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Simms Review (Vol 7: No 1) >> Simms and Mitchell King >> Page 26

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Page 26

Secondary Scholarship | 1999
Transcription Simms and Mitchell King

The coterie that met at John Russell's Book Shop on King Street in
Charleston included Simms, Samuel Henry Dickson, John Dickson Bruns, Henry
Timrod, Paul Hamilton Hayne, James Warley Miles, Basil Gildersleeve, James
Louis Petigru, and Mitchell King (See Simms Letters, I, cxxxvi).
The Simms Letters (and Simms scholars in general) have had the least to
say about King. Simms included a poem by him in his The Charleston Book: A
Miscellany (pp. 426-427), and David Moltke-Hansen has appended a biographical
note on King to the 1983 reprint of this volume.
At the First [Scots] Presbyterian Church on Meeting Street in Charleston,
there is a tablet to King, which gives the following information. King was born in
Craill, Fifeshire, Scotland, 8 June 1783 and died in Charleston on 12 November
1862 at the age of 79. He had been a headmaster at the College of Charleston
grammar school in 1810, and a president of the College of Charleston in 1844.
He was on its board of trustees from 1847 to 1862. He served as a trustee of the
Medical College of the State of South Carolina from its founding and was
president of its board from 1837 to 1862. He was twice president of the St.
Andrew's Society in Charleston and a founder of the Literary and Philosophical
Society of Charleston in 1813. At his death, he left a library of some 2,500
volumes to the College of Charleston. The memorial tablet at First Scots
concludes that in the city of Charleston, he was a lawyer and one of her great
jurists, and
for many years an Elder of this church. His life was devoted to the
highest interests of the community, to the maintenance of the best
social standards. His contribution to educational advancement and
to literary taste and impulse was of largest measure. He was a
distinguished lawyer in a day of great jurists, a man whose
example of moral worth shed a beneficent influence while he lived
and survives his day as a cherished memory and a wholesome
This memorial is decorated by carved marble thistles, as befits his Scottish