World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Thomas Starr King

Thomas Starr King
Born 17 December 1824
New York City
Died 4 March 1864
San Francisco
Occupation Minister, orator
Religion Unitarian

Thomas Starr King (December 17, 1824 – March 4, 1864) was an [1] Starr King spoke zealously in favor of the Union and was credited by Abraham Lincoln with preventing California from becoming a separate republic. He is sometimes referred to as "the orator who saved the nation."[2][3]


  • Life 1
  • Honors 2
    • Mountain peaks 2.1
    • Schools 2.2
    • Churches 2.3
    • Streets 2.4
    • Parks 2.5
    • Buildings 2.6
    • Statuary and monuments 2.7
    • Statue in California State Capitol 2.8
  • Footnotes 3
  • Works 4
  • Further reading 5
  • External links 6


Thomas Starr King was born on December 17, 1824, in New York City to Rev. Thomas Farrington King, a Universalist minister, and Susan Starr King. The sole support of his family at age 15, he was forced to leave school. Inspired by men like Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry Ward Beecher, King embarked on a program of self-study for the ministry. At the age of 20 he took over his father’s former pulpit at the Charlestown Universalist Church in Charlestown, Massachusetts.

In 1849 he was appointed pastor of the [1]

Starr King's younger brother, Edward Starr King, served as captain of the clipper ship Syren. Capt. Starr King arrived in San Francisco aboard Syren just two days after his elder brother's stirring 1861 speech about Washington and the Union, remarking, "Starr has the brains of the family, and I the brawn."[4]

During the Civil War, Starr King spoke zealously in favor of the United States Sanitary Commission, which cared for wounded soldiers and was the predecessor to the American Red Cross. A fiery orator, he raised more than $1.5 million for the Sanitary Commission headquarters in New York, one-fifth of the total contributions from all the states in the Union.

The relentless lecture circuit exhausted him, and he died in San Francisco on March 4, 1864, of diphtheria and pneumonia. His dying words were said to be, "Keep my memory green."[5] King is interred at First Unitarian Church of San Francisco between Starr King and Geary Streets in San Francisco. When, in the 1940s, most of San Francisco's dead were disinterred and moved to new resting places outside city limits, the grave of Starr King was one of the very few allowed to remain undisturbed.


Mountain peaks


  • In 1941 the Starr King School for the Ministry (Unitarian Universalist), in Berkeley, California, was renamed in his honor
  • Starr King K-8 School in Carmichael, California
  • Starr King Elementary School in Long Beach, California
  • Thomas Starr King Middle School in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles
  • Starr King Elementary School in San Francisco, California
  • The Starr King Parent-Child Workshop, founded in 1949 in Santa Barbara, California, is an active cooperative nursery school and parent-education resource


  • The Starr King Unitarian Universalist Church in Hayward, California
  • Starr King Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (SKUUF) in New Hampshire


  • Starr King Way in San Francisco, CA
  • King Street in the Mission Bay neighborhood of San Francisco, CA


  • Starr King Openspace, a park in the Potrero Hill neighborhood of San Francisco CA


  • Starr King Lodge A.F. & A.M., a Masonic lodge founded in 1864 in Salem, Massachusetts

Statuary and monuments

  • Thomas Starr King Statue in Golden Gate Park, facing JFK Drive, close to the De Young Museum.[6]
  • King’s church, the First Unitarian Church and his sarcophagus in San Francisco are designated historical monuments.

Statue in California State Capitol

Thomas Starr King (National Statuary Hall Collection statue, now located at the California State Capitol)

As part of honors originally paid to Rev. King, he was judged worthy of representing California in the National Statuary Hall Collection displayed in the United States Capitol. In 1913 King was voted one of California's two greatest heroes and funds were appropriated for a statue. In 1931, California officially donated a bronze statue of King to be mounted in Statuary Hall.

On August 31, 2006, however, the California Legislature approved a joint resolution to replace Thomas Starr King's statue in Statuary Hall with a statue of Ronald Reagan.[7] The resolution was authored by Republican State Senator Dennis Hollingsworth, who stated the reason for the resolution as, "To be honest with you, I wasn't sure who Thomas Starr King was, and I think there's probably a lot of Californians like me."[8] He also went on to observe that King was not a native of the state though, of course, neither is Reagan (nor was Junipero Serra, the other statue representing California in the Statuary Hall). .

As a result of this resolution, King's statue was removed from Statuary Hall, and the statue of Ronald Reagan was placed in Statuary Hall on June 10, 2009.[9] In November 2009, Starr King's statue was reinstalled within the Civil War Memorial Grove in Capitol Park, which surrounds the California State Capitol in Sacramento. It was formally dedicated in a ceremony held on December 8.[10]


  1. ^ a b "Thomas Starr King Honored at State Capitol". Retrieved 2014-06-21. 
  2. ^ "Thomas Starr King (Replaced)". Retrieved 2015-05-16. 
  3. ^ "Congressional Record, V. 152, PT. 17, November 9, 2006 to December 6, 2006". Retrieved 2015-05-16. 
  4. ^ Wendte, Charles William (1921). Thomas Starr King, patriot and preacher. Boston, MA: Beacon Press. pp. 160–161.  
  5. ^ Tully Shock, Oscar (1870). Representative and Leading Men of the Pacific: Being Original Sketches of the Lives and Characters of the Principal Men, to which are Added Their Speeches, Addresses, Orations, Eulogies, Lectures and Poems, Including the Happiest Forensic Efforts of Baker, Randolph, McDougall, T. Starr King, and Other Popular Orators (Google ebook ed.). Bacon. p. 166. 
  6. ^ "Thomas Starr King (sculpture)".  
  7. ^ "Senate Joint Resolution No. 3". Retrieved 2011-05-10. 
  8. ^ Geiger, Kimberly (October 25, 2006). "Debate urged on Starr King eviction". The San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on May 23, 2013. Retrieved 2013-04-15. 
  9. ^ "Congress honors Ronald Reagan with figure in Statuary Hall". Retrieved 2011-05-10. 
  10. ^ "Statue of 19th-century abolitionist comes home to California Capitol". Retrieved 2011-05-11. 


  • A Vacation Among the Sierras: Yosemite in 1860.
  • The White Hills; their Legends, Landscapes, & Poetry. (1864).

Further reading

  • C.D. Bradlee, The Life, Writings, and Character of Rev. Thomas Starr King: A Lecture. Boston: Press of John Wilson and Son, 1870.
  • Richard Frothingham, A Tribute to Thomas Starr King. Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1865.
  • Glenna Matthews, The Golden State in the Civil War: Thomas Starr King, the Republican Party, and the Birth of Modern California. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012.
  • William Day Simonds, Starr King in California. San Francisco: Paul Elder and Co., 1917.
  • Charles William Wendte, Thomas Starr King, Patriot and Preacher. Boston: Beacon Press, 1921.

External links

  • Thomas Starr King, article from the Dictionary of Unitarian and Universalist Biography
  • Starr King School for the Ministry
  • Thomas Starr King statue in the National Statuary Hall, U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C.
  • Thomas Starr King Middle School of Los Angeles, California
  • Starr King Elementary School of San Francisco, California
  • United States Sanitary Commission (historical website)
  • First Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco: Our History
  • SF Landmark: Sarcophagus of Thomas Starr King at Franklin Street and Starr King Way
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.