Founding Father Rufus King was born on this date 265 years ago today, March 24, 1755. I do not want to write too much about King right now because I am currently working on a project relating to this forgotten early American, a drafter of the Constitution, and want to save my thoughts for that undertaking. In the meantime check out this piece I wrote last summer about visiting King Manor in Queens. I had intended to write about King more this past winter but got caught up in other things. I’ll say one about the self-isolating thing: it helps one be productive and get some work done. I was texting yesterday with a friend of mine, an intelligent person who works at a New York cultural institution currently closed due to the health crisis, saying I felt I must spend this time as fruitfully as possible amidst so much turmoil and loss. He said he understood and was doing the same.
Hopefully by summer everything will be back to normal, or at least a semblance of what passes for normal in our current historical moment. Among other things I want to return to Queens to see the King family’s final resting place around the corner from King Manor. The church grounds where they lay is only open certain hours in the morning, which I did not know at the time of my first visit. I saw the graveyard itself but had no way from the sidewalk on the other side of the gate where specifically he and his family within the grounds. People walk past every day without knowing that in their midst lies this Constitutional framer, three-term U.S. senator from New York, vice-presidential and presidential candidate.
(image/National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution)