Charles “Chick” King of Paris is a real-life seventh son. Born Nov. 10,
1930, he is the youngest of seven boys born to the late Fred A. and Elsie
When he was young the family lived in West Paris. He recalls, “Where we
lived, steam engines would pull into the roundabout and smoke from the
roundhouse would fill homes in the area.”
King can trace his family history to a minimum of his
great-great-great-grandfather, Martin Luther Neese, who fought in the
“He was born in Pennsylvania and had moved to North Carolina by the time he
was twenty-one and got in the army,” King said. “He was given five hundred
acres (of land) near Buchanan after the war and he is buried there. His son,
who fought in the Civil War, is also has buried near him.”
For those who are curious, King admits he doesn’t know how he got his
He said with a laugh, “I don’t know how I got it, but I was young. And it
has been with me ever since.”
His family includes two sons: James King, who lives with his mother in
Murfreesboro; and Charles Richard King of Paris. He also has two
grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
He and his wife, Rosemary, were married on June 26, 1986.
“I had known her in school and we became reacquainted after I saw her around
town,” he said, adding they were reintroduced by friends at a dinner.
She is the mother of a daughter, Teresa (Ricky) Matheny of Paris, and has
As a teenager, King joined the State Guard.
“I was too young (17) but I got in,” he said. “We trained at the old city
auditorium. Men who returned from the war trained us.
“We had a two-week camp at Fort Campbell. One thing I really recall about
that camp was that we got the highest rating of all the companies there from
the southeast for our shooting and formation.
“On the shooting range, we had nine shots and eight out of the nine of us
hit bullseyes. We were firing M-1 rifles and were taught by George Wyatt.
John Hooper shot nine straight bullseyes,” he said.
“The hardest to shoot, and I was not good at it, was a thirty-caliber
machine gun. But (overall) I got to see things about the Army that I had
never seen before.”
Following his high school sports career, King attended Memphis State
University for about one year. He played about 10 baseball games at Memphis
before signing with Detroit to play professional baseball (see accompanying
story). He also played with Chicago and St. Louis during his professional
He said that during those years, he was able to play some winter ball in
Cuba, living there for four months. He was able to meet and talk with Fidel
Castro after he took over the country.
“I remember the game was to begin at 7:30. The pitchers were warming up but
the game could not start until he arrived. We kept waiting and waiting and
all the players had gone to their dugouts before he finally arrived.
“About 8:30, the gate opened and he entered, surrounded by all his people.
He came over and sat in our dugout because I was playing for his team, the
Havana Reds. There were five Americans on the team and the rest were Cubans.
“I talked with him for about ten minutes and he talked fluent English. All
the people around him had machine guns and that was scary. (But) he loved
After his return to Paris from professional baseball, King coached and
managed American Legion baseball and youth softball teams in Henry County.
Because of his professional and local involvement in sports, King was among
the first five men inducted into the Paris-Henry County Sports Hall of Fame
“I was in the class with Bill Hudson, Robert Jelks and Sonny Humphreys. It
was quite an honor to be in same group as Bill Hudson because I knew what he
had done,” King said.
For many years after that, King served on the Hall of Fame committee to make
future selections for the honor. Although no longer on the committee, he
predicts that the Hall of Fame will continue for quite some time because
“there are many who aren’t in there yet.”
Asked who one of the people he most admires is, King responded: “Robert
Jelks is the main one. He was a Christian man and great coach of football
and baseball at Grove (High School).”
King continues his love of sports today as a supporter of Henry County High
School athletics and the Tennessee Titans. He also can be found enjoying all
phases of sports activities with his family.
He has “been attempting to play (golf) for thirty years. It’s fun,” he said,
adding with a laugh he’s not a golfer but “I’m a duffer.”
He plays regularly with the local Sally League, which was started by Jimmy
Emerson of Como. Emerson compiles all the information about the matches in a
computer program and gives members reports of the number of games each has
played along with handicaps and other data.
“We have more than forty players, both retirees and some younger players,”
King said. “It started a few years ago and we play on Mondays, Tuesdays,
Wednesdays and Thursdays all over the area: West Tennessee, western
Kentucky, Nashville, Memphis, Union City, Savannah.
“We choose teams and play against each other. The teams earn points and
there’ve been no arguments. It’s a great thing for retired folks,” he said.
King has been known to fish in some tournaments over the years.
“I once caught a $10,000 fish in a tournament in Florida. I was fishing with
Ben McKinnon in 2002.” The fish King caught was a 62.6-pound wahoo and he
has a photo of himself with the fish.
“It was less than two ounces from being a $20,000 fish,” King said, adding
McKinnon did catch a $20,000 fish.
“We used the money to pay off this house,” King said. “I built this house
and that apartment in the back. I learned to build in high school under Mr.
Hudson. He told me I might want to build something someday,” he said
His wife added, “He designed it after I told him I wanted three bedrooms. He
did lots of the work on the carpentry and framing, too.”
A guitar sits by the piano in their living room. King admitted he can strum
the instrument but is not an experienced player.
“Rosemary is the talented one,” he said. “She was a Parkhill and can play by
ear. Rosemary’s mother taught Rosemary’s father to play the violin. They are
all musically talented.”
King said he had a busy professional sports career and enjoyed working with
youth when he returned home, but overall he said, “the middle part of my
life has been the greatest part of my life and of this country.”
King’s wife had words of admiration for him: “He’s an honorable man and man
of integrity. He’s worked hard all his life and has been generous and
With words of admiration like that, there is little more that King could
hope for other than to be remembered by his grandchildren as one who loved
Anyone who talks with King will have little doubt that he will get his wish.