Yeoman was born in Washington, New Jersey in 1863. Her father was a
Presbyterian minister from Massachusetts and her mother was from
Baltimore. Her parents valued highly reading, religion, and music, but
had no particular interest in gardening. In 1890 Louisa married Francis
King, whom she had met through friends in Chicago. Francis was the son
of a wealthy Chicago couple and the newlyweds purchased a home in
Elmhurst, Illinois, near Francis' parents.The marriage was durable and
blessed with three children, but Francis' health was poor. In 1902 he
sought relief in a sanitarium located in Alma, Michigan. The cure
proved successful and in 1903 the couple, along with their three
children, decided to remain in Alma.
Francis was involved in several manufacturing enterprises in
Alma. He also served the community as mayor and was one of the
important members of the state Republican party. Over time he became
interested in the emerging automotive industry. In 1913 he organized and
became president of the Alma Truck Co. which eventually became Republic
Truck. Republic proved very successful and by 1920 it had become one
of the major truck manufacturers in the nation. The substantial income
made possible by Republic's success enabled Mrs. King to indulge her
interests in gardening and to develop a subtantial garden around their
home. The unexpected and untimely death of Francis in 1927 left his
widow financially unable to maintain the lifestyle she had enjoyed for
many years. Although she was by no means destitute, the house and
garden were sold and Mrs. King left Alma for Europe.
|Francis King, 1908
After an extended tour of Europe, Mrs. King returned to the
States in 1928 to campaign for Herbert Hoover. Traveling by train from a
radio address in Schenectady, New York, she happened upon a
conversation with two women who spoke so highly of their town of South
Hatford, New York, that Mrs. King chose to investigate a house for sale
in the community. She was charmed by a "sweet and stately little white
house" which she promptly purchased. There she began a new garden,
naming it Kingstree.
Mrs. King continued to write in her new home, although at a lesser rate than in her years in Alma. She published The Story of the Garden in 1932 and Planning Your Planting
for Montgomery Ward in 1943. Until the very end of her life she
continued to lecture and give gardening advice. Following World War II
she became a strong supporter of the United Nations and the proposed
idea of the International Horticultural Society.
Upon her death, in January 1948, Mrs. King's ashes were spread over her garden at Kingstree.