Monday, August 21, 2006

NEW ENGLAND TRIP, DAY 4: Kingsbury Genealogy

On Wednesday, we went up the coast to Maine. Our destination: the seaside town of Bath, where my great great great grandfather, Lewis Kingsbury, lived. According to Bath Families in the 19th Century by Alfred T. Holt and Lewis's obituary in the Bath Daily Times, Lewis was born in 1821 in Quebec. He moved to Bath as a young man, and worked at Bath Iron Works as a seaman and laborer. Lewis died on September 30, 1897, and is buried in the sprawling Oak Grove Cemetery in Bath. The grave marker names only Lewis and his wife, Mary L. Ambrose (1825 – December 2, 1901), but other family members are also buried in the family plot: their son Alexander (July 8, 1863 – May 13, 1942) and several grandchildren.

Lewis Kingsbury is buried in Oak Grove Cemetery in Bath, Maine, alongside his wife, one child and several grandchildren.  Not too far away is another Kingsbury family plot, where Lewis's son Frederick is buried with his wife and two children.

I have been unable to determine the heritage of Lewis Kingsbury. Family legend says that he was not born with the surname Kingsbury. One version claims that he believed he was responsible for the death of a man at sea, and so jumped ship and changed his name. Another version says that he was descended from a Frenchman whose name was anglicized to “Kings” and eventually “Kingsbury.”

My great great grandfather, Frederick Kingsbury, who also spent his life in Bath and was employed at the Iron Works as a riveter, is buried in a separate family plot in Oak Grove, alongside his wife May Florence Wainwright (August 17, 1864 – August 21, 1937), daughter of Joseph Henry Wainwright (November 18, 1832 – August 18, 1899) of Hamilton Parish, Bermuda. Frederick and May were married on December 21, 1891, in Belgrade, and had three children: my great grandfather Earl Wainwright (June 23, 1897 – October 24, 1970), Beatrice M. (stillborn on February 7, 1902), and “Charlie” (July 1899 – April 26, 1904). Also buried in the plot, according to cemetery records, is Annie E. Vincent (who died on November 19, 1931 at age 70) – I’m not sure what her connection to the family is.

Fred & May Kingsbury at home in Bath, Maine. Posted by Picasa


  1. A fellow Kingsbury researcher offers the following excerpt from papers collected at Wiscasset Library in Wiscasset, ME, as a possible explanation for the family legend of the Kingsbury name change:

    "John Kingsbury, mariner and rigger, born at Wiscasset July 31, 1772. Married Margaret Killigrew? a native of Ireland.... During the war between Great Britain and France and while the former nation was impressing into her service such seamen as she found unprovided with protection papers, he was a sailor on board an American vessel and had either lost his protection papers or neglected to provide himself with them. Being in danger of falling into the hands of the British, the captain gave him the protection papers of one of his hands, James Markin, who had died on the voyage, and the description of whose person for Mr. Kingsbury to use. Accordingly he changed his name to James Markin, which name he retained several years until his return to Wiscasset..."

  2. Betty W Smith8/25/2006

    Annie E Vincent was a daughter of Joseph Henry Wainwright and sister of May F Wainwright Kingsbury. She was born Oct 1861 in Charlestown, Ma. Now I know where and when she died.
    Betty W Smith