The Family Letter Blog

Connecting Generations

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Kitty and Joe Kingsbury’s 1928 Wedding Announcement

A bit of cutting and pasting and a legible version of the 1928 wedding announcement of Kitty and Joe’s wedding appears at the following link.  I know there’s a way to get the image to appear on the screen, rather than requiring you to click on the link to read it, but what that way is escapes me at the moment and my real job beckons.


I’ll have to find the letter but in some of Kitty’s and Joe’s pre-wedding correspondence it seemed that Joe was having trouble coming up with enough groomsmen to match how many attendants Kitty originally wanted in the wedding (a problem modern brides can relate to). That is why I was surprised to learn that there was only a maid of honor (Kitty’s friend Gretchen Campbell) and a matron of honor – Mrs. George Sherriff (Lois).  George Sherriff is the brother of Helen Sherriff who married Joe Kingsbury’s brother Dean in 1917. Although it is possible, it would seem an odd coincidence that Kitty Bryant was friends with Lois independently of Joe’s connection to the Sherriff family.  Maybe the Sherriff and Bryant families – both long-time Washington DC residents – knew each other and maybe that was how Joe met Kitty.

I’ve also learned from this announcement that Kitty’s younger brother Herbert (5 years her junior) might have attended college in Madison Wisconsin, since that is listed as his residence. I know he was a journalist but in all census reports I’ve reviewed, he is living in the Washington DC home of his parents, Bert and Lala.

It seems unlikely that if there were other bridesmaids they wouldn’t be named in the article so I am really curious now to find out about the connection between the Sherriff and Bryant families and how the other  ushers – Frank Danforth and Henry Wheeler (of Newport Rhode Island) were connected to Kitty and Joe. As usual, new discoveries yield new mysteries, but that’s what makes it fun.

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The January 1928 Wedding of Kitty and Joe

EUREKA!!! I’ve found it!!!!

I tried to insert a link but it didn’t work. If it had, you would have been able to see the article from the January 8, 1928 Washington Post describing Kitty and Joe’s wedding. I will scan my .pdf and try to post it tomorrow.

The reason this is such an interesting article is that Kitty’s matron of honor was Mrs. George Sheriff – which happens to be Helen Sheriff’s maiden name. I think I remember that Helen’s father died when she was young so I’m wondering if George Sheriff may have been Helen’s brother?

My second cousin Chris Pahud has mentioned that his grandfather – Orrin Dean Kingsbury married Helen Sheriff who had dated my grandfather Joe at some point before Dean got to DC. So I’m wondering if Mr. and Mrs. George Sheriff were in Kitty and Joe’s wedding because they were friends of Joe or Kitty.  It seems a strange coincidence. I’m also curious why Dean was not in the wedding given how close he and Joe were to each other.  Joe’s best man was his youngest brother – Clark Kingsbury.

Anyway – I’m still looking for Kitty’s picture but I am so glad that I finally found the announcement. It turns out that I’ve found most of my historical information about the Bryant and Preston families in the Washington Evening Star, which is described as Washington’s “local paper” but this announcement was in the Washington Post.

January 8th was the Sunday following Joe and Kitty’s Wednesday evening ceremony.


This One’s For My New England Cousins in Honor of the Patriots’ Super Bowl Win

One of the best things about having a treasure trove of my grandfather’s family letters, is getting his real time views on events that are often hazy (or nonexistent) memories on my part. I mean, who doesn’t want to hear that they were the perfect child? Especially when such views are so well documented by one’s completely unbiased grandfather.

In addition to his accounts of frequent visits to his son Bryant (my father) and family, JBK’s letters provide detailed descriptions of other trips that he and Kitty took. Tonight’s entry is from his letter dated September 16, 1957, recounting JBK’s and Kitty’s visit to Boston in early September where they spent time with his nieces, Peg and Doris, and their families.

JBK writes:

“Saturday morning, George came for us in his little Volkswagen and drove us through Cambridge and Newton to Needham, stopping at Mass Institute of Technology to see the modernistic auditorium and chapel.  You probably have seen pictures of them. They are certainly different from anything you would expect an auditorium or chapel to be, and it would take some time to get used to them, but I think I like them. Peg made us feel at home at once, and we were very comfortable and happy there for two days and three nights. Marc and Dean are handsome youngsters, with blond crew which show off their well-shaped heads and good features to advantage. They are quiet and well-behaved, but interesting talkers, and little Dean has a definitely original mind which turns up some very interesting observations and questions. After supper, George and Peg played some duets on bassoon and flute, harpsichord and cello, and we learned why that family will never suffer from boredom. Incidentally, Peg is a very good cook and housewife, she seems to do it with very little effort.

Sunday morning, the Gayzagians came about 11 and took George and Marc and Peggy drove Kitty and me and Dean in the Volkswagen to Somerset.  It was a beautiful cool morning and a pretty road, and we enjoyed the drive. We were delighted to see Doris again, and to meet Paul, Bruce, Carol and little Lisa for the first time. With three older Gayzagians, four Pahuds, and two Kingsburys, it seemed like an old fashioned family reunion, and Doris’ dinner made it seem like Thanksgiving. Their new house is lovely, with a nice lawn and playground behind, and a long view over an empty field.  Mr. and Mrs. G had lots of questions about Turkey, and we enjoyed talking with them.

[JBK, Kitty and their son Dean lived in Turkey in 1955-56 while JBK was teaching at the American University in Ankara.]

Labor Day, we took a leisurely drive through Needham, Dedham, and other towns. Peggy spotted an old country burial ground . . . where the first stone they looked at was the grave of Nathaniel Kingsbury. We all got out and examined it and other old markers. In the Dedham churchyard we started a systematic search for Kingsbury graves, each of us taking a different section of the grounds. {That is my kind of a holiday!} George was the first to discover one, and nearby we found at last a half dozen others, some of them dating back almost 300 years. We copied most of them and Peg agreed to make better copies. I suppose Forrest knows about all of them, but I believe Peg is going to send him the names and dates that we discovered.”

What a privilege to be the custodian of JBK’s letters! I only hope I will live long enough to read and transcribe them all.