The Family Letter Blog

Connecting Generations

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A New Cousin – A New Friend

Through the family letter the five Kingsbury boys from Osage, Iowa managed to keep in touch for most of their adult lives even though they were spread across the country and rarely got to spend time together. Some of their children managed to keep in touch through the family letter for a few years after the five brothers passed away but by the late 1990s the family letter died out.

The oldest brother Forrest and the youngest brother Clark did not have children. The second oldest and the second youngest, Frank and Dean, had the most children. Frank had three: Josephine, Robert and Bruce and Dean had four: Joseph, George, Doris and Margaret (Peg). My grandfather Joseph was in the middle and had two sons, my father Bryant and my uncle Deane.

Through social media and modern technology, some of the second and third cousins have been in touch over the past few years but the connections are primarily within each direct line. I keep up with my cousins Peggy and Stacy and the grandchildren of Dean and Helen Kingsbury keep up with one another. In the past two to three years, as more of us have “found” each other on Facebook, the circle is expanding again. It makes me happy to think how happy that would make our grandparents.

Today offered a perfect example of the widening circle when I got to meet two of my second cousins, Marcia Moore and Gene Moore who both live in California. They are in Charlotte, NC for the high school graduation of Gene’s grandson (Marcia’s grand nephew) Dylan Vassily. So today, with portable scanner in tow, I drove to Charlotte to meet them. Carolyn, Gene’s daughter, was hosting a graduation party for Dylan and 16th birthday party for Alex, her younger son. Alex had to leave for a meeting at work before I remembered to take pictures, but here’s one of Marcia, Carolyn, Dylan and me (from left to right).Cousins.6.12.16

Okay – that’s a pretty amazing “widening of the family circle.” I’m still kicking my self for not getting a picture with Gene (Marcia’s brother) and Alex before they left.

So other than feeling completely “simpatico” with Marcia, right down to our matching colored tops (no we did not plan that) I got to scan a few photos that I know some of our other cousins will be happy to see.  I don’t usually link all of my blog posts to Facebook but since I’m not sure all of my extended Kingsbury cousins follow the blog, I’m making an exception today.

Here are two of my favorite pictures that Marcia had from her mother Josephine.


Wayland Briggs Kingsbury Family – December 21, 1923

The back of the photo didn’t identify them by position but Marcia and I were pretty comfortable identifying the Kingsbury boys and we’re hoping Chris Pahud and some of his cousins will be able to help matching the wives in the back row with their husbands.

The three youngest children in the picture are the children of Orrin Dean Kingsbury and his wife, Helen Sheriff and they are Joseph and George in the front row (not sure of the order) and Doris being held by her father Orrin Dean.

The first row of adults is: Clark Kingsbury, the only son born to Wayland Kingsbury and his second wife Annie, Frank Kingsbury, Wayland Kingsbury, Annie May Walker Kingsbury, Forrest Kingsbury and Orrin Dean Kingsbury holding his daugher Doris.

The children in the back two rows are Josephine and her brothers Robert and Bruce. The very handsome and kind looking man in the back row (top left) is my grandfather Joseph Bush Kingsbury. In 1923 he was still four years away from meeting his wife, Katherine Gertrude Bryant.

Now I’m guessing at the women in the back row – from left to right I think they are Frank’s wife Anna Carter, Dean’s wife Helen Sheriff and Forrest’s wife Cornelia Hasselman. (Chris – help!)

And now, because I know this will bring much happiness to the grandchildren of Helen and Dean Kingsbury, here is one more that I scanned from Marcia’s collection. There was nothing on the back but we’re both pretty sure this is from a family visit to Osage that Dean and Helen made with their four children at a time when Clark and his wife Allie Cobb were also there.  But who is the woman between Annie and Clark? Maybe one of Wayland’s sisters? I think the picture was probably taken in the late 1930s. Clark and Allie were married in 1935. Helen and Dean’s youngest daughter, Peggy, was born in 1925 and their oldest child, Joseph, was born in 1918.





Forrest Alva Kingsbury

Over the next few weeks I’ll compile what I know about the five sons of Wayland Briggs Kingsbury who were born in Iowa between 1883 and 1903.  The first four were born to Wayland and his first wife, Flora Bush, who died in 1900. Wayland remarried Annie Walker and they had one son together – Clark Kingsbury.

The oldest son, Forrest Alva Kingsbury was born on August 8, 1883 in Oelwein, Iowa and died on August 22, 1972. His obituary from the Redlands Daily Facts has a good account of his education, which included a Masters in Psychology and Philosophy from Yale University. I wish the picture quality were better because I would love to know what he looked like. From his draft registration for World War I, he is described as tall with brown hair and brown eyes.

Forrest Kingsbury.obit.1972

Forrest married Cornelia Hasselman, of Pella Iowa in 1911. They never had children. By 1920, they were living in Chicago, which is where he got his PhD in Psychology. He joined the faculty of the University of Chicago and taught there until he retired in 1948. Here’s an interesting clipping I found that suggests Forrest was a very practical academician. This appeared in the Reading, PA newspaper in July 1923.


After retiring from University of Chicago in 1948, Forrest and Cornelia moved to Redlands, California. He was a visiting professor of Psychology at Redlands University for four years. In a nod to the Kingsbury family’s New England roots, he and Cornelia were the first people to move into “Plymouth Village” retirement community in Redlands.

Cornelia, who was born on August 5, 1887, survived Forrest by almost eight years, dying when she was 93 years old on August 15, 1980.

Here is Joseph B Kingsbury’s account of traveling with his brother Clark and sister-in-law Allie to attend Forrest’s funeral.

On August 23, I had a telephone call from Redlands telling of Forrest’s death. I had been prepared for the news by a letter from Cornelia a few days before. A call from Clark and Allie said that if I could come down to El Paso, we could drive to Redlands for the funeral so I caught a plane here and flew via Chicago and San Antonio to El Paso. The next morning we left in Allie’s Cadillac and drove 740 miles via Tucson, Phoenix and Blythe, CA reaching Redlands before dark. We called at Plymouth Village and were told that Cornelia had gone to bed, but she was not asleep, and we talked to her a few minutes before going to our motel. The funeral Saturday morning was simple and in good taste. The room was full of people from the village, the university and the church; and the remarks by the Baptist minister were thoughtful and moving.  We rode with Cornelia to the mausoleum where there was a short service, and then to the village for lunch. In the afternoon we had a good visit with Cornelia, and she rode with us over to San Bernardino to look for some Mrs. Sees candy.

We drove back to El Paso on Sunday, detouring through Palm Springs and Sun City Arizona to see how the rich people retire. I suppose we were driving through hot country, but Allie’s car was cool and comfortable and both of them are excellent drivers. Next day, Clark took me on a sight seeing trip – across the river to Juarez, a walk through his plant, north along the mountain range and across close to a 6000 ft peak, to Las Cruces, New Mexico with lunch at La Posta, a famous old restaurant where I had my first Mexican food. In the evening we had dinner with friends of  Clark and Allie at the Lancers Club. Next day I caught a plane at 7:45, reached Chicago at 10:15 and was home before 4 pm.

The loss of my oldest brother makes me feel a little more alone, and more grateful for my one remaining brother, my in-laws, nieces and nephews and of course my sons and their families. I was glad to get better acquainted with Clark and Allie, and to see their beautiful home in El Paso.

Shortly after returning from Forrest’s funeral, JBK made another visit to Clark and Allie and joined them on a 10 day driving tour through the south, visiting for his first time, the states of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

JBK’s diary from his first year at George Washington University (1911) recounts a trip he made that December to New York City where he met his brother Forrest, who must have been at Yale at that time. JBK was also listed as living with Forrest and Cornelia in the 1920 census for Chicago, which is where JBK got his PhD in Political Science.

LincolnsTomb.24Mar1924I’ll close with a tidbit about JBK’s travels with his oldest brother Forrest. This was from an Illinois newspaper on March 28, 1924 – a date that has no particular significance that I can determine. This would have been when JBK was teaching at Washington University in St. Louis and Forrest was teaching at the University of Chicago. Springfield, Illinois, where Lincoln’s Tomb is located, is about a two hour drive northeast of St. Louis and about a three hour drive southwest of Chicago.