CHARLES R. KINGSLEY, a prosperous general agriculturist and successful stock-raiser, of Ontwa Township, Cass County, Mich., is a native of the Old Bay State and was born in Bernardston, Franklin County, Mass., May 21, 1831. The parents of our subject, Elijah and Harriet (Carpenter) Kingsley, were of New England birth and were reared among the good old Puritan stock. The paternal grandfather, Gamaliel Kingsley, was a son of Elijah Kingsley, who came from Europe and settled in Franklin County, Mass. He was of Irish ancestry and was a thrifty farmer. He actively participated in the war for independence and died at the good old age of ninety-six years. He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and was strong in his religiousand political convictions. The paternal grandfather was born and lived and died in Franklin County, Mass., and was. like his father, an active member of the Methodist Church. He was wedded twice, being first united in marriage with Miss Hulda Hale, who bore him three children: Elijah, Millie and Chester. The second wife, Linda Pickett, was the mother of Allen, Saxton, Clesson, Hulda, Lucien, Sabrina and Roxanna. Grandfather Kingsley was a practical farmer and a public-spirited citizen.
The father of our subject was born on the old Franklin County homestead, October 15, 1796. He was a finished cabinet-maker and learned and practiced his trade in Boston. Attracted by the opportunities of the West, he started for Michigan May 21,1839, and traveled by team to Albany, thence by canal and hike to Detroit and soon after reached Mason Township, having been three or four weeks on the water. The year before, he had entered two hundred acres of land, which he now cleared and industriously cultivated. In 1852, he sold his first Michigan farm and located on one hundred and forty acres, which he brought up to a high state of cultivation and where he died, October 29, 1890. He was one of the original Republicans, but dieda firm believer in Democracy. In religious faith a Unitarian, he fraternized with that society in Massachusetts. He was the father of ten children, eight of whom he reared to mature years. Warren, who is deceased; Mary J. Allen, who resides in Coldwater; Charles R.; Harriet C. Fisk; Arabella A. Reading, now deceased; Charlotte Reading, of Bangor; Mortimer, of Elkhart; and Newcomb E.
The mother of our subject was born in Massachusetts in 1805, and died October 18, 1882. She was the daughter of David C. and Jemima Carpenter. The father was a hotel-keeper in Lyden, Mass. Our subject was educated in the primitive schools of hishome locality, and at twenty years of age began life for himself by renting a farm of his father and cultivating the soil. At twenty- one years of age he bought forty acres of land upon section 9, Ontwa Township, and afterwards added twenty acres,and continued to reside upon the place until he entered the army, when he sold out. After his return from the war he bought one hundred and forty acres in Elkhart County, Ind. There he lived until 1880, when he located with his father on the homestead which he owns, one hundred and twenty-eight acres of valuable land. He sold his Indiana farm and devotes himself to tilling the soil of his Michigan homestead, where he raises a choice variety of good stock. Beginning life with a capitalof$200 he has been prospered, and through his self-reliant efforts has won his upward way.
In 1862 Mr. Kingsley enlisted in the service of the Government, and in August entered the ranks of Company D, One Hundredth Indiana Infantry, and actively participated in twenty-eight battles. He was present at the siege of Vicksburg, Champion Hills, Black River, Missionary Ridge and in the Atlanta campaign. He acted as the Orderly of the Colonel for two years. His last fight was at Bentonville. He took part in the Grand Review at Washington and, honorably discharged in June at Indianapolis, returned at once to his home, and purchased another farm. Our subject was united in marriage with Miss Olive Johnson, January 6, 1852. The estimable wife of Mr. Kingsley was born in Vermont, September 9, 1831. She was the daughter of Solomon and Minerva (Powell) Johnson, natives of Vermont, living in Charlotte, Vt., at the time of Mrs. Kingsley’s birth. Mr. Johnson was a bricklayer and farmer and came in 1836 to Elkhart, where both he and his wife died. He was in faith a Universalist, and early a Whig was afterwards a Republican. He and his excellent wife reared six children: Guy C., Charlotte J., Rhoda J., Laurett A., Olive and Ruel M. The paternal grandfather. Solomon Johnson,, also born in Vermont, was a brave soldier of the Revolutionary War. He was a farmer, and journeying to the West in about 1830, became one of the pioneer settlers of Elkhart County, Ind., where he died at an advanced age.
Mr. and Mrs. Kingsley have two children: Alice C., wife of Emro Schutt, of Elkhart; and Roy E. Politically our subject is a Democrat and in all matters pertaining to the public welfare is enterprising and ever ready to lend a helping hand. From his early youth intimately associated with the growth of his present locality, he has long been identified with the best interests of the county, and is esteemed a liberal and progressive citizen.
from: History of Berrien and Van Buren counties, Michigan. With … biographical sketches of its prominent men and pioneers. Ellis, Franklin, 1828-1885., Johnson, Crisfield., D.W. Ensign & Co. Philadelphia: D. W. Ensign & Co., 1880. (p426-7)