Ambrose Kingsland

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Ambrose Kingsland
Ambrose C. Kingsland.jpg
1887 portrait by Daniel Huntington based on an earlier original.
71st Mayor of New York City
In office
Preceded by Caleb Smith Woodhull
Succeeded by Jacob Aaron Westervelt
Personal details
Born May 24, 1804
New York City, New York
Died October 13, 1878(1878-10-13) (aged 74)
New York City, New York
Political party Whig
Spouse(s) Mary Lovett
Children 8
Parents Cornelius Kingsland
Abigail Cock Kingsland

Ambrose Cornelius Kingsland (May 24, 1804 – October 13, 1878)[1] was a wealthy sperm oil merchant who served as the 71st mayor of New York City from 1851 to 1853. In 1851, he initiated the legislation that eventually led to the building of Central Park.[2]

Early life[edit]

Kingsland was born on May 24, 1804 in New York City. He was the son of Cornelius Kingsland (1768–1815) and Abigail (née Cock) Kingsland (1771–1854).[3] His siblings included Daniel Cock Kingsland (b. 1798), Rebecca Kingsland Sutton (b. 1800), Jane Kingsland Rogers (b. 1802), Clara Ada Kingsland High (b. 1806).

He was a member of the old New Jersey Kingsland family who had for nearly 200 years lived in and around Belleville, New Jersey.[4] His maternal grandparents were Isaac Cock (1741–1811) and Charity (née Haight) Cock. His paternal grandparents were Stephen Kingsland and Jane (nee Corson) Kingsland.[5] He was the uncle of William M. Kingsland, who owned 1026 Fifth Avenue.[6][7]


Kingsland began his career as a general merchant and commission business in 1820, which became A. C. Kingsland and Sons,[8] located at No. 55 Broadway in lower Manhattan. His firm was involved in the sale of sperm oil.[9]

In 1848, he was nominated for Mayor of New York and, two years later, was elected Mayor by almost 4,000 votes over Fernando Wood, the Democratic candidate.[4][10] He served as the 71st mayor of New York City from 1851 to 1853, the first mayor to be elected to a two-year term.[4] In 1851, he initiated the legislation that eventually led to the building of Central Park.[11][12]

Personal life[edit]

Kingsland was married to Mary Lovett (1814–1868), whose father, George Lovett, was born in England.[13] Together, they were the parents of eight children:[14]

  • George Lovett Kingsland (1834–1892),[14] who married Helen Schermerhorn Welles (1842–1911),[15] a daughter of Benjamin Welles and aunt to Sumner Welles, the Ambassador to Cuba and United States Under Secretary of State.[16]
  • Ambrose Cornelius Kingsland (1835–1890),[17] who married Katharine Aspinwall (1847–1924),[18] the daughter of prominent merchant William Henry Aspinwall.[18][19]
  • Henry Pierre Kingsland (b. 1838), who married Harriet Emily Brierton, daughter of William Arthur Brierton
  • Mary Helena Kingsland (1841–1934),[20] who married William Wright Tompkins, son of Daniel Hyatt Tompkins and grandson of Daniel D. Tompkins, the 6th Vice President of the United States.
  • Cornelius Francis Kingsland (b. 1843)
  • Walter Francis Kingsland (1848–1929),[21] who married Blanche Vanderbilt Marcelin (d. 1941), the daughter of Jules Marcelin and first wife of Franklin Morse Singer.[22]
  • Albert Alexander Kingsland (1849–1917),[23] who married Jennie Travis (1864–1930), the daughter of Gilbert Travis and Abbie Rogers Travis.
  • Philip Kingsland (1850–1851), who died young.
  • Augusta Lovett Kingsland (b. 1839), who married Herman Leroy Jones.[24][25]

Kingsland died at his home, 114 Fifth Avenue, at 11 o'clock on a Sunday evening, October 13, 1878.[4] In his obituary, The New York Times announced that his death "removes one of the last of that band of old New-York merchants who were in business 50 years ago, and whose names have become interwoven with the history of New-York."[4]


Kingsland's home was at 114 Fifth Avenue (southwest corner at 17th Street),[26][27] now the site of a Banana Republic store.[6]

In 1864, Kingsland purchased Hunter Island, now in Pelham Bay Park, Bronx for $127,501.[28] He later purchased a sizeable country home north of the city along the Hudson River in North Tarrytown, present day Sleepy Hollow, New York.[29] His sale of this land to the early steam-engine automotive company, Stanley Steamer, helped open North Tarrytown's 20th century era as a major automotive factory town.


Through his son George, he was the grandfather of Helen Schermerhorn Kingsland (1876–1956),[30] who married Augustus Newbold Morris (1868–1928) (the son of A. N. Morris),[31] George L. Kingsland (1885–1952) and Ethel Kingsland Anderson (1886–1967). Through his son Ambrose, he was the grandfather of Walter F. Kingsland, who married the Princess Marie Louise of Orléans (1896–1973) in 1928,[32] Marjorie Kingsland, who married Viscount Robert de Vaulogé in the Church of St. Clotilde, Paris,[33] and Muriel Kingsland, who married Captain Ivan Barrington White (d. 1947) of the British diplomatic service.[34] Through his son Albert, he was the grandfather of Albert Alexander Kingsland, Albert Harold Kingsland, and Henry C. Kingsland.[23]


A waterfront park in the Westchester County suburb still bears Kingsland's name, as does Kingsland Avenue in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn, which he helped survey. There is also a Kingsland Avenue in the Baychester section of the Bronx.[35]


  1. ^ Caliendo, R.J. (2010). New York City Mayors. 1. Xlibris. p. 390. ISBN 9781450088152. Retrieved 2015-04-13. [self-published source]
  2. ^ Pehme, Morgan (November 18, 2013). "The Top Ten Greatest Mayors of New York City: Runners-Up | City & State". City & State. Retrieved 20 December 2017. 
  3. ^ Saint Nicholas Society of the City of New York (1905). The Saint Nicholas Society of the City of New York: History, Customs, Record of Events, Constitution, Certain Genealogies, and Other Matters of Interest. V. 1-. p. 91. Retrieved 20 December 2017. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "Ex-Mayor Ambrose C. Kingsland". The New York Times. 15 October 1878. Retrieved 20 December 2017. 
  5. ^ History and Genealogy of the Cock, Cocks, Cox Family: Descended from James and Sarah Cock, of Killingworth Upon Matinecock, in the Township of Oyster Bay, Long Island, N.Y. Privately Printed. 1914. p. 65. Retrieved 20 December 2017. 
  6. ^ a b Foreman, John (21 April 2015). "Big Old Houses: And Now I Know — Part 3 of 3 — 1026 Fifth Ave". New York Social Diary. Retrieved 20 December 2017. 
  7. ^ "HAD 76 BANK ACCOUNTS; Executors Find Mrs. Kingsland Made Deposits Under Various Names". The New York Times. 30 November 1919. Retrieved 20 December 2017. 
  8. ^ American Millionaires: The Tribune's List of Persons Reputed to Worth a Million Or More. Lines of Business in which the Fortunes Were Made. Tribune Association. 1892. p. 71. Retrieved 20 December 2017. 
  9. ^ Caliendo, Ralph J. (2010). New York City Mayors. Xlibris Corporation. p. 284. ISBN 9781450088145. Retrieved 20 December 2017. [self-published source]
  10. ^ Trager, James (2010). The New York Chronology: The Ultimate Compendium of Events, People, and Anecdotes from the Dutch to the Present. Zondervan. p. 97. ISBN 9780062018601. Retrieved 20 December 2017. 
  11. ^ "The Century in Times Square". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 December 2017. 
  12. ^ Rosenzweig, Roy; Blackmar, Elizabeth (1992). The Park and the People: A History of Central Park. Cornell University Press. p. 18. ISBN 0801497515. Retrieved 20 December 2017. 
  13. ^ Hascall, Clerk, H. W. (1866). To the Judges of the Court of Appeals, Vol. 13. p. 30. Retrieved 20 December 2017. 
  14. ^ a b "George L. Kingsland Buried". The New York Times. 18 July 1892. Retrieved 20 December 2017. 
  15. ^ "DIED. Kingsland". The New York Times. 16 February 1911. Retrieved 20 December 2017. 
  16. ^ "GEORGE L. K. MORRIS ENGAGED TO MARRY; Son of Mrs. Newbold Morris Affianced to Miss Estelle Condit Frelinghuysen". The New York Times. January 17, 1935. Retrieved 20 December 2017. 
  17. ^ "Ambrose C. Kingsland's Will". The New York Times. 17 May 1890. Retrieved 20 December 2017. 
  18. ^ a b "DIED. Kingsland". The New York Times. 18 December 1924. Retrieved 20 December 2017. 
  19. ^ "Finding Relief in Suicide; John W. Minturn Taking His Own Life in His Office". The New York Times. 1 May 1881. Retrieved 20 December 2017. 
  20. ^ "MRS. W. W. TOMPKINS.; Daughter of Ambrose Kingsland, Once Mayor Here, Was 92,". The New York Times. 23 February 1934. Retrieved 20 December 2017. 
  21. ^ "W.F. Kingsland Left $1,720,193". The New York Times. 23 April 1931. Retrieved 20 December 2017. 
  22. ^ "Mrs. Walter F. Kingsland". The New York Times. 18 August 1941. Retrieved 20 December 2017. 
  23. ^ a b "DIED. Kingsland". The New York Times. April 1, 1917. Retrieved 20 December 2017. 
  24. ^ "Ambrose Kingsland Jones". The New York Times. 2 August 1935. Retrieved 20 December 2017. 
  25. ^ "H. LE R. JONES BANKRUPT.; Society Man Has Over $87,000 of Liabilities and Nominal Assets". The New York Times. January 14, 1903. Retrieved 20 December 2017. 
  26. ^ Naureckas, Jim. "5th Avenue: New York Songlines". NY Songlines. Retrieved 20 December 2017. 
  27. ^ "Former mayor's townhouse sells". The Real Deal New York. 9 April 2009. Retrieved 20 December 2017. 
  28. ^ "Pelham Bay Park Highlights - Hunter Island : NYC Parks". Retrieved 20 December 2017. 
  29. ^ "Residence of Mayor Ambrose Kingsland, later the home of Lewis family". Museum of the City of New York. Retrieved 20 December 2017. 
  30. ^ "MRS. MORRIS, MOTHER OF NEWBOLD MORRIS". The New York Times. 13 April 1956. Retrieved 15 October 2017. 
  31. ^ "NEWBOLD MORRIS DIES IN HIS SLEEP; President of Metropolitan Club, Trustee of Columbia and Lawyer. WITH PERSHING IN THE WAR Lieutenant Colonel on General Staff --Family One of Most Illustrious in United States". The New York Times. December 21, 1928. Retrieved 28 September 2017. 
  32. ^ "PRINCESS D'ORLEANS TO WED NEW YORKER; Troth of Niece of King Albert of Belgium to Walter F. Kingsland Jr. Is Announced". The New York Times. 6 December 1928. Retrieved 20 December 2017. 
  33. ^ "MISS KINGSLAND TO MARRY A VISCOUNT; Engagement of Daughter of Mrs. Ambrose C. Kingsland to Robert De Vauloge Told in London". The New York Times. January 12, 1921. Retrieved 20 December 2017. 
  34. ^ "DEATHS. Barrington-White-Capt. Ivan". The New York Times. 11 September 1947. Retrieved 20 December 2017. 
  35. ^ "EAST WILLIAMSBURG PART 2, Brooklyn - Forgotten New York". Retrieved 20 December 2017. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Caleb Smith Woodhull
Mayor of New York City
Succeeded by
Jacob Aaron Westervelt