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 byCaleb Smith Woodhull
Succeeded byJacob Aaron Westervelt
Personal details
BornMay 24, 1804
New York City, New York
DiedOctober 13, 1878(1878-10-13) (aged 74)
New York City, New York
Political partyWhig
Spouse(s)Mary Lovett
ParentsCornelius Kingsland
Abigail Cock Kingsland

Ambrose Cornelius Kingsland (May 24, 1804 – October 13, 1878) 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 construction of Central Park.[1]

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).[2] 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.[3] His maternal grandparents were Isaac Cock (1741–1811) and Charity (née Haight) Cock. His paternal grandparents were Stephen Kingsland and Jane (née Corson) Kingsland.[4] He was the uncle of William M. Kingsland, who owned 1026 Fifth Avenue.[5][6]


Kingsland began his career as a general merchant and commission business in 1820, which became A. C. Kingsland and Sons,[7] located at No. 55 Broadway in lower Manhattan. His firm was involved in the sale of sperm oil.[8]

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.[3][9] 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.[3] In 1851, he initiated the legislation that eventually led to the building of Central Park.[10][11]

Personal life[edit]

Kingsland was married to Mary Lovett (1814–1868), whose father, George Lovett, was born in England.[12] Together, they were the parents of eight children:[13]

  • George Lovett Kingsland (1834–1892),[13] who married Helen Schermerhorn Welles (1842–1911),[14] a daughter of Benjamin Welles and aunt to Sumner Welles, the Ambassador to Cuba and United States Under Secretary of State.[15]
  • Ambrose Cornelius Kingsland (1835–1890),[16] who married Katharine Aspinwall (1847–1924),[17] the daughter of prominent merchant William Henry Aspinwall.[17][18]
  • Henry Pierre Kingsland (b. 1838), who married Harriet Emily Brierton, daughter of William Arthur Brierton
  • Mary Helena Kingsland (1841–1934),[19] 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),[20] who married Blanche Vanderbilt Marcelin (d. 1941), the daughter of Jules Marcelin and first wife of Franklin Morse Singer.[21]
  • Albert Alexander Kingsland (1849–1917),[22] 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.[23][24]

Kingsland died at his home, 114 Fifth Avenue, at 11 o'clock on a Sunday evening, October 13, 1878.[3] 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."[3]


Kingsland's home was at 114 Fifth Avenue (southwest corner at 17th Street),[25][26] now the site of a Banana Republic store.[5]

In 1866, Kingsland purchased Hunter Island, now part of Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx,[27] 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.[22]


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. ^ Pehme, Morgan (November 18, 2013). "The Top Ten Greatest Mayors of New York City: Runners-Up | City & State". City & State. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  2. ^ 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 December 20, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Ex-Mayor Ambrose C. Kingsland". The New York Times. October 15, 1878. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  4. ^ 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 December 20, 2017.
  5. ^ a b Foreman, John (April 21, 2015). "Big Old Houses: And Now I Know — Part 3 of 3 — 1026 Fifth Ave". New York Social Diary. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  6. ^ "HAD 76 BANK ACCOUNTS; Executors Find Mrs. Kingsland Made Deposits Under Various Names". The New York Times. November 30, 1919. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  7. ^ 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 December 20, 2017.
  8. ^ Caliendo, Ralph J. (2010). New York City Mayors. Xlibris Corporation. p. 284. ISBN 9781450088145. Retrieved December 20, 2017.[self-published source]
  9. ^ 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 December 20, 2017.
  10. ^ "The Century in Times Square". The New York Times. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  11. ^ Rosenzweig, Roy; Blackmar, Elizabeth (1992). The Park and the People: A History of Central Park. Cornell University Press. p. 18. ISBN 0801497515. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  12. ^ Hascall, Clerk, H. W. (1866). To the Judges of the Court of Appeals, Vol. 13. p. 30. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  13. ^ a b "George L. Kingsland Buried". The New York Times. July 18, 1892. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  14. ^ "DIED. Kingsland". The New York Times. February 16, 1911. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  15. ^ "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 December 20, 2017.
  16. ^ "Ambrose C. Kingsland's Will". The New York Times. May 17, 1890. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  17. ^ a b "DIED. Kingsland". The New York Times. December 18, 1924. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  18. ^ "Finding Relief in Suicide; John W. Minturn Taking His Own Life in His Office". The New York Times. May 1, 1881. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  19. ^ "MRS. W. W. TOMPKINS.; Daughter of Ambrose Kingsland, Once Mayor Here, Was 92,". The New York Times. February 23, 1934. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  20. ^ "W.F. Kingsland Left $1,720,193". The New York Times. April 23, 1931. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  21. ^ "Mrs. Walter F. Kingsland". The New York Times. August 18, 1941. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  22. ^ a b "DIED. Kingsland". The New York Times. April 1, 1917. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  23. ^ "Ambrose Kingsland Jones". The New York Times. August 2, 1935. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  24. ^ "H. LE R. JONES BANKRUPT.; Society Man Has Over $87,000 of Liabilities and Nominal Assets". The New York Times. January 14, 1903. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  25. ^ Naureckas, Jim. "5th Avenue: New York Songlines". NY Songlines. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  26. ^ "Former mayor's townhouse sells". The Real Deal New York. April 9, 2009. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  27. ^ Twomey, Bill (2007). The Bronx, in Bits and Pieces. Rooftop Publishing. p. 107. ISBN 978-1-60008-062-3. Retrieved October 6, 2017.
  28. ^ "Pelham Bay Park Highlights - Hunter Island : NYC Parks". Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  29. ^ "Residence of Mayor Ambrose Kingsland, later the home of Lewis family". Museum of the City of New York. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  30. ^ "MRS. MORRIS, MOTHER OF NEWBOLD MORRIS". The New York Times. April 13, 1956. Retrieved October 15, 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 September 28, 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. December 6, 1928. Retrieved December 20, 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 December 20, 2017.
  34. ^ "DEATHS. Barrington-White-Capt. Ivan". The New York Times. September 11, 1947. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  35. ^ "EAST WILLIAMSBURG PART 2, Brooklyn - Forgotten New York". Retrieved December 20, 2017.

External links[edit]

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