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The Michigan Kingshotts

John Kingshott


The rather healthy collection of Kingshotts in Michigan are almost exclusively the descendants of a chap called - surprise, surprise - John Kingshott who was born at Lurgashall, Sussex, England on 20th July 1828. It is interesting to note that my dad is a university professor working in, of all places, Grand Rapids, Michigan, and is surrounded by other Kingshott family members. This would not have happened had he accepted a job almost anywhere else. Weird.


Anyway, John Kingshott was the only son of Joseph Kingshott and his wife Elizabeth, who went to the United States, via Canada, as part of the Petworth Emigration Scheme.


John was the only son of Joseph Kingshott, who had died in 1832, shortly after arriving in North America. After Joseph's death it seems that his wife, Elizabeth, continued on the journey from Canada down to Michigan arriving sometime around 1833.


Not much is known about John's early life, but he married a lady called Amelia La France and had his first son, Joseph, in 1852. Nine other children were born to them between 1852 and 1870. Details of these children and their descendants are found on this page.



Civil War

On the 3rd September 1864 John became involved in the American Civil War after joining B Company of the 5th Regiment of the Michigan Infantry. He enlisted under the name of William Brown (as confirmed in the 1890 US Census of Veterans), though why he used this name I don't know.


At the time the regiment was involved in fighting around Petersburg which continued until April the following year. The Regiment was usually in the advanced line of works or participating in the sharp engagements at Boydton Plank Road and Hatcher's Run, making numerous charges upon the Confederate works and strongholds. When Petersburg fell, on 3rd April 1865, the Fifth was one of the first Regiments to plant its colors on the Confederate breastworks.


After the capture of Petersburg the Fifth followed the retreating Confederates, being heavily engaged at Saylers Creek, and was on the firing line at Appomattox Court House, the morning that General Lee surrendered the army of Northern Virginia to General Grant.


On 1st May the Regiment started for Washington where it participated in the Grand Review of the Army of the Potomac on the 23rd. On the 10th June the Regiment started for Louisville, Kentucky where it crossed the river to Jeffersonville, Indiana, where it was mustered out of U.S. service. It arrived at Detroit the 8th and was paid, then disbanded on the 17th of June 1865. John Kingshott remained with them until the end.


John was entitled to the Civil War Medal.

In 1868, John settled in Muskegon and remained there for the rest of his life.


The Iowa City Citizen Newspaper, dated Thursday 29th December 1912, carried a story featuring John. A transcript of the story reads:-



Assaulter and Robber of Muskegon Vereran is Arrrested

Muskegon, Mich, Dec 29 - William Ottman, aged 22, was arrested for the assault and robbery of John Kingshot (sic.) the aged war vereran, on last Thursday night. Ottman's arrest was due to a woman, the daughter of Mrs Thompson, a former houskeeper for Kingshot. Ottman had visited the Kingshot home to see the daughter and knew that the soldier had the money. Deputy Sheriff Anderson went to Ottman's boarding place in Ottawa street, searched the room and found in an old hat hanging on the wall $33. In the struggle the old man had with his assailant he bit the latter's finger, and when Ottman's hand was examined tooth marks were found on one of his fingers. When confronted with this evidence of his guilt he confessed, and said that he had to have money for his board bill or go to jail.


John Kingshott died at Hackley Hospital in Muskegon, Michigan on 26th April 1917. He was said, in his obituary, to be 84 years old. He was, however, 88. His obituary, which appeared in the Muskegon Chronicle, reads:-

"John Kingshott, aged 84, for 47 years a resident of Muskegon, died at Hackley Hospital this morning after a lingering illness. Mr Kingshott was born in England, coming to the United States when 5 years of age. He came to Muskegon in 1868 where he has since made his home. He was a member of the 5th Michigan Infantry and served during the Civil War. He leaves three sons, Alfredo of Muskegon, George of Manistee and Charles of Nebraska, three daughters, Mrs Harvie Rowe of Edmore, Mich. and Mrs Hans Schwartzfarber and Mrs Lizzie Studebaker of this city."

 John Kingshott's family group sheet can be seen here.

A very dapper-looking John Kingshott 1828-1915

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