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Kingsley, Elihu H.


Age: 23, credited to New Haven, VT
Unit(s): 5th VT INF
Service: enl 8/29/61, m/i 9/16/61, Pvt, Co. B, 5th VT INF, m/o 9/15/64

See Legend for expansion of abbreviations


Birth: 05/22/1838, New Haven, VT
Death: 06/09/1908

Burial: Evergreen Cemetery, New Haven, VT
Marker/Plot: Not recorded
Gravestone researcher/photographer: Alan Lathrop
Findagrave Memorial #: 140500377


Alias?: None noted
Pension?: Unknown
Portrait?: Unknown
College?: Not Found
Veterans Home?: Not Found
(If there are state digraphs above, this soldier spent some time in a state or national soldiers' home in that state after the war)

Remarks: None


2nd Great Grandfather of Gred Brda, Newport, MI

Great Grandfather of Marlene L. Krastel, Honey Brook, PA

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Evergreen Cemetery, New Haven, VT

Check the cemetery for location/directions and other veterans who may be buried there.


None of us pick our own names. The ones who do have their own reasons for their choices of the handle we will be known by for the rest of our lives. Elihu was not a common name for a boy. Like most baby names, this one had a story behind it. For the majority of us, our parents chose their children's names based on some emotional attachment to it. Elihu's epithet originated from a biblical character in the story of Job. Afflicted with a severe trial of his patience and faith in God, Job had three "comforters" at his side who were there, supposedly, to provide him with positive support during his suffering. However, they only added to his torment and distress. Apparently Elihu's mother was aware of this story and the biblical character because she selected his name for her newborn son. Eunice, Elihu's mother, was poor, uneducated and single when she had Elihu. She had no husband nor any prospects of attaining one. She could not even take care of herself let alone provide a nurturing home environment for a child. Instead of being a delight to her, Elihu was just another burden on top of all the others this wretched female was trying to contend with.

Elihu was born on May 22, 1838 in North Hero, Vermont.[1] It was not known who his father was, although one possibility was a man named Thomas Kingsley or Kinsley. His mother, Eunice Ladd (1805-1876) was a native and life-long resident of North Hero. She was the daughter of Roger Ladd and a mother who was only known as BW.[2] Nothing more was discovered about her youth other than she bore Elihu out of wedlock in 1838 when she was about twenty-eight.[3] It seemed that she never married and always lived with people other than relatives. In 1850, she lived with a family named Hebbard. There was Elisha and his wife, Rebecca, a couple more good Biblical names common in the nineteenth century. They had two sons, Stephen, eight, and Hiram, two. They lived on a farm in North Hero. Elisha had a seventeen year old hired man working for him named Newel Wright. Eunice rounded out the household but had a special status in the family - she was labeled as a "pauper" on the census form.[4] Elihu, her thirteen year old son, also lived in North Hero but with a different family. He lived with the Holmes'; Gilbert (forty-two), wife Diadama (sixty), and son, Hector (twenty-one). It appeared that the Holmes' ran some sort of foster home for wayward children as they had four young people of both sexes living with them and they all had different surnames. There was eight year old Laura Flanagan; thirteen year old "Chihu" (Elihu) Kinsley; twenty year old William Thompson from Ireland; and sixteen year old Eliza Leplesh. Gilbert operated a $1,500 farm with William's help. Hector was a student. The others had no designated job.[5]

In 1860, Eunice was living with a different family in North Hero. She was the only boarder living with an elderly couple named Brunson (Jenette and Esther).[6] Meanwhile, Elihu, who was now in his early twenties, had moved to New Haven from North Hero. Most likely he was a hired laborer on a farm in town just prior to the outbreak of the Civil War. Four months after Fort Sumter surrendered to forces of the newly formed Confederate States of America, young Elihu changed civilian garb for a uniform of a blue tint and became a soldier in father Lincoln's army. The Company Descriptive Book placed his age at twenty-three. His complexion was light for a farmer. He only stood five feet three and one half inches tall, well below the average height of the normal man in the nineteenth century. C.W. Rose signed him up for three years in Company B of the Fifth Vermont Infantry on August 29, 1861.[7] About two weeks later, on September 16 in St. Albans, Elihu became Private Kingsley officially when the volunteers of the Fifth Vermont were mustered-in the service.[8] In November of 1861, Private Kingsley was listed in his Compiled Service Record as being on duty as a nurse in the Regimental Hospital.[9]

The Fifth was organized in St. Albans, Vermont. Its companies were raised in various towns throughout the State. Company B, for example, was comprised of only men from Middlebury; Company E was from Manchester; Company H, from Brandon; Company F, from Cornwall; and so on. The Regiment was mustered-in on September 16, 1861 at St. Albans. It was immediately sent to Washington, D.C. and joined the other Vermont troops already at Camp Advance (Griffin) near the Chain Bridge in Virginia where it was assigned to the Vermont Brigade with which it served during the rest of the war. Throughout the fall of 1861, and the first few months of 1862, it was on duty in the defenses surrounding Washington.

March 10, 1862 the Fifth moved to Alexandria, Virginia. Two weeks later, the Regiment boarded transport ships for the Virginia Peninsula landing at Fort Monroe and moving to New Port News on the twenty-third and twenty-fourth of March, 1862. By April 16, 1862, the Regiment was at Lee's Mills with the Vermont Brigade. On June 29, the Fifth brought four hundred men to the action at Savage's Station. In one half hour of fighting, it lost one hundred eighty-eight of them on the field. Company E of Manchester suffered the heaviest losses of any company from Vermont. Company E went into the engagement with fifty-nine muskets. In that one half hour of fierce conflict, it lost forty-four of the fifty-nine; twenty-five were killed and nineteen were wounded. Five Cummings brothers and one cousin from the company were among those killed or wounded. Only one of the six recovered from his wounds. The Regiment as a whole suffered the heaviest loss in killed and wounded at the Battle of Savage's Station, Virginia on June 29, 1862 of any Union regiment in a single action of the entire war. In the following few days, the Fifth along with the rest of the Vermont Brigade, went on to be involved in more fighting at White Oak Swamp and Malvern Hill as the Federals retreated from General Lee towards Harrison's Landing.

On August 16 - 24, 1862, the Regiment returned to Fort Monroe and reached the Bull Run battlefield by August 30, just missing the fighting there. During the Maryland Campaign of 1862, the Fifth took part in Crampton's Gap (South Mountain) and Antietam. It ended 1862 engaged in the Battle of Fredericksburg. In January (23-24) of 1863, it joined Burnside's "Mud March" on its way to Marye's Heights and Salem Church. It celebrated the Fourth of July at Gettysburg. The Fifth took a break August 14 through September 16, 1863 and relaxed in New York during the draft riots there. The Regiment rejoined the Army of the Potomac at Culpeper Court House in Virginia on September 23. It went into winter quarters at Brandy Station where the veterans of the Regiment re-enlisted on December 15, 1863 and was the first Regiment granted a veteran's furlough for a month's duration.

On its return from furlough in Vermont, the Fifth continued as a veteran organization and participated in the bloody month with the Army of the Potomac from the Wilderness to Cold Harbor, and took an active part in the siege of Petersburg. The Regiment began the campaign with five hundred men. In one month, it lost three hundred forty-nine killed, wounded and missing, including thirteen officers. September 15, 1864, the term of service for original members who had not re-enlisted expired. They were mustered-out leaving present for duty one assistant surgeon, a quartermaster, three first lieutenants and three hundred enlisted personnel. After the October 19 Battle of Cedar Creek, the Fifth moved to the Siege of Petersburg again and went into winter camp at Squirrel Level Road in December, 1864.

When Petersburg finally fell in April of 1865, the Fifth Vermont was the first Regiment to plant its colors on the Confederate defensive works. The unit was present at Appomattox Court House for the surrender of Robert E. Lee and his army. June 8, 1865 the Fifth marched in the Corps Review held at Washington, D.C. On June 29, the veterans were mustered-out. At its discharge, there were only twenty-four officers and two hundred eighty-eight men on its rolls - three hundred twelve total out of an original strength of 1,618 . For the last ten months of its service, the highest ranking officer in the Fifth present for duty was a captain; for more than three months of those last ten, the highest ranking officer present for duty was a lieutenant. Every officer present for the Grand Review went out as a private.[10]

For the next year, Private Kingsley slogged along in the ranks of the Fifth doing everything it did and going every where the Regiment went. It was hard, grueling and dangerous work. Despite the hardships, Private Kingsley remained healthy and whole. In February of 1863, being about twenty-four, he was taken from the rank and file and put on a wagon. He received orders from General Neale around February 22, 1863 detaching him from Company B of the Fifth and placing him in the Divisional Quartermaster's Department where he drove ammunition wagons.[11] Elihu remained at this posting for the rest of his term of service. He was given his discharge in the field at Cliffton, Virginia on September 15, 1864. He received not only his walking papers but the Government also gave him $120.92 in unspent clothing allowance and bounty money.[12]

Mr. Kingsley did what every other discharged soldier before him had done - he went home to pick up his life where he had left it. Since he was a farm hand before the he enlisted in the army, he went back to being that again when he came home. But making a living wasn't the only thing on his mind in 1865. He had found something else that caught his fancy. He found a love interest in the form of a New Haven native named Martha M. Sneeden. Elihu may have first met her around 1860 when he moved to New Haven from North Hero. Her father, James T. Sneeden (1809-?) and her mother, Artemesia Gulley (1806-?) had their home in New Haven as early as 1850 when James had a wheelwright shop in town.[13] Martha was only six at the time, having been born in June of 1844.[14] By the time Martha had turned sweet sixteen in 1860, she was a servant girl in the New Haven home of George W. Brown and his wife, Sarah. What Mr. Brown did for a living was not clear, but his nineteen year old son was a clerk in a local establishment, not a farm laborer.[15] Elihu returned to New Haven in 1864 and within a year married Martha on August 13, 1865. The groom was twenty-eight and the bride was twenty-one. It was the first marriage for both of them. Elihu was working on a New Haven farm, so the newlyweds set up housekeeping there after the wedding.[16]

Children began arriving soon after the church bells stopped ringing. Ida A., a daughter, was the first to arrive in 1867.[17] The Kingsley's were most likely still living in New Haven and Elihu was probably still a hired man of a New Haven farm. They had not had time to relocate yet. Soon after Ida, a brother was born: Clarence E. (1869-1927).[18] The Kingsley family may not have had their own home when they were first married, but by 1870 they did. They still resided in New Haven and Elihu was still a farm laborer. They lived next door to a farmer by the name of Parker who had a moderately successful business going and no sons of his own old enough to help him operate it. Perhaps this was the farm on which Elihu worked.[19] On November 20, 1870, another son, Wilbur T., was born.[20] The 1870's were a busy time for the Kingsleys. They had four of their seven children in that decade. Wilbur was the first in 1870. Martie, another daughter, made her entrance in March of 1874.[21] A third son followed Martie. He was named James Perley, sometimes called Perley James.[22] Arlie S. was a Spring baby. His birth fell in May of 1879, just in time to close out the decade.[23]
The start of the next decade was launched with the birth of Elihu's last child, a son named Joyce (or Josie) W. born in August of 1881.[24] All the Kingsley children old enough were enrolled in and attended school for most of the year. Two remained at home and were cared for by Martha. Elihu had found other work to do besides farming. By 1880, he had gone to work for the local railroad as a track hand.[25] He had come up in the world, trading a pitchfork for a sledge hammer. At least the railroad paid better and probably the job came with some worker's benefits that he wouldn't have gotten being a farm hand.

After the 1890 Federal Census was taken, the paper records were destroyed in a vault fire where they had been stored for safe keeping. However, the Government did a special survey that year attempting to document the whereabouts and service records of all surviving veterans, mostly from the Civil War. On it, Elihu was located in New Haven.[26] The 1890 Veterans Schedules did not provide any additional information on Elihu other than where he was living.

The next census year was 1900. At the turn of the century, Elihu and his entire family were still living together under the same roof. Ida, the oldest "child" was thirty-three and the youngest, Josie or Joyce, was eighteen. Not one of his children had married yet. Every one of the seven were single in 1900. Elihu was identified as a day laborer. Ida was a teacher in the local school system. Clarence E. painted houses for a living. Wilber T. worked on someone's farm like his father once did. Myrtie, twenty-six, also taught school locally like her sister, Ida. James was a hostler at the local livery stable in New Haven. Arlie apparently did not have a job, at least nothing was entered by his name on the census form. Josie (Joyce) was attending school at eighteen - maybe at some institution of higher learning in the area. He was a student for at least nine months out of the last twelve.[27] Back in July of 1890, Elihu had been granted a $12 per month military pension which he drew every month in addition to any wages he earned as a laborer.[28] Most of his children were self-supporting even though they still lived with their parents. Nothing indicated that Elihu and Martha were in any kind of financial distress in their sunset years. Elihu was around sixty-two and Martha was about fifty-five in 1900. By all appearances, both were in good health for their ages.
But eight years into the first decade of the twentieth century Elihu, then seventy, died. On his death certificate, the doctor listed a surprising cause of death. Surprising because there had been no mention at any time in his life records that he suffered from a disease that had seizures, sometimes grand and sometimes petit, as a major symptom. The cause the attending physician listed was epilepsy. Furthermore, he stated a contributing disease was the "...general breakdown of nervous system...."[29] Epilepsy was, and is, a disease that could manifest itself anytime in a person's life. Causes for the disease vary widely - from trauma to the head to birth defects determined by genetics or damage to the infant at birth. Remember that Elihu's family history was less than stellar: he had an unknown father, he was born to a single mother who had issues of her own, his family situation was dysfunctional at best, going from one foster home to another being raised by strangers in his formative years. He was exposed to all of the hazards of combat. His military records revealed that he was removed from the rank and file of his Regiment and given a less exposed job of a teamster behind the front lines with no explanation. The 1890 Special Schedule for veterans usually listed any disabilities suffered by a man during his term of service. There was no such citation for Elihu. If he had epilepsy, he would have had seizures during his life time. There was no mention, not even a hint, that Elihu was subject to them at any time during his life. Yet the doctor was very clear in documenting that it was epilepsy that took Elihu on June 9, 1908.[30]

Martha M. (Sneeden) carried on for only a short time after her husband of forty-two years passed away. Immediately after Elihu's death, she filed for a widow's pension (June 29, 1908).[31] She managed to hold on to life until August 19, 1909 when she, too, passed away at sixty-six. Her cause of death was far more complicated than Elihu's. According to her attending physician, she was taken by "...neurasthenia...."[32] Merriam-Webster defined this as "...a condition that is characterized by physical and mental exhaustion usually with accompanying symptoms such as headache and irritability, is of unknown cause but is often associated with depression or emotional stress...." Doctor A.M. Norton also added as a contributing factor to Martha's death "...curvature and limitation of spine...."[33] She was interred next to Elihu in Evergreen Cemetery.

1., Memorial #40781369 for Elihu Kingsley.
2. Ibid.;, Vermont, Vital Records, 1720-1908, Death for Ladd, Eunice.
3., Eunice Ladd in entry for Elihu Kingsley from Vermont, Vital Records, 1760-1954.
4., 1850 U.S. Federal Census for Eunice Ladd.
5. Ibid., for Cihu Kinsley.
6. Ibid., 1860 U.S. Federal Census for Eunice Ladd.
7., Compiled Service Records of Union Soldiers in Organizations from the State of Vermont, p. 3, image 311538338. Hereinafter referred to as Compiled Service Record.
8. Ibid., Compiled Service Record, p. 6, image 311538349.
9. Ibid., Compiled Service Record, p. 4, image 311538342.
10., U.S. American Civil War/Units/1st Brigade/Fifth Vermont Infantry;
11., Compiled Service Record, p. 15, image 311538387.
12. Ibid., Compiled Service Record, pp. 26 & 27, images 311538434 & 439.
13., 1850 U.S. Federal Census for Martha Sneeden.
14. Ibid., A&B Bigelow Family Tree for Martha M. Sneeden.
15. Ibid., 1860 U.S. Federal Census for Martha M. Sneeden.
16. Ibid., Vermont, Vital Record, 1720-1908, Marriage for Kingsley, Elihue.
17. Ibid., Vermont, Vital Record, 1909-2008 for Ida Kingsley Sykes.
18. Ibid., Vermont, Death Records, 1909-2008 for Clarence Elihue Kingsley.
19. Ibid., 1870 U.S. Federal Census for Elisha Kingsley.
20., Memorial #107979787 for Wilbur T. Kingsley.
21., Vermont, Death Records, 1909-2008 for Martie Kingsley Weston.
22., Memorial #107980017 for Perley James Kingsley.
23., Vermont, Death Records, 1909-2008 for Arlie S. Kingsley.
24., Memorial #107979821 for Joyce Walter Kingsley, Sr.
25., 1880 U.S. Federal Census for Elihu Kingsley.
26. Ibid., 1890 Veterans Schedules for Elihu Kingsley.
27. Ibid., 1900 U.S. Federal Census for Elihu H. Kingsley.
28. Ibid., General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934 for Elihu Kingsley.
29. Ibid., Vermont, Vital Records, 1720-1908, Death for Kingsley, Elihu.
30. Ibid.
31. Ibid., General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934 for Elihu Kingsley.
32. Ibid., Vermont, Vital Records, 1909-2008, Death Records for Martha Sneeden Kingsley.
33. Ibid.

Courtesy of Bernie Noble.

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