Friday, December 5, 2014

Kingsbury Home on Layman Avenue

James L. Kingsbury and his wife Minnie likely moved into 348 North Layman Avenue in the late nineteenth century.  Mr. Kingsbury's father lived around the corner at 71 North Ritter Avenue.  The elder Kingsbury published a newspaper in Crawfordsville and eventually moved operations to Indianapolis in the 1870s.  Upon James G Kingsbury's passing in 1913, his son, James L. Kingsbury  took control of the Indiana Farmer.  James L. Kingsbury would later serve two terms in the Indiana House of Representatives as Irvington's legislator in the 1920s. A loyal Republican, James L. Kingsbury also served as the Warren Township Assessor in his elder years.

Minnie and James L. raised their two sons, John Kaylor and Layman Dwight Kingsbury, in the beautiful two-story Gothic Revival home in northern Irvington. The Kingsburys possessed a large tract of land and had lovely orchard. They remained in the home until their deaths in the 1940s and 1950s.  Their oldest son, John, became a physician and would make history as the doctor who took the death bed confession of Madge Oberholtzer, a woman who was brutally raped and attacked by the powerful Ku Klux Klan leader, D.C. Stephenson, in 1925.  Her words helped to bring down the KKK in Indiana and in America.

Kingsbury Family Portrait:  James L. Kingsbury can be seen standing next to a tree in the center of the photo. Standing in front of him, you can see John Kaylor Kingsbury. Nearby, stood Layman Dwight Kingsbury. Presumably Minnie Kingsbury is one of the ladies in the photo, but which one? The older lady standing at the far right might be Mrs. Kaylor, the mother of Minnie Kaylor Kingsbury.  (c1905)

Kingsbury home and orchard (c1900)
To see a contemporary photo of 348 North Layman Avenue, click on the link below. The historic images are courtesy of the Larry Muncie Collection Irvington Historical Society.


  1. I lived across the street--at 347 N. Layman--from 1953 (age 5) until a graduated from college in 1969--and never knew this piece of is history. Thanks. for posting this.

    1. I should have added this...We moved into 347 N. Layman on August 20, 1952--two days before my father's 31st birthday. At the time, the family consisted of my father (Richard Warren Coffin (son of Charles F. Coffin Jr., and grandson of Charles F. Coffin Sr.), my mother, Helen LaVerne Woolford Coffin (grew up in Terre haute; they met at DePauw University before WW2), my older brother, David Richard Coffin, and me (Donald Allen Coffin). Our younger brother Philip Marion Coffin arrived in January 1953, and our sister, Marjorie Ann Coffin, in February 1954.

  2. Thank you so much for your responses, Mr. Coffin! You grew up in a very beautiful home. I would love to feature your family if you have any photos of your home or of the nearby streets. I am always on the hunt for new stories about Irvington!! You can reach me at Happy New Year and thanks again for your note. Sincerely, Bill

  3. Here's the google maps streetview of it:,+Indianapolis,+IN+46219/@39.7746177,-86.0723519,3a,90y,89h,90t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sAxuMdgewBLObHG6cZG6lnw!2e0!4m2!3m1!1s0x886b4fbf14ab7753:0x4c5c378b341d9247!6m1!1e1

    I've let my sister and brothers know about the site, and I'll be dunning them for pictures (and stories).


  4. My parents and eldest sister rented rooms from Mrs. Kingsbury at 348 N. Layman in 1951 and 1952. My father grew up in Irvington (Howe class of '43) and knew the Kingsbury family over the years.