Copyright by Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG
May not copy without written consent
Smithland, Kentucky has been at various times the home of many prominent men. Some achieved fame as military officers and others through politics. One of the most renown former citizens was Samuel A. Kingman, who lived in Smithland during the mid-1800s.
Kingman was born 26 June 1818 in Worthington, Massachusetts, the son of Isaiah and Lucy Kingman. He began teaching school at the age of 17 and two years later he moved to Kentucky, where he studied law.
During the 1840s, Kingman moved to Smithland, where he soon became involved in local politics. He was permitted to practice law in Livingston County in 1844 and, in 1845, he was appointed County Attorney. The following year he was one of three commissioners appointed to advertise and let out the building of the jail. Kingman and four other prominent residents were nominated to be Trustees of the Cumberland Hospital in 1851. He also was a member of the Kentucky Legislature in 1849-50 and again in 1850-51.
In October 1852, Benjamin Barner, Joseph Watts and Samuel A. Kingman were appointed to draw a plan for the clerks' office. It is believed the office building, which sits next to the courthouse today, was constructed from the plan drawn by these men.
When David Flournoy, Livingston County Clerk, died in December 1854, Samuel A. Kingman was appointed to serve until the next election in August 1855. With Sterling M. Barner and Tom M. Davis, his sureties, he executed bond and promised to fulfill the duties of the office of County Clerk.
Kingman, who had married Matilda Willett in Vigo County, Indiana in 1844, moved his wife and children to Iowa in 1857 and a year later they moved to Kansas. It was in Kansas that Kingman achieved his greatest fame. He was a member of the Wyandotte Constitutional Convention in 1859 and was elected Chief Justiceof Kansas a few years later. He also served as Kansas State Librarian. He was President of the State Judicial Association and the Kansas State Bar Association and Kingman County, Kansas was named in his honor.
In 1865, Kingman traveled from Atchison, Kansas to the mouth of the Little Arkansas for a meeting with the Keowa and confederate tribes, the Commanche and Apache, with the hope of a treaty resulting in greater safety on the Santa Fe trail. Kingman kept a diary of this month-long journey beginning 21 September 1865. This Diary can be read online.
Samuel A. Kingman died in Topeka, Kansas 9 September 1904 and was buried at Topeka Cemetery. His wife and one daughter are buried there also.