• Amos Clark Kingsbury

    by  • July 20, 2017 • Kingsbury, Medfield, Medfield High School • 0 Comments

    ce8ea7f7-9c26-4376-8a94-cb565cecaa0b-1Today his name is best known as the official name of Medfield High School. Amos Clark Kingsbury was born in Medfield on October 13, 1897. He grew up on the family’s 75-acre farm on 145 Spring Street, across the street from the pond that gave him much boyhood recreation. He attended town schools and graduated from Medfield High School with the Class of 1916, which was then located in the Ralph Wheelock School on Pleasant Street. There were 12 in that graduating class. At Medfield High School, Kingsbury was a stand out athlete on both the basketball and baseball teams. Shortly after graduation, President Woodrow Wilson asked America’s youth to make the world safe for democracy and the United States entered World War I.

    With his country calling, Kingsbury enlisted into the United States Marines on February 13, 1918. He served as a private and participated in almost all major U.S. combat missions. He arrived in France on May 6, 1918 fighting with the 5th Regiment, 4th Brigade, 2nd Division. He saw action first in Chateau Thierry. There he found himself laying flat in a French wheat field with a constant hail of German machine gun fire singing over his head. He lived through the battles of Soissons and St. Mihiel. At St. Mihiel, from September 12-15 and fighting under the command of U.S. General John J. Pershing, Kingsbury returned as one of only 25 survivors in his battalion of 250. It marked the first U.S. solo offensive and victory in World War I. Later, he staggered and fought through the terrors of the Argonne from October 1-10, 1918. With the Armistice signed on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, 1918, Kingsbury came out of the war miraculously unscathed.

    Amos Clark Kingsbury at work in his studio. Photo published in Boston Traveler 10/29/1931.

    Amos Clark Kingsbury at work in his studio. Photo published in Boston Traveler 10/29/1931.

    Returning home on August 3, 1919, Kingsbury soon got involved in the beginnings of the American Legion, made up of fellow WWI veterans. He was a charter member of Medfield’s Beckwith Post #110, American Legion and served as its financial officer. Back on the family Spring Street Farm, Kingsbury turned to an occupation he had never even dreamed of; painting. He was now determined to become an artist and became a pupil of famed artist F. Mortimer Lamb. Kingsbury then set his mind to painting. In 1928 Kingsbury then founded the Medfield School of Art. His goal was to meet a growing need among students of New England and elsewhere for year-round work out-of-doors. The school trained students to recognize their own creative ability, and thus with guidance develop their own individuality. The school stayed open until 1932.

    In 1936 Amos used his soldiers’ bonus, took weeks of painstaking labor to rehabilitee the ancient cow barn on the family property and inside the barn opened the Wayside Art Museum that he later called the Medfield Art Gallery. It opened with 500 water colors, pastels and oils by his teacher F. Mortimer Lamb and artist Charles Vermoskie. Kingsbury had transformed the huge barn, filled with an immense clutter of stalls and farm implements into a skylighted and attractive rough-boarded studio-museum with an elevated gallery for pictures. He then remodeled the old slaughter house nearby as his art studio, leaving inside a thousand farm implements from the old-time estate, whose grant dated back to the founding of the town. Here, following his apprenticeship with Lamb, he worked in earnest upon his paintings. In the art museum’s first year of operation, more than 2,000 visitors signed the guest book.

    Cover of the art school brochure. Medfield Historical Society photo file.

    Cover of the art school brochure. Medfield Historical Society photo file.

    In the meantime, Kingsbury served the Town as its Collector of Taxes, a job he would hold for 30 years. He was also a member of the Town’s finance committee and was appointed to various special committees. He truly fit the mold of what Thomas Jefferson called the “Active Citizen.”

    Headstone of Amos Clark Kingsbury and Blanche Marcionette at Vine Lake Cemetery.

    Headstone of Amos Clark Kingsbury and Blanche Marcionette at Vine Lake Cemetery.

    On June 25, 1955 Amos Clark Kingsbury married Medfield native Blanche Marcionette. Kingsbury died six months later on December 15, 1955. On March 25, 1957, the Town of Medfield voted to accept the offer of the Marcionette Family of a gift of land off Pound Street for the building of the new high school with the stipulation that it be named after Amos Clark Kingsbury. In 1961 the new high school, named Amos Clark Kingsbury High School, opened. A new “Junior High School” located next door on 88R South Street was opened on February 28,1966. It later became the middle school. The then Medfield Middle School was renamed the Thomas A. Blake Middle School in 1991 at a dedication ceremony honoring the former superintendent of schools. In 2005 the two schools switched buildings and their names went with them.

    About

    Richard has been a lifelong resident and an educator in Medfield. He began his teaching career in Medfield in 1976 as a social studies teacher at Medfield Middle School, winning several achievement awards, and went on to teach Political Science and U.S. (AP) History at Medfield High School from 1995 to 2011, where he also distinguished himself. Deeply involved in the community, Richard has served as town Election Officer, as member and chairman of the Parks and Recreation Commission and Board of Selectmen, and as a representative to the Norfolk County Advisory Board. He is dedicated to the preservation and sharing of Medfield’s unique history and has served as President and Curator of the Medfield Historical Society, as chairman and member of the Medfield Historical Commission and as MEMOs Discover Medfield Day Trolley Tour director. Officially appointed Medfield’s town historian, Richard has written three books on the history of Medfield and is a regular correspondent to Hometown Weekly and the Medfield Historical Society, where he shares stories of Medfield’s history.

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