Historic, but not famous

William C. Kingsley, Brooklyn Bridge contractor

William C. Kingsley (1833–1885) was a construction contractor as one of the main figures involved in the creation of the Brooklyn Bridge. Kingsley settled in Brooklyn in 1856 and worked as a contractor for the Brooklyn water works. His construction firm, Kingsley and Keeney, was given large contracts to build Prospect Park and the Hempstead Reservoir. The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the largest and most important projects he worked on.

He became the driving force behind the Bridge project, hiring Colonel Julius Walker Adams, a civil engineer who had worked with him on the Brooklyn sewers, to come up with a design and to prepare cost estimates. Neither man was experienced in bridge building and their proposal for the bridge was a very low $5 million bid. This bid allowed the bridge to get political buy in and Kingsley became a major shareholder in the bridge company organized in 1867. The bridge was eventually built by John and Washington and Emily Roebling for three times that amount.

In 1875, Kingsley joined the board of trustees of the Brooklyn Bridge, and became the second president of the board in 1882, upon the first board president’s death. Kingsley held that position on May 24, 1883, the day that the Brooklyn Bridge opened.

Kingsley is interred at Green-Wood Cemetery. His monument was cut from granite stone that was once a part of the Brooklyn Bridge.

 

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Historic, but not famous

Henry Chadwick, sportswriter, historian

Henry Chadwick (1824 – April 20, 1908) was a sportswriter, baseball statistician and historian, often called the “Father of Baseball” for his early reporting on and contributions to the development of the game. He edited the first baseball guide that was sold to the public.

He was born in England and moved to Brooklyn with his family at the age of 12. He began to write music and to teach piano and guitar, somewhat against the education he received in commerce and finance. As an adult he played cricket and rounders for amusement and began writing about the games for local newspapers.  He came across organized baseball in 1856 as a cricket reporter for The New York Times; watching a match between New York’s Eagles and Gothams. By the next year, he devoted his writing to baseball coverage for the New York Clipper and Sunday Mercury newspapers.

Chadwick helped establish the keeping of statistics and promoted individual players. He was on the rules committee and influenced the early development and coverage of the game. His devotion to and promotion of the game led him to be referred to as the “father of baseball.” In his 1861 Beadle guide, he listed totals of games played, outs, runs, home runs, and strikeouts for hitters on prominent clubs, the first database of its kind. In 1868 he wrote the first book on baseball, The Game of Baseball.

Chadwick continued editing the Spalding Base Ball Guides and producing a column for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle and The New York Times. He was struck by a car in 1908, bedridden for weeks, but made it to the opening game of the season at the Polo Grounds and Washington Park in Brooklyn. He caught a cold which worsened his condition. A fall while moving furniture that year brought him to his end.

He was posthumously inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He is buried in Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn.

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Historic, but not famous

Charles Higgins, ink maker

Charles M. Higgins (1854-1929) began his ink business about 1880. His first ink was Higgin’s India ink. By 1888, magazines like Harper’s Weekly, were using his ink for their drawings. His first successes were with artists when many publications recommended his drawing and waterproof inks. He began using famous artist testimonials to promote his drawing products.

His success allowed him to advertise widely as he expanded his line of products. He introduced laundry Ink, Higgins Indelible Ink and a vegetable mucilage, not a starch or flour based products like other companies wee making but a new chemical discovery. Patent registrations increased as he developed more ink typesfrom 1880s and into the 20th century.

Higgins was born in Ireland and came to American as a child, settling in Brooklyn.  In the 1890s he moved his Brooklyn headquarters to 168-172 Eighth st. By the turn of the century, he has offices in New York, Chicago and London with his products selling world-wide.

Green-Wood cemetery’s famed Minerva statue was commissioned by Higgins in 1920 to commemorate the Battle of Brooklyn of 1776, a historical event Mr. Higgins was passionate about. The Higgins mausoleum stands directly behind the statue.

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Historic, but not famous

Jeffrey Richman, Green-Wood Cemetery historian

Jeffrey Richman graduated from NYU Law School in the 1970s and started working with criminal defendants for the next 33 years, both at the trial and the appellate level. He loved the challenge and helping those who were underrepresented and poor.

While working in law, he started to collect stereoscopic cards from the 1800s. Though many were available, he concentrated on images of New York. There were so many stereoscopic views of New York City in the second half of the 19th century–hundreds were taken of just the omnibuses, carts, and pedestrians along Broadway in Manhattan, but he kept coming across some marked Green-Wood cemetery. They became a focus of his collection.

In 1987, he saw an ad for a photo tour of Green-Wood, which limited photography on the grounds without permission at that time. That tour changed Mr. Richman’s life. The tour brought together his many interests like 19th century photography, taking photographs, cemeteries, sculpture, and landscape design. He returned to the cemetery and was able to get a courtesy pass with photography allowed and he knew something had changed for him.

In 1990, he decided to become a tour guide as well as keeping his day job. He set up his own schedules and did his own publicity as Green-Wood did not have tours. He began to write a book on the cemetery and it was published by Green-Wood in 1997. In 2007 he became the cemetery historian, the second in Green-Wood cemetery’s 150+ year history. He left the law practice.

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