City Cemetery, Nashville, TN
Captain Alpha Kingsley, 1813
1778 - 1846

Alpha Kingsley

Kingsley was born in Woodstock, Vermont, to Ebenezer and Thankful Kingsley. He joined the U.S. Army at the age of 21 and by 1808 had been promoted to the rank of lieutenant. Serving in St. Louis, Missouri, he administered lands recently acquired via the Louisiana Purchase and led an expedition to the junction of the Des Moines and Mississippi Rivers, where he made peace with indigenous tribes and supervised the creation of Fort Madison. Kingsley spent the last three years of his army service at Fort Southwest Point, Tennessee, before being discharged as a captain in 1815. He then relocated to Nashville with his family, where he held several positions, including that of U.S. Army paymaster and manager of the Nashville Inn. In 1821 Kingsley was hired to serve as sexton (or superintendent) of the Nashville City Cemetery, the city’s first public cemetery, overseeing burial arrangements, record keeping, grounds maintenance, and lot sales. When the cemetery expanded in 1836, Kingsley undertook the design for the additional acreage, creating a park-like landscape that was inspired by the rural cemetery movement. He served as the sexton for Nashville City Cemetery until his death in 1846, at the age of 67, and is interred there.