-Anna Kingsbury Lindsey
1880 - 1967
There are few details that can be found about this poet from Illinois, just the basic facts of her life. Anna Kingsbury Lindsey was born Anna Estelle Kingsbury in 1880 either in Indiana or in Illinois. Her parents were Hiram Kingsbury (b in Ohio 1840), a life insurance agent who was also a state senator, and Josephine (Daniel) Kingsbury (b in either Indiana or Mississippi in 1847/8). Anna had a younger brother Charles (b 1883) and a younger sister Emma (b 1887). One of her poems mentions "sister Nell", but I've not found record of her.
In 1900, at 20 years of age, she was living with her parents and siblings in Olney, Richland Cty., Illinois. According to her marriage notice in the paper, she was a well-respected milliner in Olney. By 1910 she is listed as living with her husband, Kirby Bascom Lindsey (1859-1934) in Ricks, Christian Cty, Illinois. By 1920 Kirby's profession is listed as newspaper editor (the Morrisonville Times) and the couple was living in Morrisonville, Christian Cty with their two children, Thomas B (b 1911) and Ruth K (b 1913).
The town of Morrisonville is mentioned in at least one of Anna's poems, but at some point during her long widowhood she lived in California, because I found a newspaper clipping in the book dated May 1945 with a song she wrote for a presentation to the gold star servicemen of WWII, and it says "Mrs. Anna K Lindsey, who is visiting here from California..." In addition, one of her poems praises the state in verse. Since her daughter Ruth married in Santa Barbara in 1939, it's logical that she lived with her for a time.
She appears to have moved back to Morrisonville by 1947 and been active in the First Presbyterian Church of Morrisonville, because I found a paper tucked inside her book which lists the budget for the church for the years 1947-48. Perhaps she was a deacon or on a board of some kind.
Anna Kingsbury Lindsey did not leave much else of a trail for us to discover what her life was like or when she wrote her poetry. The little book was privately printed in 1942 when Anna was 62, and appears to be a collection that she wanted to leave behind for her children and grandchildren. The dedication is to her children, Thomas and Ruth, so presumably there were no grandchildren at that time.
She died on 5 July 1967, age 87, and was buried in the Morrisonville Cemetery in her beloved Illinois home. She outlived her husband (d 1934) and her son who sadly died at the age of 34. Her daughter Ruth died 2 December 1995 in San Diego, California at age 82. I have not found any grandchildren for Anna.
Morrisonville business circa 1930's
Morrisonville coffee club in the 1920's - could Anna be among them?
First Presbyterian Church, Morrisonville, Illinois
Isles of Home
by Anna Kingsbury Lindsey
Ye Old Time Keeper
Seeds of Today
In the silent midnight watches
As the old clock strikes the hour,
Ringing out a timely message
From its lofty flaming tower.
Then it is we often wonder,
What the tales that clock could tell--
As it strikes the hour of midnight
By the ringing of the bell.
Human crowds press on before it,
All around it everywhere;
Through the wee small hours of morning
As the linger here and there.
What that clock up in the steeple
Sees and hears and knows so well,
If its tongue could only whisper,
There'd be more than time to tell.
But it only does its duty
As above the earth it towers,
With its face and hands before it,
Pointing out the passing hours.
If the bells in all the steeples
Could ring out that all is well,
Clocks would stop for want of gossip
For there'd be no tales to tell.
*the tower pictured is the clock tower of the Christian County, Illinois courthouse, which serves Morrisville. I imagine that this was the tower she was writing about, but we will never know for sure!
I'm planting some seed in my garden today,
For yesterday's seeds have all blown away.
Just where they are scattered I never will know,
How fair were the blossoms of how they did grow.
Tomorrow, my seeds of today will be gone
Where some will take root perhaps, before dawn.
LIke yesterday's seeds, I never can say,
Just where they will blossom to brighten the day.
And I wonder just now, if they're thriving at all,
As over the wayside they happen to fall.
Or if the wee buds might have faded away,
Forgotten by others I scatter each day.
How well I have planted my allotment of seed,
Can only be told by each little deed--
Deeds that will blossom forever and aye--
Flowers of tomorrow, from my seeds of today.
The sun had dropped behind the hills--
The shadows lower in the west--
A nightingale with song that thrills,
And the weary world have gone to rest.
A traveler, old and worn and gray
Is seeking shelter along the way,
When the feathered singer's silvery notes
Toward the stranger softly floats.
The sweetest music he'd ever heard
Came from the throat of that little bird.
With the stars above their watch to keep,
The singer soon had him fast asleep.
It's just a little lock of gold
Tied with a bit of blue,
But in the tiny silken threads
I catch a glimpse of you.
I see a pair of laughing eyes,
A tiny little nose,
Two ruby lips, pink finger tips
Like petals on a rose.
And there's the little dimpled chin,
The Hands so soft and sweet,
And all the while a baby's smile
To make a home complete.
A bit of treasured memory
Comes stealing now and then,
I all but touch the little form--
And then it's gone again.
But in the tiny lock of gold
That I could ne'er destroy,
I keep the baby features
Of you, my little boy.
There's a little green spot somewhere in the world no matter how far you may roam,
Where memory goes back to an oft' beaten track,
It's the place that you love to call home.
It may be a mansion, so stately and grand
Or a neat little cottage of white,
Or perhaps it is only a tumbled down shack,
With a flicker of candle light.
No matter whatever your station in life,
As you mount up the ladder of fame,
You once were a boy or a girl in that town,
And everyone knew you by name.
No matter, we say, whatever our lot,
As we journey on land or on foam,
Fond memory goes back, to that oft' beaten track,
The place we all love to call home.
'Tis raining! 'Tis raining!
The town is all wet—
We couldn't get sunshine
Today on a bet!
But election is over—
The donkey won out,
And the elephant is licked
Clear thru' to his snout.
But what do we care—
We're still safe and sound,
All her in a circle
Like a merry-go-round.
And we're all just a bustin'
To give things away,
To some lucky critter
Whose birthday's today.
We know she's a cut-up,
A regular scream!
And for true, faithful friendship,
She sure takes the cream!
Now who do you guess?
It's a secret, you know,
But she's one who can giggle
From head to her toe!
Now this year's election
Put the mule on the throne,
But the elephants today
We have kept for our own.
They are herded together,
With a hip, hip, hurray!
And a trunk full of greetings
For Lulu today.
*written for a friend's birthday with reference, most likely, to the election of 1932 when Franklin D Roosevelt defeated Republican incumbent, Herbert Hoover.