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The Kingsbaker-Loew Family of Los Angeles and the Sunderland Cousins

by David Meyer

Copyright © April 2003. All rights reserved

Do not copy photographs without permission

 

Members of the Kingsbaker-Loew family first reached southern California as early as the 1870’s, when Jacob Loew settled in Los Angeles County. In August 1885, he married Emily Newmark, daughter of Harris Newmark, one of the earliest settlers in Los Angeles, and around that time, other members of Jacob’s family began to arrive. By the turn of the 20th century, a number of his cousins and a nephew or two had followed him west from the Midwest, and a fairly sizable family group had established a presence in various areas of the business and social Los Angeles communities.

Ultimately, Jacob Loew’s relatives living in Los Angeles included his sisters, Mrs. Morris (Rosa) Jacoby and her family, and Mrs. Moses (Clara) Kingsbaker, who married their first cousin, Moses Kingsbaker; Clara’s sons Gilbert and Sidney Kingsbaker; another nephew, Herman Levi, and his family; and first cousins Theodore and Benjamin Kingsbaker, Mrs. Joseph (Sophie) Sunderland, and Morris Fellheimer, and the Kingsbaker and Sunderland children.

In the first decade of the 20th century, the Sunderland family had been living in Los Angeles for some time, after moving there from Ottumwa, Iowa, where Joseph and Sophie Sunderland’s three daughters (Julia, Lillian and Florence) were born. Sophie Sunderland, nee Kingsbaker, was Jacob Loew’s first cousin and a sister of fellow Los Angelinos Theodore and Ben Kingsbaker. Initially, her husband, Joseph Sunderland, was a merchant and commercial traveler, and later he dealt in wholesale cigars, as did many members of the Kingsbaker family both in California and in the Midwest.

The youngest daughter, Florence, made a photo album to record her leisure activities and family visits from the late 1890’s through her marriage to Maurice Ray in 1913. The Sunderlands lived at 1811 South Flower Street, near their uncle, aunt and cousins, the family of Theodore Kingsbaker, at 1617 South Figueroa Street. Another uncle, Ben Kingsbaker, a bachelor, lived with Theodore’s family. Many of the pictures were presumably taken in front of these two houses.

Ben Kingsbaker, who with his brother and brother’s family, arrived in Los Angeles in 1888, appeared often in his niece’s pictures. In his obituary, the B’nai B’rith Messenger of May 27, 1921 reported that "[h]e was a splendid man to whom no charitable appeal was made vainly and who loved children and was loved by them."

Theodore Kingsbaker was the father of the Kingsbakers in the Kingsbaker-Klingenstein Company, cigar distributors. In later years, the family became involved with real estate and, following 1910, three of the Kingsbaker brothers, Alfred, Harry and Leonard, became the members of the Kingsbaker Bros. Co., a major wholesale shipping and commission house in fruits, vegetables and produce. Leonard was the first president of the Los Angeles Produce Exchange. Two other children, a son, Walter, and daughter, Pauline, did not participate in the family produce company but also resided in Los Angeles.

The pictures:

Kingsbaker Album: The Riders

(This photograph is imprinted Crandall, Pasadena and the only thing on the back is July 1902)

On the horses, left-right: Joseph Sunderland, Sophie Sunderland, Lillie or Julia Sunderland, Lillie or Julia Sunderland, Pauline Kingsbaker, Walter Kingsbaker (?), Leonard Kingsbaker (?), and Theodore or Ben Kingsbaker.

Kingsbaker Album Page 2a.

Florence Sunderland is standing fourth from the left. The group or occasion is unclear.

Kingsbaker Album Page 5 

Ben Kingsbaker is the ladies’ man. I am not sure who the ladies are, though a couple of them look like the Sunderland sisters. The center picture is of an unidentified woman, and the two ladies on the ladder in the right picture are also unknown.

Kingsbaker Album Page 6

Pictures of some unknown people enjoying their summer activities. In the bottom right picture, Pauline Kingsbaker is sitting on the ground on the far right. The people in the water appear to be the same people sitting on the ground. The pictures are not dated.

Kingsbaker Album Page 7

Two pictures. 1910: Looks like a break during a card game, as cards are sitting on the table in front of the sofa. The three women in the middle are the three Sunderland sisters. I do not know who the boy is, but he appears again in 1905 on the same page, and elsewhere in Florence’s photo album as well. The two women on either end of the 1910 picture are unknown.

Kingsbaker Album Page 8

 Wheelers Springs 1911: Alfred Kingsbaker is second from the left in the car. Unclear who else is in the car. In Del Mar 1913: Sophie Sunderland and her three daughters.

Kingsbaker Album Page 9

1912:  San Diego according to the partially obscured text.  Ben Kingsbaker and two of his Sunderland nieces.

Kingsbaker Album Page 10

Family Gathering

Taken about 1917, judging from the relatives in attendance, probably in the dining room of the Kingsbaker family home on 1617 South Figueroa Street.

From left to right around the table: Alfred Kingsbaker, Fay Kingsbaker, Maurice Ray, Florence Ray, (standing behind: Ben Kingsbaker, Amelia Kingsbaker), Harry Kingsbaker, Leonard Kingsbaker, (standing together at end of table: Walter Kingsbaker, Greta Kingsbaker), Sidney Kingsbaker, Pauline Kingsbaker, (standing behind: 2 maids?), Gilbert Kingsbaker Sr., Sophie Sunderland, Julia Sunderland, Lillian Sunderland. This appears to be a gathering of all the Kingsbaker family in town at the time; Gilbert and Sidney’s mother was living in Los Angeles but visiting her daughters in St. Louis during that summer. It may have been an introduction of Greta Kingsbaker, who married Walter Kingsbaker that year.

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Copyright © November 2002. All Rights Reserved

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