TV and Movie Actress
Who is Kyra Sedgwick?
Kyra Sedgwick is an American television and movie actress who is probably best known for her starring role in the television crime drama The Closer. Her role in the series won her a Golden Globe Award (2007) and an Emmy Award (2010). She began her career in the television soap opera Another World at the age of 16. Her movie roles include the 2004 film The Woodsman where she starred alongside her husband of more than 25 years, fellow movie actor Kevin Bacon.
The Minturn Shipping Magnates
Kyra Minturn Sedgwick's 2nd great-grandfather Robert Bowne Minturn, Jr. was an American shipping magnate. He was also a vice president of the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad that founded the town of Minturn, Colorado, which was named for him. His father and Kyra's 3rd great-grandfather Robert Bowne Minturn, Sr. was also a shipping magnate. However Robert Bowne Minturn, Sr. is best known for being one of the owners of the famous clipper ship Flying Cloud. During the height of the California Gold Rush, it typically took over 200 days to sail from New York City to San Francisco. In 1853 Flying Cloud set the record for fastest passage between those two cities of 89 days, 8 hours. It was a record that held for over 150 years until it was beat in 1989 by the sailboat Thursday's Child.
A Pirate in the Family
Another of Kyra's ancestors was her 4th great-grandfather Joseph Peabody. Joseph was an officer on privateers serving the American cause during the American Revolution. A privateer was basically the same as a pirate with one main exception, a privateer carried a Letter of Marque from their government that gave them permission to raid enemy ships and keep the spoils so long as the government also received a share. After the war, Joseph Peabody became a wealthy merchant and shipowner. In 1830 one of Joseph's ships, the Friendship, was attacked by Malay pirates in Indonesia and some of the ship's crew was massacred. This massacre led to a U.S. reprisal known as the First Sumatran Expedition where the United States Navy assaulted and bombed the town and forts of the local Raja.
Although Kyra Sedgwick is a distant cousin to the famous Roosevelt family, it is a non-blood connection to Franklin D. Roosevelt that is the most interesting. Kyra's great-grandfather Rev. Endicott Peabody was the founder of Groton School in Groton, Massachusetts. The Rev. Peabody was the headmaster of the school when Franklin Roosevelt was a student there. When Franklin Roosevelt married his cousin Eleanor Roosevelt, it was the Rev. Peabody who officiated the ceremony. Franklin Roosevelt once commented about Endicott Peabody, “As long as I live his influence will mean more to me than that of any other people next to my father and mother.”
One of the little known facts about the Rev. Peabody is that he lived for awhile in one of the wildest towns in the West — Tombstone, Arizona. There is a story about the Rev. Peabody and his time out west that went something as follows:
In the summer of 1881, the Rev. Peabody was invited to Charleston, about 9 miles southwest of Tombstone, to deliver a sermon. His subject was about the evils of cattle rustling, drinking and carousing. Billy Claybourn, a local man who had apparently killed a couple of men in saloon fights in Charleston, and who would later be killed himself by Frank Leslie in Tombstone, heard about the sermon and sent a message to the Rev. Peabody. He told the Rev. Peabody that if he ever returned to Charleston and preached another sermon like that, he would come to the church and make the Reverend “dance.” The Rev. Peabody is reported to have responded that he expected to return to Charleston in two weeks to give another sermon that he thought appropriate and if Mr. Claybourn would come to the church and listen to it, and then thought he could make him dance, to try it.
Henry Dwight Sedgwick
There are no shortages of Henry Dwight Sedgwicks in Kyra's family tree. In the five generations that preceded her, four were named Henry Dwight Sedgwick including her father. In the one generation missing a Henry Dwight, her grandfather Robert Minturn Sedgwick had a brother named Henry Dwight Sedgwick. Her great-grandfather Henry Dwight Sedgwick III was an American lawyer and author who wrote several biographies on historical figures such as Isaac Thomas Hecker (Founder of Paulist Fathers), Henry of Navarre (King Henry IV of France), Alfred de Musset (French author), and Marcus Aurelius (Roman Emperor).
Kyra Sedgwick has one of the most well-connected ancestries that I have researched. She has a little bit of everything in her family: royalty, U.S. presidents, first ladies, generals, explorers, authors, patriots, murderers, and witchcraft. Of course the most interesting of Kyra's famous kin is her husband Kevin Bacon. They share the common ancestor of Samuel Hinckley. They also share this ancestor with the infamous John Hinckley Jr., the man who shot President Ronald Reagan.
Although many celebrities can claim family connections to signers of the Declaration of Independence, Kyra has at least seven in her family, what most cannot claim is being a direct descendant of one. Kyra is the 5th great-granddaughter of signer William Ellery.
Father of Electrocution
Kyra has family connections to a number of infamous people including Lee Harvey Oswald, Lizzie Borden, and John Hinckley Jr., but one of her closest connections is to someone who made history on the other side of the law. Kyra's great-granduncle was Dr. Julius Mount Bleyer, aka The Father of Electrocution. The first execution in the world using the electric chair occurred in 1890 at New York's Auburn State Prison in a chair created by Dr. Julius Mount Bleyer. The prisoner being executed was William Kemmler who had murdered his common-law wife with a hatchet.
However this first execution by electrocution did not play out so well. Although the chair had been tested successfully on a horse the day before, it did not work as well as expected. The prisoner was given a shock of 1,000 volts for 17 seconds before the current was stopped and he was pronounced dead by the doctors. Witnesses noticed that he was still breathing and the doctors reexamined him and confirmed that he was still alive. He was given a second shock of 2,000 volts which witnesses claimed ruptured the blood vessels under his skin and his body caught fire. In all it took about 8 minutes to execute Kemmler and the stench of burning flesh became unbearable in the room.
Matthew Broderick and the movie Glory
Although Kyra Sedgwick did not star in the 1989 movie Glory, she does have a very interesting connection to it. Kyra's 2nd great-granduncle is Col. Robert Gould Shaw. Colonel Shaw was the commander of the all black 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War. He was killed in the Second Battle of Fort Wagner on Morris Island in Charleston Harbor. His parents were well known abolitionists and the direct ancestors of Kyra Sedgwick. Colonel Shaw was the principal subject of the film Glory in which he was depicted by actor Matthew Broderick.
A False Connection to Kevin Bacon
Although Kyra Sedgwick and her husband Kevin Bacon are 9th cousins 2 times removed through their common ancestor of Samuel Hinckley, there is a claim that seems to have widespread acceptance online that they are also related through a common ancestor of Charles Hoar. Kyra Sedgwick's connection to Charles Hoar is claimed to be through Anna Flint, an alleged granddaughter of Charles Hoar.
Anna Flint is said to be the daughter of Henry and Margery (Hoar) Flint. Margery is the daughter of Charles Hoar. The claim is that Anna married Timothy Dwight on 09 JAN 1664/5 as the widow of John Dassett. Hannah Flint, daughter of Henry and Margery, married John Dassett on 15 NOV 1662.
The problem is that John Dassett lived until 1699. The Anna Flint who married Timothy Dwight could not be John Dassett's widow and the daughter of Henry Flint. Therefore any connection between Kyra Segwick and Kevin Bacon through Charles Hoar would appear to be false.
Please note: The ancestor reports on this website have been compiled from thousands of different sources, many over 100 years old. These sources are attached to each ancestor so that you can personally judge their reliability. As with any good genealogical research, if you discover a link to your own family tree, consider it a starting point for further research. It is always preferable to locate primary records where possible. FamousKin.com cannot and does not guarantee the accuracy and reliability of these sources.