|J. Ortell Kingston|
Kingston in the Military
|Trustee in Trust |
|July 8, 1948 – August 25, 1987|
|Successor||Paul Elden Kingston|
|Born||John Ortell Kingston|
May 19, 1919
|Died||August 25, 1987 (aged 68)|
|Bountiful Memorial Park|
|Spouse(s)||At least thirteen, including:
|Parents||Charles W. Kingston|
John Ortell Kingston was the son of Charles W. Kingston, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) who had been excommunicated from the LDS Church on March 4, 1929. Kingston joined his brother Elden Kingston's cooperative shortly after its establishment. When Elden Kingston died from cancer in 1948, leadership of the "Davis County Co-op" passed from Elden to Ortell.
Ortell Kingston aggressively pursued a financially expansive agenda for the group and the wealth of the Kingston clan grew.
Despite the wealth of the Kingston clan leaders had been sometimes found living in almost inhumane conditions, due to the recovery of the Depression. Often, homes consisted of only small rundown clapboard houses, with peeling paint and broken windows. Connie Rugg, a former member, stated: "The men in the Kingston group do little or nothing to support their many wives and children". Sometimes wives will "go gardening" (scrounging through garbage cans to find food) for themselves and their children.
Kingston evaded taxes and fraudulently obtained welfare by having his wives claim to be single mothers and that he was not the father of their children. Kingston's holdings were estimated at $70 million. In 1983, Utah sued Kingston for welfare subsidies his alleged wives had received. While admitting no wrongdoing, Kingston paid the state $250,000 and the case was dropped.
|Example of Intra-family Marriages within the Kingston Clan|
|Marriage of Jeremy Ortell Kingstona and Aunt/Cousin LuAnn Kingstonb |
Hales (2006), Modern Polygamy and Mormon Fundamentalists, p. 399
Kingston was living plural marriage until his death; he had married at least 13 wives and had dozens of children.
Like his brother, Kingston believed he came from genetically superior ancestry and that he was a direct literal descendant of Jesus. Kingston had worked on a dairy farm owned by the co-op at Woodscross, Davis County, Utah, where he reportedly developed theories on genetics that he later decided could be used to purify his own family pedigree. Using these theories he implemented practices which encouraged intra-family marriages of close relatives, in order to perfect his own bloodline. Those marriages, if discovered, would be considered incestuous under Utah consanguinity laws. Connie Rugg, one of Kingston's daughters, stated, "Ortell Kingston experimented [with] inbreeding with his cattle and then he turned to his children."
Kingston also taught child marriage to girls just attaining puberty. Kingston and other members of the Kingston clan, having a "Pure Bloodline", had an advantage over almost any outsider in convincing teenage women, sometimes as young as fourteen, to join their bloodline as part of the polygamous family.
Kingston died in 1987 and was living plural marriage until his death. Ortell had at least thirteen wives and dozens of children. Kingston's seven sons from his first wife comprised most of the members of the highest echelon of leadership within the financial conglomerate as well as the primary focus of plural marriage activity within the group.