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Biography of Rollins A. Kempton

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ROLLINS A. KEMPTON, fifth son of Col. Calvin Kempton, was born Oct. 29, 1826. In addition to the district school, he received the instructions of his father at home, who was an experienced and most faithful teacher, and had been for thirty years Superintending School Committee of the town.

His early life was full of poverty and discouragements. At the tender age of nine years he followed his mother to her grave, and was thus deprived of her guardian care and sympathy. His father had been a large farmer and extensive wool-grower, but the revulsions of 1837 swept away his fortune and left him a poor man, with a large family, and hard labor and few privileges was the lot of the son. At twentyone, with a coarse freedom suit, a five-dollar gold piece, and a father’s blessing, he started out in the world. He first went to Lowell, but here his utmost labor would barely pay his board. So, one pleasant morning, with seventy-five cents in his pocket-all the money he had left after paying his bills-he started for Lawrence, and his trip to the “new city” represents most graphically the discouragements which sometimes beset a young man while starting out in the world: Arriving there he found he had no friends, no money, and no employment. For two days he sought most earnestly for something to do, battling against rain, and cold, and hunger, and every step had been a failure, and he had been to Methuen and met there the same result. At the end of that time however, nothing daunted, he returned to Lowell full of “pluck,” determined “to be somebody ” yet. He subsequently learned the joiner’s trade. In 1851, he married Maria J. Reed, of Northfield, Vt., and commenced business at Lawrence. At the end of eleven years he owned eight double tenement houses, and a steam mill, and had been a member of the city government. In 1862 he removed to Boston, where he now resides, and is a partner in three dry goods stores, with an estimated property of nearly one hundred thousand dollars-illustrating in his life the truth of the old maxim that, “A bad beginning makes a good ending.”


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