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John Stevens Kimball, an influential resident of Hopkinton, born in Boston, July 31, 1845, is a son of John Shackford and Mary (Stevens) Kimball, of whom an account will be found on another page. He was educated at the Phillips Grammar School in Boston, at Hopkinton Academy, and at Taghconic Institute, Lanesboro, Mass. The old Hopkinton Academy, under the principalship of Professor Dyer Sanborn, the author of Sanborn’s Grammar, was quite a famous institution. Among its students who afterward became famous were Benjamin F. Butler, Salmon P. Chase, and Grace Fletcher. Grace Fletcher became the wife of Daniel Webster.
When he was but fourteen years of age, he began to earn his living in the employment of J. C. Converse & Co., Boston, Mass. Subsequently he worked for George S. Winslow & Co. In 1861 he went to Burlington, Ia., where he was employed by his father in the business conducted by J. S. Kimball & Co. In 1866-67 he was second in charge of the notion or smallwares department of George Bliss & Co., of New York City. From 1867 to 1869 he was a member of the firm of Parker, Bacon, Kimball & Co., wholesale dry-goods dealers of Boston. In 1869, with his brother, Robert R. Kimball, he entered the smallwares and hosiery trade, under the style of Kimball & Co., locating in Winthrop Square, Boston. They were burned out in the great fire of 1872, which laid waste a large portion of Boston, losing one-half the stock and some of the light insurance they had on it through companies that failed. Mr. Kimball, however, was not to be defeated. Soon after, going with George H. Pearl & Co., dry-goods commission merchants, he gradually recovered himself financially. In 1875 he came to Hopkinton, and here engaged in business with the stock of the two or three stores he and his brother had in Boston. This venture was carried on prosperously for six or eight years. In 1879 Mr. Kimball was elected Registrar of Deeds, in which capacity he served till 1881. In that period he arranged the index that has been in constant use since. He was sent to the legislature in 1883 to represent Hopkinton, and was Chairman of the Committee on Elections. In politics a Republican, he takes
In 1878, December 3, Mr. Kimball married Clara French, a daughter of Reuben E. and Sarah (Chase) French, of Hopkinton. She died November 19, 1879. Her sister, Margaret A. French, became his second wife November 7, 1888. There was one son by the first marriage, John Prescott Kimball, now a young man of seventeen and a student at Holderness. Harold Chase Kimball was born of the second marriage. The present Mrs. Kimball is a member of the Congregational church. Mr. Kimball, though a member of Mount Lebanon Lodge of Masons in Boston, is not especially devoted to lodge affairs. He is deeply interested in local institutions, such as the Free Library, the New Hampshire and the Antiquarian Society. He has served for several years as Trial Justice of the Peace, and in very many ways has been a public benefactor to this town. His residence in Hopkinton is one of the most beautiful in that section.