Biography of David B. Kempton
Bristol County, MA Biographies

Kempton, David Batchelder, is one of the oldest business men of New Bedford, and has been prominently identified with leading business enterprises in that city for over fifty years. He was born April 25, 1818, a son of David Kempton (2) and Joanna (Maxfield) Kempton, and is a direct descendant of Manasseh Kempton, whose name appears on the deed given by Ousamequin and his son Wamsuttato John Cooke and others, and conveying the whole town of Dartmouth in thirty four whole parts and no more. Many members of the Kempton family have been prominent in history, notably Col. Thomas Kempton of Revolutionary fame. It was the pleasure of Mr. Kempton's youth to listen to stories told by his grandmother, who saved herself and children from the British soldiery by fleeing to the woods at the time of the invasion. She lived at that time in an old house, long since demolished, which was on the site of the present intersection of North and County streets. It was upon this spot that three citizens, Cook, Russell and Trafford, were killed at the time of the British invasion; and not more than a hundred yards from the same spot two British soldiers were killed as they were marching by, by two men in the woods. This was the first blood shed in the war in this vicinity. Some of this land is now in the possession of Mr. Kernpton; it has never been deeded out of the family since its original purchase from the Indians. During his early youth Mr. Kempton attended school for a very short time, but was orphaned at the age of twelve and went to live with his father's brother, Ephraim Kempton, with whom he remained until he attained his majority, meantime learning the carpenter's trade, at which he worked twelve years. He then became interested in whale shipping and for over a quarter of a century was an agent and managing owner of whaling vessels. He was a member of the fire department for several years. He early became a Mason, joining Star in the East Lodge, and also Adoniram Royal Arch Chapter and Sutton Cornmandery, Knights Templar. In 1877 he realized the desire of his life when he took an extensive trip in the countries of the old world, visiting Constantinople and the Holy Land. He was connected with the New Bedford flour mill for many years as director and president. He is now president of the Pope's Island Manufacturing Corporation; a director of the New Bedford Gas and Edison Electric Company; and of the Citizens' National Bank. At different times during his life he has been honored by public office. He served in the State Legislature in 1889 and 1890; was warden of the Fifth ward in 1875, 1876 and 1877; member of the City Council in 1864, 1865 and 1866. In the latter year the construction of the water works was begun and he, with Warren Ladd and William W. Crapo, was elected to the first Wgter Board and served in that capacity nearly twenty five years. Mr. Kempton is a man of most kindly disposition and of great ability in handling men. As a young man he was endowed with great earning capacity and by an energetic exercise of his ability acquired a considerable property. He is one of the historical characters of New Bedford and himself takes a deep interest in matters pertaining to the history of this vicinity, in which so many of his ancestors figured prominently. The very land on which he lives is a historic point and has for over two hundred and forty years been in the possession of his family. His first wife, whom he married in 1842, was Sarah Bates Lindsey, a daughter of the late Benjamin Lindsey, sr., who was for many years editor of the "Mercury." Of this union one son was born, Frank H.; he married again in 1879, Susan H. Jennings, daughter of Dr. J. H. Jennings.

Our county and its people
A descriptive and biographical history of
Bristol County, Massachusetts
Prepaired and published under the auspices of
The Fall River News and The Taunton Gasette
With assistance of Hon. Alanson Borden
The Boston History Company, Publishers, 1899.

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