Hi, I am David, Marianne and I recently restored William Kemble’s house, "The Cottage". It was built in 1826 and it is the only restored building from the Glory days of the West Point Foundry: 1817 – 1865.
The Kemble Brothers and the West Point Foundry
Both the Kemble brothers and West Point Foundry played a crucial role in the development of heavy industry in the US and in supplying munitions for the civil war, most notably the Parrott cannon. It was here that the US pivoted from an agrarian economy to an industrial nation.
William Kemble, Artist unknown 1795-1881 courtesy of the Kirklin family
The war of 1812 against England highlighted the lack of heavy industry in the US. Most of the iron and supplies for the manufacturing of weapons of war such as cannons, needed to be imported, leaving the US dependent on overseas suppliers in the case of a major conflict. President James Madison called for the establishment of an industrial base in the US to fill this need. The two Kemble brothers, Gouverneur and William, owned a small foundry in downtown Manhattan.
Gouverneur Kemble: Asher Durant, 1853: Courtesy National Gallery of Art