Gouverneur Kemble

Gouverneur Kemble

Gouverneur Kemble

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Gouverneur Kemble (January 25, 1786 – September 18, 1875) was a two-term United States Congressman, diplomat and industrialist. He helped found the West Point Foundry, a major producer of artillery during the American Civil War.

Kemble was born to a prominent family in New York City, the eldest son of prosperous attorney and merchant Peter Kemble. He was educated in New York and graduated from Columbia College in 1803, then engaged in the mercantile business. He was friends with Washington Irving and other members of city society, who enjoyed socializing at Cockloft Hall (an old family mansion on the Passaic River inherited by Kemble).

He was sent to the Mediterranean as a naval agent during the Second Barbary War with Tripoli. As a young man with political connections, in 1816 he was appointed United States Consul at Cádiz in Spain, where it is said that (on little authority) his attention was attracted to the Spanish government's state-of-the-art process of casting cannon.

Returning home, he saw an opportunity to introduce the process in the United States. Along with other partners including his brother William and a consortium of investors including General Joseph Gardner Swift of the U.S. Army, in 1817 he founded the West Point Foundry Association to produce artillery pieces following the War of 1812. The foundry was built across the Hudson River from West Point in the village of Cold Spring, New York, and soon began to make cast iron steam engines for......
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