Created By: New Bedford Preservation Society
The Kempton family were farmers, traders and mechanics. As Kempton family grew in prominence and significance, the area known Smith Mills Road became Kempton Street as it crossed into New Bedford. In the subdivision of the Kempton farm in 1850, the site passed to Alfred Kempton, who built this house soon afterward. Alfred Kempton’s wealth was largely derived from whaling investments, though he also conducted a coal merchandizing office on Water Street
The area of this house site is where three citizens of New Bedford, Abram Russell, Thomas Cook, and Diah Trafford, were killed during the British punitive raid on the city in 1778. They had, according to local lore, initially retreated into the woods above Bedford Village, then returned and attempted to resist the British advance. They were fired upon by soldiers who were moving north toward the head of the river.
The house is an excellent example of the Italianate style, with a belvedere rising over a center-gabled roof line supported by paired brackets of the style. A lively carpentered porch with a roof supported by pendent brackets gives a luxurious and comfortable air to the street facade
This point of interest is part of the tour: New Bedford Pathways Tour #5: North Bedford Historic District Tour