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Robert Estes Kennington
Image by Robert of Fairfax
The Story of Jackson
Biographical sketches of the builders of the capital of Mississippi
J. F. Hyer Publishing Organization
Jackson, Mississippi, 1953
[brackets are annotations by RGK]
Robert Estes Kennington
[page 15, The Story of Jackson]
Ranking foremost amongst the enterprise civic, church and social leaders of his city and state, Robert Estes Kennington is 1 whose life story is in the fantastic American tradition. His achievement in building what is indisputably Mississippi’s "finest and biggest" department shop did not come as the outcome of inherited properties and cash, but from a far greater legacy of thrift, determination, specialist judgment, courage and vision.
Orphaned at an early age and deprived of formal schooling by the necessity of earning his own livelihood, young Robert Kennington surmounted obstacles which would have downed a less sturdy character at the outset and rose to be one of the ablest and most extremely respected guys in his field in the nation. The word failure was not in Robert Kennington’s vocabulary. Destined for fantastic factors, he displayed at an early age the intelligence, stamina and will to succeed, and the magnificent department shop in the heart of downtown Jackson, capital city of a state toward which the eyes of the nation are turned, is a monument to his unerring judgment, his keen sense of business, his meticulous focus to detail and his concern for the welfare of other people.
Born March 19, 1876, in Columbus, Georgia [other records indicate Phenix City, Alabama which is adjacent and to the west of Columbus], young Kennington complet4d 4 grades in public college in Camilla, Georgia, just before he was forced to quit his formal studies and go to operate. In his own words, Robert Estes Kennington was educated in the "school of challenging knocks." At ten years of age, he started assisting on of his uncles in the latter’s store in Camilla, Georgia, sweeping out and performing odd jobs. He earned his 1st dollar delivering soda samples in Camilla when he was 11 years old. Later, he went to Pelham, Georgia, to work in an additional uncle’s shop, and his wages here were five dollars a month and board.
Each of the uncles moved to Mississippi to establish mercantile and general shops in Yazoo city and Jackson, and when Robert was 14 years old, he joined them, becoming associated with the Jackson store. Displaying the farsightedness which carried him far in the company planet, young Kennington at 15 took a six-month company course, and at 16, was maintaining books in his uncle’s mercantile establishment. His talent for merchandising became evident at this time, and when he was 17, he was produced manager o the Yazoo City store, which he was at some point in a position to purchase.
Later, his interest a Yazoo City was transferred to Jackson, the Jones Brothers became the Jones Brothers Business, creating two retailers in Jackson positioned on South State and Pearl Streets, the basic merchandise shop having entrances on South State, and the grocery and common provide retailer facing on Pearl Street.
Company establishments at that period in Jackson’s history depended largely on the wagon trade with neighboring counties, and when in about 1900, the Gulf and Ship Island Rail Road was built via to Jackson, many of the merchants felt that the wagon trade was doomed and their own economic ruin impending. This was not so with R. E. Kennington. His faith in the future was safe, and with the clear vision which has usually been apparent in his business ventures, he predicted that while the wagon trade would largely disappear, it would be replaced by a larger and much better volume of company from an extended trade area.
He prophesied: "We will not drop something–on the contrary, we will get the cream of the trade." He was proper, though the adjust in mode of travel proved revolutionary in far more methods than a single for the merchants. They discovered it necessary to alter their stocks and adopt a lot more modern enterprise techniques. Gone was the old provide company, and gone was the practice of bartering bales of cotton for groceries and other necessities.
It was at this period in Mr. Kennington’s organization profession that he and his uncles, differing in opinion concerning methods of handling the trade, agreed that the young nephew was to take charge of the common merchandise shop on South State Street even though the uncles had been to continue operating the wholesale grocery and supply shop on South State Street. The Jones-Kennington Dry Goods Firm was incorporated and continued in existence for several years.
In 1905, Mr. Kennington saw that business was swinging from South State Street to Capitol Street, and when much more displaying the keen vision and the courage which have been portion of his most successful transactions, he decided to develop a modern day department store on the corner of Capitol and Congress Streets. This website had been occupied for years by the old St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, and at the time, the church was erecting a new developing on the corner of West and Capitol Streets. The old site of the church was bought and on April 7, 1906, the Kennington Dry Goods Organization opened for organization in its present house.
In 1906, the new corporation was below Mr. Kennington’s comprehensive handle. At that time, nonetheless, he owned only one particular-third interest in the corporation and the capital sock of ,000 consisted entirely of merchandise and accounts. In 1911, Mr. Kennington bought out the Jones’ shares in the store, and the R. E. Kennington Business, as we know it today, was on its way. Significant expansions came in 1925, 1941 and an additional 25 % enhance in the store’s physical plant in 1948.
Over all the years, Mr. Kennington kept his finger on the pulse of the buying public and anticipated wants prior to they presented themselves. By maintaining his own books in the early days of the shop, Mr. Kennington knew precisely what was happening and what to expect in the company day by day. He opened the shop in the mornings and closed it late at nights, and of all the folks in the shop, "the boss" was often the busiest man on the premises.
As an employer he has usually been sort, courteous and considerate. He has demanded and received the very best of his workers and they in turn have been rewarded. As a younger man, he would by no means ask an employee to do far more than he would do himself, and he, too, was rewarded by the loyal devotion of his workers to himself and their painstaking attention to the enterprise.
Mr. Kennington pioneered in a lot of approaches in the organization field. His shop was a single of the 1st to take benefit of the radical shift in place from South State to Capitol Street the very first in the state to boast an elevator the initial to depart from the barter and dicker program and fix a uniform price on merchandise a leader in shorter functioning hours for workers and the first to air-condition its developing in Mississippi. All Kennington employees today are covered by a range of all-inclusive advantage plans.
Even though in his late teens and before transferring his interests to Jackson, Mr. Kennington married Miss Bethunia Battaile, a member of a fine old Yazoo City loved ones. Their union was blessed with 4 young children: Robert George Kennington, Marian Kennington (now deceased [she died in 1924, see Gordin, page 390]), who became the wife of Dr. Archie Ewing Gordin John Andrew Kennington and Cordelia Kennington, who is now Mrs. Thomas Burkett [census and ship records indicate his name may have been spelled Burkitt, he died by a stroke of lightening on the golf course]. There are two grandchildren: Robert Kennington Gordon, now married and the father of 3 and Marian (Kennington) Stevens whose tiny son bears her father’s name, John Kennington Stevens.
In addition to his family members and shop, Mr. Kennington has demonstrated a genuine and broad interest in neighborhood, state, and national affairs. A fantastic traveler, Mr. Kennington is familiar with the large cities of the country but is unswerving in his loyalty to Jackson. He has been interested from time to time in a big quantity of other organization enterprises. He organized the predecessor of the Jackson Chamber of Commerce and the Mississippi State Fair, and was a charter member of the Jackson Rotary Club, serving one particular year as its president, and now holding an honorary membership. He was chairman of the committee that established Belhaven College, a girls’ college of his own Presbyterian denomination, and assisted in organizing the Mississippi Cotton Co-op Association in 1930.
Mr. Kennington organized and was president of the Mississippi Rehabilitation Corporation, 1927-28, for financial relief of flood sufferers served as a member of the executive committee of the State Board of Welfare, appointed by Governor Mike Conner was vice-president and director of the National Retail Dry Goods Association served as a member of the Domestic Distribution Committee of the United States Chamber of Commerce was Mississippi chairman of the R.F.C. in Jackson, Mississippi, Office and organized the Regional Agricultural Corporation of Jackson and served as its president until August 1, 1933.
In addition to being president and director of R. E. Kennington Firm, Mr. Kennington is also vice president and director of the Kennington Investment Firm, Jackson vice-president and director, Kennington-Saenger Theatres, Jackson.
Mr. Kennington has led in fund-raising campaigns for virtually every single worthwhile project in the city. Throughout World War I, his public solutions were on statewide and national levels as nicely as regional. He served as state chairman of the Red Cross Campaign Fund, was State Merchants representative in Food Administration served as Hinds County Meals Administrator was a member of the Hinds County Liberty Loan Committee, and district chairman of the Fourth Liberty Loan. During World War II, his elder son, Robert G. Kennington, performed related services to the community, the state and the nation.
Now, getting labored lengthy and contentedly, Mr. Kennington is enjoying the fruits of his toil. With far more leisure, and leaving the management of his company affairs largely in the capable hands of his splendid son, J.[John, but nicknamed Jack] A. Kennington, his other son, Robert G., having suffered a critical heart attack four years ago and upon advice of his physician retired from active participation in the company.
A man whose spirit of adventure by no means led him astray but was guided in all his pioneering and business dealing by the principles of honesty, tolerance and industry, Robert Estes Kennington is a Jackson leader of whom not only his fellow citizens may possibly be nicely proud, but his nation as well. His influence upon the growth and progress of his adopted city is evident upon all sides and will be felt by the generations to com.
… Study additional about Archie Ewing Gordon who married Robert Estes Kennington’s daughter Marion about 1921.
Archie Ewing Gordin, M.D.
[web page 390, The Story of Jackson]
Descended from pioneer Jackson families, Dr. Archie Ewing Gordin is an eminent surgeon whose capability is recognized by other medical males and surgeons throughout the country. Actively engaged in the practice of surgery in Jackson considering that 1920, he has produced a lot of valuable contributions to his profession and has added materially to the progress of the city via his civic activities as nicely.
Dr. Archie Ewing Gordin was born in Jackson on September 11, 1892, the son of James Archie and Frances (Ewing) Gordin. His father, James Archie Gordin, who was born at Vaiden, Carroll County, Mississippi, is a retired railroad man and real estate operator, now living in retirement at the age of ninety-a single in Jackson. Frances (Ewing) Gordin, who died in 1946, was a member of 1 of the old pioneer households of Jackson. She was a lady who had a genuine affection and regard for humankind and specially for the unfortunate. She went about her acts of charity quietly, and her kindness, generosity and understanding had far-reaching effects on the lives of these she helped. The oldest circle of the King’s Daughters and Sons, an international philanthropic order, bears her name.
Archie Ewing Gordin was educated in the public schools of Jackson, Bingham Military College in Asheville, North Carolina, and graduated from the University of Virginia with the [an] M.D. Degree in 1915. His period of internship was spent as house surgeon at the University of Virginia, in the New York Lying-In Hospital and German Hospital in New York City. With the rank of Initial Lieutenant he served in the Healthcare Corps of the United States Army from 1917-1918 in Planet War I.
Following his period of army service, Doctor Gordin was on the surgical staffs of San Mateo Hospital, San Mateo, California. Returning to Jackson in 1920, he entered into general practice of surgery and for numerous years following was associate surgeon in operating the old Jackson Infirmary which later became St. Dominic’s Hospital. Since then he has continued in the basic practice of surgery with offices at 121 North President Street. He is a member of the surgical staffs of both St. Dominic’s and Mississippi Baptist Hospital, has served as a member of the attending surgical staff of the Mississippi State Charity Hospital, and as a consulting surgeon, Mississippi State Tuberculosis Sanatorium. For the past twenty-five years he has been surgeon for the Mississippi Energy and Light Firm.
A close student of his profession, Physician Gordin always has kept in touch with the trends and progress in medicine and surgery, attending clinics in numerous healthcare centers, reading and studying, and through his membership in the American Health-related Association, the Southern Healthcare Association, the Southeastern Surgical Congress, the Mississippi State Medical Society, Central Medical Society and Tri-State Health-related Society.
He was created a Fellow in the American College of Surgeons in 1924 and a Fellow in the International College of Surgeons in 1950. He is the author of numerous articles on surgery, a month them being: Pancreatic Cysts, published in Annals of Surgery Bone Grafts, in Southern Surgical Journal Fracture of the Spine, in American Journal of Surgery Herniated Nucleus Pulposis, in Journal of Industrial Surgery Surgical Remedy of Electrical Burns, Journal of Industrial Surgery Plaster Casts and Surgery, Gynecology and Obstetrics (both of these papers getting reprinted in the Year Book of Orthopedic Surgery) Surgery of Gallbladder, Journal of Healthcare Association The Misuses of Caesarean Section, Mississippi State Healthcare Journal Post-Operative Intestinal Obstruction, Journal of Central Healthcare Society Local Anesthesia in Main Surgery, Journal of Central Health-related Association, and many others.
As a college student, Physician Gordin belonged to Alpha Tau Omega and Phi Rho Sigma Fraternities. He is also a member and previous president of the Jackson Exchange Club, a member of the P.P.O.E. Elks a 32nd degree Scottish Rite Mason and a Shriner a member of the American Legion, the Executives Club and the Jackson Nation Club. He is a Presbyterian.
In the midst of his busy and valuable life, Medical professional Gordin occasionally finds a leisure hour. He enjoys deep-sea fishing, horseback riding and a game of golf. He and his wife are fond of their friends and are known for their gracious hospitality.
Dr. Gordin 1st married [must be about 1921 just ahead of his son was born] Miss Marian Kennington, daughter of R. E. Kennington [1875 – 1969], prominent Jackson merchant. Marion (Kennington) Gordin died in 1924, leaving a single son, Robert Kennington Gordin [1922 – 1999], who was educated at Central High School, Gulfport Military Academy and was graduated from the University of Virginia with the Class of 1947, getting his B.A. degree. He served in World War II with the rank of captain, seeing active duty in the European Theatre with the 101st Paratroop Battalion, United States Army. He was wounded and subsequently was decorated with eh Purple Heart.
As a member of the United States Army Reserve Officers, Robert Kennington Gordin lately reentered the service and is now stationed at Fort Devens, Massachusetts. His wife is the type Barbara Pitt of Charlottesville, Virginia. They are the parents of three youngsters: Marian Kennington Gordin, Robert Kennington Gordin, Jr., and Elizabeth Ewing Gordin.
Medical professional Gordin married for the second time on Could 17, 1942. His wife is the former Margaret Gray of Gulfport, Mississippi, daughter of the late Andrew and Alice (Highlands) Gray. A graduate of Mississippi State College, Mrs. Archie Ewing Gordin is member of Ralph Humphreys Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, the Jackson country Club, the Women’s Auxiliary to the Central Healthcare Society, a member of the Board of Managers of the Old Ladies Residence and a Presbyterian. She is specifically active in her function for the Old Ladies House, give unstintingly of herself to make the twilight years of these aged girls happy and contented ones. She often visits the House, not only to attend the board meetings, but to spend persona calls on the ladies and to help in the hospital ward. Her gentleness and kindness have greatly enriched the last years of these frail, aged women, and their faces reflect their joy in her presence. Mrs. Gordin has taken a prominent component in the civic and social life of the city, and in the course of Planet War II, rendered outstand service the Red Cross and in bond-selling drives.
An attractive, energetic lady, possessing a fine mind and pleasing personality, Mrs. Gordin is a perfect complement to her busy and brilliant husband. Her ability in the management of each minor and main affairs tremendously lightens the self-imposed burden her husband shoulders as he follows his heavy schedule. With her aid, he free of charge to fill the professional demands which claim a main portion of his time and keeps at peak the extremely developed powers which have brought him to a point of leadership in his specialist field.
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