In every success story, someone undertook the hardship, paid the price, and bore the burden to achieve something great. Sometimes it was paid by the person himself. But most times, it came from someone before them.
President John F Kennedy seems like the starting point of a famous family lineage. But historians are quick to point out that his father Joseph was the true political trailblazer... the patriarch of a dynasty.
But by the time grandfather Joseph was born, the Kennedy family had already achieved tremendous influence. This came from the great, great grandfather P.J. Kennedy who became a powerful political operative in Boston.
But to find out who paid the toll, you have to go back even further.
P.J. was the son of a poor barrel-maker named Patrick who arrived in east Boston in the late 1840s. He survived a "coffin ship" across the Atlantic in order to escape the depression and famine in Ireland.
Patrick was the first to pay the toll.
But he wasn't the only one. Patrick died in 1858 at the age of 35 from working so hard that he weakened his immune system and fell victim to one of the immigrant diseases. He left $7 in his bank account for his young wife Bridget.
It was Bridget who began washing the clothes and cleaning the houses of other people. She saved up enough money to open her own "notions" shop and bakery. She worked hard enough to send P.J. to a nice school in Boston and show him the world of self-employment.
In turn, P.J. purchased ownership in bars, and parlayed his business success to run the Democratic preccint office... thanks to his mother.
It was Bridget who overcame poverty and fought hard to set a new course for her family. She died in 1888 with $2,200 in assets.
Bridget Kennedy paid the toll.