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The remaining information is research completed by Mrs. E. E. Evans, genealogist from Columbia, Missouri (year unknown). One of her sources of information was the book entitled, of the Kemper Family in the United States,Descendants of John Kemper & Virginia, by Willis Miller Kemper and Harry Lynn Wright, published by Geo. K. Hazlitt & Co., Printers, of Chicago, in 1899; her other sources given about the various Kempers in the United States are unknown; this information is being provided only as information, even though it may not in all cases pertain to the Kempers listed earlier in on the other pages.

In early times, the members of a "family" in a "tribe" became known by the type of activity in which they engaged. The name KEMPER seems to be identified with the ancient German tribe, the Cimbri, who in 113 B.C. overcame the Roman army. The Romans lost 80,000 men in the conflict. The Cimbri tribe overran Gaul and moved into Spain, where they were repulsed. They were routed by Romans in the Po Valley of Italy in 101 B.C. The Cimbri were related to their allies, the Teutonites. Variations of "Kemp" are Kempen land (Campine in French), a geographical location in central Europe, and Kempen, a German city in the Bavaria area.

Recorded instances of the migration of members of the Kemper clan from Germany show they started moving from Germany following a series of misfortunes of a political nature. The Reformation (Protestant movement) spread throughout Europe, causing the Catholic and Protestant faiths to become increasingly antagonistic, resulting in open warfare. The 30 Years War was fought mostly in Germany, but all the important nations of Europe took part. Before it ended, Germany was impoverished, thousands had been killed, industry had been practically destroyed, and Germany no longer had a united government. The war ended by the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648. Germany was left desolate.

The Rhineland, bordering on the region where the early-day Kempers lived, was left devastated by the Palatine princes, a group of rulers who emerged from warring factions in the Palatinate section of Germany. The war parties moved about, stripping the land and its inhabitants of their provisions, supplies, shelter, and tools. By the nature of the name Kemper, is reasonable to assume that our ancestors were enlisted with the warring factions. The Kemper coat of arms, as shown in Vol. 3, page 99 of Compendium of American Genealogy-First Families of America, is a war-like shield with the legend "Die, Kemper," German for the "the warrior." "Die" is pronounced "dee."

The first that is known of the Kempers is that they were living about 1650 in the little German village of Musen, about 15 miles northeast of the city of Siegen, on the Sieg River, in the then principality of Nassau-Siegen, the present Prussian province of Westphalia. Siegen, Musen, and the surrounding territory belonged at that time to the House of Nassau, or the Nassau-Orange family. The Orange family still is the ruling monarchy in Holland. The Columbia Encyclopedia says of Siegen: "A city of 40,269 in 1939, and a population of 29, 922 1946. More than half the city was destroyed in World War II. Siegen lies in an iron—mining region and has iron foundries. Peter Paul Rubens, Flemish painter, was born here.

The neighborhood of Siegen, the center of the most noted iron production and manufacturing district in Germany, at Musen iron mines.

Musen, 15 miles northeast of the city of Siegen, is in the principality of Nassau. Siegen, the present Prussia, is in the Province of Westphalia.

About 1650, there was living in Musen one Johann Kemper and his wife, Anna, whose maiden name was Low. (Other forms of the name, Johann, are Johannes and Hans, or in English, John).

The 1899 book said that knowledge of the Kemper family in Musen was obtained wholly from the records of the little Reformed Church in that village. The church with all its records was destroyed during the 30 Years’ War and now records begin with January 4, 1649.

The Compendium of American Genealogy identifies one Johann Kemper as "Colonel Johann von Kemper, here itary commander of Stahleak Castle, near Mannheim on the Rhine." No explanation is given of where this delightful piece of information comes from. It may be that Johann von Kemper was an ancestor of the Johann Kemper of Musen, which is about 200 miles downriver from Mannheim on the Rhine, and about 60 miles east of the Rhine.

 In America in 1710, Alexander Spottswood, who was born in Tangier, Morocco, was appointed Governor of Virginia, the first of the 13 colonies. He was only 34 years of age, had been a soldier in many campaigns, and was of a bold and adventurous disposition. He was very interested in increasing the wealth and prosperity of the colony, as well as adding to his own fortune. After he discovered evidence of iron ore in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, he developed a plan to import skilled iron workers from Germany, where the residents were impoverished because of political developments and eager to seek their fortunes in the New World. A colony of 40 was formed, evidently largely from the neighborhood of Siegen, and started for America in 1713. The Germans spent a dreary winter stranded in London and arrived in Virginia in the spring of 1714.

The Westphalian peasantry, ever the most thrifty in Germany, by their industry soon made the good lands about Germantown to blossom as the rose. The Germantown settlement was know far and wide for the thrift and comfortable livinq of its inhabitants. The community was an intelligent one. Nearly every man of them could read and write. Johannes (John) Kemper’s (the immigrant) handwriting shows him to be a man of good education. He is credited with inventing the first shovel plow. It has been impossible to find any will of his or any administration on his estate.

While Johannes (John) Kemper came from Germany to Virginia, one of his brothers, Johann Heinrich (John Henry) Kemper moved from Germany to Pennsylvania. Johann Heinrich is the ancestor of the Pennsylvania Kempers. At that time, the principal mode of transportation was on the rivers, and the Germans went downriver on the Rhine to Holland, where they sought passage to America. It is reasonable to believe that some Kempers settled along the route. Johannes Meichor Kemper, born in 1776 in Amsterdam, Holland, became famous as a university educator, lawyer, and author of the criminal code of Holland. Genealogical references disclose two Kemper coat of arms, of similar design, in Holland.

The German colonists later left Germantown and went west again, into Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Ohio, Louisiana, and Texas. Germantown was abandoned. At Germantown, they had kept up their worship, both public and private, in the German language, and their public political matters transacted in English, their language gradually was lost in the second generation.

The posterity of Johannes (John) Kemper is described in the 1899 book as "a race of honest, industrious, and rather unambitious people, and are numerous. Not one of the children of this man has failed of descendants to this day (1899). No wonder when they commenced to emigrate that the West soon had a teeming population."

"Why, ‘tis a happy thing to be the father unto many sons."-—Shakespeare’s King Henry VI.

James Kemper was the father of 15 children. Tillman Kemper (born in Virginia, died in Kentucky) and his wife, Dinah Hitt, had 15 children, all of whom lived to maturity and married. One couple named Herndon, related to Kempers by marriage, had 20 children. Another Tillman Kemper and his wife, Sarah Haden, had 16 children, all of whom lived to maturity except possibly two, though dates of their deaths are not given (1899).

William H. H. Kemper (1813—1882) and his wife, Almira Alverson, had 15 children, all of whom lived to maturity except two. Two sons, Napoleon Bonaparte Kemper and Thomas Jefferson Kemper, were killed in battle in 1863 during the Civil War.

Numerous other Kempers had 10, 11, 12, 13, or 14 offspring.

There is hardly a state or territory in the Union, from New York south and west, but furnishes a home for some member of the Kemper family. Something seemed to impel them to go West about the end of the American Revolution.

The name of the Rev. James Kemper will always be associated with Presbyterianism in the West. He was born in 1753, died in 1834 of cholera, and was the father of 15 children. He moved West from Virginia to Kentucky in 1783, was first teacher in the first public school in Kentucky, and acted as public catechist, the first one West of the Allegheny Mountains. He was licensed to preach by the Presbytery of Transylvania, and in December 1790, moved to Cincinnati, where there was no Presbyterian minister. He and his congregation built a two-story frame house of worship, which became in due course the First Presbyterian Church of Cincinnati. He was the first licentiate of the First Presbytery. He preached the first sermon in Ohio that was preached by a representative of the Presbyterian Church. He was the first minister ordained on the north side of the Ohio, and founded Lane Seminary in 1829.

Three grandsons of Johannes (John) Kemper, namely: Jacob, Isaac, and Daniel Kemper, were paymaster, sergeant, and surgeon, respectively, in the regiment in the War of 1812.

The name of Reuben Kemper was a household word in the Southwest for the first 25 years of the 19th century, and no one man did more than he to win Florida and Texas for the United States. Reuben, an uncle of John Moore Kemper, was born February 21, 1771, in Fauquier County, Virginia, and died January 28, 1827, unmarried, at Natchez, Mississippi. His brother, Samuel, died in Louisiana in 1814, unmarried; but the third brother to gain fame, Nathan, married, became a sugar planter, had 11 children, and died in Louisiana in 1832 at the age of 57. The three sons of Peter Kemper, a Baptist clergyman and a captain in the Revolutionary War... Peter is listed on the honor roll of "Historical Register of Virginians in the Revolution." Also listed in the register are Charles, Daniel, John, and Tillman or Tulman E. Kemper.

Reuben, Samuel, and Nathan went with their family from Virginia to Ohio, then about 1800 went down the Mississippi and settled in Feliciana, near the mouth of Bayou Sara, lust above Baton Rouge in what was then West Florida, Spanish territory. They became embroiled in disputes with Spanish authorities over land claims, retreated into Mississippi territory and organized a force and declared West Florida an independent nation. An attempt to take Baton Rouge in 1804 failed. The three were kidnapped in 1805 but were rescued by U. S. force at Point Coupee as they were being taken down the Mississippi to Baton Rouge. Other forays were climaxed in 1810 by Reuben’s unsuccessful attempt to occupy Mobile. East Feliciana, West Feliciana, and Gross Coupee are present-day parishes in Louisiana, north and west of Baton Rouge. Reuben is identified in encyclopedia references as adventurer, frontiersman, and soldier. Some historians refer to him in less complimentary terms. One, Jesse J. Cox, in The West Florida Controversy, published by John Hopkins Press, Baltimore, 1918, recounted an incident in which Reuben, becoming displeased with an adversary, had some friends nip off the offender’s ears. Reuben, said Cox, then put the ears in some pickling juice and placed them on his mantel. Reuben aided the Mexicans in efforts to overthrow Spanish rule, and was a colonel of the American contingent in expeditions in Texas, then ruled by Mexico. He fought valiantly against the Spanish and added to his military reputation under General Andrew Jackson in the defense of New Orleans in 1815. The remainder of his life was spent quietly as operator of a plantation in Mississippi, where a county was named

 James Lawson Kemper, 1823—1895, a Confederate general and a Democrat, was 34th Governor of Virginia (1874—1878). he was born in Madison County, Virginia, was graduated from Washington College (now Washington and Lee University), the great-great-grandson of Johannes (John) Kemper. In 1847, he was captain under General Zachary Taylor in Mexico, attained the rank of major general in the military, and was severly wounded the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863 while leading his brigade in Pickett’s charge. He was later captured in the North. He is mentioned in history books on the Civil War. He served 10 years in the Virginia legislature. His term as Governor was distinguished for his independence and integrity. His brother, Frederick Thomas Kemper (1816—1881), a teacher, founded Kemper Military Academy at Boonville, Missouri.

"Those who toil bravely are strongest;
The humble and poor become great;
And so from these brown handed children
Shall grow mighty rulers of state."

 

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