Edna Hammond Wright Kemps
1885 - 1954
By: Roger Kemps © 2010
With contributions from William Worth Kemps Jr. and William Wayne McCall.
Edna Hammond Wright was born on January 24, 1885 at 181 Park Avenue in Indianapolis , Indiana. She died on July 10, 1954, at age 69, in La Canada, California.
Her parents were:
(Reuben) Worth Wright (1/1851 – 3/22/1904)
Helen Francis Hammond (8/22/1857 – 5/7/1885)
When Edna was 3 ½ months old, her mother died. Edna then lived with her father, Worth Wright, and her maternal grandmother, Martha Francis Howland Hammond. The Wright family owned a successful real estate business. The Hammond family built an amazing Victorian home, see Hammond_Wright_house.jpg, Houseart.jpg, Lot at 4150 Central Has Changed Hands Only Twice and Indianapolis Then and Now. Both of Edna’s grandmothers were descended from Mayflower pilgrims. The 1900 Census shows Edna living with her father and maternal grandmother.
Her grandmother died in 1903 and her father died in 1904. Subsequently, Edna was raised by her aunts. Both families had some wealth, so Edna became a wealthy orphan. At some point, she attended a finishing school on the Hudson.
Edna had the first electric car in Indianapolis. When Edna took the train on a vacation to Mexico, she met William Henry Kemps, one of the conductors. Edna married William Henry Kemps (10/29/1878 – 10/2/1964) of Oakdale, Illinois on June 5, 1907, in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The 1908 St Louis Directory shows William as the superintendent of the St. Louis Dairy Company and living at 3945A Botanical Avenue. The 1909 St. Louis City Directory shows William as the assistant manager of the St. Louis Dairy Company and living at 3945A Botanical Avenue. William took classes in St. Louis and he and another fellow (possibly John P. Cabanne) partnered to develop the milk product "FER-MIL-LAC."
The 1910 St. Louis City Directory shows William as the Vice President of the Fer-Mil-Lac Process Company at 423 Chestnut and residing at the West End Hotel. In the 1910 Census, William and Edna were living at 6151 McPherson Avenue along with his sister Ethyl. At that time, they owned the house and he listed his position as a dairyman in the Fermented Milk industry. The 1911 St. Louis City Directory shows William as the Vice President of the Fer-Mil-Lac Process Company at 423 Chestnut and the family residing at 3945A Botanical Avenue.
Edna and William had three children:
Marian Kemps Schatz (10/6/1911 - 2/16/1992)
William Worth Kemps (9/13/1913 - 7/21/2002)
Kathryn H. Kemps McCall (9/13/1913 - 2/23/1995)
In 1911, William and Edna moved to Minnesota and had their first child, Marian, on October 6, 1911.
On September 13, 1913, they had twins, Kathryn H. and William Worth. They were then living at 2200 Oliver Avenue South, in Lake of the Isle, an upscale sub-division of Minneapolis, Minnesota. In 1913, his occupation was milk dealer.
About 1914, William partnered with W. S. Lathrop, who owned the Lathrop Candy Company which was on the verge of, or in, bankruptcy. The Lathrop Candy Company also had an ice business, thus the segue into ice cream. Together they launched the Lathrop-Kemps Ice Cream Company. William supplied the dairy experience, the sales expertise and the funding. He was the Vice President and their product was labeled Kemps Ice Cream. The 1920 US Census indicates that William and Edna and their three children were living at 2200 Oliver Avenue South in Minneapolis and he listed his occupation as employer in the ice cream business.
They went to California for a visit around 1921. About that time, the doctor advised William that his health was such that he could not survive too many more winters in Minneapolis. They went back in 1922 and 1923 in the winter time and bought a piece of property in Beverly Hills and built a home at 633 N. Foothill Road. The family moved there, about 1924 and stayed in that house for a few years. Barney Oldfield, the race car driver, was one of their neighbors. The actress, Theda Bara, was also their neighbor in Beverly Hills and the children (William, Kathryn and probably Marian) went there to play on occasion. At the time of the move, the Lathrop-Kemps Ice Cream Company was sold to the competitor, Crescent Creamery. William then bought into a Cadillac Dealership in Glendale. They were going to build a new home in the Westwood area (chose a lot and had house plans drawn up). However, William had a problem with his sacroiliac and had to have a driver to chauffer him around. (He had recruited Theda Bara’s chauffer, Albert Alexander, who drove for the Kemps family until William Henry’s death in 1964). He decided that if he was going to be in business in Glendale and did not like driving into the sun all the time, they should build in Glendale. So they found a piece of property and used the same house plans with minor adjustments. The Glendale house was built in 1926 at 1565 Hillcrest Avenue and all the children attended Toll Junior High School. Edna was active in the PTA, see EWK_PTA.jpg. The 1930 US Census indicates that the family was living at this address and William’s occupation was listed as General Manager of an Automobile Dealership. During the depression not enough people were buying Cadillacs, so he sold the dealership (Modern Motors is still there).
About the same time, somewhere before 1931, the Cammack brothers (Crescent Creamery) had William start an ice cream plant named Beverly Dairies, Ltd., located in Los Angeles, California. William was the President and eventually the Chairman of the Board. William Worth Kemps, son of William Henry, later, joined the company and eventually ran it until 1956 or 1957 when it was sold to the Bressler brothers. Richard G. McCall, son-in-law, of William Henry, also joined the company and worked there for about 12 years.
In 1933, when the kids were finished with high school, Edna and William built their last home on three acres at 5305 Harter Lane in La Canada, This house was built during the depression when wages, for construction, were very low, something like thirty cents per hour. They offered forty or fifty cents per hour to insure quality work. The house was a masterpiece! It had a three car garage and a very nice back yard with a patio and rose garden. It backed up to the Angeles National Forest and it had birds, including peacocks and quail, in the back yard. The 1940 US Census shows the couple and daughter, Kathryn, living in this house, and William was listed as the President and Director of a Dairy Company.
At some point, Edna became a staunch member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and would visit her sister in law, Julia Kemps, and share her religious ideals. The children, as they got married, built homes in Glendale. Kathryn and her husband, Richard McCall, later built a home in La Canada and eventually moved to Lake Tahoe. Marian lived in the Southern California area. Grandson, Wayne McCall, spent a great deal of time with Edna and William when he was young. He loved the house and grounds and played there as much as possible (he lived less than a mile away). Wayne relates that Edna and William lived a very refined and happy life, donated heavily to favored causes and treated people with great respect.
Edna died on July 10, 1954 at the age of 69 in La Canada, California and is buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California. For an image of her headstone, see this link.
1860_Helen_Hammond.pdf see line 30
1880_Martha_Hammond.pdf see line 4
1880_Worth_Wright.pdf see line 35
1900_Edna_Wright.pdf see line 72
1910_William_H_Kemps.jpg see line 56
1920_William_H_Kemps.jpg see line 31
1930_William_H_Kemps.jpg see line 10
1930_William_W_Kemps.jpg see line 92
1940 William H Kemps.jpg see line 33
Indianapolis News 05071885 p3 c3.pdf Helen Hammond Wright Death Notice
Indianapolis News 06301885 p4 c2.pdf Martha and Rezin Hammond divorce
Sketches_of_Prominent_Citizens_of_1876.pdf Powell Howland reference
The following photographs were provided by Wayne McCall
Electric_car.jpg Edna driving her electric car
Edna_about_15.jpg Edna at about age 15
marian_EWK.jpg Edna with her daughter, Marian
Worth_Edna.jpg Edna and her father, Worth Wright
photoshoot_1905ish.jpg Edna is fourth from the left about 1905
Hammond_Wright_house.jpg house originally built by Rezin Hammond
Houseart.pdf newspaper article about the Hammond Wright house
Real_estate_office.jpg Worth Wright outside family business
WHK_EWK2.jpg photo displayed above
MINI_HS.JPG is a picture of the house at 2200 Oliver Avenue South in Minneapolis
marian bud mom.jpg is a picture of Marian, William Worth and Kathryn in the early 1930s
BBinYard.jpg baby in buggy presumed to be Edna
BAB_bug.jpg baby picture presumed to be Edna
schlgrp.jpg Edna in school group with identification?
EWK_PTA.jpg Edna and PTA with identification?
1streunion.jpg This photo was taken on the 50th Anniversary of the Powell Howland family arrival in Indianapolis and includes Edna, Worth, Martha, Martha’s brothers Elisha J. Howland and Charles Abraham Howland, and other descendants of Powell Howland, Edna’s great grandfather.
1streunion_ID.jpg above photo with additional identifications, courtesy of Shirley Kelly
lgfamgp.jpg large family group includes Edna, Worth & Martha
lgfamgp2.jpg large family group includes Edna, Worth & Martha
2GonSWNG.jpg two unidentified women on a swing
two_girls.jpg believed to be Helen Hammond and her older sister, Julia
Gdk_bkgd.jpg believed to be Helen Hammond.
1Mw_hat.jpg an unidentified man
M_horses.jpg an unidentified man with horses
Glendale_1.jpg through Glendale_7.jpg are seven pictures of the Glendale house, see slideshow.
LaCanada_1.jpg through LaCanada_11.jpg are eleven pictures of the La Canada house, see slideshow.
The following photographs were provided by William Worth Kemps, Jr.
Beverly_Hills_1.jpg through Beverly_Hills_7.jpg are seven pictures of the Beverly Hills house, see slideshow.
The following photographs were provided by Philip Smith
Williams Wife Edna.jpg is a picture of Edna Hammond Wright
William Kemps Family Minneapolis.jpg is a picture of Edna and the children in 1914
William and children.jpg is a picture of William and the children about 1920
The following photograph was provided by Jacqueline Cooper
Mary Wright Howland is a photo of Edna's aunt, her father's sister
Last updated 1/7/2018