James William Kemps
1807 - 1887
Isabella Gay Kemps
1811 - 1867
By: Roger Kemps © 2009
Photographs Courtesy of Philip Smith
James William Kemps was born in Ireland in 1807. There he married Isabella Gay who was born on November 11, 1811 in Co. Derry Ireland. In 1836, they journeyed to the United States of America and got off the ship at the Port of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His sister, Sarah, age 13, may have come with them. James was naturalized on April 27, 1836. James and Isabella were Scotch-Irish and Presbyterians. They had four children:
· Mary was born in 1836, the year they arrived.
· James W., was born on August 30, 1845. He died on September 12, 1867 at the young age of 22, and is buried in Oakdale Cemetery (Old Section, Row 14, Grave 44).
· Elizabeth Olivia was born on January 6, 1847. Elizabeth married James H. McClurken Jr., the brother of Clara Amanda McClurken. Elizabeth died June 24, 1920 and is buried in Oakdale Cemetery (New Section, Row 20, Grave 29).
The 1850 Census shows James, Isabella, and the four children, living in Philadelphia. Sarah was also living them.
City Directories of Philadelphia, for various years, show James and the family at the following addresses with these occupations:
1843 – 1844; Palm – laborer.
1845; Palm below Brown – laborer.
1846 – 1848; Lewis above Poplar – laborer.
1850 – 1851; 30 Lewis – carter.
1852; Francis and Charles – carter.
1856; Charles below 19th – carter.
1857 – 1858; 97 Christian – carter.
1860; Shirley near North 19th – furniture cars.
1861; 724 Shirley – furniture cars.
Shortly thereafter, the family moved to Oakdale, Illinois and began farming.
James shows up in the 1865 Illinois Census along with Isabella and the four children.
Isabella Gay Kemps died on May 5, 1867 and is buried in Oakdale Cemetery (Old Section, Row 14, Grave 43). To see an image of the headstone, see this link. Their son, James W., died four months later on September 12, 1867 at the young age of 22, and is buried in Oakdale Cemetery (Old Section, Row 14, Grave 44).
By 1870, James was living alone and listed his occupation as retired farmer. On November 19, 1874, in Perry County, Illinois, James married Elizabeth Brown, a widow.
James Kemps is mentioned on page 64 of the History of Oakdale Township as someone who temporarily owed the blacksmith for work done in 1874.
The 1880 Census shows James and Elizabeth living in Elkton, Illinois along with stepson, D. J. Brown. James listed his occupation as farmer.
The back of an old picture, owned by James Kemps, provides the following important information:
· his middle name was William
· Isabella’s middle or last name was Gay
· the “Kemps” name was originally “Kemp”
· it was changed “to make plural etc. easier”
· per S.H.K., his father’s family changed it
Reference files and sources:
1850_James_Kemps.jpg see line 34
1870_James_Kemps.jpg see line 38
1880_James_Kemps.jpg see line 42
Outline Descendant Report of James William Kemps
Last updated 7/29/2010