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.

·      Samuel Henry, was born on March 23, 1843. Samuel married Clara Amanda McClurken. He died on April 2, 1921 and is buried in Oakdale Cemetery (Old Section, Row 12 Grave 49).

·      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

 

 

Additionally:

·      the “Kemps” name was originally “Kemp”

·      it was changed “to make plural etc. easier”

·      per S.H.K., his father’s family changed it

 

 

James William Kemps died on June 11, 1887 and is buried in Oakdale Cemetery (Old Section, Row 14, Grave 42). To see an image of the headstone, see this link.

 

Reference files and sources:

 

Scotch-Irish

Oakdale, Illinois

Oakdale Cemetery Website

Oakdale Cemetery Letter 1987.pdf

James_Kemps_1850_Research.pdf

1843PH_Kemps_James_p146.jpg

1844PH_Kemps_James_p165.jpg

1845PH_Kemps_James_p189.jpg

1846PH_Kemps_James_p188.jpg

1847PH_Kemps_James_p183.jpg

1848PH_Kemps_James_p189.jpg

1850PH_Kemps_James_p219.jpg

1851PH_Kemps_James_p223.jpg

1852PH_Kemps_James_p235.jpg

1856PH_Kemps_James_p338.jpg

1857PH_Kemps_James_p352.jpg

1858PH_Kemps_James_p356.jpg

1860PH_Kemps_James_p514.jpg

1861PH_Kemps_James_p516.jpg

1850_James_Kemps.jpg see line 34

1865_IL_James Kemps.jpg see line 4

1870_James_Kemps.jpg see line 38

1880_James_Kemps.jpg see line 42

James Kemps_Death_Certificate.pdf

History of Oakdale Township and references

 

Outline Descendant Report of James William Kemps

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Last updated  7/29/2010