Samuel Henry Kemps

1843 - 1921

By: Roger Kemps © 2009

Photographs Courtesy of Philip Smith



Samuel Henry Kemps was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on March 27, 1843 while the family was living on Palm Street. He died on April 2, 1921 in Oakdale, Illinois.


His parents were James William (1807 - June 11, 1887) and Isabella Gay Kemps (November 11, 1811 - May 5, 1867) who came from Ireland in 1836.


His siblings:


·      Mary was born in Philadelphia in 1836, the year her parents 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).


Samuel shows up in the 1850 Census, along with his parents, three siblings, and Aunt Sarah Kemps, age 27.


The family lived at various places in Philadelphia. In 1861, the family resided at 724 Shirley. Shortly thereafter, the family moved to Oakdale, Illinois and began farming.


Samuel shows up in the 1865 Illinois Census along with his parents and three siblings.


Samuel Henry Kemps married Clara Amanda McClurken on February 25, 1869. They had seven children:


·      Albert Rodman Kemps (June 1, 1870 - April 4, 1958)

·      Lawrence Edward Kemps (April 20, 1872 - October 5, 1873)

·      Luther James Kemps (February 25, 1876 - November 22 1935)

·      William Henry Kemps (October 29 1878 - October 2, 1964)

·      May Belle Kemps Kirkpatrick (June 14, 1881 – February 16, 1964)

·      (Clara) Ethel Kemps Boyle (December 23, 1882 - February 27, 1953)

·      Edna Adella Kemps Smith (August 26, 1885 – December 20, 1932)



(Click on an image to enlarge. Click again, after it opens, to enlarge further. Filename identifies individuals).


They eventually had eleven grandchildren.


Samuel and Clara were members of the (Covenanter) Oakdale Reformed Presbyterian Church.


The History of Oakdale Township includes a few references:

·      Page 8 describes the location of their farm as west of Ayers Point

·      Page 64 lists Samuel Kemps as an individual who temporarily owed money to the blacksmith for work done in 1874

·      Page 76 lists them as members of the Temperance Society of Elkhorn

·      Page 94 lists Samuel as a taxpayer in the school district in 1874

·      Their children are referenced on other pages, see references


The 1880 Census shows Samuel and Clara and their three children (Albert R., Luther J., and William H.) and two boarders living on their farm in the Elkton Precinct of Washington County, Illinois.


The following images are of the home they built in 1891:



(Click on an image to enlarge. Click again after it opens to enlarge further. )

The location is the West Half of the Southwest Quarter of Section 14, immediately west of Oakdale. It is identified as May Belle Kirkpatrick at this link. This 80 acre parcel was originally purchased, from the Federal Government, by Clara’s father, James McClurken, on September 27, 1831; see James_11_11_1831_WHSWQ_S14_T3SR4W.jpg.


The 1900 Census shows Samuel and Clara and their six children living on their farm in the Oakdale Township of Washington County Illinois. Albert R. and Luther J. were helping, as farmers, William H. was a traveling salesman, May Belle was a music teacher and Clara E. and Ethyl A. were both in school.


The 1910 Census shows Samuel and Clara still farming in the Oakdale Township of Washington County, Illinois. Living with them were daughters, Ethyl C. and Edna A., a public school teacher. In the next dwelling lived Raymond Kirkpatrick, his wife, May Belle Kemps Kirkpatrick, and two grandsons of Samuel and Clara, Kemps R. and R. Merle.


The 1920 Census shows Samuel and Clara living alone in the town of Oakdale in a house they owned. They were no longer working. A view of this house is available at this link. A 1936 view of this house is available at this link.


Samuel Henry died on April 2, 1921 at the age of 78. For additional details of his life, see his obituary. He is buried in Oakdale Cemetery in Oakdale, Illinois (Old Section, Row 12, Grave 49). To see an image of the headstone, see this link.


Reference sources and files:


1850_James_Kemps.jpg see line 37

1865_IL_James_Kemps.jpg see line 4

1880_Samuel_Kemps.jpg see line 14

1900_Samuel_Kemps.jpg see line 80

1910_Samuel_Kemps.jpg see line 90

1920_Samuel_Kemps.jpg see line 59


Oakdale Reformed Presbyterian Church

History of Oakdale Township and references

James_11_11_1831_WHSWQ_S14_T3SR4W.jpg (purchased 9/27/1831)


Oakdale Cemetery Website


Oakdale Cemetery Letter 1987.pdf

Narratives of Randolph County.pdf  page 79


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Last updated  2/21/2011