HISTORY OF SOUTHEAST MISSOURI

Biographical Appendix

  

Judge John Kemper

Judge John Kemper, among the old Kentucky families who came to Missouri in 1835 were Henry and Elizabeth (O'Bannon) Kemper, natives of Virginia.  They located near Fredericktown, where Mr. Kemper was engaged in farming, and also somewhat devoted to mechanical work, for which he had special aptitude. He died in 1863. While they were living in Mt. Carmel, Ky., there was born to them a son, whose name heads this sketch.  Young Kemper received few educational advantages, but made the most of his opportunities, such as they were.  He began farming independently at the age of twenty years, and in 1846 received the appointment of deputy sheriff, continuing four years.  In 1851, he and H. J. Jones opened the first store in Patterson, Mo., and laid out the town plat. With the outbreak of the war he made up a company and started for the seat of hostilities.  It was Company I, Third Regiment Missouri State Guards, in which he served six months, when it was disbanded. He was then given charge of the quartermaster's books of Jeff. Thompson's brigade, for a year, but on account of ill health resigned and went south.  On his return he was made manager of the government tan yards in Randolph County, AR, until he afterward joined Lee's army, and continued until the surrender. From that time until 1872, he was in Madison County, Mo., and then located in Iron County, on a place purchased before the war.  It embraces about 260 acres, with 65 acres under cultivation, there being excellent deposits of quartz, iron, copper and lead.  Judge Kemper was a county judge for two years, and for eight years served as justice of the peace. In 1848 he married Miss Elizabeth O'Bannon, and their children are Virginia A. (wife of Joseph Stagner), William B., Judith, Lucinda and Sanford.  Mrs. Kemper died in 1882, a devoted Christian and member of the Baptist Church.  Judge Kemper is a Mason and member of the Farmers' Alliance.